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A Level Math should be mandatory for A Level Physics

PS: Specifically talking about CIE, because that is the board I'm familiar with.

I've always been in favor of requiring A Level Math be taken alongside A Level Physics if someone wants to do A Level Physics.

From a practical standpoint, its completely logical. No major university will have a physics prerequisite standalone without a math prerequisite along with it.

From a content-wise standpoint, it also makes a lot more sense. Algebra-based physics is so much more unintuitive than Calculus-based physics. And I think students are worse off when they have to memorize equations or derive them non-elegantly without intuition.

Take the equations of motion for example. From an algebraic standpoint, they seem quite archaic and quite difficult to derive. With calculus though, its just a matter of integration and the ideas become intuitive. E.g. 1st derv of position is speed, 2nd derv of position is velocity, integral of force is work.

Not to mention, the breadth and depth of the content can be explored much further if Calculus is a mandatory requirement. University physics is calculus based anyways so the transition will feel more natural.

Forcing A Level Physics to bend down to the level of GCSE Maths is limiting its potential as a subject.

Thoughts?
(edited 11 months ago)

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No.it should not be mandatory.as a brit you should have more liberal mentality
Reply 2
Original post by Preznri
No.it should not be mandatory.as a brit you should have more liberal mentality



I'm not a Brit haha, that's why I said CIE.
(Original post by Zacky VT)I'm not a Brit haha, that's why I said CIE.

No you are brit.i know all about you.you live in nottingham with your 6 wives.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 4
Physics should be made accessible to non-STEM children. it is just outdated elitism to exclude our amazing kids from this subject just because they are not spods.
Original post by the bear
Physics should be made accessible to non-STEM children. it is just outdated elitism to exclude our amazing kids from this subject just because they are not spods.

You are right bro.he is a polygamist.so he still has a outdated mentality
Original post by Zacky VT
PS: Specifically talking about CIE, because that is the board I'm familiar with.

I've always been in favor of requiring A Level Math be taken alongside A Level Physics if someone wants to do A Level Physics.

From a practical standpoint, its completely logical. No major university will have a physics prerequisite standalone without a math prerequisite along with it.

From a content-wise standpoint, it also makes a lot more sense. Algebra-based physics is so much more unintuitive than Calculus-based physics. And I think students are worse off when they have to memorize equations or derive them non-elegantly without intuition.

Take the equations of motion for example. From an algebraic standpoint, they seem quite archaic and quite difficult to derive. With calculus though, its just a matter of integration and the ideas become intuitive. E.g. 1st derv of position is speed, 2nd derv of position is velocity, integral of force is work.

Not to mention, the breadth and depth of the content can be explored much further if Calculus is a mandatory requirement. University physics is calculus based anyways so the transition will feel more natural.

Forcing A Level Physics to bend down to the level of GCSE Maths is limiting its potential as a subject.

Thoughts?

There are some students who simply take A-Level Physics to fill in as a 3rd/4th subject for A-level, and don't want to continue with physics.

Maybe we should split the A-level physics into two A-Levels.
A-level General Physics: Algebra-based, baasically the A-level Physics syllabus as it's now. Comparable to AP Physics 1 and 2 (algebra-based physics).
A-Level Further Physics: Calculus-based, designed to be an expansion on A-level Physics. More than AP Physics M and EM, but for other areas, calculus-based. Maybe some other areas. This would require A-level Math to already be taken.

This way, the physics enthusiasts who want to study it for university can study more physics, while the other students who only like it a bit, or just want to fill the 3rd A-level, can keep it at General Physics level.

The problem is GCSE doesn't have any calculus (except IGCSE) for regular Maths, there only starts to be calculus in Add Math. Which means the curriculum before would need to be changed, maybe including some calculus.
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by username6103176
No.it should not be mandatory.as a brit you should have more liberal mentality

I disagree, the A-level physics course has been watered down significantly by no calculus
Original post by the bear
Physics should be made accessible to non-STEM children. it is just outdated elitism to exclude our amazing kids from this subject just because they are not spods.

We could simply introduce a new qualification for those STEM nerds who want to continue physics further: A-level Further Physics. Essentially a calculus-based version of A-level Physics
Reply 8
Original post by justlearning1469
I disagree, the A-level physics course has been watered down significantly by no calculus

We could simply introduce a new qualification for those STEM nerds who want to continue physics further: A-level Further Physics. Essentially a math-based version of A-level Physics


ftfy
Original post by the bear
ftfy

Nah.

