Welcome to A-level Physics.
The course you are studying is the Eduquas GCE Physics course. The course homepage is at the eduquas website
The subject matter is broken down into 3 Components, the details of which can be found in the specification.
You will receive 4½ hours of lessons a week and will be expected to do a minimum of 2 hours of work in your own time to reinforce and prepare for the work in lessons; this includes homework. To help you with homework and to understand the material, you have a single revision guide, along with a multitude of sources. Advanced Physics by Adams and Allday is a good read & an excellent source of information and practice questions; do not shy away from using books.
Throughout the course you will be doing practical work, including a number of required experiments in order to achieve the practical endorsement. Some good guidance is available in your lab-book and on this website. Use it!
A level is a stepping stone from GCSE to university. You will therefore have to take much greater responsibility for your learning. We believe that encouraging you to do some independent learning and research is a fundamental part of your education. On page ii is a list of skills that you need to develop over the next two years. We have also identified the topics that naturally lend themselves to independent research; you do not need to wait for a topic to be covered before you read about it.
At the end of L6th and U6th Forms there are Physics prizes. These are awarded to good scientists that contribute to the science community at EMS and display an appropriate level of excellence.
Finally: your teachers and your peers are the best resource that you have; use them.
Independent Research in Physics
As an A-level student you are responsible for your own learning. This responsibility includes reading around the subject material taught in class and going beyond the limits of the syllabus.
There are a number of key skills for AS and A2 students. Some of these should be ongoing (like reading journals and books) whilst others might happen once a term (like writing an article).
- Keep up with advances in Physics by reading the newspaper, Physics World, Physics Review, New Scientist, Scientific American etc.
- Keep up to date with scientific websites (see: http://www.npl.co.uk/).
- Understand how Physics influences the world around us.
- Critically assess an article in a scientific journal.
- Write your own article for a journal or competition (see www.youngscientists.co.uk).
- Read a popular science novel.
- Go to Physics talks at Exeter University.
- Give your own Inspire talk.
- Précis information (without plagiarising).
- Efficiently present information.
- Research a topic efficiently and evaluate the usefulness of resources.
- Cite references correctly.
- Explore different revision techniques.
- Develop investigative skills.
- Become an expert in one area of Physics – find your niche!
Some topics that naturally lend themselves to independent research include:
- Superconductivity and semiconductors
- Wave-particle duality
- Optical fibre communications
- The uses of X-rays in medicine and how they are created
- Lasers and their uses
- Particle / high-energy physics
- Astrophysics; processes within stars and their gravity
- The science of earthquakes
- Electrical generation and transmission
You should keep a scrap book/blog/paper log to record your independent research.
Independent research is key to developing an interest in science and thereby improving UCAS applications for science and science related subjects.