OCR Syllabus Year 1 (AS) 

Practical Skills Foundations of Physics Forces and Motion Electrons, Waves, and Photons 

Module 1: Development of practical skills in physics 

1.1 Practical skills assessed in a written examination 

1.1.1 Planning 
1.1.2 Implementing 

(a) Experimental design, including to solve problems set in a practical context. 
(a) How to use a wide range of practical apparatus and techniques correctly. 

(b) Identification of variables that must be controlled, where appropriate 
(b) Appropriate units for measurements. 

(c) Evaluation that an experimental method is 
(c) Presenting observations and data in an appropriate format 

1.1.3 Analysis 
1.1.4 Evaluation 

(a) Processing, analysing and interpreting qualitative and quantitative experimental results. 
(a) How to evaluate results and draw conclusions. 

(b) Use of appropriate mathematical skills for analysis of quantitative data. 
(b) The identification of anomalies in experimental measurements. 

(c) Appropriate use of significant figures. 
(c) The limitations in experimental procedures. 

(d) Plotting and interpreting suitable graphs from experimental
results, including: 

(d) Precision and accuracy of measurements and data, including margins of error, percentage errors and uncertainties in apparatus 


(e) The refining of experimental design by suggestion of improvements to the procedures and apparatus. 

1.2 Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement 

1.2.1 Practical skills 
1.2.2 Use of apparatus and techniques 

(a) Apply investigative approaches and methods to practical work 
(a) Use of appropriate analogue apparatus to record a range of measurements (to include length/distance, temperature, pressure, force, angles and volume) and to interpolate between scale markings. 
Induction 4  
(b) safely and correctly use a range of practical 
(b) use of appropriate digital instruments, including electrical multimeters, to obtain a range of measurements (to include time, current, voltage, resistance and mass). 
Induction 4  
(c) Follow written instructions. 
(c) Use of methods to increase accuracy of measurements, such as timing over multiple oscillations, or use of fiducial marker, set square or plumb line. 
Induction 4  
(d) Make and record observations/measurements. 
(d) Use of a stopwatch or light gates for timing. 
Induction 9  
(e) Keep appropriate records of experimental activities. 
(e) Use of callipers and micrometers for small distances, using digital or vernier scales. 
Materials 3  
(f) Present information and data in a scientific way. 
(f) Correctly constructing circuits from circuit diagrams using DC power supplies, cells, and a range of circuit components, including those where polarity is important. 
Electricity 1  
(g) Use appropriate software and tools to process data, carry out research and report findings. 
(g) Designing, constructing and checking circuits using DC power supplies, cells, and a range of circuit components. 
Electricity 1  
(h) Use online and offline research skills including websites, textbooks and other printed scientific sources of information. 
(h) Use of a signal generator and oscilloscope, including volts/division and timebase. 
Electricity 10  
(i) Correctly cite sources of information. 
(i) Generating and measuring waves, using microphone and loudspeaker, or ripple tank, or vibration transducer, or microwave/radio wave source 
Waves 2  
(j) Use a wide range of experimental and practical instruments, equipment and techniques appropriate to the knowledge and understanding included in the specification. 
(j) Use of a laser or light source to investigate characteristics of light, including interference and diffraction 
Waves 7  
Note that the links for 1.2.2 are examples to illustrate the theory. You may well do the practicals in different ways. 
(k) Use of ICT such as computer modelling, or data logger with a variety of sensors to collect data, or use of software to process data 

(l) Use of ionising radiation, including detectors. 
Particles 2  
Module 2  Foundations of physics 

2.1 Physical quantities and units 

2.1.1 Physical quantities 
2.1.2 S.I. units 

(a) Physical quantities have a numerical value and a unit. 
Induction 1 
(a) Système International (S.I.) base quantities and their units – mass (kg), length (m), time (s), current (A), temperature (K), amount of substance (mol). 
Induction 1 
(b) Making estimates
of physical quantities listed in 
Induction 8 
(b) Derived units of S.I. base units. 
Induction 1 

(c) Units listed in this specification. 
Induction 1  
(d) Checking the
homogeneity of physical equations 
Induction 1  
(e) Prefixes and their symbols to indicate decimal submultiples or multiples of units – pico (p), nano (n), micro (μ), milli (m), centi (c), deci (d), kilo (k), mega (M), giga (G), tera (T). 
Induction 1  
(f) The conventions
used for labelling graph axes and 
Induction 5  
2.2 Making measurements and analysing data 
2.3 Nature of quantities 

