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Why study Physics at Tapton?

Tapton School is the Northern Hub for the Institute of Research In Schools (IRIS). Students will have the opportunity to take part in real scientific research. Currently students are working with data from the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC) with the aim of identifying potential targets for the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched by NASA in 2021. Students are also encouraged to participate in activities such as Headstart Engineering courses, the Physics Olympiad exam and our very successful Engineering Education Scheme.

Course Overview

The OCR A Level in Pyhsics course provides learners with the opportunity to develop experimental methods and practical techniques for producing empirical data. The emphasis throughout is on the understanding of concepts and the application of physics ideas in novel contexts as well as on the acquisition of knowledge. The course encourages creative thinking and problem-solving skills, transferable to any future career path. The important conventions, systems and concepts that permeate the fabric of physics and engineering are embdedded.

Physics is at the heart of everything; and by definition is the study of the matter, energy and the interaction between them. It is in fact the study of the entire universe from the very small to the incredibly large and can lead to many varied future careers. The word ‘physics’ on your application form for a job or place at college or university immediately says important things about you. You are logical, you can deal with practical things, you can work with other people to solve problems, you can write clear explanations and you can understand when things are explained to you. You can communicate, are numerate and can analyse data. For an employer these things are essential.

Entry Requirements

6 in Physics and 6 in either Biology or Chemistry, or grades 6-6 in Combined Science, and a minimum of a grade 6 in Mathematics.

Qualities Required

Students should be numerate and have good organisational skills. They should have an interest in, enjoyment of and commitment to the subject.

Links with Other Subjects

Physics is a very versatile subject. It obviously goes well with Maths, the other Sciences and ICT but students also successfully combine Physics with a language, music or humanities subject. *Students studying A Level Physics are strongly recommended to also study A Level Mathematics.

Exam Board


Method of Assessment

AS Level:

Paper 1 "Breadth in physics" 1 hour 30 mins. Multiple choice and structured questions
Paper 2 "Depth in physics" 1 hour 30 mins. Structured and extended response questions.

A Level:
Paper 1 "Modelling physics" 2 hour 15 mins. Multiple choice and structured questions
Paper 2 "Exploring physics" 2 hour 15 mins. Multiple choice and structured questions.
Paper 3 "Unified physics" 1 hour 30 mins. Structured and extended response questions
Teacher-assessed "Practical endorsement for physics".

As level 

AS Level: Development of practical skills in Physics; Foundations of Physics (2 sub modules); Forces and Motion (5 sub modules); Electrons, Waves and Photons (5 sub modules).

During the first year of study students will develop and extend the basics that they studied at GCSE. Areas studied include how we model the motion of objects using mathematics, understand the effect forces on objects, learn about the important connection between force and energy, appreciate how forces cause deformation and understand the importance of Newton's laws of motion. Electricity is also studied in depth although with many aspects of waves. This leads to the introduction of the key ideas of quantum physics.

A level 

A Level: (in addition to the A Level topics) Newtonian World and Astrophysics (5 sub modules); Particles and medical physics (5 sub modules).

In the final year (A Level) of the course students are shown the impact Newtonian mechanics has on physics. The microscopic motion of atoms can be modelled using Newton’s laws and hence provide us with an understanding of macroscopic quantities such as pressure and temperature. Newton’s law of gravitation can be used to predict the motion of planets and distant galaxies and the expansion of the Universe is studied by analysing the electromagnetic radiation from space. Other topics covered include capacitors, electric fields, electromagnetism, nuclear physics, particle physics and medical imaging.