Physics AS/A level
OCR H159 / H559
What is AS/A Level Physics? The dictionary definition of Physics is given as the study of matter and energy. It seeks to find the hidden laws behind physical phenomena. In practice it means you will study a range of topics from the very small – inside the atom, to the very large – the formation and history of the universe. The course blends together extensions of GCSE science with topics that will be entirely novel, giving a stimulating mixture of traditional disciplines and modern advances. It also develops a range of skills useful in any form of future study or professional activity. In the first year the AS level covers 4 specific areas of physics: • Communication (electric circuits, sensors, signals and imaging) • Designer materials (properties, uses and structure) • Waves and quantum behaviour (superposition, photons and interference) • Space, time and motion (classical mechanics and vectors) There are two coursework tasks which involve presentation, practical, data handling and ICT skills. The full A level extends the work started at AS and introduces new topics: • Models and rules (decay characteristics and field models) • Matter in extremes (theories of matter and atoms) • Fields (electromagnetism and electrical) • Fundamental particles (atomic, nuclear and sub-nuclear structure) The coursework activities focus on a practical investigation and a research briefing. How will I learn? The new Advanced level Physics course has been designed by the Institute of Physics and provides a distinctive structure to allow students to learn about the fundamental physical concepts and about physics in everyday and technological settings. A key focus is on how Physics is done today, using up to date information and techniques to develop ideas which are at the heart of Physics. The course is supported by CD ROM, which is networked throughout the college and issued to each student to use at home. It contains experiments, activities, questions, images, displays and texts to read. There is also a textbook which accompanies and supports the course. You will find it an advantage to have a computer at home with an internet connection. Use will be made of email and internet research. The college has outstanding IT facilities to support your studies. A typical week may include a class experiment, working on material stored on the CD, discussion and development of ideas and research into application of the principles. The amount of homework for both AS and A level will be about 4 to 5 hours per week. The style of homework will include experiment reports, numerical questions, course work and research.
Progression Physics is an excellent qualification, well thought of by employers. It is an essential subject for many degree courses in Science and Engineering. The career possibilities are extensive ranging from Industrial and Scientific research through Management, Business and Commerce, Financial Analysis to Health and Education. Past students: Oliver studied Physics and was offered a place at Oxford University to study Maths. Simon moved to Portsmouth University to study Architecture. Daniel is studying Physics at Durham University. Andrea was offered a place at Southampton University to study Electrical Engineering. How will I be assessed? In each year assessment is by two written papers and two coursework tasks. The table below details the percentage weighting of each assessment in the overall A level. Assessment AS (year 1) 15 25 10 A2* (year 2) 15 25 10
Paper 1 Paper 2 Course work
Entry requirements Whilst you must have at least five C grades at GCSE to do three A levels, past experience suggest that a mixture of As, Bs and Cs make sit more likely that you will get good results. Please see the section on ‘Choosing your advanced courses’ in the Alton College Prospectus for further information on entry requirements. Experience has shown that students with grades no higher than a C in GCSE Maths and Science have found Physics AS level very difficult. It is therefore strongly recommended that you have gained at least grade B in Maths and B/B in Science before you start the subject. Most students will take Maths Mechanics AS level alongside Physics AS level, although Maths AS is sufficient to do A2 Physics. In common with all subjects at A level there is a significant leap in the intellectual demands made on you and in the expectations of the staff teaching you. This is particularly true in Physics where the use of Mathematics increases. You will succeed if you are prepared to work consistently and give your studies the time and energy they require. Course costs: All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators. Essential: Optional: Approximately £35-55 for CD-ROM and textbooks. £15 for trips and visits.
If the cost of the equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, there is the opportunity to apply for help from the College Access Fund.
Alton College, Old Odiham Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2LX Telephone: 01420 592200 Website: www.altoncollege.ac.uk