Physics with Astrophysics

Exam board: AQA
Guidance: Grade 6 in triple science physics or 66 in combined science, and a 6 in maths.
Course Start Date: 09/2022
Course length: 2 Years
Course description

Physics is one of the most exciting and interesting subjects you can study and it is crucial in understanding the world around us and is the basis of everything we experience in life. Physics is the most fundamental description of the universe we live in, it will stretch your imagination as you contemplate the nature of time and matter. The study of physics at A-level provides a good basis in logical and practical thinking and problem solving. As such, it is a very marketable qualification and is accepted for a whole range of non-scientific disciplines from accountancy to law, as well as complementing studies in maths, biology, chemistry and geography. Apart from physics and engineering degrees, A-level physics can be useful for non-science based courses which also value the analytical nature of the subject. Physicists study the universe from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies, combining imagination with systematic reasoning to unlock many of the universe’s secrets. We hope that the course will stimulate your interest in, and enjoyment of, the study of physics as well as an appreciation of the scientific, social, environmental and technological contributions made by physics to society. This will enable you to make informed choices and prepare you for a successful future in an increasingly technological society.

In 2019 47% of students taking Alevel Physics at Sackville achieved an A or A*. Which is twice the national average.

Course units

In year 12:
This year covers a number of modules including waves, particle physics, quantum physics, nuclear physics, mechanics and materials in physics. This will include a number of required practicals enabling the students to practise and show their practical skills.

In year 13:
The second year of the course also includes required practical work and units covering topics such as thermal physics, simple harmonic motion, electricity, gravity, electric fields, magnetic fields and nuclear physics.

Students will also study a module on astrophysics which covers the fundamental physical principles which are applied to the study and interpretation of the Universe. Students will gain deeper insight into the behaviour of objects at great distances from Earth and discover the ways in which information from these objects can be gathered. The underlying physical principles of the devices used are covered and some indication is given of the new information gained by the use of radio astronomy.

The discovery of exoplanets is an example of the way in which new information is gained by astronomers. This course takes advantage of the school’s standing as a Gold Spacemark award holder and using the specialist equipment such as the school observatory. In year 13 students get the opportunity to work with professional astronomers from the University of Sussex on the variable star project. This includes taking data on variable stars at the Sussex Community Observatory in Chelwood Gate, using the data to deduce the time period of pulsation and brightness change of variable stars and in future photograph galaxies to construct a “Hubble tuning fork diagram”. This is a great opportunity which looks good on CV’s and UCAS personal statements. There is no coursework in physics.

Assessment

Three examinations at the end of year 13 to include short and long answer questions, multiple choice questions and questions based around the required practicals undertaken over the two years.

What can I do with this qualification?
You can go on to study for a degree in physics, astrophysics, engineering, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, architecture, computer science, geography, earth and environmental sciences, materials sciences, psychology, veterinary science, finance, volcanology and many other subjects. In addition to this as a Russell group facilitating subject this A level is viewed as providing excellent grounding for a huge number of university courses, especially for those going on to study medicine, architecture or financial services. Your ability to think logically and be numerate will be a highly prized asset in a wide variety of university courses as well as the job market. In short you will have an advantage if you study physics whatever the choice of your career.

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