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Physics is the study of the range of science dealing with matter and energy, and the relationships between them. Modern physicists have been responsible for some of the greatest achievements of our era. Without our understanding of atomic theory, we would not have computers, the internet or smartphones - the digital age, as we know it, would not exist. Without quantum mechanics, we would not have lasers or satellite navigation. Who knows where future scientific discoveries and inventions will take us?

Over the course, we encourage students to develop and demonstrate a deeper understanding of the world around them. Through Physics, our lives have changed for the better.  Students develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena and understand how Physics is used to explain what is happening in the world around us and to predict how things will behave. Students become more competent and confident in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills. They will understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society. Students will understand how to use theories, models and ideas to develop scientific explanations. By the end of the course, they can use knowledge and understanding to pose scientific questions, define scientific problems, present scientific arguments and scientific ideas.


Exam board:

AQA A-Level Physics


How will the course be examined?

At the end of the two-year course, there are three examination papers of 2 hours. These papers including two types of questions: closed − multiple-choice, labelling diagrams and some recall of knowledge types of question; open − labelling/drawing diagrams, short answer, calculations, extended response.

  • Paper one covers aspects of periodic motion
  • Paper two broadly focuses on thermal physics.
  • Paper 3 is a synoptic paper with a compulsory practical skills and data analysis section.

CPAC: as separate certification, the students undertake 12 assessed pieces of practical work. This is assessed by the teachers but subject to board moderation.


How is the curriculum structured?

Year 12 Year 13

Terms 1 & 2

Measurements and their errors

Use of SI units and their prefixes

Limitations of physical measurements

Estimation of physical quantities


Electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena


Progressive and stationary waves

Refraction, diffraction and interference


Terms 3 & 4

Mechanics and Materials

Force, energy and momentum


Terms 5 & 6


Terms 1 & 2

Further mechanics and thermal physics

Periodic motion

Thermal Physics

Fields and their consequences 


Gravitational fields

Electric fields


Terms 3 & 4


Magnetic fields

Nuclear Physics




Terms 5 & 6



Why is the curriculum sequenced this way?

The AQA A-level course follows the AQA GCSE Physics course taught at Ashton Park. The course builds on fundamental concepts and skills that are developed in the GCSE course.

In Year 12, we start by introducing a working knowledge of the specified fundamental units of measurements; the practical work needs to be underpinned by an awareness of measurement errors and how they are treated numerically. This essential skill is required throughout the course and beyond. We continue with the particles and radiation topic that provides the students with a new and interesting dimension of the work covered at GCSE. Through further topic like waves and electricity students become aware of the way, ideas develop and evolve in physics and the importance of international collaboration.

In Year 13, learners will continue to explore Physics in detail whilst studying further mechanics that build on the ideas from Year 12.  Students are also introduced to the optional astrophysics unit which is demanding in scope but allows their fundamental physical principals to be applied to the study and interpretation of the universe.


How is this course assessed?

  • End of unit tests involving past paper style questions typically with 30-35 marks.
  • Homework questions, often using exam style questions.
  • Ongoing lesson assessment for learning as part of teaching.
  • End of year examination.


How can I revise for this course?

  • Seneca learning quizzes
  • Websites include Institute of Physics, A-level Physics online, Cowen online, Physics and Maths tutor
  • Revision guides: A-Level Physics: AQA Year 1 & 2 Complete Revision & Practice