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alevel physics

I’m taking physics next year, does anyone have any advice as i heard it’s really hard, the exam board is AQA. What is the practical element of it because i heard about it but i’m not sure what it is? is it like an exam or do your teachers assess you doing them? also what’s the best way to revise and should i revise from the start as i go? i’m taking art and maths alongside it
Reply 1
Original post by daveeades
I’m taking physics next year, does anyone have any advice as i heard it’s really hard, the exam board is AQA. What is the practical element of it because i heard about it but i’m not sure what it is? is it like an exam or do your teachers assess you doing them? also what’s the best way to revise and should i revise from the start as i go? i’m taking art and maths alongside it

there are 12 required practicals, you do 6 in year 1 then the other 6 in year 2. Its just teacher assesed. You pretty much document the practical in lab books so theyll watch you do the experiments and theyll read your analysis so method, risk assessment, diagram, uncertainties stuff like that. You kind of just have to hit each criteria on the spreadsheet at least three times and youll just get a pass or fail. Honestly the practical element isnt too bad the teachers should guide you on how to do the experiments and set them out anyways.
Reply 2
Original post by daveeades
I’m taking physics next year, does anyone have any advice as i heard it’s really hard, the exam board is AQA. What is the practical element of it because i heard about it but i’m not sure what it is? is it like an exam or do your teachers assess you doing them? also what’s the best way to revise and should i revise from the start as i go? i’m taking art and maths alongside it


you actually have the same subjects i chose but yeah its probably best to revise as you go cause theres a lot of content
Reply 3
Original post by demaeramen
you actually have the same subjects i chose but yeah its probably best to revise as you go cause theres a lot of content


how did you find them all? were they interesting and was it difficult to manage?
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by daveeades
I’m taking physics next year, does anyone have any advice as i heard it’s really hard, the exam board is AQA. What is the practical element of it because i heard about it but i’m not sure what it is? is it like an exam or do your teachers assess you doing them? also what’s the best way to revise and should i revise from the start as i go? i’m taking art and maths alongside it


Hi, I'm a year 13 student. I take Physics but I'm on the OCR A specification: hopefully this still helps.

Physics is absolutely fantastic, I love it. I revised from the start by making summarised notes and flashcards and practising questions for each topic. This has helped so much and I really recommend this method.

Some topics can be tricky to understand, so make sure you invest time into areas you're unsure of - there are so many resources online to help you understand, and you can always ask your teachers to explain something for you in more detail. Even the most profound physicists will find some topics absolutely baffling because that's just physics. Regardless, it's definitely manageable.

In the OCR spec, there is a wealth of practicals that we have done. Those that are titled 'Required Practical' count towards the practical element. In these lessons, our teacher demonstrates what needs to be done and we are given an instruction sheet and we just crack on with it. Towards the start of the A-level there is a lot of support with the required practicals, but towards the end we have more opportunities to be independent in our designing of the experiment and analysis of results. If I'm correct, the teachers observe us/our results and tick off skills on a checklist as we go along - for example, can the student use Excel to record data and plot a graph? The result at the end of the course is a pass or fail - did the student achieve all skills? If not, it's typically no problem, because your teacher can just ask you to pop in over lunch to repeat the experiment so they can tick off the skill.

(If it helps, I take AQA Chemistry and the practical element is the same).
Reply 5
Original post by coolcat24
Hi, I'm a year 13 student. I take Physics but I'm on the OCR A specification: hopefully this still helps.

Physics is absolutely fantastic, I love it. I revised from the start by making summarised notes and flashcards and practising questions for each topic. This has helped so much and I really recommend this method.

Some topics can be tricky to understand, so make sure you invest time into areas you're unsure of - there are so many resources online to help you understand, and you can always ask your teachers to explain something for you in more detail. Even the most profound physicists will find some topics absolutely baffling because that's just physics. Regardless, it's definitely manageable.

In the OCR spec, there is a wealth of practicals that we have done. Those that are titled 'Required Practical' count towards the practical element. In these lessons, our teacher demonstrates what needs to be done and we are given an instruction sheet and we just crack on with it. Towards the start of the A-level there is a lot of support with the required practicals, but towards the end we have more opportunities to be independent in our designing of the experiment and analysis of results. If I'm correct, the teachers observe us/our results and tick off skills on a checklist as we go along - for example, can the student use Excel to record data and plot a graph? The result at the end of the course is a pass or fail - did the student achieve all skills? If not, it's typically no problem, because your teacher can just ask you to pop in over lunch to repeat the experiment so they can tick off the skill.

(If it helps, I take AQA Chemistry and the practical element is the same).


thank you! what’s the grades like? i heard that at the start people tend to do badly and then pick it up as they go on? did you find revising from the start helped your get consistent good grades from the beginning?
Reply 6
Original post by daveeades
how did you find them all? were they interesting and was it difficult to manage?

Personally i think art is really good cause you get to focus on your own ideas and you get a lot of freedom. Physics and maths were really hard for me. I think physics really steps up after gcse like me and my classmates agreed it "catfished" us. A lot of people drop physics after the first year so just expect it to be hard. I think if you genuinely enjoy physics that you should go for it but it will be hard at the start. The topics are interesting just hard. With maths i find it hard and i dont really like the subject but i think its more because of teachers rather than the subject. My advice is to just do all your work on time and try and look over content as you go cause its really hard when it piles up.
Reply 7
Original post by daveeades
thank you! what’s the grades like? i heard that at the start people tend to do badly and then pick it up as they go on? did you find revising from the start helped your get consistent good grades from the beginning?


No worries :smile:

I found the transition from GCSE to A-level challenging as during my GCSEs I had found that I could secure high grades from just using my notes/flashcards and didn't practise much, but as I moved up to A-levels this method alone didn't work for me as the physical sciences require sound mathematical skills (which I didn't have from GCSE revision method) so initially my grades were weak. I could gain marks in the definition/explanation, more wordy, type questions but found the number side difficult. As I started to work on my maths skills my grades went up drastically. From then on, my grades have been so much better.

The grades have definitely improved within the class as well, we're all so much better than how we were in year 12. It took us time to find our feet but I can tell in lessons that we're all so much more confident.
Reply 8
Original post by daveeades
I’m taking physics next year, does anyone have any advice as i heard it’s really hard, the exam board is AQA. What is the practical element of it because i heard about it but i’m not sure what it is? is it like an exam or do your teachers assess you doing them? also what’s the best way to revise and should i revise from the start as i go? i’m taking art and maths alongside it

Heya!
I would recommend looking at the content and possibly checking out some past papers to see what you will do. If it helps, Study Mind has free resources you can use.

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind

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