Head of Department Mr Christopher Butler
Exam board CIE
Qualification name Physics
Qualification codes Cambridge Pre-U: 9792
What you will study
The Cambridge Pre-U course is an exciting and challenging two-year course. It encourages students to think more deeply about the philosophical and mathematical aspects of Physics, and includes a substantial, individual practical project.
At the start of the Lower Sixth we cover foundational topics and skills that underpin the rest of the course. Topics include mechanics, gravitational fields, the deformation of solids, energy concepts, electricity, waves, superposition, atomic and nuclear processes, and quantum ideas.
In part B we study more modern and complex topics including rotational mechanics, oscillations, electric fields, gravitation, electromagnetism, special relativity, molecular kinetic theory, nuclear physics, the quantum atom, interpreting quantum theory, and astronomy and cosmology.
Students plan and investigate a practical problem of their own choosing. They are assessed on their ability to plan the project, make detailed observations of measurements, use a range of measuring instruments, apply appropriate physics principles; and produce a well-organised research report.
How you will be assessed
Component 1: A one-hour objective test (20% of Pre-U)
Multiple choice questions (content from Part A and B)
Component 2: A two-hour written paper (30% of Pre-U)
Structured questions (content from Part A plus pre-release)
Component 3: A three-hour written paper (35% of Pre-U)
Short- and long-answer questions (content from Part B) plus extended questions on mathematical and philosophical topics.
Component 4: Personal investigation (15% of Pre-U)
A 20-hour, individual practical project with a 5,000 word research report. Internally marked and externally moderated.
Why choose Physics?
Physics is the foundational science and is absolutely crucial in our technology-based society. From microelectronics to space exploration, from the study of the quantum to the cosmology of the Big Bang, Physics is there to aid our understanding, underpin our technology and satisfy our curiosity. The world energy crisis means that alternative energy generation and nuclear fusion as a power source are moving up the global agenda. Dark matter, dark energy and other aspects of cosmology are a fascinating area of development and we can expect exciting breakthroughs in the coming decade. This is an exciting time to be studying Physics.
Students will need a good grounding in physical science which equates to a minimum grade B in GCSE Physics and Mathematics. For the Pre-U Course we recommend that students have achieved grade A in both Physics and Mathematics at GCSE.
Related subjects at Sixth Form
A Sixth Form Physics qualification is highly regarded by employers from all parts of the industrial, commercial and academic spectrum. It can be combined with other A Levels as diverse as Philosophy, History, Politics and Modern Languages as well as other sciences and Mathematics.
Where could this lead?
Physics graduates do not only follow careers in pure Physics but they can be found in medicine, computing, design, the media, marketing, law, aviation, the services, engineering, research, astronomy, education and telecommunications among others.
Further important information
The Department adopts a practical approach to teaching Physics with students given opportunities to learn through performing experimental investigations. The staff team includes well-qualified Physicists with a wide experience of scientific research and exposure to industry. Two have post-graduate research degrees.