Edexcel AS Syllabus

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Mechanics    Electric Circuits     Materials     Waves 

In the exam, you are expected to:

Topic 1 - Working as a Physicist

1

Know and understand the distinction between base and derived quantities and their SI units

Induction 1

2

Be able to demonstrate their knowledge of practical skills and techniques for both familiar and unfamiliar experiments

Induction 4

Induction 5

Induction 6

3

Be able to estimate values for physical quantities and use their estimate to solve problems

Induction 8

4

Understand the limitations of physical measurement and apply these limitations to practical situations

Induction 4

5

Be able to communicate information and ideas in appropriate ways using appropriate terminology

Induction 7

6

Understand applications and implications of science and evaluate their associated benefits and risks

Induction 0

7

Understand the role of the scientific community in validating new knowledge and ensuring integrity

Induction 0

8

Understand the ways in which society uses science to inform decision making

Induction 0

 

While not specified on the syllabus, the use of standard form and proficiency in handling equations will be expected as a matter of course.

Induction 2

(Standard Form)

Induction 3

(Equations)

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Topic 2 - Mechanics

9

Be able to use the equations for uniformly accelerated motion in one dimension:

Mechanics 6

10

Be able to draw and interpret displacement-time, velocity-time and acceleration-time graphs

Mechanics 6

11

Know the physical quantities derived from the slopes and areas of displacement-time, velocity-time and acceleration-time graphs, including cases of non-uniform acceleration and understand how to use the quantities

Mechanics 6

12

Understand scalar and vector quantities and know examples of each type of quantity and recognise vector notation

Mechanics 1

13

Be able to resolve a vector into two components at right angles to each other by drawing and by calculation

Mechanics 1

14

Be able to find the resultant of two coplanar vectors at any angle to each other by drawing, and at right angles to each other by calculation

Mechanics 2

15

Understand how to make use of the independence of vertical and horizontal motion of a projectile moving freely under gravity

Mechanics 9

16

Be able to draw and interpret free-body force diagrams to represent forces on a particle or on an extended but rigid body

Mechanics 2

17

Be able to use the equation

and understand how to use this equation in situations where m is constant (Newton’s second law of motion), including Newton’s first law of motion where a = 0, objects at rest or travelling at constant velocity.
 

Use of the term terminal velocity is expected

 

Mechanics 10

(Newton's Laws)

 

Mechanics 7

(Terminal Velocity)

 

Mechanics 8

(Friction and Drag)

 

18

Be able to use the equations for gravitational field strength


 

and weight

Mechanics 7 

19

CORE PRACTICAL 1: Determine the acceleration of a freely-falling object.

Mechanics 7

20

Know and understand Newton’s third law of motion and know the properties of pairs of forces in an interaction between two bodies

Mechanics 10

21

Understand that momentum is defined as:

Mechanics 11

22

Know the principle of conservation of linear momentum, understand how to relate this to Newton’s laws of motion and understand how to apply this to problems in one dimension

Mechanics 12

23

Be able to use the equation for the moment of a force, moment of force = Fx where x is the perpendicular distance between the line of action of the force and the axis of rotation

Mechanics 3

24

Be able to use the concept of centre of gravity of an extended body and apply the principle of moments to an extended body in equilibrium

Mechanics 4

Mechanics 5

25

Be able to use the equation for work

 including calculations when the force is not along the line of motion.

Mechanics 13

26

Be able to use the equation

for the kinetic energy of a body

Mechanics 15

27

Be able to use the equation

 for the difference in gravitational potential energy near the Earth’s surface

Mechanics 15

28

Know, and understand how to apply, the principle of conservation of energy including use of work done, gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy

Mechanics 15

29

Be able to use the equations relating power, time and energy transferred or work done:

  and 
 

Mechanics 13 

30

Be able to use the equations:

and

Mechanics 14

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Topic 3 - Electric Circuits

31

Understand that electric current is the rate of flow of charged particles and be able to use the equation:

Electricity 1

32

Understand how to use the equation:

Electricity 1

33

Understand that resistance is defined by:


 and that Ohm’s law is a special case when
I ∝ V for constant temperature

Electricity 2

34

Understand how the distribution of current in a circuit is a consequence of charge conservation

Electricity 7

35

Understand how the distribution of potential differences in a circuit is a consequence of energy conservation

Electricity 7

36

Be able to derive the equations for combining resistances in series and parallel using the principles of charge and energy conservation, and be able to use these equations

Electricity 7

37

Be able to use the equation and be able to derive and use related equations, e.g.


Electricity 5

38

Understand how to sketch, recognise and interpret current-potential difference graphs for components, including ohmic conductors, filament bulbs, thermistors and diodes

Electricity 3

39

Be able to use the equation:

Electricity 4

40

CORE PRACTICAL 2: Determine the electrical resistivity of a material.

Electricity 4

41

Be able to use I = nqvA to explain the large range of resistivities of different materials

Electricity 4

42

Understand how the potential along a uniform current-carrying wire varies with the distance along it

Electricity 6

43

Understand the principles of a potential divider circuit and understand how to calculate potential differences and resistances in such a circuit

Electricity 6

44

Be able to analyse potential divider circuits where one resistance is variable including thermistors and light dependent resistors (LDRs)

Electricity 6

45

Know the definition of electromotive force (e.m.f.) and understand what is meant by internal resistance and know how to distinguish between e.m.f. and terminal potential difference

Electricity 8

46

CORE PRACTICAL 3: Determine the e.m.f. and internal resistance of an electrical cell.

