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Physics (AS and A-Level) OCR B: Advancing Physics

Physics is the search for the answers to some of the biggest questions. It is about the Universe and how it has come to be how it is today. It is also about how the world works on the smallest scale, that of atoms, nuclei, proton, quarks and beyond. The products of physics affect our lives every day. Satellite communications and computers affect the way the world now works and how we organise our lives. Advances in medical physics mean earlier diagnosis of illness and potentially better treatment of disease.

What’s included?             

In year 12 you will study

  • Development of practical skills in physics
  • Fundamental data analysis
  • Imaging and signalling
  • Sensing: Application of electrical circuits.
  • Mechanical properties of materials
  • Waves and quantum behaviour
  • Space, time and motion

In year 13 you will study

  • Creating models using radioactive decay and capacitors
  • Out into space: Gravitational fields and circular motion
  •  Our place in the universe: The expanding Universe and ideas about relativity.
  • Matter: very simple: Kinetic theory and gas laws
  • Matter: hot or cold: Temperatures from absolute zero to millions of degrees. Liquid nitrogen, plasmas, biological materials. Pure random behaviour gives predictions, Boltzmann factor
  • Electromagnetism
  • Charge and field
  • Probing deep into matter
  • Ionising radiation and risk.


The examinations in Physics B (Advancing Physics) are all synoptic, meaning that they all cover all the content of the course.

All papers include a wide range of question types which include multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions.

The AS (H157) assessments are structured as follows:

Written paper 1: Foundations in Physics, 1 ½ hours, 70 marks   (50% of AS)

Written paper 2: Physics in Depth, 1 ½ hours, 70 marks (50% of AS)

The A-Level (H557) assessments are structured as follows:

Written paper 1: Fundamentals of Physics, 2 hours 15 minutes, 110  marks (41% of A Level)

Written paper 2: Scientific Literacy in Physics, 2 hours 15 minutes, 100 marks (37% of A Level)

Written paper 3: Practical skills in Physics, 1 ½ hours, 60 marks  (22% of A Level)

In addition to this students must complete a number of required practicals throughout the course which is then assessed as a separate Practical Endorsement. This is either awarded as a “Pass” or a “Fail”

Full details of the specification can be found at :

We do not require students to study A level mathematics in order to study A level Physics however there are some fundamental mathematical skills which are key in order to be successful in A level Physics.  A list of these can be found here.

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