Physics AS/A Level


Physics is the fundamental science that lies at the heart of modern engineering, technology and medicine. The course follows the OCR A Level specification, with emphasis on concepts and practical skills.

What goes well with this course?

Maths and Chemistry are the traditional partner subjects, however, Physics can be successfully combined with most subjects e.g. Biology, History, Economics, Government & Politics and Philosophy.


Physics affects many different areas of modern life and Physics graduates are in high demand. They have a wide range of career pathways open to them, including:

  • Research and Development
  • Technical Management
  • Finance and Banking 
  • Computing and Software Design
  • Energy or the Health Service
  • Media, Marketing, and Teaching

Students studying A Level Physics often go on to study Physics at degree level, or pursue careers in Physics or applied areas such as Engineering.

Course Content

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics

                Practical skills assessed in a written examination

                Practical skills assessed in practical endorsement

Physics is a practical subject. The develop­ment and acquisition of practical skills is fundamental. The course provides students with the opportunity to develop experimental methods and tech­niques for analysing empirical data. Skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating, will be assessed in the written papers.

Module 2 – Foundations of physics

                Physical quantities and units


                Scalars and vectors

The aim is to introduce important conventions and ideas that permeate the fabric of physics. Under­standing of physical quantities, S.I. units, scalars and vectors helps physicists to effectively communicate their ideas within the scientific community.

Module 3 – Forces and motion


                Forces in action

                Work, energy and power




Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons

                Charge and current

                Energy, power and resistance

                Electrical circuits


                Quantum physics

This module introduces key ideas of quantum physics. Students will learn about electrons, electric current, electrical circuits, wave properties, electromagnetic waves and, of course, quantum physics. Students have the opportunity to appre­ciate how scientific ideas of quantum physics developed over time (HSW7) and their validity rested on the foundations of experimental work/

Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics

                Thermal physics

                Circular motion


                Gravitational fields

                Astrophysics and cosmology


The aim is to show the impact Newtonian mechanics has on physics. Students will learn about thermal physics, circular motion, oscillations, gravitational field, astro­physics and cosmology.

Module 6 – Particles and medical physics


                Electric fields

                Magnetic fields and electromagnetism

                Nuclear and particle physics

                Medical imaging


This section introduces the basic proper­ties of capacitors and how they are used in electrical circuits. 


Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

The College runs a number of educational experiences each year to enable students to contextualise their learning. These experiences include trips, for example to St George’s teaching hospital to look at the Medical Imaging Process (MRI scans). The College also has a programme of visiting speakers, which includes repre­sentatives from Higher Education and Industry.


AS students will complete modules 1-4 and take two summer exams:

  • Breadth in physics, 1hr 30 mins, 50%, modules 1-4
  • Depth in physics, 1hr 30 mins, 50%, modules 1-4

A Level students will complete all modules and take 3 exams at the end of the second year:

  • Modelling physics, 2hr 15mins, 37%, modules 1,2,3,5
  • Exploring physics, 2hr 15mins, 37%, modules 1,2,4,6
  • Unified physics, 1hr 30mins, 26%, All modules.

Students will complete a practical endorsement in physics. This must be completed to pass the overall qualifica­tion.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:  

  • Grade 6 in Maths and either B in both Core and Additional Science or B in Physics, or 
  • Grade 5 in Maths and either an A in both Core and Additional Science or A in Physics

Students will enjoy this course and be successful if they:

  • have wide interests (it’s a big subject!)
  • have a can-do attitude and aren't put off by set-backs
  • like Mathematics and logical reasoning
  • always want to know WHY
  • enjoy science shown on TV and YouTube

Physics students should enjoy and be good at problem solving and working with other people. They should be able to calculate with large and small numbers, deal with simple Algebra, and use diagrams and other graphics to explain their ideas.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2017

The application form for the academic year 2017-2018 is available to download here.

Students should return their completed forms directly to Coulsdon College, NOT their schools. All applications will be considered according to the College's Admissions Policy Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

Download Course Leaflet

Download the AS/A Level in Physics information leaflet.

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