Physics International GCSE

Physics involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time. You'll learn about energy and matter, developing investigative and analytical skills through practical experiments you can do at home.

This course is one of our new Gold Star IGCSEs. Find out more about them here.



Course requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but you need to be able to read and write in English. This is an online course you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

It's really up to you but, as a guide, a GCSE course takes about 120-150 hours plus extra time for assignment work you submit to your tutor. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.


This course follows specification 4PH1 from the awarding organisation Edexcel. Full details of the specification can be obtained from Edexcel's website.


Section 1 - Forces and motion, Part 1
  • Distance and speed
  • Speed and acceleration
  • Forces
  • Weight and force

Section 2 - Forces and motion, Part 2
  • Momentum
  • Force and change in momentum
  • Moments
  • Centre of gravity
  • Reaction forces
  • Hooke's law

Section 3 - Electricity
  • Mains electricity
  • Series and parallel circuits
  • Resistance and Ohm's law
  • Charge and current
  • Energy and voltage
  • Conductors and insulators
  • Electrostatic charge

Section 4 - Waves and energy
  • Waves and energy transfer
  • Properties of waves
  • The electromagnetic spectrum

Section 5 - Light and sound
  • Light waves
  • Refraction
  • Total internal reflection
  • Sound
  • Frequency and loudness of sound

Section 6 - Energy transfer
  • Energy transfer
  • Thermal energy
  • Work and energy
  • Potential and kinetic energy
  • Energy conservation and power
  • Energy sources

Section 7 - Solids, liquids and gases
  • Density
  • Pressure
  • Solids, liquids and gases
  • Specific heat capacity
  • Ideal gases
  • Gas laws

Section 8 - Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Magnetism
  • Electromagnets
  • Electromagnetic forces
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Transformers

Section 9 - The atom
  • Atomic structure and radiation
  • Nuclear equations
  • Radioactive substances
  • Uses of radioactivity and the dangers
  • Fission
  • Fusion

Section 10 - Space and cosmology
  • The universe and our solar system
  • The role of gravity
  • Stellar evolution
  • The Big Bang theory

Exams and assessment

Two exams:
  • 2 hours, 61% of marks
  • 1 hour 15 minutes, 39% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):
  • None


Assignments do not contribute towards your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to gauge your progress as you work through the course.

This course has:
  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 10 assignments
  • 13 core practicals

Set texts and resources

There are no additional set texts.

Using learn@nec

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:

Operating systems:
  • 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

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.

Paying in instalments

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.

Representative example:
Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

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 or visit

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What our students say...

"Studying with NEC prepared me very well for the exams, especially seeing that I completed the course in six months! It was a very convenient way of obtaining a qualification with a good grade, particularly now that few colleges offer part-time academic courses. Plus, you can take them over a short period of time."
— Kim Chappell