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Qualification: Physics - A Level
Location: Canterbury College

Physics - A Level

The dictionary definition of physics is “the study of matter, energy, and the interaction between them”, but what that really means is that physics is about asking fundamental questions and trying to answer them by observing and experimenting.

Some of these are really big questions that include: How did the universe begin and what are the building blocks of matter? Others are more practical such as: How does a transformer work and can it be made more efficient?  If you think these questions are fascinating and you like solving problems, then you will love physics. Physicists try to uncover relationships through observing, creating mathematical models, and testing them by doing experiments. In the lessons you will learn theories, do practical work, use computer simulations and more. We have well equipped labs with access to computers and a wide range of equipment.


In the first year of the course you will develop a portfolio of practical write-ups as you learn to accurately measure and record data and build your practical skills. You will  explore the use of experimental data, interpreting graphs and drawing valid conclusions from data. You will then start to answer questions such as: How does 3D cinema work? How can we get pictures from Mars? What are semiconductors and how can we use them? You will then progress onto how and why things move, what is light and how can an electron be in two places at once?  As you become more confident by Year 2, you will start to answer the big questions such as: What is gravity? What is the evidence for the Big Bang? Is it true that time can speed up and slow down? How can we predict random events? Before studying field and particle physics. Here you will explore forces, electricity and magnetism. You will also delve into the fundamental nature of things and discover the world of subatomic particles, quarks and gluons and why does E=mc2?


Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.


The A Level is entirely based on three written examination papers taken at the end of the second year and is based on both years’ work. You will also achieve a practical endorsement if your portfolio of work shows the necessary development.


For an A Level programme of study, we normally require students to have a range of at least five to seven GCSE passes at grade 4 or higher, ideally including English and Mathematics, but students must also satisfy the minimum entry criteria for A Level Physics below.

Grade 6

GCSE Mathematics



Grade 5

Both 1st and 2nd grade GCSE Combined Science

Physics at A Level and beyond is very Mathematical. If you are going to study Physics, you are advised to take A Level Mathematics alongside it. The A Level Mathematics course includes the study of algebra, trigonometry and mechanics – all important to Physics.


Physics students go onto study a range of degrees at university including physics, astrophysics and geophysics as well as engineering, aeronautics, computer science and mathematics. Physicists are highly sought after in the job market and career opportunities include working in the space industry designing satellites, treating cancers using radiotherapy, forecasting the weather as a meteorologist, conducting research in a laboratory or working in the banking sector predicting financial highs and lows.


Students will need a scientific calculator.

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New Dover Road
Canterbury, Kent

01227 936577