The Student Room Group

A-level Physics advice

I'm considering picking A-level Physics as one of my options along with Biology and Chemistry as I'm hoping to pursue medicine. I got a grade 8 and was hoping if anyone can tell me how A-level Physics is like(i do international edexcel but i wont mind people replying who did other exam boards). I'm also not taking maths and many people keep telling me its hard without maths. I'd also like to ask whether it was a good decision to do physics instead of business for a levels as i got a grade 9 in business and all of my friends keep telling me to just to do business as physics is going to be hard and its going to be a huge amount of workload(along with bio+chem).
Hey
Just finished physics a level (AQA).
From my experience , first year is really not too bad but there is quite a bit of maths a level in it such as logs (in 2nd year) that might be difficult .
If you want to go into medicine I really recommend maths anyway 😄
I don’t think it’s impossible without maths but might be harder to get that top grade.
Second year physics definitely had some challenging topics such as capacitors and magnetism but if you put in the work and really take the time to understand the concepts it’s the most satisfying A level out there!
Original post by kimpo078
I'm considering picking A-level Physics as one of my options along with Biology and Chemistry as I'm hoping to pursue medicine. I got a grade 8 and was hoping if anyone can tell me how A-level Physics is like(i do international edexcel but i wont mind people replying who did other exam boards). I'm also not taking maths and many people keep telling me its hard without maths. I'd also like to ask whether it was a good decision to do physics instead of business for a levels as i got a grade 9 in business and all of my friends keep telling me to just to do business as physics is going to be hard and its going to be a huge amount of workload(along with bio+chem).

I did AQA too.

Y1 isn't hard. You will of course find it a bit difficult when you are doing the topics but as you reach the closing period of y12 and start y13, y1 physics will sound really easy! Maths isn't really needed at y1. Its mostly arithmetic, and trigonometry. I don't think there was anything beyond GCSE maths (I maybe wrong).

Y2 was a big jump. There are so many hard and long topics which we won't really be able to relate with - fields, capacitance, magnetism, kinetic theory and all of that. As the above user has said, y2 involves a ton of alevel maths! There was differentiation, logs, trig graphs (gcse?), exponential graphs (gcse?), once a differential equation to prove an equation (although this may not have been in the spec id remember). This doesn't mean you can't survive without A-level Maths, but you will have to a bit more work which you are more than capable of.

This is a hard situation, because you need maths to do physics and if you do choose maths, you can't really choose physics anymore (unless you go for 4 A-level or replace Physics with your already chosen Biology).

And I don't see how Business will help you with Medicine! I would recommend you do either Maths with Bio and Chem or Physics with Bio and Chem. I wouldn't want you to do 4 A-levels and I don't recommend you take up A-level Business!

Can I just stress, you can survive Phsyics without Maths, as long as you do some extra work! If you do come down to choosing between Maths and Physics, I would go for Maths, because all 3 sciences, the workload will be huge I assume.
Reply 3
The only parts of A-level maths you definitely need that don't appear in any way in GCSE is logarithms and radians. Your A-level textbook will likely have some sections devoted to those essential maths techniques. but things like differentiation and integration can help to contextualise certain topics. Things like gravitational potential and capacitance and radioactive decay can seem random and arbitrary without it.
Doing A-level maths with physics helps you get extra practice in the mechanics topics that overlap, too.
Original post by kimpo078
I'm considering picking A-level Physics as one of my options along with Biology and Chemistry as I'm hoping to pursue medicine. I got a grade 8 and was hoping if anyone can tell me how A-level Physics is like(i do international edexcel but i wont mind people replying who did other exam boards). I'm also not taking maths and many people keep telling me its hard without maths. I'd also like to ask whether it was a good decision to do physics instead of business for a levels as i got a grade 9 in business and all of my friends keep telling me to just to do business as physics is going to be hard and its going to be a huge amount of workload(along with bio+chem).

I finished OCR A level Physics (spec B) this year. My other A levels were chemistry and maths.

It was certainly tough, but you definitely don't need A level maths. The maths involved generally is about GCSE grade 6 equivalent, with the only new content being logarithms and radians, which your teacher should explain to you.

