International AS / A-level Physics

A Level Physics

This qualification is designed to prepare students for university study in physics or engineering.

Each module covers a topic that can be exemplified in many different applications, bringing the subject to life.

Students must carry out 10 required practical activities in the course. The practicals are not constrained, allowing each school to choose resources and equipment that best suit their circumstances.

Practicals in this specification include the Young modulus of a metal and investigations into interference effects, transformers and determination of g. Exam questions will be asked on the practicals, but there is no coursework or practical exam.

Physics is fundamentally a mathematical subject, and this is reflected in the requirement for students to develop a wide range of mathematical skills.

Examinations will include both shorter questions for quickly checking understanding and longer extended calculations, which allow students to demonstrate logical thinking. Extended writing questions allow students to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge. In addition, multiple choice questions are included at the end of the papers, allowing students to manage their time.

This qualification is available for teaching now in Bahrain, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.


Unit 1: Mechanics, materials and atoms (AS)
Unit 2: Electricity, waves and particles (AS)

Unit 3: Fields and their consequences (A2)
Unit 4: Energy and energy resources (A2)
Unit 5: Physics in practice and multiple choice (A2)


  • Candidates may re-sit a unit any number of times.
  • The best result for each unit will count towards the final qualification.
  • Candidates who wish to repeat a qualification may do so by re-sitting one or more units.

Syllabus summary

Measurements and their errors

  • Use of SI units and their prefixes
  • Limitation of physical measurements
  • Estimation of physical quantities

Mechanics and materials

  • Scalars and vectors
  • Moments
  • Motion along a straight line
  • Projectile motion
  • Newton's laws of motion
  • Momentum
  • Work, energy and power
  • Conservation of energy
  • Bulk properties of solids
  • The Young modulus

Particles, radiation and radioactivity

  • Constituents of the atom
  • Elementary particles
  • Radioactivity


  • Basics of electricity
  • Current - voltage characteristics
  • Resistivity
  • Circuits
  • Potential divider
  • Electromotive force and internal resistance

Oscillations and waves

  • Oscillating systems
  • Forced vibrations and resonance
  • Progressive waves
  • Longitudinal and transverse waves
  • Principle of superposition of waves and formation of stationary waves
  • Interference
  • Diffraction
  • Refraction at a plane surface
  • Collisions of electrons with atoms
  • Photoelectric effect
  • Wave particle duality

Circular and periodic motion (A-level only)

  • Circular motion
  • Simple harmonic motion

Gravitational fields and satellites (A-level only)

  • Newton's gravitational law
  • Gravitational field strength
  • Gravitational potential
  • Orbits of planets and satellites

Electric fields and capacitance (A-level only)

  • Coulomb's law
  • Electric field strength
  • Electric potential
  • Capacitors

Exponential change (A-level only)

  • Capacitor charge and discharge
  • Exponential changes in radioactivity

Magnetic fields (A-level only)

  • Magnetic flux density
  • Moving charges in a magnetic field
  • Magnetic flux and flux linkage
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Alternating currents
  • The operation of a transformer

Thermal physics (A-level only)

  • Energy transfer by heating and doing work
  • Energy transfer by conduction and radiation
  • Ideal gases
  • Kinetic theory of gases

Nuclear energy (A-level only)

  • Radius of the nucleus
  • Mass and energy
  • Induced fission
  • Safety aspects nuclear reactors
  • Nuclear fusion

Energy sources (A-level only)

  • Rotational motion
  • Wind energy
  • Solar energy
  • Hydroelectric power and pumped storage

Practical and analytical skills (A-level only)

  • Practical skills
  • Data analysis skills

Download the complete Oxford AQA International AS / A-level Physics specification (PDF, 876 KB).

Resources available with this specification

Oxford International AQA Examinations provides the resources and advice you need to teach the International AS / A-level Physics specification effectively.

Switching Guides

Quickly orient yourself with the changes between your old International AS / A-level Physics specifications and the new Oxford International AQA Examinations specification.

Scheme of Work

Plan your course with the help of a suggested pathway through the syllabus so you can be sure you are covering the essential content.

Teaching Plan

Prepare for your year ahead by accessing the essential information you need to deliver the International AS / A-level Physics specification.

Practical Handbook

Get all the help you need to undertake practicals with your class. This guide harmonises the rules and guidance for A-level Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and includes a full glossary of terms.

Subject specific vocabulary

Ensure that everyone is using scientific language correctly with this list of word definitions used in our international A-level science specifications and exam papers (based on ‘The Language of Measurement’ produced by the Association of Science Education).

Command Words

Help students prepare for their exams by accessing definitions to command words used in exams and other assessed tasks.

Marked Exemplars

Prepare your students in exam technique with the help of exemplar student answers and examiner commentaries that show how examiners interpret the mark scheme.

International AS and A-level Physics marked exemplars

These exemplars of AQA past papers reflect the Oxford AQA Exams style of assessment. The exemplars show students’ responses in ‘Notes’ and where students have gained or lost marks, with comments that will help teachers to understand the reasons for the mark allocations. Common question types are shown, along with common student errors and misconceptions, as well as answer formats required for students to gain marks.


Exampro is an online database of AQA past paper questions mapped to the new international qualifications, enabling teachers to create their own resources and assessments.

Schools will be given an Exampro username and password when they are approved to teach our qualifications. If you have these credentials you can log in now. If your school is approved to teach our qualifications and you do not know your school’s log-in credentials, contact us.

Enhanced Results Analysis™ tool

Our free Enhanced Results Analysis tool (ERA) gives you instant analysis of your students’ results. You’ll see how students performed in each unit, topic and marks they received for each question. This allows you to see which questions proved the most challenging, or how different classes performed, so you know what areas to focus on in following years. The tool will be available following published results from the first cohort of International AS / A-level Physics students in 2018.

Download this specification

(PDF, 1.0 MB)

Contact us

Have a question about offering Oxford International AQA Examinations qualifications?

Contact us and one of our regional consultants will respond to you shortly.

If you have a question about a particular point of subject or assessment detail in this International AS / A-level Physics specification, you can email our UK-based team of subject experts at