Electricity 8

47

Understand how changes of resistance with temperature may be modelled in terms of lattice vibrations and number of conduction electrons and understand how to apply this model to metallic conductors and negative temperature coefficient thermistors

Electricity 4

Electricity 6

48

Understand how changes of resistance with illumination may be modelled in terms of the number of conduction electrons and understand how to apply this model to LDRs.

Electricity 6

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Topic 4 - Materials

49

Be able to use the equation:

Materials 1

50

Understand how to use the relationship upthrust = weight of fluid displaced

Materials 4

51

a. Be able to use the equation for viscous drag (Stokes’ Law):


b. Understand that this equation applies only to small spherical objects moving at low speeds with laminar flow (or in the absence of turbulent flow) and that viscosity is temperature dependent

Materials 4 

52

CORE PRACTICAL 4: Use a falling-ball method to determine the viscosity of a liquid.

Materials 4

53

Be able to use the Hooke’s law equation,

where k is the stiffness of the object.

Materials 2

54

Understand how to use the relationships
(tensile or compressive) stress = force/cross-sectional area
● (tensile or compressive) strain= change in length/original length
● Young modulus = stress/strain

Materials 3
55

a. Be able to draw and interpret force-extension and force-compression graphs
b. Understand the terms limit of proportionality, elastic limit, yield point, elastic deformation and plastic deformation and be able to apply them to these graphs

Materials 2

56

Be able to draw and interpret tensile or compressive stress-strain graphs, and understand the term breaking stress.

Materials 3

57

CORE PRACTICAL 5: Determine the Young modulus of a material

Materials 3

58

Be able to calculate the elastic strain energy Eel in a deformed material sample, using the equation:

 

and from the area under the force-extension graph
 

The estimation of area and hence energy change for both linear and non-linear force-extension graphs is expected.

Materials 3

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Topic 5 - Waves and Particle Nature of Light

59

Understand the terms amplitude, frequency, period, speed and wavelength.

Waves 1

60

Be able to use the wave equation:

Waves 1

61

Be able to describe longitudinal waves in terms of pressure variation and the displacement of molecules.

Waves 2

62

Be able to describe transverse waves.

Waves 2

63

Be able to draw and interpret graphs representing transverse and longitudinal waves including standing/stationary waves.

Waves 1

64

CORE PRACTICAL 6: Determine the speed of sound in air using a 2-beam oscilloscope, signal generator, speaker and microphone.

Waves 2

65

Know and understand what is meant by wavefront, coherence, path difference, superposition, interference and phase.

Waves 1

Waves 3

66

Be able to use the relationship between phase difference and path difference.

Waves 1

67

Know what is meant by a standing/stationary wave and understand how such a wave is formed, know how to identify nodes and antinodes.

Waves 4

68

Be able to use the equation for the speed of a transverse wave on a string:

Waves 4

69

CORE PRACTICAL 7: Investigate the effects of length, tension and mass per unit length on the frequency of a vibrating string or wire.

Waves 4

70

Be able to use the equation intensity of radiation:

Waves 1

71

Know and understand that at the interface between medium 1 and medium 2

where refractive index is:

Waves 6

72

Be able to calculate critical angle using:

Waves 6

73

Be able to predict whether total internal reflection will occur at an interface.

Waves 6

74

Understand how to measure the refractive index of a solid material.

Waves 6

75

Understand the term focal length of converging and diverging lenses.

Medical Physics 2

76

Be able to use ray diagrams to trace the path of light through a lens and locate the position of an image.

Medical Physics 2

77

Be able to use the equation power of a lens:

Medical Physics 2

78

Understand that for thin lenses in combination:

Astrophysics 1

79

Know and understand the terms real image and virtual image.

Medical Physics 2

80

Be able to use the equation:

for a thin converging or diverging lens with the real is positive convention.

Medical Physics 2

81

Know and understand that magnification = image height/object height and:

Medical Physics 2

82

Understand what is meant by plane polarisation.

Waves 2

83

Understand what is meant by diffraction and use Huygens’ construction to explain what happens to a wave when it meets a slit or an obstacle.

Waves 8

Turning Points 3

84

Be able to use

for a diffraction grating.

Waves 8

85

CORE PRACTICAL 8: Determine the wavelength of light from a laser or other light source using a diffraction grating.

Waves 8 

86

Understand how diffraction experiments provide evidence for the wave nature of electrons.

Quantum 6

87

Be able to use the de Broglie equation:

Quantum 6

88

Understand that waves can be transmitted and reflected at an interface between media.

Waves 6

89

Understand how a pulse-echo technique can provide information about the position of an object and how the amount of information obtained may be limited by the wavelength of the radiation or by the duration of pulses.

Medical Physics 5

90

Understand how the behaviour of electromagnetic radiation can be described in terms of a wave model and a photon model, and how these models developed over time.

Turning Points 3

Turning Points 4

91

Be able to use the equation E = hf  that relates the photon energy to the wave frequency.

Quantum 1

92

Understand that the absorption of a photon can result in the emission of a photoelectron.

Quantum 2

93

Understand the terms threshold frequency and work function and be able to use the equation:

Quantum 2

94

Be able to use the electronvolt (eV) to express small energies.

Particle Physics 6

95

Understand how the photoelectric effect provides evidence for the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation.

Quantum 2

96

understand atomic line spectra in terms of transitions between discrete energy levels and understand how to calculate the frequency of radiation that could be emitted or absorbed in a transition between energy levels.

Quantum 3

Quantum 4

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