Physics

Monmouth School for Boys Physics lessonPhysics is the study of the fundamental structure and behaviour of the universe in which we live. It also provides a sound framework upon which technological applications, such as engineering and electronics, are based. The language of physics is mathematics and, as such, this is a subject that provides an important and sought-after core skill of numeracy. Physics is a rapidly changing discipline where new and exciting discoveries are made daily.

We run sector-leading innovations like the Monmouth Science Initiative, where students get the opportunity to carry out experiments and investigations beyond the A-Level Physics curriculum. Invited speakers from leading universities inspire and educate about subjects as diverse as Operational Research and Supernovae.

Boys can find out about the Universe by joining the Monmouth Astronomical Research Society which meets regularly in the Physics department. Observing sessions with telescopes are run and also experts from universities and other astronomical institutions give talks on all things Space.

Boys from all years are encouraged to join initiatives like the High Altitude Balloon Club which meets every week in the department. Run from the Michaelmas term onwards, it culminates in balloon launches of scientific instruments to the high atmosphere in March, all built and designed by boys in Years 7 – 13.

GCSE/IGCSE

The department teaches physics to the EdExcel International GCSE Specification. This consists of seven major themes: mechanics, electricity, electromagnetism, waves, energy, matter and nuclear.  There is no coursework element and grades are based solely examination results. There is a 2 hour core and 1 hour extension paper. Practical skills are examined through questions set in these papers.

The aim of the specification is to provide thorough exposure to core skills in physics, tested equally through mathematical and descriptive challenges. The importance of experimental work is clear throughout the course and the department ensures that candidates are exposed to as much practical work as possible. This includes IT skills and data logging.

Pupils are encouraged to take an enquiring approach to this subject, to analyse evidence and to reflect critically on the validity of their own data and that of others. The importance of physics in the everyday world is emphasised, as well as considering its impact upon society.

A grade A* or A for International GCSE Physics is an excellent starting point for an A level in this subject.

Physics A level

Why study Physics?

Physics A level is a challenging and interesting course which is usually studied in combination with mathematics and the other sciences. Typically, the subject is taken by 30-40 students.

The course includes both traditional physics, such as mechanics and modern disciplines, such as quantum and particle physics. Students find much to engage their enthusiasm and can extend their interest beyond the curriculum by participating in the Monmouth Science Initiative programme and the Monmouth Astronomical Research Society.

Most candidates go on to study physics, mathematics and engineering at university. A lesser number study economics and medicine. Physics is a key subject in a large range of undergraduate courses, providing core numeracy skills and is one of the most highly regarded A level subjects for entry into Russell Group universities. A surprising number of City of London workers are former physicists.

Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls follow the same specification.

Head of Department: Dr D Jones


Course content

Board: AQA;   Specification Code: 7408

A level Topics:

Measurements and their errors Further mechanics and thermal physics
Particles and radiation Fields and their consequences
Waves Nuclear physics
Mechanics and materials Astrophysics
 Electricity  
Method of assessment

Paper 1 – Sections 1 to 5 and 6.1 (Periodic motion)  
Written exam: 2 hours;  85 marks,  34% of A level.
60 marks of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content

Paper 2 – Sections 6.2 (Thermal Physics), 7 and 8 plus assumed knowledge from sections 1 to 6.1  
Written exam: 2 hours 
85 marks,  34% of A level
60 marks of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content.

Paper 3 – Section A Compulsory section: Practical skills and data analysis and Section B: Astrophysics.
Written exam: 2 hours; 
80 marks, 32% of A level
45 marks of short and long answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis.
35 marks of short and long answer questions on optional topic.

Beyond Monmouth School for Boys

Most candidates go on to physics, mathematics and engineering at university.  A lesser number study economics and medicine. Physics is a key subject in a large range of undergraduate courses, providing core numeracy skills.  A surprising number of City of London workers are former physicists!