Physics
PHYSICS
Deconstruct your world by studying matter and energy
Physics A-Level

An attempt to begin to understand how the material universe works and apply that knowledge to real world problem solving and design.

WHAT WILL YOU STUDY?

In Physics we choose to follow a concept-led approach beginning with the consideration of an application that draws on many different areas of physics, and then moving on to the laws, theories and models and finishing with further exploration of their practical applications.

During this course you will zoom into the microscopic world of fundamental particles and zoom out to our view of the entire Universe and its origins. You’ll become more aware of the historical development of Physics and develop your thinking skills to analyse quite diverse phenomena and solve disparate problems.

In Year 6 you will study:

Unit 1 ‘Mechanics & Materials’ builds on your knowledge of kinematics and dynamics from GCSE. In other words how do we describe motion quantitatively and use the Newtonian explanations of changes in motion. This will lead into the study of the behaviour of fluids. This area of Physics is formally known as mechanics and is the basis of mechanical engineering, civil engineering, aeronautical engineering etc. Specific applications will include spare part surgery for joint replacements and lens implants.

In Unit 2 ‘Waves & Electricity’ continues the story of waves, both mechanical and electromagnetic, and electric circuits from GCSE. The contexts will include the production of music by musical instruments and synthesizers, the workings of a CD player or any optical storage device, photovoltaics and medical and archaeological scanning. The question from GCSE as to whether light is a wave or particle will receive a more satisfying explanation and further deepen understanding with the dual nature of waves and particles. You will also gain an appreciation of the ethical questions that surround some of the applications of science.

In Unit 3 will prepare to develop experimental skills, and a knowledge an understanding of experimental techniques, by carrying out a range of practical experiments and investigations throughout the first year of the course.

In Year 7 you will study:

In Unit 4 ‘Further Mechanics, Fields and Particles’ you will study collision and explosions, sensing speed, mechanical braking, regenerative braking and crash-proofing, you will study the basic principles of motors, generators and transformers that are used in so many real life applications. You will end with Particle Physics, first met at GCSE, including alpha scattering to detect the atomic nucleus, accelerating particles to high energies to create new particles and detecting and interpreting these interactions between particles to support the standard quark-lepton model.

Unit 5 'Thermodynamics, Radiation, Oscillations and Cosmology' covers thermal energy, nuclear decay, oscillations, and astrophysics and cosmology. You will return to astronomical observations, the formation and evolution of stars, and the possible history and future of the universe. Having attempted to answer some of the big questions of existence you will end the course with a study of some aspects of building design, including withstanding earthquake damage, vibration isolation and sound-proofing; earthquake detection, vibration and resonance in structures and damping vibration using ductile materials.

In Unit 6 Students you will be expected to further develop your experimental skills, and the knowledge and understanding of experimental techniques that they acquired by carrying out a range of practical experiments and investigations while they study Units 4 and 5.

ABOUT THE EXTERNAL EXAMINATION

At the end of Year 6, students will take three exams on each of the units covered. Unit 1 and 2 exams last 1 hour and 30 minutes and weigh 20% of the entire qualification (40% for the AS) and Unit 3 lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes and weighs 10% of the entire qualification (20% for the AS).

At the end of Year 7, students will complete their International A-Level qualification by taking three additional exams on each of the units covered. Unit 4 and 5 exams last 1 hour and 45 minutes and weigh 20% and Unit 6 lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes and weighs 10%.

WHAT CAN PHYSICS A-LEVEL OFFER ME?

This A-level will enhance your analytical, evaluative and synoptic skills. You will be given the opportunity to sharpen your mathematical and critical thinking skills including the ability to plan and manipulate information and data. Physics is a highly valued International A-level required for a wide range of subjects at university.

ASSESSMENT

Assessment is varied to provide opportunity for students to maximize their performance and develop their practical and critical thinking skills

  • 3 or 2 tests per semester (70%)
  • Practical experiments and investigations including classwork activities with thorough past-paper practice (30%)

MAIN DIFFERENCE TO THE GCSE

Physics GCSE offers a more content-style approach to the subject and practical work is usually group-based. Our approach at A-level is more context-driven and makes the necessary link to how Physics is applied in our everyday lives. At the same time some of the more profound questions will begin to be answered more thoroughly. The course will allow you to gain confidence in working independently and to develop your practical and critical thinking skills.

SKILLS GAINED

  • demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques and processes, selecting appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
  • make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations and measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy
  • analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental and investigative activities in a variety of ways.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

Students with International A-Level Physics may choose to follow further studies abroad or in Cyprus in Physics, Earth Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Science, Environmental Science etc.

For further advice, please see Mrs. C. Panayiotou-Mavri, Head of Science Faculty

American Academy Larnaca Information
address Address: Gr. Afxentiou Avenue
P.O.Box 40112, 6301
Larnaca, Cyprus
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