Physics is the study of how things work, from the smallest sub-atomic particles to incomprehensibly large galaxies. A popular choice if you want to become an engineer, planetary scientist or technologist, you'll learn about particles, gravitational fields and thermodynamics.
Would you prefer to pay for your course by instalments? Please see the ‘How to enrol’ section below for details of our low cost, interest free finance available.
Are you intending to take your exams next summer? Please refer to our information on fast tracking and studying your course within one year.
This course is one of our new Gold Star A levels. Find out more about them here.
GCSE Science (double award) or GCSE Physics (minimum grade C) or Intermediate GNVQ Science or a BTEC First in Science, and GCSE Maths or equivalent, is strongly recommended for this course.
Hours of study
As a guideline, you should allow for between 300 and 350 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 24 months from the date of enrolment.
Exams and assessment
- 1 hour 45 minutes, 30% of marks
- 1 hour 45 minutes, 30% of marks
- 2 hours 30 minutes, 40% of marks
- The A level exams are written, with no practical element, but throughout the exam you will be expected to use your understanding of practical theory to answer questions. You will have gained this knowledge through the 16 core practicals within your course.
Non-exam assessment (NEA):
- In addition to the A level, you will have the opportunity to gain a practical skills endorsement to demonstrate practical skills as well as knowledge. This assessment is separately endorsed, will be reported as a separate grade, and will 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. Please refer to this page for more detailed information about how to take your practical skills endorsement through NEC.
NEC's tutor-marked assignments:
- 1 introductory assignment
- 10 assignments
Active e-book versions of these texts will be included free with your course:
- Edexcel A Level Physics Student Book 1, Mike Benn and Graham George, Hodder Education 2015
- Edexcel A Level Physics Student Book 2, Tim Akrill and Graham George, Hodder Education 2015
Maths Skills for A Level Physics, Carol Tear, Oxford University Press 2013
Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:
- Windows 7 or later
- Mac OSX 10.7 or later
- Google Chrome OS
- Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
- iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser
- Google Chrome (latest version)
- Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
- Safari 6 or later
- Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)
learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.
How to enrol
How to enrol
There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
- Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above
- Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team
- Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.
How can you pay?
It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.
Amount of credit:
Duration of agreement:
Rate of interest:
0% APR representative.
The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.
Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to www.dekopay.com/faq or visit www.dekopay.com.
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
- A home-made spectrometer
Section 6 - Collisions, circular motion and oscillations
- Momentum and collisions
- Motion in a circle
- Simple harmonic motion
Section 7 - Gravitational and electric fields
- Universal gravitation
- Electrical fields
- Charging and discharging a capacitor
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
Thank you for your interest in this course.
Please fill out your details below, and you will receive an email containing a link to download the course sample.
What our students say...
"I chose the course for its flexibility, which it certainly has lived up to."
— NEC A level student