iB iB

Physics

IGCSE

Physics is the study of the very big (the Universe) to the very small (atoms and nuclei).

Physics permeates every part of our lives and every citizen should have a familiarity with the concepts which impinge on our daily lives. Physicists are good at solving problems and need to be logical, numerate and inquisitive.

The pupils study the Cambridge IGCSE Physics syllabus and study the following topics:

  1. General Physics (Dynamics, Forces, Pressure, Energy, Power) 
  2. Thermal Physics (States of Matter, Kinetic Theory, Heat transfer, Specific and Latent Heat) 
  3. Properties of Waves (Sound, Light , Electro-magnetic spectrum, Wave Properties) 
  4. Electricity and Magnetism (Magnets, Electro-statics, simple circuits, Electrical Components, Electro-magnetism, Transformers, Oscilloscopes) 
  5. Atomic Physics (Kinds of Radio-active decay, Half Life, Safety, Isotopes, Uses of Radio- activity)

IB

What is Physics?
Physics is the study of systems from the very small (sub-atomic particles) to the very large (the Universe itself!)

In order to understand these systems it is necessary to develop "models". These may be mechanical, schematic, computations or mathematical.

Why Study Physics?
Studying Physics at this level puts you well on your way to understanding the Universe that we live in. Although there will always be unanswered questions, topic by topic this course delivers methods and explanations that build a fairly complete picture of our world. More than anything, Physics teaches you to solve problems. You will learn to quickly analyse data and diagrams and extract the useful information and then apply your learning to find solutions. It can be immensely satisfying! If you like solving puzzles; you will love Physics.

As well as opening doors to a range of degree courses, the subject is highly prized in industry. Not only are the skills learned relevant in an array of professions but the practical, problem solving nature of the subject makes it excellent preparation for most working environments.

What do I Need to Study Physics?
In order to study Physics in the Sixth Form you need to be mathematically competent. You should have a good grade in GCSE maths or similar (preferably an A grade or better). It is not necessary to study Maths at SL or HL in the IB, Maths studies is sufficient however you will need to be confident in rearranging equations, using indices, using trigonometric functions, working with angles and plotting graphs.

One cannot stress enough the importance of this. If you are uncomfortable manipulating equations and working with large and small numbers you will not enjoy studying Physics.

Physicists must also be open-minded. Over the two years there will be times when you ask questions to which there is no answer, or at least not yet. Understanding the motion of the very big and very small can require a great deal of imagination and the conceptual nature of some of our areas of study can be difficult to grasp. However, this is also what makes the subject so intriguing so try not to let it put you off.

As part of the course, students complete a Practical Scheme of Work (PSOW) including the Group 4 project in which they will collaborate with students from other subjects. They will also complete an Internal Assessment Task (IA) which is worth 20% of the final mark.

Faced with the difficult choice of our daughters remaining at a perfectly good state school in the Isle of Man, we chose to send them to King William’s College to study the International Baccalaureate. The outcome in both cases was a resounding endorsement of our decision, since King William’s College operates and delivers at a different level.

Past Parent of two 6th Form Students