Edexcel GCE Physics

Click Here to download Edexcel Student Guide For Physics

What will I learn on this A Level course?

A level physics aims for students to:
> Sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, physics
> Develop essential knowledge and understanding in physics
> Develop the skills needed for the use of this knowledge and understanding in new and changing situations where appropriate
> Develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment

> Appreciate how physics has developed and is used in present day society
> Show how physics links with social, philosophical, economic , industrial and environmental matters
> Recognise the quantitative nature of physics
> Understand how mathematical expressions relate to physical principles

> Bring together knowledge of ways in which different areas of physics relate to each other

> Study how scientific models develop.


AS is short for Advanced Subsidiary. This is the first half of the A Level course. It is a steppingstone
to the full A Level qualification. You can take just the AS on its own, if you and your teacher agree that this is best for you. You can even decide at the end of the AS course whether to continue to take the full A Level qualification.

You study three units in the AS:

Unit 1 – Mechanics and Radioactivity
This unit leads on from GCSE studies and covers rectilinear motion, forces and moments, Newton’s first and third laws, dynamics, momentum, Newton’s second law, mechanical energy, radioactive decay and the nuclear atom.

Unit 2 – Electricity and Thermal Physics

This unit includes electric current and potential difference, electrical circuits, heating matter,
specific heat capacity, specific latent heat, temperature, kinetic model of matter, conservation of
energy, the first law of thermodynamics and efficiency.

Unit 3 – Topics and Practical Test
You will study from a choice of topics for this unit. One topic is chosen from: astrophysics, solid
materials, nuclear and particle physics and medical physics. Also, you sit a practical test. The practical test and the assessment of the topics will take place on
different days.

A Level

The full A Level qualification is made up of the AS units plus three more units which are studied at
a higher level. You don’t necessarily have to take the full A Level qualification; you can still get a
certificate just for the AS, and your teacher will advise you on what is best. If you do decide to
take the second half of the course it will cover the three units described below.

Unit 4 – Waves and Our Universe
This unit includes circular motion and oscillations, simple harmonic motion, waves, superposition
of waves, quantum phenomena and the expanding Universe.

Unit 5 – Fields and Forces and Practical Test
The first part of this unit covers gravitational fields, electric fields, capacitance, magnetic fields, and
electromagnetic induction.
The second part of this unit is a practical test. The practical test and the unit test will take place on
different days.

Unit 6 – Synoptic Unit
A synoptic unit means you draw together knowledge and understand and skills from throughout the

It contains the following content which is assessed synoptically: analogies in Physics - comparison
of springs and capacitors, comparison of electric and gravitational fields, comparison between
capacitor discharge and radioactive decay; accelerators - conservation of mass-energy, linear
accelerators, ring accelerators and detecting particles.
Also, there are synoptic questions which tests content from anywhere in the specification (but not
from the Topics).


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