2.2.1 Measurements and uncertainties 
2.3.1 Scalars and vectors 

(a) Systematic errors (including zero errors) and random errors in measurements. 
Induction 4 
(a) Scalar and vector quantities. 
Mechanics 1 
(b) Precision and accuracy. 
Induction 4 
(b) Vector addition and subtraction. 
Mechanics 1 
(c) Absolute and percentage uncertainties when data are combined by addition, subtraction,multiplication, division and raising to powers. 
Induction 4 
(c) Vector triangle to determine the resultant of any 
Mechanics 1 
(d) Graphical treatment of errors and uncertainties; line of best fit; worst line; absolute and percentage uncertainties; percentage difference. 
Induction 6 
(d) resolving a vector into two perpendicular 
Mechanics 1 
Module 3: Forces and motion 

3.1 Motion 

3.1.1 Kinematics 
3.1.2 Linear motion 

(a) Displacement, instantaneous speed, average speed, velocity and acceleration. 
Mechanics 6 
(a) (i) The equations of motion for constant acceleration in a straight line, including motion of bodies falling in a uniform gravitational field without air resistance:
(ii) Techniques and procedures used to investigate the motion and collisions of objects. 
Mechanics 6 
(b) Graphical representations of displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration. 
Mechanics 6 
(b) (i) Acceleration g of free fall. 
Mechanics 7 
(c) Displacement–time graphs; velocity is gradient. 
Mechanics 6 
(c) reaction time and thinking distance; braking 
Mechanics 6 
(d) Velocity–time graphs; acceleration is gradient; 
Mechanics 6 


3.1.3 Projectile motion 

(a) Independence of the vertical and horizontal motion of a projectile. 
Mechanics 9  
(b) Twodimensional motion of a projectile with constant velocity in one direction and constant acceleration in a perpendicular direction. 
Mechanics 9  
3.2 Forces in action 

3.2.1 Dynamics 
3.2.2 Motion with nonuniform acceleration 

(a) Net force = mass × acceleration; F = ma 
Mechanics 10 
(a) Drag as the frictional force experienced by an 
Mechanics 8 
(b) The newton as the unit of force. 
Mechanics 2 
(b) Factors affecting drag for an object travelling through air. 
Mechanics 8 
(c) Weight of an object; W = mg 
Mechanics 7 
(c) Motion of objects falling in a uniform gravitational field in the presence of drag. 
Mechanics 7 
(d) The terms tension, normal contact force, upthrust and friction. 
Mechanics 8 
(d) (i) Terminal velocity. 
Mechanics 7 
(e) Freebody diagrams. 
Mechanics 8 


(f) One and twodimensional motion under constant force. 
Mechanics 10  
3.2.3 Equilibrium 
3.2.4 Density and pressure 

(a) Moment of force. 
Mechanics 3 
(a) Density:

Materials 1 
(b) Couple; torque of a couple. 
Mechanics 3 
(b) Pressure:
for solids, liquids and gases 
Materials 4 
(c) The principle of moments. 
Mechanics 3 
(c)
upthrust on an object in a fluid; Archimedes’ principle. 
Materials 4 
(d) Centre of mass; centre of gravity; experimental 
Mechanics 3 


(e) Equilibrium of an object under the action of forces and torques. 
Mechanics 3  
(f) Condition for equilibrium of three coplanar 
Mechanics 2  
3.3 Work, energy and power 

3.3.1 Work and conservation of energy 
3.3.2 Kinetic and potential energies 

(a) Work done by a force; the unit joule. 
Mechanics 13 
(a) Kinetic energy of an object:

Mechanics 15 
(b)
for work done by a force. 
Mechanics 13 
(b) Gravitational potential energy of an object in a

Mechanics 15 
(c) The principle of conservation of energy. 
Mechanics 15 
(c) The exchange between gravitational potential 
Mechanics 15 
(d) Energy in different forms; transfer and conservation. 
Mechanics 13 


(e) Transfer of energy is equal to work done. 
Mechanics 13  
3.3.3 Power 

(a) Power; the unit watt:

Mechanics 13  
(b) P = Fv 
Mechanics 13  
(c) efficiency of a mechanical system:

Mechanics 14  
3.4 Materials 

3.4.1 Springs 
3.4.2 Mechanical properties of matter 

(a) tensile and compressive deformation; extension 
Materials 2 
(a) Force–extension (or compression) graph; work done is area under graph. 
Materials 2 
(b) Hooke’s law 
Materials 2 
(b) Elastic potential energy:

