Subject Leader: Mr M Watson
Edexcel A Level Physics (9PH0)
What specification (syllabus) is being taught?
Physics offers huge benefits to individuals and to society – opening doors, broadening
horizons and driving innovation. It provides powerful and beautiful explanations about the workings of the world – explanations that have value and are applicable in a wide range of industries and research communities.
Furthermore, it develops ways of thinking and reasoning that are rewarding and highly valued by employers in many sectors, from accounting to zoology to engineering, or law and medicine.
A level Physics gives you the opportunity to explore the phenomena of the universe and to look at theories that explain what is observed. This subject combines practical skills with theoretical ideas to develop descriptions of the physical universe. You will learn about everything from kinematics to cosmology and many recent developments in fascinating topics, such as particle physics. If you are interested in the limits of space, the beginning of time and everything in between this is the subject for you. Physics is more than a subject – it trains your brain to think beyond boundaries
Who should take this course?
AS/A level Physics aims for students to: sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, physics; develop essential knowledge and understanding in physics; develop the skills needed for the use of this knowledge and understanding in new and changing situations where appropriate; and develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment.
Students will also need to: appreciate how physics has developed and is used in present day society; show how physics links with social, philosophical, economic, industrial and environmental matters; recognise the quantitative nature of physics; understand how mathematical expressions relate to physical principles; bring together knowledge of ways in which different areas of physics relate to each other; and study how scientific models develop. A Level Physics is suitable for students who: have an interest in, and enjoy physics; want to find out about how things in the physical world work; enjoy applying their mind to solving problems; enjoy carrying out investigations by the application of imaginative, logical thinking; want to use physics to support other qualifications or progress onto further studies
Year 12 physics is also suitable for students who: want to go on to the full A level; want a
grounding in a relevant worthwhile qualification; want to broaden their educational
experience before making a decision about which A levels to take; are taking A levels in the other Sciences and/or Mathematics or other relevant courses such as Design and Technology and want to take another course that will support their studies
What are the entry requirements?
A minimum two level 6 is required in Combined Science at GCS. Candidates who studied the separate sciences will need at least a level 6 in Physics.
A minimum of Level 6 in Mathematics is also required.
What are the key topics and themes? When will
they be taught?
In Year 12 students will study the following topics:
● Topic 1: Mechanics – rectilinear motion, forces, moments, energy, power and
efficiency, momentum and its conservation.
● Topic 2: Electric Circuits – current, voltage, resistance and power, resistivity and drift velocity.
● Topic 3: Materials – behaviour of fluids, density, upthrust, viscosity, laminar and
turbulent flow, behaviour of solids under tension and compression.
● Topic 4: Waves and Particle Nature of Light – reflection, refraction, diffraction,
polarisation, interference and lenses; the particle nature of light, the photoelectric
effect and line spectra.
In Year 13 students will study the following topics:
● Topic 5: Further Mechanics – conservation of momentum in 2 dimensions, elastic
and inelastic collisions, energy and circular motion.
● Topic 6: Electric and Magnetic Fields – electric fields and capacitors including the
exponential nature of capacitor discharge, magnetic fields, Faraday’s Law, Lenz’s
Law and electromagnetic induction.
● Topic 7: Nuclear and Particle Physics – atomic structure, particle accelerators and
detectors, the behaviour of charged particles in magnetic and electric fields, the
equation E = c2m and the Standard Model of Particle Physics
● Topic 8: Thermodynamics – specific heat capacity, specific latent heat, internal
energy and ideal gases, gas laws and black body radiation.
● Topic 9: Space – measuring astronomical distances, the behaviour of stars, redshift
and the expansion of the Universe.
● Topic 10: Nuclear Radiation – radioactive decay, types of nuclear radiation, binding
energy and decay equations.
● Topic 11: Gravitational Fields – the equation of gravitation and gravitational potential.
● Topic 12: Oscillations – simple harmonic motion, resonance and damping
How will students be assessed?
When do these assessments take place?
Students will carry out lots of practical work throughout the course to develop their practical skills. This will include 16 Core Practical experiments which will be assessed towards the award of their Practical Competency.
Year 12 assessment takes the form of 2 exams at the end of the year (each is 1 hour 30
minutes long and consists of 80 marks)
Final A Level assessment involves 3 exams at the end of Year 13. Paper 1 and Paper 2 cover the content of the course (each is 1 hour 45 minutes long and consists of 90 marks). Paper 3 is longer (2 hours 30 minutes and consists of 120 marks) and contains synoptic questions (covering anything from the course) as well as questions that test students' practical skills
There are also internal school tests that are set part way through topics and at the end of topics to check knowledge and understanding.
What can students do for revision at home? What materials are provided or available online?
We provide revision material via Google classroom for all students but in addition
the following are useful sites.