A Level: Physics

Key Facts

Exam Board — AQA
Course Code — 7408

What’s physics like at A-level?

You will already have come across some of the concepts of physics at GCSE or standard Grade: forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism. At A-level, you will start to see how these ideas work together, and begin to grasp the universal principles that apply to everything from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies, including some exciting new topics: particles, quantum phenomena and the Higgs Boson. In the second year, students specialise by choosing an option subject including astrophysics, medical physics, engineering physics, turning points in physics and electronics.

What practical science do you do?

Physics, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course, you will carry out practical activities including:

  • Investigating interference and diffraction of laser light
  • Measuring acceleration due to gravity
  • Investigating systems that oscillate
  • Investigation of the links between temperature, volume and pressure
  • Safe use of ionising radiation
  • Investigating magnetic fields

These practicals will give you the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way things behave and work. It will also ensure that if you choose to study a Physics-based subject at university, you’ll have the practical skills needed to carry out successful experiments in your degree.

Why should I choose physics?

Do you want to investigate the limits of space, the beginning of time and everything in between? How about understanding how the technology around you works? Want to save the planet or maybe just help people get better when they are ill? Or maybe you don’t care about any of this and just want to earn lots of money? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever you do the knowledge and skills you gain by studying physics will be useful. Physics is more than a subject – it trains your brain to think beyond boundaries.