A Level Physics (AQA)

Entry Requirements

  • Six GCSEs 9-4 (or A*-C), two from English, Maths OR Science
  • Two at least grade 6 (or B)
  • GCSE Maths (higher tier) grade 9-6 WITH EITHER GCSE Physics grade 9-6 OR GCSE Combined Science grades 9,9-6,6

Please Note: Students following a combination of Maths/Biology/Chemistry/Physics A level courses are required to have at least one GCSE grade 7 in one of these chosen subjects.

What is physics?

A Level Physics is an exciting and important course which can offer you huge opportunities for your future. Discover how a Formula One car turns a corner and why the Earth orbits the Sun. Learn what’s inside a proton and how a nuclear reactor works. Learn how an engineer designs a bridge and a quantum physicist can make light act like a particle. Physics will inspire you to see the world around you in a totally new way.

Paper 1: Mechanics, Materials, Electricity, Waves, Particle Physicsand Quantum Physics

Paper 2: Circular Motion, Pendulums, Gravitational Fields and Satellites,Electric Fields and Capacitors, Magnetic Fields, Radioactivity and Nuclear Power, and Thermal Physics

Paper 3: Practical Skills and Engineering

Skills

An A-level in Physics shows you are confident with both problem solving and scientific thinking, and are good at working with numbers. Physics will challenge you to think about the world you live in and explain why and how things happen.

Careers/destinations

Well over 75% of physics students progressed to university, with 60% progressing to a Russell Group university and 4 students going to Oxford or Cambridge. The vast majority of students pursued a science or engineering based course such as Mechanical Engineering or Aeronautical Engineering, with some as varied as Robotics or Aviation Technology.

What makes loreto’s physics department unique?

  • Physics at Loreto is taught by very experienced and highly qualified A level teachers in modern, well equipped laboratories.
  • Students studying physics have many opportunities to visit universities, attend master classes and other lectures, and take part in a variety of visits and activities relating to physics, engineering and medical related fields.
  • Students can also take part in various competitions relating to physics, engineering and medicine, including the British Physics Olympiad and institute of physics young person’s lecture competition, Senior physics challenge and Ogden Trust physics symposium.
  • It is also possible to be involved in a mentoring programme, in which Loreto student’s organize and deliver science club activities to younger students from local schools.
  • Work experience has also been arranged for many students in the areas of engineering and physics related employment. A wide range of physics and engineering related events have been organised both at college and in local venues Students have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of trips such as the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and physics taster days at Russell group universities to discover cutting edge physics research. In previous years, students have visited CERN in Geneva and The European Space Centre in Belgium. We are always looking for exciting opportunities to explore physics worldwide.

Physics

What will I study?

In Physics you’ll study topics you may be familiar with, such as Mechanics, Materials and Waves, but in more detail and more focus on the maths behind them. You’ll also study new topics such as Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Radioactivity, Gravitational Fields, Astronomy and Engineering.

Which exam board do you follow?

We cover the AQA Physics A-Level specification. You will sit three exams at the end of your second year, two on physics content, and the third on practical skills, and the option of either Engineering or Astronomy. You will also complete the CPAC Practical Endorsement, which shows that you are competent in a range of practical skills.

What support is there if I am struggling?

Our teachers are always here to help and can arrange a one to one appointment to support you. We run extra support sessions once a week alongside lessons and also offer a lunchtime drop-in session for each year group.

I’d like to apply to a top university, what extra support do you offer?

60% of our students moved on to a Russell Group university and last year 6 physics students took up places at either Oxford or Cambridge. We offer extra sessions to stretch and challenge high achieving students and to help prepare for further study.

I am worried that I’m not taking triple science. Will it matter?

This doesn’t matter at all; we have lots of students every year who have taken two science GCSEs and it is not a disadvantage.

What are the average class sizes, and what are the classrooms like?

Each year we have around 200 physics students, organised into classes of around 20. We have two modern laboratories with a full range of physics equipment.

What extra opportunities are there?

Students take the British Physics Olympiad competitions, with several receiving certificates last year. In 2019, students also took part in the Institute of Physics Poster competition, attended IoP Manchester monthly lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University, attended the Medical Physics evening at the Christie Hospital, and we run weekly sessions to push students towards
A* grades with challenging questions.

What trips do you offer?

Each year we take 30 students to visit the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, and to visit an experimental fusion reactor in Lausanne, Switzerland. Also offered last year were a trip to Jodrell Bank to learn about binary stars, an engineering careers event at Siemens and a trip to the particle accelerator at Daresbury. These trips are reviewed each year.