Physics A Level
The Curriculum Purpose
At Advanced level we follow the content-led OCR Physics A course, which is split into four main topics over the two years. It is a flexible approach, where the specification is divided into topics, each covering different key concepts of physics. As learners progress through the course, they will build on their knowledge of the laws of Physics, applying their understanding to solve problems on topics ranging from sub-atomic particles to the entire universe. The Practical Endorsement will also support the development of practical skills throughout the course.
Key Concepts that underpin A Level Physics
OCR’s A Level in Physics A specification aims to encourage learners to:
develop essential declarative knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other.
develop and demonstrate a deep procedural knowledge leading to an appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods.
develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical, and problem-solving skills.
develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject.
understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and of the well-being of society.
Key features of learning in A Level Physics
The course is linear, with three exams at the end of year 13. The first two cover two each of the four topics; the third, Unified Physics, can have questions on any topic from the whole two years and will regularly combine different areas into single questions. Many students who study physics go on to study Engineering, pure Science or Medicine at University, though an increasing number go into Computer Science, Finance, Economics or Law.
What will you see in A Level Physics?
Key stage 5 Physics is taught by subject specialists in very well designed and very well-equipped laboratories and with a subject specialist technician providing requisitions. Lessons will be a combination of practical based investigation, including a range of specific investigations that develop key skills and are a key requirement for completion of the course and teacher led explanations of specific physics concepts. The language for many topics is extremely specific and complex and needs to be taught in a very careful way before students will be encouraged to discuss and use the language to develop ideas further and prepare them for the appropriate level of examination questions.
What formative assessment will I see in Physics A Level?
Virtually every lesson has assessments and resources that help develop students’ understanding of key concepts and use of specific terminology. Each unit covered has an assessment which is marked and moderated to exam board standards. The data from each test will be entered into a developing spread sheet and used to identify students requiring extra support. The assessments culminate in a series of examinations that are based on the traditional AS examinations each of one and a half hours and covering the entire content of year 12 at the end of the Summer term. This is then supplemented with a further examination for all students at the start of year 13 and a further set of examinations covering year 12 content and the first units of year 13 content.
What extra-curricular will I see in Physics A Level?
Extra-curricular activities are encouraged throughout the course starting with the bridging work which contains a series of three tasks, two are simply to support the transfer to higher level physics ensuring that the most fundamental aspects are reviewed and embedded. The final piece is set to test students’ ability to think laterally in a series of questions set in unusual contexts. From the start of the course students are encouraged to listen to a range of podcasts and blogs and to attend the free lectures at The Royal Society and two London universities. We also have a range of magazine and periodicals which students are encouraged to read and discuss.