Why study Physics?
Physics is the science of nature in the broadest sense. Physicists study the behaviour and properties of matter in a wide variety of contexts, ranging from the sub-microscopic particles from which all ordinary matter is made (particle physics) to the behaviour of the material universe as a whole (cosmology).
What will I study? How will I be assessed?
Physics is a demanding A-level subject; it requires a lot of dedication and hard work.
If you found Mathematics particularly difficult at GCSE then Physics is possibly not the subject for you. Take Physics if you find the subject interesting and would like to learn much more than was covered in the GCSE course.
Many of the theoretical concepts will be backed up with class practicals. These will involve using a variety of laboratory apparatus, as well as computer simulations and data logging.
We are particularly fortunate that the Institute of Physics is so near Queen’s, as they host a number of free lectures available to A-level students. Pupils also visit the Royal Observatory and the Diamond accelerator in Oxford.
The AQA Physics course is composed of three examination papers, each two hours in length:
Paper 1: Measurements and their errors; particles and radiation; waves; mechanics and materials; electricity; periodic motion.
Paper 2: Thermal physics; fields and their consequences; nuclear physics; assumed knowledge of measurements and their errors; particles and radiation; waves; mechanics and materials; electricity; periodic motion.
Paper 3: Practical skills and data analysis; astrophysics.
What skills will I gain? Where can Physics lead?
Physics is important for a wide variety of careers. Many physicists work in research along with other scientists and mathematicians. The problem solving and logical skills gained from studying Physics are applicable to a whole range of other disciplines from law (particularly intellectual property and computer law) to architecture, accountancy and finance. Computing plays a major part in university Physics and many students go on to work in the computer industry with their qualifications.