Wilson's School

Physics: Support


There is much more that goes on in the Physics department than just classroom learning!

We regularly enter students for the British Physics Olympiad; we invite students across Years 11, 12 and 13 to enter the written challenges. In addition, we offer students in Years 10–13 the chance to take part in the British Physics Olympiad Experimental Challenge, offering students a chance to do some extracurricular lab work that is above and beyond the examination requirements. This is ideal enrichment for a UCAS personal statement. Students in Year 13 who wish to apply to Oxbridge for Physics and Engineering courses are also given extra support with preparations for the Physics Aptitude Test.

The past few years have seen various trips and excursions, such as visiting a nuclear power station at Dungeness B, and visiting the Greenwich observatory. Most exciting, though, are our annual Easter trips to CERN in Geneva!

Recognising that Physics is a dynamic and evolving subject, we often invite external speakers (e.g. University lecturers) to give talks about their research and interests. We also welcome back Old Boys who are studying Physics in order to talk to current sixth form students about why they enjoy Physics, and what Physics is like at University.

Physics is well represented at the school’s Science Club. Investigating rockets, making egg-landers, fun with circuits, strange sounds, the magic of light… These are just a few of the Physics themed investigations that will take place in Science club to enhance our students’ thinking, and further stimulate their curiosity!

Further links

Physics Study Skills and Tips:
  1. Maths has always been a key skill in physics. The reformed physics specifications give mathematical ability a higher priority than in recent years. So, it is important to ensure that you keep up with the mathematical demands of the course.
  2. Get a good overview of your physics textbook before tackling it in depth. If you look at several physics books, you will notice that many are laid out the same way. So if you have difficulty with a concept in the text book provided, why not review it in another book, or online? Do not rely on just one resource book – especially not a study guide. Skim through the text book. Notice the chapter objectives, the chapter outline, highlighted boxes, tables, illustrations, graphs, diagrams, terminology, summary statements, practice exercises and glossary.
  3. Once your teacher has explained the plan for the term, read the relevant chapters BEFORE attending class and again after. You will get the most out of class if you read the material ahead of time. Notice that each chapter in your physics text has new vocabulary, terms, definitions, concepts, major ideas and many mathematical equations and practice exercises to be worked out.
  4. Make problem-solving part of each study session. The more you work out problems and test yourself, the better your physics will get. Devote your time to learning how to do each problem rather than in obtaining the numerical answer given in the back of the book. Even if you do not have homework problems to do, try working out at least five new problems every time you study.
  5. When working out a physics problem, determine what principle it is illustrating or what kind of problem it is. For example, is it a momentum problem or a force problem? This will help you to set the question out effectively.
  6. When working out a problem, try to visualize what it is asking you to do. Draw it out and/or set up a chart, then identify the variables and set up the equation. Remember setting up the problem is the most important thing you can do. Next, solve your equation for the unknown, and substitute your numbers into the problem, to see if it checks out.
  7. The true test for determining if you know your material is to do a problem you have never done or seen before. So when preparing for a physics exam, look for new problems. With each problem, ask yourself what kind of problem is this, and how are you going to do it? Then, do lots and lots of problems. (Remember, if you run out of OCR questions – there are other Boards such as AQA and Edexcel that produce questions of an equivalent standard.)
  8. Use more than one physics text when studying. Employ these other texts as reference books for reviewing or illustrating difficult concepts and for obtaining practice problems to test yourself with.
  9. Take notes while you are reading and organize yourself well. Write down all new vocabulary, terms, definitions, concepts, equations, major ideas, problems types, and the do's and don'ts for avoiding mistakes.
  10. Know your physics terminology. Practice using the words of physics again and again, so they will start meaning something to you.
  11. Use small review cards for learning terminology and for testing yourself on concepts. Put a difficult term or concept on one side and the meaning on the other. Carry these cards wherever you go and review them at odd moments - you won't even feel like you're studying.
  12. To make physics more fun, keep relating it to your everyday life. Look for situations or occurrences that illustrate what you are learning. For example, what causes hairs to repel one another on a dry winter day? How does your engine use petrol to produce motion? What causes the heat on a drill bit after drilling a hole in metal?
  13. Form a physics study group to talk aloud and test yourself on your new learned knowledge. Explaining physics to others is an excellent way to reinforce new concepts. Study groups also help students to do better by increasing their motivation and confidence. If group is out of the question for you, try explaining new ideas to a family member, a friend.
  14. Research has shown that we remember 90% of what we say and do. So keep practicing – and explaining your studies to others.
  15. Physics takes a lot of time and effort, so don't take it with a heavy course or work load or lots of family responsibilities. Give yourself time to really learn it and enjoy it. In addition to the hours you spend in class, plan to spend at least 10 hours per week on homework problems and at least one hour for writing up a practical in detail.
  16. Physics is cumulative; one topic builds on another - so don't fall behind. Keep up with the material. If you need help, get it immediately. You can get assistance from your teacher, your classmates, family or friends, other physics texts, the internet or the library
  17. Review immediately after class and again eight hours later. Most of the information we learn is lost within the first 20 to 60 minutes after learning. So be sure to review as soon as you can.
  18. Begin studying for exams well in advance and avoid cramming. Throughout the term, as you learn each new concept test yourself on it. The best students are testing themselves continuously throughout the learning process. In addition, make up your own difficult practice tests and practice working out all types of problems.

Careers in Physics

Physics is widely regarded as a demanding subject to get and employers know that to get a good physics qualification, you have to be bright! A physicist looks to understand how things work: the reasons that things happen the way they do, which requires the ability to analyse problems. This is a highly marketable skill which is applicable to a wide range of careers. An understanding of Physics gives you an excellent grounding in many areas, what you make of this is up to you! One survey in The Times suggested that Physics was the most employable of all degrees.

The resources provided by the Physics department are still useful to students, but relate to the outgoing specifications.  Updates will be made as material becomes available.

A level revision materials

L6 Booklet Spring 2011 ms photons
L6 Booklet Spring 2011 ms
U6 Booklet Spring 2011 ms

Mark Scheme for AS Autumn Physics Booklet

All OCR G481 Equestions ms
All OCR G481 Equestions
All OCR G484 Equestions ms
All OCR G484 Equestions

G482 Past Paper Answers
G482 Past Paper Questions
G485 Past Paper Questions ms
G485 Past Paper Questions

Yr 11 Circular Motion Data

iGCSE revision materials

2008 Past Papers
2009 Past Papers
2010 Past Papers
2011 Past Papers
2012 Past Papers