Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4HA

01768 371693

Kirkby Stephen Grammar School

A Co-operative Academy

A Level Physics

Students often have many questions about Physics and want to know whether it is the right course for them. Is it relevant for their career? Will it be too hard? Do you need to be good at Maths? The following paragraphs should help to shed some light on these questions.


Why is Physics Important?

“Physicists are constantly finding new things. They have recently shown that teleportation is possible – who knows what that will lead to in a few years’ time?” (Institute of Physics)

Physics is a core subject that explains how everything works on our planet and in the whole wide universe. Big Physics experiments continue to make the headlines, “Gravitational Waves Discovered – showing evidence of colliding black holes”. These are exciting times not only for physicists but for the wider general public too!  Recent benefits to come out of experiments at CERN in Geneva over the past few decades include nothing less than “The Internet”, “the GRID”, a highly promising new form of radio therapy using hadrons (proton therapy), as well as a host of new technologies that will no doubt end up in cameras, tablet pcs, in self driving cars, and smart phones.

Physics has no limits and underpins all other sciences and technologies. Without it there would be no laptops and smart phones, plasma TVs. Actually, there wouldn’t be any electrical supply to run these gadgets. Can you imagine how boring life would be without physics?


What do people who study Physics do for a living?

There are many different careers related to Physics. Graduates may take up opportunities in Engineering, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Chemical Physics, Bio-Engineering, Medical Physics, Energy Management and Telecommunications. However many physicists go on to apply their problem solving and technical skills in areas as diverse as Geology, Meteorology, Business Management and Marketing, Journalism, Research and of course Teaching.

Recently, alumni from KSGS have gone onto various different careers including Physics, Maths with Astronomy, Engineering, Motor Sport Engineering, Chemistry and Accountancy, at universities including Durham, Newcastle and Oxford Brookes. Three students have now secured scholarships with the accountancy firm KMPG. Another student received sponsorship from Rolls Royce to go onto study mechanical engineering.

What else should I study at A Level?

This is entirely up to you. We would always recommend Maths A-Level, although we have had students who have successfully completed the Physics A-Level course without Maths A-Level. However, at times, they have had to work harder to develop their maths and problem solving skills required for the course.

Course Structure

In year 12 students study all of the content required for AS Physics, which includes the following modules:

  • Module 1: Practical skills in Physics.
  • Module 2: Foundations of Physics – including handling of data, quantities and units
  • Module 3: Forces and Motion
  • Module 4: Electron Waves and Photons – which includes topics in electricity, waves and quantum mechanics

In year 13 the course builds directly on the modules studied in year 12

  • Module 1: Further Practical Skills in Physics
  • Module 5: Newtonian World and Astrophysics
  • Module 6: Particles and Medical Physics

Candidates then complete three exams, covering the complete two years of study, in order to qualify for an award in A Level Physics. The practical Endorsement is assessed throughout the two years and is awarded separately.