Physics with Astrophysics

Exam board: AQA
Guidance: Grade 6 in triple science physics or 66 in combined science, and a 6 in maths.
Course Start Date: 09/2020
Course length: 2 Years
Course description

This course will enable you to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the physics which is fundamental to the world around us and the basis of everything we experience in life. We hope that the course will stimulate your interest in, and enjoyment of, the study of physics as well as an appreciation of the scientific, social, environmental and technological contributions made by physics to society. This will enable you to make informed choices and prepare you for a successful future in an increasingly technological society.

In 2019 47% of students taking A level physics at Sackville achieved an A or A* which is twice the national average.

Course units

In year 12:
This year covers a number of modules including waves, particle physics, quantum physics, nuclear physics, mechanics and materials in physics. This will include a number of required practicals enabling the students to practise and show their practical skills.

In year 13:
The second year of the course also includes required practical work and units covering topics such as thermal physics, simple harmonic motion, electricity, gravity, electric fields, magnetic fields and nuclear physics.

Students will also study a module on astrophysics which covers the fundamental physical principles which are applied to the study and interpretation of the Universe. Students will gain deeper insight into the behaviour of objects at great distances from Earth and discover the ways in which information from these objects can be gathered. The underlying physical principles of the devices used are covered and some indication is given of the new information gained by the use of radio astronomy.

The discovery of exoplanets is an example of the way in which new information is gained by astronomers. This course takes advantage of the school’s standing as a Gold Spacemark award holder and using the specialist equipment such as the school observatory. In year 13 students get the opportunity to work with professional astronomers from the University of Sussex on the variable star project. This includes taking data on variable stars at the Sussex Community Observatory in Chelwood Gate, using the data to deduce the time period of pulsation and brightness change of variable stars and in future photograph galaxies to construct a “Hubble tuning fork diagram”. This is a great opportunity which looks good on CV’s and UCAS personal statements. There is no coursework in physics.

Assessment

Three examinations at the end of year 13 to include short and long answer questions, multiple choice questions and questions based around the required practicals undertaken over the two years.

What can I go on to
You can go on to study for a degree in physics, astrophysics, engineering, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, architecture, computer science, geography, earth and environmental sciences, materials sciences, psychology, veterinary science, finance, volcanology and many other subjects. In addition to this as a Russell group facilitating subject this A level is viewed as providing excellent grounding for a huge number of university courses, especially for those going on to study medicine, architecture or financial services. Your ability to think logically and be numerate will be a highly prized asset in a wide variety of university courses as well as the job market. In short you will have an advantage if you study physics whatever the choice of your career.

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