Any combination of A levels results in a large workload, so don't be daunted by it. At the end of the day, you pick A levels based on what you enjoy and what you want to do post A level. Peer pressure doesn't need to play a part in your decision.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by kimpo078
I'm considering picking A-level Physics as one of my options along with Biology and Chemistry as I'm hoping to pursue medicine. I got a grade 8 and was hoping if anyone can tell me how A-level Physics is like(i do international edexcel but i wont mind people replying who did other exam boards). I'm also not taking maths and many people keep telling me its hard without maths. I'd also like to ask whether it was a good decision to do physics instead of business for a levels as i got a grade 9 in business and all of my friends keep telling me to just to do business as physics is going to be hard and its going to be a huge amount of workload(along with bio+chem).


Hi @kimpo078!

I did Physics A Level (AQA) in 2018 and enjoyed it so much that I ended up doing a degree in it haha.

Physics and maths certainly go well together but, at most colleges, it's not essential to take maths alongside physics a level. You'd need maths and physics a levels to apply to physics at uni but since you want to go into medicine this shouldn't be an issue. It may be slightly more difficult without maths a level, but with a good gcse maths background and the right attitude you should be fine.

Science A Levels are difficult (I did Bio, Chem, Phys and Maths) but, I didn't take other subjects instead because I genuinely enjoyed science subjects the most. It's important you do subjects that you enjoy as it'll make your A-Level experience much more fun. Additionally, regardless of your choices, the workload for 3 A-Levels can be a lot but it is manageable. It's important you choose what is right for you and not just what your friends think.

Hope this helps!

- Tineke
Lancaster Physics Graduate
Reply 6
Original post by tamilGuy.
I did AQA too.

Y1 isn't hard. You will of course find it a bit difficult when you are doing the topics but as you reach the closing period of y12 and start y13, y1 physics will sound really easy! Maths isn't really needed at y1. Its mostly arithmetic, and trigonometry. I don't think there was anything beyond GCSE maths (I maybe wrong).

Y2 was a big jump. There are so many hard and long topics which we won't really be able to relate with - fields, capacitance, magnetism, kinetic theory and all of that. As the above user has said, y2 involves a ton of alevel maths! There was differentiation, logs, trig graphs (gcse?), exponential graphs (gcse?), once a differential equation to prove an equation (although this may not have been in the spec id remember). This doesn't mean you can't survive without A-level Maths, but you will have to a bit more work which you are more than capable of.

This is a hard situation, because you need maths to do physics and if you do choose maths, you can't really choose physics anymore (unless you go for 4 A-level or replace Physics with your already chosen Biology).

And I don't see how Business will help you with Medicine! I would recommend you do either Maths with Bio and Chem or Physics with Bio and Chem. I wouldn't want you to do 4 A-levels and I don't recommend you take up A-level Business!

Can I just stress, you can survive Phsyics without Maths, as long as you do some extra work! If you do come down to choosing between Maths and Physics, I would go for Maths, because all 3 sciences, the workload will be huge I assume.


thing is i did terrible in maths for my gcses. i got 96 out of 200! which surprisingly was a 7. Yes i do realise i need to drop business but it's either maths or physics- i want to go for physics but really the maths part of it is scaring me. I wasnt too good at maths in gcse as well so I' m not really keen for picking it a level either. but im hoping to go for physics. this is what my physics teacher from last year said: "The maths in A level physics is not very very challenging. As long as you have a good IGCSE grounding then you will cope with the maths fine. There is some new maths that you will have to learn, but its mostly being confident in applying things you learned in IGCSE maths. My advice would be to take the subject that interests you most. Some universities around the World prefer you to do physics, even over biology. But chemistry is non negotiable".
Reply 7
thank you for the advice!

Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hi @kimpo078!

I did Physics A Level (AQA) in 2018 and enjoyed it so much that I ended up doing a degree in it haha.

Physics and maths certainly go well together but, at most colleges, it's not essential to take maths alongside physics a level. You'd need maths and physics a levels to apply to physics at uni but since you want to go into medicine this shouldn't be an issue. It may be slightly more difficult without maths a level, but with a good gcse maths background and the right attitude you should be fine.

Science A Levels are difficult (I did Bio, Chem, Phys and Maths) but, I didn't take other subjects instead because I genuinely enjoyed science subjects the most. It's important you do subjects that you enjoy as it'll make your A-Level experience much more fun. Additionally, regardless of your choices, the workload for 3 A-Levels can be a lot but it is manageable. It's important you choose what is right for you and not just what your friends think.

