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Holmer Green Senior School

Holmer Green Senior School

Physics - A Level

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles and is the most basic and fundamental science. Physics challenges our imaginations with concepts like relativity and string theory, and it leads to great discoveries, like computers and lasers, that lead to technologies which change our lives—from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions. 


The course aims to develop essential knowledge and developing enquiry based learning. It is not necessary for students to study A-level Maths in order to be successful at A-level Physics, but students must be confident mathematicians. A-level Mathematics strongly supports A-level Physics and students intending to study Physics or Engineering at university must also take mathematics A-level.

Course content

  • Skills in physics
  • Particles and radiation
  • Waves and optics
  • Mechanics and materials
  • Electricity
  • Further mechanics and thermal physics
  • Fields
  • Nuclear physics
  • Plus one option module, usually astrophysics

Practical work runs throughout the course; minimum 12 required practicals.

On consultation it is possible to study a 1 year AS-level in Physics, completing topics 1-5 only.


Exam Board: AQA

A Level

This is a linear A-level with all exams taken at the end of  Year 13

Paper 1:  Topics 1-5, periodic motion, relevant practical skills (34%, 2 hours)

Paper 2:  Topics 6–8, including relevant practical skills (34%, 2 hours)

Paper 1 and 2 include a 25 mark multiple choice section

Paper 3 Section A: Practical data analysis , drawn from whole course

Paper 3 Section B: Option (Total for paper 3 = 32%, 2 hours)

Students will be examined internally at the end of Year 12

AS Level

All exams taken at the end of y12

Paper 1:  Topics 1-5, relevant practical skills  (50%, 1.5hours)

Paper 2 Section A: practical skills and data analysis

Paper 2 Section B: Topics 1-5

Section C: 30 multiple choice questions

Total paper 2: 50%, 1.5hours

Pass/Fail Practical endorsement for Physics – this is continuous throughout Y12 and Y13 and is teacher assessed.

Head of Subject: Dr S Cockbill

Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in Physics GCSE or a 6-6 in Combined Science. In addition, grade 6 in Maths and 5 in English Lit or Lang

Are you interested in: Developing Physics through an experimental approach; developing imaginative and critical thought; interested in understanding physics, how it has developed and is used in society; applying Physical principles to personal, social, environmental and economic issues?

Leading to a career in: Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Nuclear science, Aeronautics, Astronomy, Cosmology,

Biomedical Sciences, Forensics, Research, Engineering, Software Development, Accountancy, Investment Banking, Chemistry, Oceanography, Seismology.

This subject goes well with: Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Psychology, Geography, Business, Music, IT.

Student Views

"Learning about the rules and laws which govern our universe is extremely interesting.” Jacob, Y13