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Sixth-form a-level-physics

IB: Group 4 – Experimental Science

Physics: Higher & Standard Level

What could this course lead to?

Physics is highly regarded as an excellent preparation for university courses in engineering, the medical sciences and mathematics, as well as being essential for further studies in physics and astrophysics. For some of these HL will be preferred.

GCSEs required

Ideally grade B or above in GCSE Physics or Double Award Science and the equivalent of a grade B or above in GCSE Mathematics.

What will I be studying?

Physics is a wide-ranging subject which covers many aspects of the physical world from the very small (atoms and nuclei) to the very large (stars, galaxies and the Universe). It is a subject which will be of interest to any student with an enquiring mind. The course includes an assessed experimental programme in which many practical skills are developed.

Are there any trips or extracurricular activities linked to this course?

We organise excursions to Physics related events, such as lectures organised by universities and other institutions.

What benefits does this subject have for university entrance?

Apart from those university subjects mentioned above, Physics has an excellent value for many other university courses, due to its mathematical content and the wide range of skills which it helps to develop.

What skills or learning approach do I need for this subject?

It is not essential to study HL Mathematics alongside Physics, unless a university course in Physics, Engineering, Mathematics or a similar subject is being considered. However, the study of SL Mathematics is essential.

How is it examined?

Both the SL and HL are examined in May of the second year of the course. There is a coursework element to these qualifications in the form of internally assessed experimental skills, details given below.

SL Subject Content includes:

Measurements and uncertainties; mechanics; thermal physics; waves; electricity and magnetism; circular motion and gravitation; atomic, nuclear and particle physics and energy production. The chosen option for both SL and HL courses will be Astrophysics

Assessed by:

Paper 1: 45minutes – 20% of SL
30 multiple choice questions

Paper 2: 1hour 15minutes – 40% of SL
Short and long answer questions on the core material

Paper 3: 1hour – 20% of SL

Section A: Data based question and short answer questions on experimental work
Section B: Short and long answer questions on the option, Astrophysics.

HL Subject Content includes:

All the SL topics and in addition: Wave phenomena; fields; electromagnetic induction; quantum and nuclear physics. The chosen option for both SL and HL courses will be Astrophysics

Assessed by:

Paper 1: 45minutes- 20% of HL
40 multiple choice questions

Paper 2: 2hour 15minutes – 36% of HL
Short and long answer questions on the core material

Paper 3: 1hour 15minutes – 24% of SL
Section A: Data based question and short answer questions on experimental work.
Section B: Short and long answer questions on the option, Astrophysics.

Students will complete prescribed practical work throughout the course and one detailed practical assignment will be submitted at the end of the course which will make up 20% of the final mark for both SL and HL.

Independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 - 18 in Somerset

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