The AS and A2 Physics courses follow the ‘Physics in Context’ AQA Physics B Specification. There is now a logical progression from the AQA GCSE Physics course.
The whole emphasis and ethos of this new specification is upon physics contexts and applications. The approach is to consider a variety of situations in Sports Science, Earth Science, Engineering and Medicine. This is not to relegate the importance of great discoveries like quantum mechanics or relativity but rather to investigate how these revolutionary ideas can be adapted to sustain new technologies. The physics required to master such disciplines is studied and explored.
The dictum of "how science works" is embedded into the specification and promotes the development of higher order thinking skills. The hope is that the choice of topics and the accent upon the scientific method of problem solving will inspire and equip students for the challenges of the 21st century. There is little contention amongst employers or academia that physics provides one of the very best foundations for any student, whether entering the world of work or embarking on higher academic achievements.
While creating the "B" Specification the developers started from a clean slate and considered the various merits of all the other courses currently available. The intention was to produce an inspirational yet challenging body of study. Internally assessed coursework plays a central role at both AS and A2 Level. It follows a similar format to that already familiar to most students and involves ISA type examinations like those at GCSE but at the appropriate level. Students are expected to carry out a number of classroom practical assignments either singly or in pairs in order to gain the experience and skill acquisition required for success in the ISA/EMPA assessments.
At AS level topics covered include:
- modern techniques of communication
- from fundamental particles to the structure of the Universe
- how forces and motion underpin everyday activities such as transport and activities such as record breaking in sport
- energy demands and the effect this has on the fate of the planet and future generations
At A2 level topics covered include:
- how physics is used to send probes and astronauts into space
- energy and momentum conservation in relation to theme park rides
- investigating the invisible; searching for new mineral resources and buried remains
- macroscopic quantities such as temperature and pressure; molecular model of matter
- the structure of matter; high energy particles; electric and magnetic fields
- the generation of energy; nuclear materials; spontaneous and stimulated nuclear decay; nuclear fusion; radioactivity