Preparing for A Level Physics
Congratulations on chosing to study A Level Physics. This page will help you prepare for the A Level course. For those planning on taking A Level Physics without maths have a look through the maths skills section below. The summer work section has the work you need to complete prior to starting the course.
Maths skills for A Level Physics
It is possible to take A Level Physics without Maths, although it is an advantage to take Maths with Physics. The biggest difference between GCSE and A Level Physics is the maths content. For those taking Physics without Maths the following maths areas are the most important. Read through these areas and then click on the links at the bottom of this section to go through the BBC Bitesize revision sections on each of these areas. You should also complete each of the tests on the BBC Bitesize pages to check your understanding and be achieving at least 80% in each of these. For further help with maths in A Level Physics the following book is recommended: A Level Physics: Essential Maths Skills (CGP books)
â€‹
Equation rearrangement and solving

You need to be able to put all units into the correct base units e.g. kilometers into meters, grams into kilograms.

You must be happy with quickly rearranging a variety of algebraic equations

You need to be able to work with numbers in standard form
â€‹
Trigonometry

You will be expected to use trigonometry for right angled triangles to work out angles and missing lengths including Pythagoras' theorem

You will also be expected to be able to use the sine and cosine rules for nonright angled triangles

You will be expected to know basic angle rules to work out missing angles
â€‹â€‹
Interpreting graphs

You should be happy with constructing graphs

You should be able to find the gradient of a straight line graph and from a curve by drawing a tangent to a line

You should be able to find the area underneath a graph

You should be able to relate equations of lines on graphs to features of the graph for a straight line and a curve showing an inversely proportional relationship. From these equations you should be able to identify a gradient and yintercept where they exist
Summer work
Prior to starting the A Level Physics course it is essential that you have a very good understanding of the entire GCSE specification. The Physics summer work is designed to help you revisit some of the key GCSE areas that will be required for A Level and start on some of the Maths skills that will be required for A Level Physics.
â€‹
The tasks are set on “Isaac Physics” which will be used by your teachers during your A Level Physics studies. Access these by clicking on the below link and follow the onscreen instructions. You can use any email address when setting up your account and you will need to agree to your data being shared with teachers. Once you have successfully set up your account and joined the A Level Physics summer work group, if you click on “My Isaac” then “my assignments” you should be able to see the set assignments and work through these.
Once you have completed these tasks you may use the GCSE area of this website to review any areas of the GCSE specification you feel you are weaker at and get ahead on the A Level course by looking through the year 12 course pages (modules 14).
For those who will be doing Physics without Maths you should also complete the Maths skills for A Level Physics section above.
Also have a look through the extra reading and watching section in the Extra Curricular area and complete any background reading or watching on topics that particularly interest you.