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What is Physics? Basically, Physics tries to explain how the universe works as simply as possible, but no simpler. From Quarks to Quasars, Physics is all about understanding and predicting nature. Together we will look at how our world (and beyond) behaves and try to make sense of it. You will enjoy Physics if you want to find out about life, the universe and everything; develop models to explain how the world we live in works; sharpen your problem-solving skills and see how physics is used all around us. You will discover that our ideas of how things work have changed over the centuries; scientists are not always 'right'. A theory only lasts until an experiment proves it wrong! Then we need a new one.

The course places great emphasis on the practical uses of the subject and is divided into 'themes'. You still study all the Physics you would expect, it is just packaged differently and, we think, in a more exciting and enjoyable way. By the end you will see why Physics is so important to our world!

  • Atomic and Quantum Physics
  • Particle Physics
  • Telescopes, LASERs & musical instruments: waves
  • Vehicles, structures & sports: forces & motion
  • Planets & satellites: circular motion & gravity
  • Environmental Physics: sources of energy & their impact on the planet
  • Astrophysics: heat & gases
  • Astrophysics: radioactivity & nuclear physics
  • Cosmology
  • Electricity: electric fields & circuits
  • Electricity: magnetic effects
  • Earthquake-proof buildings: oscillations

William Smith

Studied: Physics, Maths & Computer Science + AS Chemistry (2013-2015)

Progression: Physics, University of Bristol (2.1)

Following his undergraduate degree, William stayed in Bristol as a postgraduate researcher and is now working on a Masters project for Cancer Research. He is currently considering a career in software engineering, or staying on as a researcher at the University of Bristol.

William says: "Studying at Varndean was such a rewarding experience for me, with excellent teachers who I'll always remember supporting me every step of the way."

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements


Grade 6 in GCSE Physics and another Science GCSE or 2 x Grade 6 in GCSE Combined Science and Grade 6 in GCSE Maths.

Students may also need to attend additional Maths support class if not taking A Level maths, as required.
Three exams at the end of the course, one on each 'component'. Practical work is assessed throughout the course and it earns you a 'Practical Endorsement' alongside your A Level.
Career Pathways
Many students go on to degree courses in Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Engineering, Research, Financial Management, Law, Medicine and numerous other fields. Physics is an in-demand subject in the UK and, indeed, worldwide.
Transferable Skills
Analysis; problem-solving; communication; modelling; research; mathematics; evidence-based decision-making.
Other Information
A Level students choosing NOT to study A level Maths will need to enrol for the essential Maths support course to cover the knowledge and skills needed beyond GCSE. You should be aware, though, that not studying Maths beyond GCSE will prevent you from applying to most Physics and Engineering degrees.
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