Why choose this specification?

GCSE Physics encourages students to gain knowledge and practical experience about the underlying principles of how things work – from electrical circuits via X-ray machines to fairground rides.

Its structure allows opportunities for co-teaching and flexibility in curriculum planning because of unit overlaps with the GCSE Science A, Additional Science and Further Additional Science specifications.

It can count towards the Science component of the English Baccalaureate if students enter any three of the four separate sciences – GCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science – and attain grades A* to C in at least two of them.

Teachers like:

  • the ideas for lesson and homework activities
  • the practical work that helps students match concepts and evidence in a way that motivates them and improves understanding
  • the variety and range of topics covering, for example, the medical application of Physics as well as household electricity and appliances
  • that students can sharpen their observational skills and the course stimulates questions
  • that the course develops skills in approaching a problem that students will find useful in other subjects and contexts
  • being allowed to develop creative ideas and improve numeracy.

Students like:

  • the hands on work and experiments they do or watch as that helps them see the evidence for themselves and remember better
  • the fact the course deals with everyday things like heating buildings and the big questions about the universe
  • the fact that it is easy to see and understand the practical applications of the subject.

Knowledge/skills gained:

  • understanding of how physics can affect society and the environment
  • grasp of how hypotheses, evidence, theories and explanations work together
  • awareness of risk and the ability to assess and weigh risk against potential benefits
  • observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem-solving skills
  • ability to evaluate claims using scientific methods
  • skills in communication, Maths and the use of technology in scientific contexts.


  • tools to help plan workload, create exam resources, check student progress and become consistent in marking
  • Enhanced Results Analysis to help understand your students' strengths and weaknesses
  • access to subject departments
  • training for teachers, including practical teaching strategies and methods that work, presented by senior examiners
  • individual support for controlled assessment
  • 24-hour support through the website and Ask AQA
  • past question papers and mark schemes
  • a wide range of printed and electronic resources for teachers and students.


Students must enter all the assessment units at the end of the course in June, at the same time as they enter for the subject award. Re-sits can be taken in any of the June series available, until the end of the specification. Students who choose to re-sit must sit all of the exams in the same series.

Following on from the move to linear assessment, students may carry forward their controlled assessment unit result(s) following the initial moderation and aggregation during the lifetime of the specification.

Overlap with other qualifications

The Unit 1 content of GCSE Physics is the same as the Physics Unit in GCSE Science A. The same Unit 1 content is covered in GCSE Science B, though not as one self-contained unit.

The Unit 2 content of GCSE Physics is the same as the Physics Unit in GCSE Additional Science.

The Unit 3 content of GCSE Physics is the same as the Physics Unit in GCSE Further Additional Science.

Private candidates

Private candidates must have their centre-assessed work supervised and assessed at an AQA school/college. Please consult the information on our private candidates page.

Follow-on study

GCSE Physics could lead on to further study in Physics at A-level or other Science-related subjects or more vocationally-related courses.

Further information

GCSE Physics provides a Key Stage 4 Science course for students of any ability, whether they intend to study Science further or not. This course has been developed to ensure natural progression from Key Stage 3 as well as providing a firm foundation for AS and A-level Physics. The model of controlled assessment, investigative skills assignment (ISA), is straightforward and popular with teachers.

GCSE Physics is one of AQA's many qualifications for Key Stage 4. Entry Level qualifications and a variety of GCSEs allow teachers to select and design appropriate courses for all learners.

Our GCSE suite includes:

  • Science A (Biology, Chemistry and Physics units can be taught separately by subject specialists or by an integrated Science teacher)
  • Science B (an integrated Science specification with a context led approach)
  • Additional Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics units can be taught separately by subject specialists or by an integrated Science teacher)
  • Further Additional Science (covering the Unit 3 content of the GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics specifications)
  • Additional Applied Science (a practical approach to integrated science)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics.