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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

Sciences - Physics

Why study Physics?

 

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Physics is the study of matter, energy and their interaction at all possible scales in the Universe.  Through the Year 12 course, you will develop a thorough grounding in fundamental aspects of the subject, including mechanics, electricity and wave behaviour and also study a unit covering topics in quantum physics.  

The Year 13 course develops a deeper understanding of mechanics through the study of circular and simple harmonic motion, and introduces new concepts including electric, gravitational and magnetic fields of force.

Other topics covered in Year 13 include thermal physics, nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and medical imaging.  Practical work is a vital element of the course, and practical skills are developed and assessed across the two years study.

Why our students like this course

‘You start from first principles and prove the stuff you’re learning yourself through experiments…’          

'I chose Physics to try and get a better answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, not just 42.  I like it because you start from first principles and prove the stuff you’re learning yourself through experiments.  I find it so interesting as it explains how the world around you works.  Personally I have no idea what I want to do at university, but with Physics very few doors are closed.'

Entry Requirements
Grade 6s (12) in Science (if Double) or Grade 6 in Physics (if Triple) and a Grade 6 in Maths

Exam Board
OCR – Course title: H556 Physics A

Where does this subject lead me? 

Our A-Level course is designed to extend your experiences and understanding of Physics and, in doing so, provides a solid foundation for advanced study in the physical sciences and engineering.  The Problem solving, analytical and mathematical skills acquired also lend themselves to solving, analytical and mathematical skills acquired also lend themselves to career choices, including finance, communications and project management. 

You can watch a great series of videos of people who are working in jobs that use science at icloud.

For examples of university degree courses and careers leading from this subject click here

A Level Physics FAQs 

What grades do I need to study A-level Physics at NDHS?

You will require a minimum of a grade 6 in Science (if studying dual science at GCSE) or a grade 6 in Physics (if studying triple science at GCSE) AND a minimum of a grade 6 in GCSE Maths.

Do I need to take A-level Maths if I want to study Physics at A-level?

No, we do not require students to take Maths if they are studying A-level Physics.  It is entirely possible to do very well in A-level Physics without studying Maths.  However, Maths is a natural subject to combine with Physics and each subject supports learning in the other.  Maths and Physics is also an essential A-level subject combination for entry on to higher level courses in the physical sciences and engineering.

How many hours of teaching will I receive in physics?

Physics students attend nine, hour-long lessons per fortnight.  Of these, two are usually ‘double’ lessons.

How many physics teachers will I have?

Each class is taught by two teachers, one teaching five hours per fortnight and the other four hours each fortnight.

Will my teachers be subject specialists?

Yes, all of our A-level Physics teachers specialise in physics and have, between them, many years’ experience of sixth form teaching.

How large are A-level Physics classes?

A-level Physics classes are typically between 12 and 18 students in size.

What exams will I take in A-level Physics?

In common with other A-level courses taught at NDHS, all exams in Physics take place at the end of the two-year course.  You will sit three written papers, each covering specific parts of the course.

How will my progress in Physics be assessed?

Your progress in physics will be monitored through:

  • classwork, including the verbal answers you give to questions, and your practical write ups
  • homework
  • end-of-topic tests
  • mock exams (after Christmas in both Years 12 and 13, and in the summer of Year 12)

What resources will I be provided with?

Our A-Level students are provided with the following resources to support their studies:

  • an introductory ring binder with important course documents
  • a comprehensive resource pack for each topic
  • year 1 and 2 textbooks, specifically designed to match the requirements of your course
  • OUP Kerboodle online learning materials

Contact a Teacher 

If you have any subject specific questions that you'd like to ask.  You are very welcome to contact the relevant Head of Subject.  To find their email address click on Teaching Staff.  For general enquiries, contact the 6th Form Team.