A-Level Physics


Physics is one of the most challenging A-Levels. You will study the most fundamental principles of the universe, and the scientific methods needed in order to understand and interpret them.

Physics is a highly respected subject, and is looked favourably upon by universities and employers, primarily because of its difficulty, but also because of the scope of its potential application.

This AQA syllabus covers a range of topics including measurements, radiation, electricity and waves, mechanics, nuclear physics and astrophysics.

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A-Level Physics

  • Course code: OSC1166
  • Delivery method: Online or Paper
  • Course duration: 24 Months
  • AQA Specification Code: 7404 and 7408
  • Exam Fees are not included

Entry requirements: It is recommended that you have a GCSE in Physics or a related science subject at grade C or above. You are also required to have a grade C or above in the higher tier Mathematics GCSE as up to 10% of the marks awarded in this course will be related to mathematical principles.

This A-Level Physics specification is designed to enable candidates to:

  • Develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject
  • Develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods
  • Develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills
  • Use theories, models and ideas to develop scientific explanations
  • Carry out experimental and investigative activities
  • Analyse and interpret data to provide evidence, recognising correlations and causal relationships
  • Evaluate methodology, evidence and data, and resolve conflicting evidence
  • Consider applications and implications of science and evaluate their associated benefits and risks
  • Consider ethical issues in the treatment of humans, other organisms and the environment
Course Content


  • Fundamental (base) units
  • mass, length, time, quantity of matter, temperature,
  • Electric current
  • SI units
  • SI prefixes, values and standard
  • Light intensity
  • Prefixes
  • Unit converting
  • Random and systematic errors
  • Uncertainty
  • Graph using error bars
  • Gradient uncertainties
  • Straight-line graph
  • Magnitude
  • Values of physical quantities


  • Constituents of the atom
  • Stable and unstable nuclei
  • Particles, antiparticles and photons
  • Particle interactions
  • Classification of particles
  • Quarks and antiquarks
  • Applications of conservation laws
  • The photoelectric effect
  • Collisions of electrons with atoms
  • Energy levels and photon emission
  • Wave-particle duality


  • Progressive waves
  • Longitudinal and transverse waves
  • Formation of stationary waves
  • Interference
  • Diffraction
  • Refraction at a plane surface


  • Scalars and vectors
  • Moments
  • Motion along a straight line
  • Projectile motion
  • Newton’s laws of motion
  • Momentum
  • Work, energy and power
  • Conservation of energy
  • Bulk properties of solids
  • The Young modulus


  • Basics of electricity
  • Current–voltage characteristics
  • Resistivity
  • Circuits
  • Potential divider
  • Electromotive force and internal resistance


  • Circular motion
  • Simple harmonic motion (SHM)
  • Simple harmonic systems
  • Forced vibrations and resonance
  • Thermal energy transfer
  • Ideal gases
  • Molecular kinetic theory model


  • Fields
  • Newton’s law
  • Gravitational field strength
  • Gravitational potential
  • Orbits of planets and satellites
  • Electric fields
  • Electric field strength
  • Electric potential
  • Capacitance
  • Parallel plate capacitor
  • Energy stored by a capacitor
  • Capacitor charge and discharge
  • Magnetic flux density
  • Moving charges in a magnetic field
  • Magnetic flux and flux linkage
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Alternating currents
  • The operation of a transformer


  • Rutherford scattering
  • α, β and γ radiation
  • Radioactive decay
  • Nuclear instability
  • Nuclear radius
  • Mass and energy
  • Induced fission
  • Safety aspects


  • Astronomical telescope consisting of two converging lenses
  • Reflecting telescopes
  • Single dish radio telescopes, I-R, U-V and X-ray telescopes
  • Advantages of large diameter telescopes
  • Classification by luminosity
  • Absolute magnitude, M
  • Classification by temperature, black-body radiation
  • Principles of the use of stellar spectral classes
  • The Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagram
  • Supernovae, neutron stars and black holes
  • Doppler effect
  • Hubble’s law
  • Quasars
  • Detection of exoplanets


You will need to take the standard A-Level examinations and practical assessments in order to fully complete this course. Written examinations and practical elements can be undertaken at an external examination centre. It is the student’s responsibility to contact exam centres to book and pay for these examinations.

If you wish to take your AS exams we do recommend that you check with your chosen exam centre about the availability of exams first. It is your responsibility to book and pay for these exams.and we can provide a list of A-Level test centres around the country. Take a look at the AQA website to find the nearest examination centre to you.

Qualification Information

To achieve the full Physics A-Level you will be assessed across the nine topics and 12 practical assessments. All units will be assessed by four paper-based examinations. A more detailed breakdown of the assessment details is provided below:

Paper 1:

  • Type: Written examination
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Weighing: 34% of A-Level
  • Total Marks: 85
  • Assessment format: A mixture of short and long answer questions and multiple choice questions

Paper 2:

  • Type: Written examination
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Weighing: 34% of A-Level
  • Total Marks: 85
  • Assessment format: A mixture of short and long answer questions and multiple choice questions

Paper 3:

  • Type: Written examination
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Weighing: 32% of A-Level
  • Total Marks: 80
  • Assessment format: A mixture of short and long answer questions

Practical Assessment:

You will need to be observed by an examination centre to demonstrate your ability in a range of areas. You are required to complete 12 practical skills.  These practical’s are usually held in spring.

Under the new A Level specifications, the AS Level is now a separate qualification, and does not count towards the full A Level. If you do wish to sit the AS exams this course does contain the content enabling you to take them, however we do advise you to check with your chosen exam centre about the availability of exams first.

Method of Study

The course comes to you as a paper-based pack delivered by courier.

You will be given guidance through the Study Guide on the nuts and bolts of studying and submitting assignments.

Postal assignments cannot be accepted without prior permission from the tutor.

Online Version

Our online courses are fully digitised versions of the paper-courses, so you can study on any PC or smart device when connected to the internet.

As with the paper course, your online learning programme is completely flexible, so you can study at a pace that suits you.

All of our online course content is broken down into bite size chunks to make your learning more manageable and effective.

Method of Assessment

The course contains a number of assignments which your tutor will mark and give you valuable feedback on. We call these Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs).

You will also need to take the standard A-Level examinations and practical assessments in order to fully complete this course.

Once you have successfully completed the examinations you will receive the AQA accredited A-Level in Physics

It is possible for students to receive an A-Level Physics qualification without completing the practical assessment, although your certificate will state you have not done so and it can seriously harm your chances of securing a place at university or getting a job. On your written exams 15% of marks rely on having some knowledge of these practical skills. Therefore we strongly advise you to take your practical assessments and written exams.

Course Length Information
Tutor Support

Additional information

Study Method

Paper Manual, Online

Paper based courses are only available for UK deliveries. Online courses are available for UK and International students. Dismiss