AS/A level specification | OCR H156/H556

Why don’t you fall over every time you walk? How does the structure of the atom connect to lifting a glass? How did the Universe begin?

A good understanding of the principles of Physics helps you to develop your problem solving abilities to a high level and leads into many different careers. Physics has always been a very valued subject for students who intend to follow careers in any profession that links to Maths, Finance, Science or Technology. You can take both the AS and A2 courses to obtain an A level in Physics. Alternatively you can take the AS level on its own to complement Maths, other science and technology subjects or to broaden your studies.

Content & Breakdown

As students progress through the course, they will build on their knowledge of the laws of physics, applying their understanding to the areas from sub-atomic particles to the entire universe.

AS Physics – At AS level you will study a wide range of topics in Physics including: Physical Quantities & Vectors, Practical Skills in Physics, Forces & Motion, Electrons, Waves and Photons.

A2 Physics (A level) – If you have chosen to study the course to A level you will also study Newtonian World and Astrophysics, and Particles & Medical Physics.


Students completing Physics A level will be completely assessed by examination. Students will complete three written papers at the end of year 13 which will contribute 100% of the final A2 grade.

The examinations will potentially cover all aspects of Physics content covered in both Year 12 and 13, along with practical skills based questions. Students will also be required to have a wide range of experience in practical Physics.

Students also have the option of completing an AS Physics award in Year 12 and this will be assessed by two written exams completed at the end of Year 12. The exams contribute 100% of the final grade awarded. The AS does not contribute to the A2 award and is a separate qualification. Students can then go on to complete the full A2 level qualification in Year 13.

Careers/Further Education

Physics A level is a highly regarded entry qualification for a wide range of university courses, including many which are not directly linked with the subject. Physics opens the door to a career in a huge variety of fields. A small sample of the possibilities includes:

Astronomy, Architecture, Engineering, Electronics, Geology, Medicine, Medical Physics, Nursing, Oceanography, Physiotherapy, Research and Sports Science. Many physics graduates are employed within banking and commerce.

For more information contact:  Dr B Bestwick