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Physics at college

  1. Apr 27, 2005 #1
    This year (Infact next week I leave high school and only come back for my GCSE's) I leave high school. I Was going to stay on at my school for 6th year, but they don't offer any good courses yet, as the 6th year was only introduced last year. I hope to go to a college and study A-level physics and A-level ICT (AKA, IT & Computer studies)

    Here's a link to the AS and A2 physics courses. I want to know if they what they offer is good and will it teach me anything.

    http://www.ndai.ac.uk/courses/prospectusfulldetails.asp?cid=SM011 - AS Physics - This is the "half" A-level that qualafies me for A2 Physics. I do not NEED to do AS to get in to A2, I just need to prove I can do A2 physics, which I know I can.

    http://www.ndai.ac.uk/courses/prospectusfulldetails.asp?cid=SM008 - A2 Physics - This is the full A-level.

    That college is one of the top colleges in the country. There is quite a local college nearer to me, but the courses it offers are not as advanced as those, the school is run down looking and just about everyone from my already school is going there. I want to go somewhere else to meet new people and introduce my self to the life of adulthood with a little more "umph".

    What sort of maths will I need to know to do those courses to the fullest? I'm not the greatest at maths, and Algebra just annoys me to the Nth degree. Algebra, Nth degree...Eh..EH, Pun eh? :rofl:
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2005 #2
    Honestly, there's not much Maths in A Level Physics. Some trig and algebra really, basic vectors too.

    Edit: how exactly are you gonna get a full A Level in Physics without doing AS? The A Level is both AS and A2.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  4. Apr 27, 2005 #3
    I've been informed that the AS is more of a qualafier for the A2 if you don't get accepted to A2 immediatly.
  5. Apr 27, 2005 #4


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    You need to do both if you want a Physics A level.

    I'd say that if you've got a good maths GCSE (our school used to require at least a B) you shouldn't have any problems with the A level physics course, although your understanding would be better if you did a maths A level at the same time.
  6. Apr 27, 2005 #5
    Indeed, A level physics, from what i hear comparing to other contries equivelant of the Alevels, is pretty much a walkover math-wise.

    Although if you really want to learn more, you can get many books for physics from amazon and the libirary to learn on your own.
  7. Apr 27, 2005 #6
    Learning on my own would not have been a problem, but I would much rather prefer to have a goal in learning, and to have something to show for it.

    I was concidering about doing a maths A-level but my maths is not hot at all and to be honost, i'll be lucky if I even get a C in my GCSE Maths.
    If I were to take up Maths at A-level I would probably fall behind and end up making an ass of myself. And i'd fail the course.
  8. Apr 27, 2005 #7
    It is usually recommended that you do both A-level mathematics (with mechanics) if you want to go into IT, and physics.

    And whats to say private research doesn't have a goal? It certainly helps on the long run for very mathematical physics and mathematics itself.

    Another thing that is sad is that in britain, the way they teach mathematics tends to discourage people from learning math as a fun topic. If i were you, i would get a solid good mathematics book with a reputable author. K,A,stroud's Engineering mathematics is a good choice to start, as it starts from simple number theory which (i think) even year 9 students can undertand, ending at partial diffrential equations.

    These, if you are determined, will give you a solid mathematical background to study physics, at least in A-level.
  9. Apr 27, 2005 #8
    I'll get that book. Sounds like I need it. Reckon Amazon would have it?

    I don't want to do private research (well, I do, but I want something to show for it) So I can go on to get myself somewhere in the aviation industry.

    Would it not be really hard doing A-level Physics, ICT, AND maths? Physics would be time consuming on its own, ICT would be very time consuming, and Maths would take up 10x all of those.

    EDIT: Found his *not very cheap* books here. Which one am I looking for? I need the very basics and there are many to chose from here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/202-9262893-4690216
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  10. Apr 27, 2005 #9
    I'm not saying it is compulsary to buy the book in order to study A-level physics. As brewnog said before, A-level just uses basic algebra and vectors.

    What i am saying is that this book i have been referring to has explanations of mathematics which is suitable even for the most 'under-mathematical' student. Since you imply that you seem to be that 'type', it MIGHT be appropriate to get the book.

    Take your time before buying the book. Every library i've been to has a copy of that book, and hopefully, you can look it up there to see what kind of content it has and whether it suits your ability.


    Its this one. Have a look at the reviews, and again, look it up in the library before purchase. Otherwise, you could have to use for no reason some 30 pounds of cash.
  11. Apr 27, 2005 #10
    Hi first post,
    I'm doing that exact course at the moment (AQA physics B (AS)). The first module is really easy, it is just basic mechanics and electricity. The second module is harder, it is waves and nuclear physics this exam has many more writtten questions. The third module is a practicle assesment. Then A2 is MUCH more difficult.

    You will need to be good at rearranging equations (very important), trigonemetry and graphing (including logarithms). There is no calculus on any paper (not even AEA if you do it). So if you are happy with these areas of maths then I would try it.
  12. Apr 28, 2005 #11
    I'm not too great at those areas. But I CAN learn it, and I WILL learn it. Tomorrow i'm going to my Maths teacher and asking for some work sheets that can help me learn. I will learn, as I want to.

    Thanks for your help.

    @Blad: I'll take a look at a few librarys near me, and if the book meets my requirements, i'll buy it. It could prove invaluable.
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