Is it possible to start and finish A1/AS Physics course from scratch in two months?Watch
Biology is by far my weakest subject out of the three A-levels I have chosen. For Biology, I am currently on a C, and aiming for a B. While for my other subjects (chemistry and maths) I am on A/B and aiming for an A/A*. I feel that biology is going to way me down and right now I am not enjoying it. I would like to know whether, if it is possible, to learn physics A-level year 1 in the few months I have left before A2 starts in September?
In the year 1 part of the course, the sections are:
--> Particles and Quatum Phenomena - most of this section is entirely new. It's not overly difficult and involves a lot of remembering facts. The Quantum section can be quite difficult to get your head around, and also involves a fair amount of maths, for example, finding the energy of a photon from E = hf = hc/λ. Once you've got your head around it though it's not too difficult and doesn't go too deep.
--> Waves - some of this is repeated from GCSE, like refraction, although this goes beyond, talking about fibre optics and Total Internal Reflection as well as doing calculations with it. But then there's a lot that is new, including diffraction and interference, creating Young's Double Slits and Diffraction Patterns through a grating. Again, these include a fair bit of maths. Then there's stationary waves which is more theory than the other topics here, but does have some maths in as well.
--> Mechanics and Materials - this is the biggest unit on the AS, and goes well beyond GCSE in most areas. It starts with forces, where you go beyond using scale diagrams to using trigonometry to resolve and combine vectors. Then there's motion, and you learn and use suvat equations and apply it to situations such as projectile motion. Then there's momentum, which doesn't change that much from GCSE, and neither does the work done/power section, apart from a few extra equations. Moments goes beyond in terms of difficulty but the concepts and equations stay the same. The materials section is fairly small, and includes density, which is the same as GCSE, and springs, which can be difficult especially when it comes to combinations and moments applications but again, if your maths is ok, they're not too bad.
--> Electricity - this is the last section of the AS and is fairly similar to GCSE apart from a few more concepts, such as internal resistance, EMF and resistivity. The calculations and questions are a fair bit harder but once you understand to use the rules, they're ok.
So, if hearing all that and you still want to take physics, I'd say go for it and at least try to catch up. Keep in mind the course structure I just described is for AQA, other exam boards teach overall the same stuff but just have small changes and might be ordered differently, so it shouldn't make too much of a difference.
Also there are required practicals that you'd have to catch up with at some point, maybe next year when doing A2 or at least some of them before summer.
As I said in there a fair bit, being good at maths is pretty important at this level and will obviously be a lot more important at A2, but from what you said about your grade, I think you would be fine with it.
It might be useful to speak to one of the physics staff at your college, because you'd have to do a fair amount over summer to get it finished before moving into upper sixth, and obviously you wouldn't have a teacher to do it with you in that time, which might make it more difficult. But at the same time, they might be able to go over the harder stuff before summer and you do the easier stuff yourself.
Hope this helps, and I'd really recommend the Physics A Level, it's the best out of the ones I've been studying (in lower sixth).