Board:  AQA Syllabus A

Course Aims

To encourage the student to:

  • Develop essential knowledge and understanding in physics and, where appropriate, the application of physics, and the skills needed for the use of this in new and changing situations;
  • Develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment;
  • Appreciate how physics has developed and is used in present day society;
  • Show the importance of physics as a human endeavour which interacts with social, philosophical, economic and industrial matters;
  • Sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, physics;
  • Recognise the quantitative nature of physics and understand how mathematical expressions relate to physical principles;
  • Bring together knowledge of ways in which different areas of physics relate to each other;
  • Study how scientific models develop.

Entry requirements

IGCSE Physics                                                    Grade B


IGCSE Science (Double Award)                       Grade A


GCSE Mathematics                                           Grade A

Students considering a university course in Physical Sciences would benefit from A2 Pure Mathematics with Mechanics.


Particles, quantum phenomena and electricity



Mechanics, materials and waves



Fields and further mechanics



Nuclear and Thermal Physics + an optional  Physics topic










They are linear exams

Linear means that students will sit all their AS exams at the end of their AS course and all their A-level exams at the end of their A-level course.

What we're doing

To help prepare the students for linear exams, we'll be providing practice papers and other useful exam resources.

AS and A-level will be 'decoupled'

This means that the AS will be a stand-alone qualification and AS marks won't contribute to the A-level. A-level grades will only be made up of the exam results your students receive at the end of their A-level course.

What we're doing

To make teaching these separate courses easie , we've made sure that we can teach them together. This means that the content for AS and the first year of the A-level is identical.

Examination times

There is a total minimum exam time of 6 hours for the A-level and 3 hours for the AS.

A new approach to the assessment of practical skills

Knowledge and understanding of practical work will be assessed in written exams. About 15% of total marks in our AS and A-level exams will be based on practical questions.

What we're doing to help – we've put most of the practical questions in paper 3 of the A-level. We'll also provide practice papers, exemplars and commentaries so that students are prepared for exams.

Endorsement for practical skills

Students will be awarded a separate endorsement of practical skills, which will be assessed by teachers. This will not be graded. If students pass, it will be reported on their certificate. Otherwise it will not be reported.

Mathematical skills

About 40% of the total marks in our AS and A-level Physics exams will require the use of Level 2 (Higher tier GCSE) mathematical skills or above.

What we're doing – our exams have been testing mathematical skills for some time, so there will be little change. Students will be able to use past papers to practise their mathematical skills for upcoming exams.

A-level will prepare students for a wide range of possible university destinations including medicine, engineering and electronics.