Big news: your Edexcel A-Level Physics exams are right around the corner! As it dawns on you that the big day is almost here, you might be starting to feel overwhelmed by everything you have to prepare ahead of your exams. There is no need to be. Once you have devised a revision plan and structured your weeks ahead, you’ll be on the right track to succeeding in your exams. To help you prepare, here is all you have to know and how we can help you get the very best results.
While A-Levels are quite standardised the keep a level playing ground for all students, there are some differences between each examination board that you need to know about. Not only will this help you know what content to focus on, but it also means you’ll know what to expect on exam day. What’s unique about Edexcel examinations is that they place a lot of emphasis on multiple-choice questions. This is important to consider when drawing up your Edexcel Physics A-Level revision plan. Certain types of preparations – like test quizzes – will be helpful to you when preparing for multiple choice exams.
About the Board
Where does Edexcel come from? Edexcel is a portmanteau term combining the words education and excellence. The Edexcel we know today was created in 2003 when the Edexcel Foundation with Pearson and went on to become the only examination board in the UK which was privately owned. Edexcel A-Level Physics is assessed as a linear subject meaning that all of the exams are taken at the end of the academic year.
How long will the course take to complete?
If you’re taking only the AS course in Edexcel Physics, then it will take 1 year. If you’re taking the full A-Level, then it will take 2 academic years. You’re welcome to take just the AS course, but keep in mind that most universities require a minimum number of UCAS points meaning that at least three of your A-Levels must be full (2-year) courses.
Is any prior knowledge required?
The Edexcel board does not impose any requirements in terms of past studies. However, they do specify that those who stand to gain most from the Edexcel A-Level Physics course are students who completed a GCSE in Additional Science or a GCSE in Physics (or equivalent).
What will I study?
The content of your Edexcel Physics A-Level will also depend on whether you are taking an AS Level or the full two-year A-Level. If you are taking just the A-Level then the content is split into five topics: working as a physicist, mechanics, electric circuits, materials, and waves and the particle nature of light. Meanwhile, if you’re taking the full A-Level then on top of these five topics you’ll also be learning about: further mechanics, electric and magnetic fields, nuclear and particle physics, thermodynamics, space, nuclear radiation, gravitational fields, and oscillations.
In terms of the exams themselves, the structure depends on whether you are taking AS or A-Level Physics. If you have elected to take only AS Level Physics, then you will take two exams at the end of the year, both making up 50% of the grade each and both 1 hour and 30 minutes long each. However, if you elected to complete the full A-Level Physics course, then at the end of the two years of your course you will sit three written examinations. The first two (called Advanced Physics I and Advanced Physics II) are 1 hour and 45 minutes long each and make up 30% of the grade each (60% in total). The third and final paper (called General and Practical Principles in Physics) will be worth 40% of your final grade and will last 2 hours and 30 minutes. In addition to the written exams, there is also a practical assessment component to the Edexcel A-Level Physics course. Your skills and technical competency will be assessed by a teacher who will write the ‘practical endorsement’ which will translate into a ‘Pass’ mark on your A-Level certificate.
What is the examination process like?
It is recommended that you revise for 3-4 hours each day ahead of your physics exams in order to best make use of your time. On the one hand, it’s important to give yourself enough hours to really take in the content each day, and on the other, it’s crucial not to burn out by studying for hours on end. If you’re easily distracted than keep away from social media and television during revision time, instead keep them as a reward at the end of a revision session. This way you’ll be focused and maximising your revision time. It’s important to study actively and not just passively. Make sure to read your content well, but also take up activities like drawing mind maps and creating flashcards. That way you’ll be engaging with the content actively, which is especially important when studying a science subject!
As you advance in your revision plan start using past papers. Past examinations are made available online each year and they are one of your most valuable revision tools. Not only will they give you insight into what real exam papers look like, but they’ll also allow you to practice your time management as you can do timed practice papers to learn how best to pace yourself. That way come exam day you’ll be ready and confident to sit your assessment! We at A-Level Physics are here to help you achieve the best results and in order to do that we have lots of engaging material such as mind maps, quizzes, and past papers prepared. So let’s start!