Hope this helps!

- Tineke
Lancaster Physics Graduate
Original post by kimpo078
thank you for the advice!


Do a Level maths, it's a really good a level to take tbh.
Maybe have a review of gcse content as they will come up throughout the course with certain topics, an example being perpendicular gradients and y=mx+c which will come up with logs.
Have a quick recap over what you learnt at gcse since A level will be more tougher at the start. It will be worthwhile.
(edited 1 year ago)
If you are studying Chem & Bio and you want to study medicine, there is no need to study Maths/Phys unless you want to apply to Oxbridge.

I know people now studying medicine who chose a third subject they enjoy such as Geography, German and Psychology.

Take a good look at the specifications of the subjects you are interested in. I know someone who dropped Physics after 2 weeks when he realised what he would be studying over the 2 years.
Original post by SpiderCrab
If you are studying Chem & Bio and you want to study medicine, there is no need to study Maths/Phys unless you want to apply to Oxbridge.

I know people now studying medicine who chose a third subject they enjoy such as Geography, German and Psychology.

Take a good look at the specifications of the subjects you are interested in. I know someone who dropped Physics after 2 weeks when he realised what he would be studying over the 2 years.


Maths is a really good A level in general to do tbh, I recommend OP to do A level maths but it's best for OP to do subjects that he/she would be interested in.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 11
what if im not so good at maths? i got 96 out of 200 which surprisingly was a 7. I dont think i did too well in my igs

Original post by Behemouth
Do a Level maths, it's a really good a level to take tbh.
Maybe have a review of gcse content as they will come up throughout the course with certain topics, an example being perpendicular gradients and y=mx+c which will come up with logs.
Have a quick recap over what you learnt at gcse since A level will be more tougher at the start. It will be worthwhile.
Original post by kimpo078
what if im not so good at maths? i got 96 out of 200 which surprisingly was a 7. I dont think i did too well in my igs

Don’t do A level maths if you feel you can’t.

Imho, you ought to practice with plotting and interpreting graphs and rearranging equations. This is generally about as advanced as the maths gets.
Original post by kimpo078
what if im not so good at maths? i got 96 out of 200 which surprisingly was a 7. I dont think i did too well in my igs

Choose subjects that you're comfortable with for A level.
Good luck. You don't have to do a subject if you don't feel like you can do it to the best of your ability.
Good luck kimpo078.
Original post by kimpo078
I'm considering picking A-level Physics as one of my options along with Biology and Chemistry as I'm hoping to pursue medicine. I got a grade 8 and was hoping if anyone can tell me how A-level Physics is like(i do international edexcel but i wont mind people replying who did other exam boards). I'm also not taking maths and many people keep telling me its hard without maths. I'd also like to ask whether it was a good decision to do physics instead of business for a levels as i got a grade 9 in business and all of my friends keep telling me to just to do business as physics is going to be hard and its going to be a huge amount of workload(along with bio+chem).

Heya!
First of all, congrats on your GCSE grades! I haven't done physics but I had many friends that did. They all said it's much easier/better if you do physics and maths as a combo as physics can get hard without maths. Business is much more easy than maths and physics but if you want to go into medicine, it's better if you do maths or physics rather than business (though this depends on which uni you want to get into and their entry requirements!). Top unis would prefer if you did physics/maths as a 3rd a-level while lower ranked unis can be more flexible with the 3rd a-level.

However, physics isn't impossible without maths! There are tons of free resources available for you, e.g. Study Mind offers tons of physics free past papers, revision notes and etc to help you with your revision :smile: There are also Youtube resources as well - utilise them well and you'll be able to ace your exam!

I hope this helps!
Milena G.
UCL PFE
Study Mind
Reply 15
I do physics without doing maths, alongside biology/chemistry/geography and so far i’ve found it manageable (i got 9 9s at gcse, including maths and physics for context)
In year 12 there has been some a level maths content such as logs, but this also came up in chemistry in a different way, and honestly in context it makes sense - the only issue is everyone else in my class had already covered it in a level maths, except me, so i was taught it in a physics lesson.
I think in my year there’s only two of us who do physics without any kind of maths + a few who do physics with L3 core maths. Basically everyone does at least a level maths, sometimes further maths too. Despite this i got an A in my year 12 mock and did better than many maths/f maths people - so clearly it’s not impossible!!

Quick Reply

Latest