There better be an equivalent to AP Physics C
I do Edexcel A level maths and OCR A a level Physics and was told I need to do both, however disagree.

Firstly - The mechanics in maths A level is way harder and there is alot more of it than in physics
Secondly - Yes knowledge of logs is needed for some parts of Physics A level but maybe a few hours practise and youtube help + help from teacher and you should be fine (it's quite straight forward)
Thirdly - although maths makes up 40% of A level Physics, you get given all the formula and mathmetical manipulation is needed, but nothing more than GCSE (except for log ofc)
Finally - A level maths is mainly Pure (which is just graphs and algebra, trig, differentiation, intergration etc ...) which is a huge waste of time if you are not pasionate about the subject, and may I add very time consuming and difficult initially)

so no Maths rly isn't needed for A level Physics (most boards I would say)
Reply 11
Original post by JeromeValeska:)
I do Edexcel A level maths and OCR A a level Physics and was told I need to do both, however disagree.

Firstly - The mechanics in maths A level is way harder and there is alot more of it than in physics
Secondly - Yes knowledge of logs is needed for some parts of Physics A level but maybe a few hours practise and youtube help + help from teacher and you should be fine (it's quite straight forward)
Thirdly - although maths makes up 40% of A level Physics, you get given all the formula and mathmetical manipulation is needed, but nothing more than GCSE (except for log ofc)
Finally - A level maths is mainly Pure (which is just graphs and algebra, trig, differentiation, intergration etc ...) which is a huge waste of time if you are not pasionate about the subject, and may I add very time consuming and difficult initially)

so no Maths rly isn't needed for A level Physics (most boards I would say)


I think we are in a bit of a confusion. I'm not saying A Level Maths is needed for the current A Level Physics Syllabus.

I'm saying the A Level Physics syllabus should be changed to be calculus-based, such that maths would be a prerequisite. This makes it so that the subject can go deeper (similar to AP Physics C in the US system).

I do like @justlearning1469 proposal though, where there would be a physics and further physics.
Reply 12
Original post by justlearning1469
Nah.

There better be an equivalent to AP Physics C


Completely agreed!

The UK excels a lot in terms of pre-university education compared to the US. UK students enter university with a lot more background knowledge than US students do, and this applies to almost all fields of study... but I think in some ways, American pre-u education does better in physics than the UKs system.

The fact that the college board has a calculus-based physics course that American juniors & seniors are able to take gives them a big edge in university level physics. For example, the AP Physics C Mechanics & Electromagnetism courses can be used as full credit for an entire physics course in some American universities. In the UK, this is impossible though, since our pre-university physics qualifications aren't calculus based.

All university level physics is Calculus-based, so I don't see the point in "double-learning" physics in algebraic style and calculus style later on.
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by JeromeValeska:)
I do Edexcel A level maths and OCR A a level Physics and was told I need to do both, however disagree.

Firstly - The mechanics in maths A level is way harder and there is alot more of it than in physics
Secondly - Yes knowledge of logs is needed for some parts of Physics A level but maybe a few hours practise and youtube help + help from teacher and you should be fine (it's quite straight forward)
Thirdly - although maths makes up 40% of A level Physics, you get given all the formula and mathmetical manipulation is needed, but nothing more than GCSE (except for log ofc)
Finally - A level maths is mainly Pure (which is just graphs and algebra, trig, differentiation, intergration etc ...) which is a huge waste of time if you are not pasionate about the subject, and may I add very time consuming and difficult initially)

so no Maths rly isn't needed for A level Physics (most boards I would say)

It isn't that difficult as long as you practice and have a solid foundation.
Original post by Zacky VT
I think we are in a bit of a confusion. I'm not saying A Level Maths is needed for the current A Level Physics Syllabus.

I'm saying the A Level Physics syllabus should be changed to be calculus-based, such that maths would be a prerequisite. This makes it so that the subject can go deeper (similar to AP Physics C in the US system).

I do like @justlearning1469 proposal though, where there would be a physics and further physics.

Thank you for making it clear.

I prefer this proposal because there are some students who just want to take A-level Physics to fill in the 3rd A-level, not go further in science/applied math/engineering/CS/economics.

For Further Physics it could be the same topics as the General Physics, but perhaps with calculus and more rigorous (think maybe intro uni level and a bit of competition physics).
Original post by Zacky VT
Completely agreed!

