A Level

What can Physics tell us about our bodies, our world, or the universe we inhabit? How do ultrasound scanners or fibre optic communications work? What did Isaac Newton have to do with landing a space probe on a comet? How did physicists at CERN develop PET scanners used in cancer diagnosis? These are just a few of the many questions addressed in this course.

We look at the nature and behaviour of matter from the subatomic scale, to that of the universe itself. Physics works well with other Sciences, Maths and Engineering and can lead to careers in areas such as automotive and aerospace industries, health sciences, energy, materials, architecture, finance, technology including music and sound technology, computing and IT.

Type of study
Examination board

Availability & Details

Physics, A-Level AF-PHYSAL-D(0000)000

Alton Campus
Academic Year 2020-21 (2 years)
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Students should normally have achieved at least five GCSEs at grade 9-4.

To study Physics you will also need grade 6 in Maths and a grade 6 in Physics or 6/6 in Double Science.

Year 1 of the course covers four main areas of Physics:

  • Practical Skills in physics (laboratory-assessed)
  • Foundations of Physics (quantities and units, measurement and analysis)
  • Forces and Motion (motion, projectiles, forces, work, energy, power, momentum and collisions)
  • Electrons, Waves and Photons (charge, current, energy, power, resistance, circuits, wave behaviour, interference and stationary waves, photons, electrons and quantum physics)

As well as continuing to develop Practical Skills via centre assessed components, two more modules are covered in Year 2:

  • The Newtonian World and Astrophysics (thermal physics, ideal gases, oscillations, circular motion, gravitation, planetary motion, stars, stellar distance and cosmology)
  • Particle and Medical Physics (capacitors and electric fields, magnetic fields, electromagnetism, behaviour of charged particles in fields, nuclear atom, radioactivity, fission and fusion, fundamental particles, medical imaging and diagnosis using X-rays , PET scans, ultrasound and more!)

At HSDC Alton we have two purpose-built, fully equipped labs dedicated to Physics, one of which is equipped with up to date desktop PCs which we use for online learning, data processing and connection to data loggers. We also have two darkrooms for optics work and a dedicated quiet study area. The course is taught through a combination of interactive lessons and practical activities and the emphasis is on students developing understanding through questioning, research and experiment. We use online resources such as Google Classroom, Kerboodle and Isaac Physics and sometimes use blended and flip learning where students independently learn the basic knowledge required, freeing up more time to work on answering complex problems together in the lesson.

100% exam assessment.

Three exam papers; Paper 1 (Physics in breadth), Paper 2 (Physics in depth) and Paper 3 (Unified Physics), with a separate standalone centre assessed practical endorsement.

Students usually go on to study at University on courses such as Physics, Astronomy, Materials Science, Geology, Geography, Engineering, Health Sciences, Computing and IT, Architecture and Music and Sound Recording.

Some students secure Higher level apprenticeships and may then be sponsored to complete level 4 studies and gain a degree while working. Some go on to employment e.g. in Financial services, the Civil Service and Music and Sound Recording.

HSDC Alton has many local industries within a commutable distance in the areas of Automotive Engineering, Aerospace, IT and Digital, Health Sciences, Marine and Maritime, Financial Services and Food Production. We are developing links with some of these businesses through our work experience and apprenticeship programmes.

How to apply

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There are great teachers here. This college has felt more like a university than a school, and it’s definitely lived up to that more grown-up feel.

Vicky Lipscombe, A Level student

The college is a bright and happy place, everyone is kind and friendly to each other.

Megan Hall, A Level student

The tutors were really supportive and it was all thanks to them that I have achieved what I have. I’ve also made loads of great friends and really enjoyed my time at the college.

Lizaveta Sinkerich, A Level student