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GSO Test

Est. 1921


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Course Details

Exam Board and specification code:

AQA 7408

Course Co-ordinator:

Mr M Smith

Video Introduction:

What is this course about?

We are all born with the urge to understand the world around us. One of the first words we learn to say is ‘Why?’ and then, a little later ‘How?’ So you have probably asked in your time ‘Why is the sky blue?’, ‘How does a mobile phone work?’, ‘How does the Sun keep on shining?’, ‘What is dark matter?’ among other questions. If you find that the more answers you are given or discover, the more questions you want to ask, then you could well be a physicist in the making. 

Physics is concerned with observing natural phenomena in the world about us, trying to understand them and to predict what might happen in new and unknown situations. Physics deals with profound questions about the nature of the universe and with some of the most important, practical, environmental and technological issues of our time. 

At A-level, you will be encouraged to think and to develop your understanding through questioning and reading. Homework is an integral part of the course and allows students to test their understanding of the material covered in class. Reading around the subject is also of great benefit to developing a better comprehension of the ideas taught. On most weeks there will be a practical session aimed at supporting the theory covered and at developing the experimental skills needed at this level. There is not a detailed report required but the results are processed into graphs and calculations. You do not need to study A-level Maths but a good grade at GCSE will help.

Course Content

  • Measurements and their errors. 
  • Particles and radiation.
  • Waves.
  • Mechanics and Material.
  • Electricity.
  • Further Mechanics and Thermal Physics.
  • Fields and their consequences.
  • Nuclear Physics.
  • Astrophysics.

Practical skills will be developed throughout the course and 12 specific practical activities must be carried out.

Paper 1:

Topics: 1-5 plus periodic motion (6.1). Two hours,  85 marks, 34% of A-level. Short and long questions plus multiple-choice.

Paper 2:

Topics: Thermal Physics (6.2) plus 7-8. Two hours,  85 marks, 34% of A-level. Short and long questions plus multiple-choice.

Paper 3:

Topics: Practical skills and data analysis plus topic 9 (Astrophysics). Two hours,  80 marks, 32% of A-level. Short and long questions 

A-level grades will be based only on the marks from written exams. 

Use of apparatus and practical techniques. A separate assessment of practical skills will be based on a range of practicals during the course.

What might this course lead on to?

Not only is Physics a preferred subject for university, it is also the first step towards careers in not just engineering and science, but also finance, law, architecture and journalism.

It is a highly regarded A-level and a welcome qualification for non-science degree courses.

Entry Requirements:

Grade 6 in GCSE Physics or 6/6 in GCSE Trilogy or Synergy Science.