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Physics

Why Physics?

Would you like to develop and use Instruments that could save the life of an unborn baby? Design and test Formula One car engines? Manage projects that could help solve the world energy crisis? Or explore the universe as an Astrophysicist? These are just some of the many types of employment available to people who study Physics. If you enjoy problem solving and knowing how things work then Physics could be for you.

Physicists are needed at the start of new technologies and machines, or in particularly challenging projects such as space missions, trying to predict the stock market on Wall Street, developing flight simulation software or trying to predict the next major earthquakes to hit San Francisco or Japan.

Physics is at the heart of everything and is a highly rewarding discipline to study at school, university and beyond. Above all physics opens doors to a wide variety of careers. Physics explores questions like how did the universe begin? How will it end? What is a black hole? Is time travel possible? If you have an enquiring mind, always asking why things happen, then physics will help you find the answers. It forms the basis of most modern technologies and holds the future to global well-being. The career opportunities available are vast, due in part, to the transferable skills gained whilst studying physics. Employees see a physics qualification as an indication of someone who will immediately be an asset to the organisation.

This is because:

  • Physics requires a logical and numerate mind
  • The ability to solve problems, gained through studying physics, is paramount to the future of technology
  • Communication skills are developed through report writing and presentations
  • Computing and practical skills are second nature to those trained in physics
  • Teamwork and flexibility are essential in lab work and projects

Summary of content

The WJEC A level in Physics provides a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. It encourages learners to develop confidence in, and a positive attitude towards, physics and to recognise its importance in their own lives and to society.

Learners will be introduced to a wide range of physics principles which will allow them to enjoy a positive learning experience whilst gaining an understanding of how nature operates at both microscopic and macroscopic scales. The optional topics have been developed to allow learners to gain an insight into topics in the world of work which use physics on a daily basis.

Practical work is an intrinsic part of physics, and is highly valued by higher education. It is imperative that practical skills are developed throughout this course and that an investigatory approach is promoted.

Units

AS - Unit 1 - Motion Energy and Matter

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

20% of qualification

This unit includes the following topics:

  1. Basic physics
  2. Kinematics
  3. Dynamics
  4. Energy concepts
  5. Solids under stress
  6. Using radiation to investigate stars
  7. Particles and nuclear structure

AS - Unit 2 - Electricity and Light

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

20% of qualification

This unit includes the following topics:

  1. Conduction of electricity
  2. Resistance
  3. D.C. circuits
  4. The nature of waves
  5. Wave properties
  6. Refraction of light
  7. Photons
  8. Lasers

A2 - Unit 3 - Oscillations and Nuclei

Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes

25% of qualification

This unit includes the following topics:

  1. Circular motion
  2. Vibrations
  3. Kinetic theory
  4. Thermal physics
  5. Nuclear decay
  6. Nuclear energy

A2 - Unit 4 - Fields and Options

Written examination: 2 hours

25% of qualification

This unit includes the following topics:

  1. Capacitance
  2. Electrostatic and gravitational fields of force
  3. Orbits and the wider universe
  4. Magnetic fields
  5. Electromagnetic induction

Choice of 1 option from 4:

A: Alternating currents

B: Medical physics

C: The physics of sports

D: Energy and the environment

A2 - Unit 5 - Practical Examination

10% of qualification

This unit gives learners the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to carry out an investigation and to analyse and evaluate experimental data. This will be carried out individually, under controlled conditions. The practical examination comprises two tasks.

  • Experimental Task (25 marks)
  • Practical Analysis Task (25 marks)
  • Go to Appendix B of spec. for details of practical techniques

Go to Appendix C of spec. for details of mathematical requirements

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