A Level Physics is 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 will already have come across some of the concepts of A Level Physics at GCSE level such as forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity and 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.
THE PHYSICS DEPARTMENT AT WYKE SIXTH FORM COLLEGE
The department has two well equipped laboratories on the ground floor of the Ash building. There is also an open access computer area adjacent to one of the laboratories and a demonstration classroom shared with the rest of the Science department. The course is supported with online resources as well as printed notes and booklets.
COURSE DETAILS – YEAR 1
Section 1: Measurements and Their Errors
In this section of study, you will learn that all measurements that you take have errors.
Section 2: Particles and Radiation
In this section of study, you will learn about particles that make up atoms and how light interacts with electrons.
Section 3: Waves
In this section, you will learn about the properties of waves and how waves interfere with matter and each other.
Section 4: Mechanics and Materials
In this section you will look at forces, motion and elastic materials.
Section 5: Electricity
The final section of your first year will further develop your knowledge of the fundamental principles of electricity developed at GCSE level.
There are no external exams at the end of the first year. Progression to the second year of the course will be based on internal assessments during your first year of study.
COURSE DETAILS – YEAR 2
Section 6: Further Mechanics and Thermal Physics
In this section you will learn about thermal physics, circular motion and oscillations.
Section 7: Fields and their consequences
In this section of study, you will learn about three types of field: gravitational, electrical and magnetic.
Section 8: Nuclear Physics
Here you will study how unstable nuclei can break down to produce nuclear radiation.
Section 9: Astrophysics
In this section you will learn about telescopes, star classification, pulsars, quasars, black holes and the big bang.
Although there are no internally assessed coursework elements, there are twelve compulsory assessed practical activities which are externally verified. Six of these are in your first year and six are in your second year.
Each February, around 25 Physics students and 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 sightseeing in Geneva. Students from the Physics Department are also invited to participate in the Odgen Trust Physicist of the Year Competition.
The competition has been running since 2015, and Wyke Physics students have been successful every year. Awards are given for demonstrating consistently high attainment and determination throughout the year.
WHAT DOES THE COURSE LEAD TO?
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.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP PREPARE ME FOR THE 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 takes place just as school GCSEs are finishing. 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.
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