Congratulations, you’re almost there – soon it’ll be time to take your Physics A-Level exams! Right now, preparing for your A-Level assessments might seem like an intimidating task. However, with the right study plan, revision content structure, and notes you’ll already be halfway to acing your exams! To help you prepare for your exams, here’s everything you need to know and how we can help you get the best grades.
A-levels are unique in that they are fairly standardised despite there being many different examination boards. However, it’s important to bear in mind the small differences as you prepare for your exams. What makes the AQA examinations different from others is that they are more focus on theory than most. As physics is a subject which contains both a large amount of theory and context questions while revising it’s very useful to know that the AQA board will focus more on testing your theoretical physics knowledge in your upcoming exams.
About the Board
For context, the Assessment and Qualification Alliance (AQA) was formed in 2000 following a series of mergers of exam boards in previous years. Over the years the parliament has debated whether A-level courses should be modular (meaning that students take exams throughout the year) or linear (meaning that students take all their AS exams at the end of the first year and A2 exams at the end of the second year). AQA A-Level Physics is a linear subject, so you’ll be taking all of your exams at the end of the year.
How long will the course take to complete?
It takes 1 year to complete an AS course in AQA Physics and 2 years to complete a full A-Level. While you are free to take only the AS course, bear in mind that most universities will require that at least three of your A-levels be complete.
Is any prior knowledge required?
There are no strict requirements about past studies imposed by the AQA board. However, it is recommended that if you are taking the AQA A-Level you have at least a GCSE in Science, and preferably a GCSE in Additional Science or GCSE in Physics.
What will I study?
The content of the AQA Physics A-Level is split into core topics that everyone must take and optional topics that AQA introduced in order to cater to students’ varying interests in the different branches of physics. The core content includes measurements and their errors, particles and radiation, waves, mechanics and materials, electricity, further mechanics and thermal physics, fields and their consequences, and nuclear physics. In addition, you can choose to also cover one of the five optional topics: astrophysics, medical physics, engineering physics, turning points in physics, or electronics.
What is the examination process like?
As for examinations, those once again depend on whether you are taking AS or A-Level Physics. If you are taking only AS Level Physics, then at the end of the year you will sit two written exams, each 1 hour 30 minutes long. However, if you are taking the full A-Level Physics, then at the end of two years you will sit three written exams, each 2 hours long. The fact that the final examination is split into several papers takes the stress down a notch as you don’t have to learn all of the content at once. However, bear in mind that while an E-grade is still considered a pass doing poorly on one of your papers can pull down your average, and therefore final, grade.
We recommend that you take three to four hours per day to revise for your physics exams, in order to allow for deep learning. Stay away from distractions like social media and television during your revision hours – that way you’ll maximise your concertation and your time. When you first start revising it’s important to do so actively. Rather than just reading, take notes, create flashcards and draw mind maps to get your brain to actively absorb and analyse the information you come across. As you get on with revision, introduce past papers into your routine. They’ll help you get a sense of what to expect and doing timed practice papers will help you gain confidence ahead of the real deal. At A-Level Physics, we are rooting for you and to help you achieve the best results we have a lot of engaging material like quizzes, mind maps, and past papers. So let’s begin!