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Exam Board - OCR

Course Content

The OCR Physics specification A course (AS H156 & A H556) offers a coherent, balanced approach to studying the fundamentals to understanding the Physical World combining key principles with real world applications.  The course is a brand new accredited specification for first teaching in 2015 with AS examination in 2016 and A2 examination in 2017.
The 1 year AS course consists of 4 key modules
Module 1: Development of practical skills in physics - Students are assessed how well they can construct and use practical equipment, measure and record observations, quantitatively analyse data graphically and estimate practical uncertainty to evaluate the methodology and validity of a process.
Module 2: Foundations of physics - Looks at the fundamental ideas physical quantities and their units, the notion of scalars and vectors, orders, uncertainties and precision in numerical values.
Module 3: Forces and motion - Includes the effect of forces on the motion of projectiles and vehicles, the effect of stress and strain on materials and the concept of forces in equilibrium.
Module 4: Electrons, waves and photons - Develops the principles of conduction and current flow and wave motion and properties including interference, diffraction and polarisation started at GCSE and introduces quantum ideas and their effects on the very small including particle duality and photoelectric emission.
These modules are assessed through 2 examinations at the end of the course both with 50% weighting.
Exam 1 - Breadth in physics - 70 marks - 90 minutes - written paper.
Exam 2 - Depth in physics - 70 marks - 90 minutes - written paper.
The 2 year full A-level course consists of 6 key modules of study
Modules 1 - 4 are the same as the AS modules shown above.
Module 5 - Newtonian world and astrophysics - Develops understanding of
a) Newton's laws of motion and the concepts of momentum and impulse and their behaviour in different collisions.
b) Circular motion and the effect of gravity and gravitational fields.
c) The behaviour of solids and gases during heating & cooling, temperature scales and development of the kinetic theory of matter.
d) The development of the Universe and the bodies and processes within it.
Module 6 - Particles and medical physics - Develops understanding of
a) The sub-atomic world and the particles and their interactions that make up atoms and their nuclei.
b) The use of physical ideas used in medical imaging devices such as ultrasound, x-ray and positron scanners.
The full A-level is assessed through 4 aspects
Exam 1 - 37% - Modelling physics - 100 marks - 135 minute written paper
Exam 2 - 37% - Exploring physics - 100 marks - 135 minute written paper
Exam 3 - 26% - Unified physics - 70 marks - 90 minute written paper
Assessment 4 - Practical endorsement - continuous assessment - reported separately

Other Information

A-level Physics prepares students for a wide range of university courses, including medicine and all areas of Engineering. The course will also help a student to identify possible career paths related to the use of Physics.  Studying Physics is a demanding process; it requires students to be both diligent and enthusiastic.  In addition they need good mathematical and all around scientific skills.  The study of A-level Mathematics is a distinct advantage although not an essential course requirement.

Entry Requirements

GCSE B (Physics Triple Science) or GCSE AA (Core and Additional Science).