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How hard is A level physics?by Haroldingo
Tags: physics 
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#1
Jan3012, 03:06 PM

P: 38

Now you're all mostly physics heads on this forum, so it's important to consider than I understand about 1/75th of what is said on this forum.
I love physics, I find it fascinating  but I went to this consultation meeting thing and I was basically told that unless I'm a maths freak I'll flop. I mean I'm good at maths, I get Bs but at the end of the year I should get an A  but I don't find it so easy. Physics I'm pretty much A grade at also, as far as i know. My knowledge of physics is mostly from school, youtube and books but I know a bit about quantum mechanics and the like, as well as the history of physics etc. Can anybody objectively tell me how hard A level physics is? considering that I have no intention of studying maths at A level... Cheers! 


#2
Jan3012, 09:32 PM

P: 832

If you want to study physical sciences (chemistry, physics) or engineering, studying mathematics and physics at ALevel is a prerequisite.
Are you doing Physics at GCSE? I found it to be a significant gap up. I barely went to class in GCSE and managed to come out of it with an A. I did the same for ALevels and got an E in my first trimester... It's only harder if you make it harder for yourself. If you're doing well in GCSE Math and Physics, it shouldn't be hard, so long as you pay attention in your classes. Actually, it depends on how you learn  what works for me could or could not work for you. I have trouble concentrating on "lectures", so I read up the material on my own, try working through exercises and when I get stuck, I ask a teacher for help clearing some concepts up. You should also pick an ALevel Physics text book and see for yourself. I don't think you'd need any more than GCSE Mathematics to understand it. 


#3
Jan3112, 11:16 AM

P: 216

To sum up: Only do it if you are going to do a level maths with it (imo) It is easy if you are good at maths, and the first year is harder than the second year (the first year is just maths). Only do it if you're planning on doing an engineering degree (though not for all universities), or physics itself. It would be useful in chemistry and neuroscience etc but it is not a prerequisite. Hope this helped. 


#4
Jan3112, 12:12 PM

P: 38

How hard is A level physics?
Maybe if I try really hard at maths I can catch up, but i'm not someone who calculates things mathematically as such, if you know where i'm coming from  and so sometimes i don't get the premises of maths so easily, and it takes me a bit of time to remember the equations, formulae etc. I can always study physics for AS and then drop it if It's too difficult? 


#5
Jan3112, 12:24 PM

P: 832

Yes, you can study subjects at AS and then drop them if you don't like them or find them too difficult. It's interesting you bring that up because you should also consider what backup plan you will have. Usually, students do 4 ASLevels in the first year, drop one and go on with three. Meaning that if you drop Maths and Physics, you're left with only two ALevels! Figure out how to make that number become three...
You will need ALevel Mathematics and ALevel Physics to do a Physics degree. On that note, university level mathematics is very different to ALevel Maths, which is essentially mindlessly calculating things. For what it's worth, it's more interesting than GCSE Maths. Try to start reading your textbook if you're already comfortable enough with GCSE Maths  you'll get a clearer idea of what's in store for you. I have also never seen an engineering degree, except perhaps Software Engineering, which has *only* ALevel Mathematics as a prerequisite. Usually  I dare not say always  both Physics and Mathematics are required subjects. Some even ask for Further Maths. Or say it could be useful... 


#6
Jan3112, 12:32 PM

P: 216

What are you planning to study at university? What a levels are you planning to take? My brother got a B in GCSE mathematics, he went on to study A level mathematics and AS further mathematics (he couldnt do it in his first year as he only got a B in gcse) and ended up with A*AAa (Maths Biology Chemistry Further maths). Hes now studying at a great university and guess what, hes studying mathematics ;). GCSE maths is so dull and routine that I wouldn't judge your mathematical ability on your GCSE grade. The only reason he got a B is because he didn't try though, and he actually done some work at a level and came out with those grades. If you are considering taking physics a level then just take maths a level also, i have a friend taking physics a level without maths and she is getting Es and Ds in her mocks (and she got 7A* at her GCSE), while another friend is getting As and Bs in AS physics who also takes maths, however he probably does work harder than her (he got an A in maths and physics GCSE). Even if you take a level maths you can get away with getting an A grade just by simply studying it for an hour each day, it's really not that difficult. PS my brother is the exception rather than the rule, get an A* in GCSE maths. 


#7
Jan3112, 12:38 PM

P: 216

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/ugprospec...ryrequirements http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ugstudy/...gineering.aspx Yes I agree that physics is useful, but some universities don't require it as the hardest stuff in a level physics is in the mechanics modules in mathematics. 


#8
Feb112, 11:51 AM

P: 38

Does that make sense? 


#9
Feb212, 09:53 AM

P: 832

So far, you have not been able to show me a single university which fits the "all they require for engineering is ALevel Maths" criteria. You only came up with universities requiring Maths *and* another science/electronics, which is definitely not the same as "just ALevel Maths". Maybe that was not your intention but you had me believe that I could get into any given engineering program with say, ALevel Maths, Japanese and Business! Indeed, the (calcbased  it is, for CIE at least) mechanics component in ALevel Maths is "harder" than the algebrabased physics one encounters throughout the whole of the ALevel Physics course. If you find studying on your own hard, see if you can study with another motivated student or maybe even form a study group. Don't sell yourself short. Give it your best shot and if things don't work out, you can always change subjects. Maybe you can end up not liking physics but loving maths. On another forum, I frequent, a person got on offer from Cambridge for Mathematics with ALevel Maths, Further Maths and German. No physics. My point is, if you end up not liking physics or biology, you can always change to something else. Doing ALevel maths actually makes you quite flexible. A number of people also do ALevel Physics without ALevel Maths and they do just fine. I've seen medicine applicants who do the three sciences for ALevel. 


#10
Feb212, 12:34 PM

P: 216




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