The National Extension College
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Space, time, energy… study our A level Physics online course and start to ‘think big’ when it comes to explaining our fascinating physical world.
From exploring the tiniest subatomic particle to space exploration, our Physics A level course spans diverse and intriguing topics. This qualification is essential if you’re considering a physics degree or interested in a range of rewarding related career paths.
Using engaging distance learning materials you’ll explore topics such as mechanics, electricity, thermodynamics, nuclear decay and space. This course will enable you to critically evaluate scientific information and evidence, as well as highlighting the key role of physics in everyday life.
As part of studying A level Physics online, you’ll put theory into practice through 16 core practical experiments, of which some are suitable for completion at home. You can also decide whether to take the practical skills endorsement alongside your A level which is a requirement for certain university and career routes.
Why study Physics?
Our A level Physics online course tackles complex ideas using relevant, engaging topics and high quality distance learning materials. Alongside subject knowledge, you’ll develop problem-solving, evaluation and analytical skills – all highly sought after by universities and employers.
You’ll have the flexibility to fit study around your lifestyle, learning at your own pace, with access to the support of a specialist personal tutor. Like many NEC students, perhaps you’ll go on to study a science-based subject at university, or use your qualification to support your next career move?
Section 1: Working as a physicist
- Maths in physics
- Quantities and units
- Calipers and micrometers
- Practical skills
- Experiments with a spring
- Experiments with a laser pointer and a CD
Section 2: Mechanics
- Rectilinear motion
- Resolved forces and moments
- Work, energy and power
- Applied mechanics
Section 3: Electricity
- Charge and current
- Potential difference, electromotive force and power
- Current-potential difference relationships
- Resistance and resistivity
- Internal resistance, series and parallel circuits and the potential divider
Section 4: Materials and vibrations
- Solid materials
- Nature of waves
Section 5: Waves and the particle nature of light
- Transmission and reflection of waves
- The eye
- The oscilloscope
- Superposition of waves
- Particle nature of light
- Making a CD spectrometer
Section 6: Collisions, circular motion and oscillations
- Momentum and energy
- Motion in a circle
Section 7: Gravitational and electric fields
- Universal gravitation
- Electrical fields
- Millikan’s oil drop experiment
- Touch screen technologies
Section 8: Magnetic fields and particle physics
- Magnetic fields
- Electrons and nuclei
- Particle physics
Section 9: Thermodynamics
- Specific heat capacity
- Internal energy, absolute zero and change of state
- Gas laws
Section 10: Nuclear decay and space
- Nuclear decay
- Detecting radiation
- Life cycle of a star
You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.
Meet Julie who is just one of our first-class physics tutors:
“I love learning and I love inspiring other people to learn. I’ve worked with students from primary to undergraduate level as I have taught in schools and universities. Now, I specialise in home education and distance learning, teaching people in the UK and overseas. I have a degree in physics with astrophysics and a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) in physics, science and maths, both from the University of Birmingham, and an LLM in Law from the University of Leeds. A senior examiner for several exam boards, I am also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors.”
What you need to know
- Edexcel 9PH0
- Online learning with support from a personal tutor
- Complete at your own pace
- Approx. 250-300* hours plus time for completing assignments
*The specification suggests that 300 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 300 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 5 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.
- 11 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade
- 16 core practicals
- Set textbooks – included as a free ebook with your course:
- Edexcel A level Physics Student Book 1, M Benn and G George, Hodder Education, 2015
- Edexcel A level Physics Student Book 2, T Akrill and G George, Hodder Education, 2015
- Additional texts:
Maths Skills for A level Physics, C Tear, Oxford University Press, 2013
- Internet access
- Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec
Our course fees are open and honest to help you plan for any additional costs.
Your course fee includes:
- Access to learn@nec
- All the course materials you need to complete the course
- Support from a personal tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
- Assignment marking
- Marking for one past paper
- Guaranteed exam place
- Free e-book version of the essential textbooks
- NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
- Time planner to help you plan your study timetable
- Information on how to apply for exams
Your course fee does not cover:
- Exam entry fees
- Additional textbooks
- Equipment for core practicals
- Additional past paper marking
- Revision tutorial
- Optional tutorial
- Additional review
- UCAS application service
Exams and assessment
- 30% of marks (1 hour 45 minutes)
- 30% of marks (1 hour 45 minutes)
- 40% of marks (2 hours 30 minutes)
The exams are written, with no practical element, but throughout the exam you will be expected to use your understanding of practical theory – gained through the 16 core practicals within your course – to answer questions.
Non-exam assessment (NEA):
- an additional assessment providing opportunity to gain a practical skills endorsement to demonstrate practical skills as well as knowledge
- separately endorsed and reported as a separate grade
- does not contribute to the result of the A level qualification
- for some university programmes, like medicine, you will need to have the endorsement as well as the A level
Additional support if you're under 18
We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience, learning online works best when the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.
- Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
- Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
- You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
- Dedicated Parent Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.
- Access to the Kudos career platform for young learners to explore career choices.
Who is this course for?
Our Physics A level course is ideal if you:
- Are keen to build on the knowledge you’ve gained at GCSE level.
- Enjoy working scientifically: making predictions, testing theories and evaluating and communicating your findings.
- Would like to build your observational, investigative and problem-solving skills, to improve your employability.
- Want to discover how physics impacts everyday life.
- GCSEs in physics (minimum grade 4 / grade C), and maths; or an equivalent such as Double or Triple Science (minimum grade 4 / grade C), or intermediate GNVQ Science or a BTEC First in Science are recommended
- An ability to read and write in English
- Studying physics or STEM subjects at university.
- Physics develops a unique skill set, well suited to a diverse range of careers in fields such as biotechnology, astronomy, meteorology, medicine, astrophysics, radiography, nanotechnology, climate science, engineering, computer science, journalism, architecture and teaching.
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