A Level – Physics

You will already have come across some of the concepts of A Level Physics at GCSE: forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity, magnetism ….

At A level, you will start to see how these ideas work together, and begin to grasp the universal principles that apply to everything from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies.


  • Who Is This Course For?

    A Level Physics would be an ideal preparation for further study in the physical sciences or in any kind of engineering. If you are interested in applying for a degree course in these areas of study, you will find most universities also require Mathematics at A Level. Apart from Mathematics, other subjects that would complement Physics include Chemistry, Biology, Music Technology, Graphics and Geography.

    You could consider Physics alongside contrasting subjects (e.g. Music, Art, History), but if you are only studying one science subject, we would recommend that it should be Applied Science.


  • Course Details:

    Exam Board


    Year 1

    Section 1 – Measurements and their errors

    Students learn that all measurements they take have errors.

    Section 2 – Particles and Radiation.

    This involves particles that make up atoms and how light interacts with electrons.

    Section 3 – Waves.

    This includes the properties of waves and how waves interfere with matter and each other.

    Section 4 – Mechanics and Materials.

    This section includes forces, motion and elastic materials.

    Section 5 – Electricity

    The final section further develops fundamentals principles developed at GCSE level.

     There are no external exams at the end of the first year.

    Progression to Year 2 will be based on internal assessments at the end of Year 1.


    Year 2

    Section 6 – Further Mechanics and Thermal Physics

    This includes thermal physics, circular motion and oscillations.

    Section 7 – Fields and their consequences

    Topics included are gravitational and electric fields and electromagnetism

    Section 8 – Nuclear Physics

    Here we study how unstable nuclei can break down to produce nuclear radiation.

    Section 9 – Astrophysics

    Electromagnetic Doppler Effect and the Expanding Universe.
    Students completing the full A Level will be examined on all units spread over three exams at the end of the second year.

    Assessment: 100% exam

    The complete specification can be seen on the AQA website www.aqa.org.uk


    Departmental Enrichment

    Each February, around 25 students and the 3 Physics department staff travel to Geneva, Switzerland to visit CERN and the Large Hadron Collider. We also visit the Red Cross and Red Crescent museum, the UN building and enjoy sight seeing in Geneva.

    The Physics Department at Wyke Sixth Form College

    The department has two well equipped laboratories, close to the other science labs on the ground floor of the Ash building. There is also an open access computer area adjacent to the laboratory and a demonstration classroom shared with the rest of the Science department.

    The course is supported with printed notes and booklets.

    The Physics staff team is:

    • Rob Jackson (Head of Department)
    • Sarah Thackray
    • Stuart Lyon
    • Head of Faculty: Rachel Hitchenor


    What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

    The jump from GCSE to A Level is a challenge, but with a good start, it is one which you can make successfully. Look out for details about Wyke Start, which is open to all students aiming to start at Wyke in September. This event will take place just as school GCSEs are finishing.


    At Wyke Start, you will have the opportunity to experience actual lessons in a range of subjects, including Physics.  We will try to show you exactly what studying Physics will be like.  We will also set you some preparatory tasks for completion over the summer. As you tackle these, you will be helping to ensure a confident start to your A Level Physics course in September.


  • Progression:

    Physicists play a vital role in many technology-based industries, such as optoelectronics, nanotechnology, computing and renewable energy.  Others work in investigating the universe; searching for extra-solar planets or looking for the remnants of the big bang.  Some might apply their knowledge in healthcare (medical physics), studying the processes of the earth (geophysics) or the climate (meteorology).


    The knowledge and skills that studying Physics develops are important in other areas as well.  Predicting future market behaviour is vital in finance, and so a physicist’s ability to model complex systems is particularly valued in this sector, whilst logical thinking and an analytical approach is useful in law.


    Physics provides a broad training in skills that are valued by all employers; – an ability to grasp concepts quickly, a determination to find coherent answers, along with problem-solving, analytical, mathematical and ICT skills.



  • Course Showcase:

    Aimee Burton
    Former School: Sirius Academy West
    A Level Physics result: A*
    Where is she now?
    Lancaster University studying Theoretical Physics with Mathematics.

    Tom Gardiner
    Former School: Beverley Grammar School
    A Level Physics grade: A*
    Where is he now? University of St. Andrews studying Chemistry (with 1 year Placement)