A-Level Physics

The Gateway To Studying Engineering-Related Subjects At University

Exam Board and Specification Codes: OCR

Why Study Physics?

The Physics syllabus studied at KPS contains all the elements of a traditional syllabus, whilst also touching on more recent scientific developments. It is set out in a sequential way; each unit containing a number of self-contained topics. All good Physics syllabuses contain synoptic elements, with which pupils can relate pieces of information from different branches of the subject to solve problems. For this syllabus, the synoptic elements are contained in units 4 and 5, in which pupils are expected to utilise information from the AS topics such as mechanics and waves.

The practical work consists of total of twelve practical activities, six at AS and six at A2.  These are done in the laboratory throughout the year, so some of the pressure of practical examinations is avoided. With these assessments pupils develop the skills to be able to investigate and manipulate information and to analyse data. These are important skills to carry forward into higher education.

What is Covered by the Course?

Physics A content is split into six teaching modules:

  • Modules 1 to 4 constitute the stand-alone AS-Level qualification
  • Modules 1 to 6, combined with the Practical Endorsement, constitute the full A-Level

The modules can be summarised as:

  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills
  • Module 2 – Foundations of physics
  • Module 3 – Forces and motion
  • Module 4 – Electrons, waves, and photons
  • Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics
  • Module 6 – Particles and medical physics

How is it Examined?


  • Paper 1 – Breadth in physics
  • Paper 2 – Depth in physics

Both papers include the topics from Modules 1 to 4.


  • Paper 1 assesses content from Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5
  • Paper 2 assesses content from Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6
  • Paper 3 assesses content from Modules 1-6

New A-Levels are fully linear, so assessment of pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the whole course takes place at the end of two years of study. There are no exams for practicals, but pupils are required to keep a record of the practicals: 6 practicals for AS and 6 practicals for A-Level.

Related University Courses?

A diverse set of degrees can be applied for with a Physics A-level, including all forms of Engineering, all the Medical Sciences, Architecture, Optometry and, of course, Physics and Mathematics degrees.