The UK excels a lot in terms of pre-university education compared to the US. UK students enter university with a lot more background knowledge than US students do, and this applies to almost all fields of study... but I think in some ways, American pre-u education does better in physics than the UKs system.

The fact that the college board has a calculus-based physics course that American juniors & seniors are able to take gives them a big edge in university level physics. For example, the AP Physics C Mechanics & Electromagnetism courses can be used as full credit for an entire physics course in some American universities. In the UK, this is impossible though, since our pre-university physics qualifications aren't calculus based.

All university level physics is Calculus-based, so I don't see the point in "double-learning" physics in algebraic style and calculus style later on.

AP is usually less rigorous and shallower than A-level, which is why UK students need 3 A-levels while US students need 3-5 AP. Not just more background knowledge, but more rigorous.

Even if the physics-based pre-uni qualification is calculus-based, there isn't much of "skipping" courses you can do in UK. How much do you plan to cover in this "Further Physics" qualification?

If it matches closely enough with a physics course in first term of university, there could be two paths at most universities, for physics degree:
1. Students without Further Physics
They will take Calculus-based physics courses to replace Further Physics.
2. Students with Further Physics
They could have the option to skip a calculus-based physics course in university. In exchange they need to fill the credits skipped with other electives/physics courses. I don't think there'd be enough credits to graduate early.
Alternatively, they could decide to not skip the calculus-based physics course in university and do some revision (especially if they didn't get A/A* in that course)
Another alternative is having a lighter first year to have more time to settle into university, work on hobbies etc.

There may be some universities which would require Further Physics. In that case need Further Physics.

However, there's a large shortage of math/physics teachers in the UK. Which may mean this plan is not practically possible. In that case for elite universities they could have summer bridging courses of Further Physics, much like in Oxford, for mathematics, they have summer bridging work for those who didn't take FM.

Jumping directly into calculus-based physics, from GCSE physics, is very tough. To understand the mathematics as well as the concepts at the same time may be too demanding.
It might be better for them to understand physics at a general level first (conceptually) then use the concepts and mathematics learnt from A-level to apply to Further Physics. That way they can secure a better foundation and not rush things as much.
Plus, the extra practice may be useful for a lot of students to further solidify their foundation.

What do you think, @Zacky VT
(edited 11 months ago)
Maybe we could have Further Physics like how there's Futher Maths but I have no idea.
Yeah maybe for Computer Science, Physics and BTEC engineering you should be expected to have A-level Maths knowledge (I didn't do A-level Maths though) but I can see how that can cause issues.
Original post by Talkative Toad
Maybe we could have Further Physics like how there's Futher Maths but I have no idea.

Keep the Physics A-level

Further Physics would be Physics A-level but calculus-based, and require A-level Math. Maybe concurrently taking FM but that could be a nightmare for teachers to handle.

There is already AP Physics C, Mechanics and EM, in America. We can base off that.
Original post by Talkative Toad
Yeah maybe for Computer Science, Physics and BTEC engineering you should be expected to have A-level Maths knowledge (I didn't do A-level Maths though) but I can see how that can cause issues.

Some students take Physics to fill in the 3rd A-level, not because they want to study further.

Maybe there should be Further Computer Science, Further BTEC Engineering etc. but that's a topic for another day.
@Talkative Toad Do you wish to talk about it? I can make a thread abou it
Original post by justlearning1469
Keep the Physics A-level

Further Physics would be Physics A-level but calculus-based, and require A-level Math. Maybe concurrently taking FM but that could be a nightmare for teachers to handle.

There is already AP Physics C, Mechanics and EM, in America. We can base off that.

Some students take Physics to fill in the 3rd A-level, not because they want to study further.

Maybe there should be Further Computer Science, Further BTEC Engineering etc. but that's a topic for another day.
@Talkative Toad Do you wish to talk about it? I can make a thread abou it


I don't think that there should be Further Computer Science or Further Engineering. Maybe Further A-level physics only as not everyone who wants/needs to take physics wants to take maths.

I.e making physics more calculus based might have a negative impact on pupils who want do A-level physics but not A-level Maths
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by Talkative Toad
I don't think that there should be Further Computer Science or Further Engineering. Maybe Further A-level physics only as not everyone who wants/needs to take physics wants to take maths.

I see, but what should be in Further A-level physics?
Original post by justlearning1469
I see, but what should be in Further A-level physics?


The stuff you've mentioned i.e it's more Calculus based.

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