Materials 2 
(c) force constant k of a spring or wire; F = kx 
Materials 2 
(c) Stress, strain and ultimate tensile strength. 
Materials 3 
(d) (i) force–extension (or compression) graphs for springs and
wires 
Materials 2 
(d) (i) Young modulus = tensile strain ÷ tensile stress:
(ii) techniques and procedures used to determine the Young modulus for a metal 
Materials 3 

(e) Stress–strain graphs for typical ductile, brittle and polymeric materials 
Materials 3  
(f) Elastic and plastic deformations of materials. 
Materials 2  
3.5 Newton’s laws of motion and momentum 

3.5.1 Newton’s laws of motion 
3.5.2 Collisions 

(a) Newton’s three laws of motion. 
Mechanics 10 
(a) The principle of conservation of momentum. 
Mechanics 12 
(b) Linear momentum; p = mv; vector nature of momentum 
Mechanics 11 
(b) Collisions and interaction of bodies in one dimension and in two dimensions. 
Mechanics 12 
(c) Net force = rate of change of momentum:

Mechanics 11 
(c) Perfectly elastic collision and inelastic collision. 
Mechanics 12 
(d) impulse of a force; impulse = FDt 
Mechanics 11 


(e) Impulse is equal to the area under a force–time graph. 
Mechanics 11  
Module 4: Electrons, waves and photons 

4.1 Charge and current 

4.1.1 Charge 
4.1.2 Mean drift velocity 

(a) Electric current as rate of flow of charge:

Electricity 1 
(a) Mean drift velocity of charge carriers. 
Electricity 4 
(b) The coulomb as the unit of charge. 
Electricity 1 
(b) I = Anev, where n is the number density of charge carriers 
Electricity 4 
(c) The elementary charge e equals 1.6 × 10^{–19} C. 
Electricity 1 
(c) Distinction between conductors, semiconductors and insulators in terms of n. 
Electricity 4 
(d) Net charge on a particle or an object is quantised and a multiple of e. 
Electricity 1 


(e) Current as the movement of electrons in metals and movement of ions in electrolytes. 
Electricity 4  
(f) Conventional current and electron flow. 
Electricity 1  
(g) Kirchhoff’s first law; conservation of charge. 
Electricity 7  
4.2 Energy, power and resistance 

4.2.1 Circuit symbols 
4.2.2 E.m.f. and p.d 

(a) Circuit symbols. 
PDF Sheet 
(a) potential difference (p.d.); the unit volt. 
Electricity 1 
(b) Circuit diagrams using these symbols. 
Electricity 1 
(b) electromotive force (e.m.f.) of a source such as a cell or a power supply. 
Electricity 1 

(c) distinction between e.m.f. and p.d. in terms of energy transfer. 
Electricity 1  
(d) energy transfer; W = VQ; W = EQ. 
Electricity 5  
(e) energy transfer:
for electrons and other charged particles. 
Particles 4  
4.2.3 Resistance 
4.2.4 Resistivity 

(a) Resistance:
the unit ohm. 
Electricity 1 
(a) (i) Resistivity of a material; the equation:
(ii) techniques and procedures used to determine the resistivity of a metal. 
Electricity 4 
(b) Ohm’s law. 
Electricity 2 
(b) The variation of resistivity of metals and semiconductors with temperature 
Electricity 6 
(c) (i) I–V
characteristics of resistor, filament lamp, thermistor, diode and
lightemitting diode (LED) 
Electricity 3 
(c) Negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistor; variation of resistance with temperature. 
Electricity 6 
(d) Lightdependent resistor (LDR); variation of resistance with light intensity. 
Electricity 6 


4.2.5 Power 

(a) The equations:

Electricity 5  
(b) Energy transfer; W = VI t 
Electricity 5  
(c) The kilowatthour (kW h) as a unit of energy; 
Electricity 5  
4.3 Electrical circuits 

4.3.1 Series and parallel circuits 
4.3.2 Internal resistance 

(a) Kirchhoff’s second
law; the conservation of 
Electricity 7 
(a) Source of e.m.f.; internal resistance. 
Electricity 8 
(b) Kirchhoff’s first
and second laws applied to 
Electricity 7 
(b) Terminal p.d.; 'lost volts'. 
Electricity 8 
(c) Total resistance
of two or more resistors in

Electricity 7 
(c) (i) the equations
(ii) techniques and procedures used to determine the internal resistance of a chemical cell or other source of e.m.f. 
Electricity 8 
(d) Total resistance
of two or more resistors in

Electricity 7 


(e) Analysis of
circuits with components, including 
Electricity 7  
(f) Analysis of
circuits with more than one source of 
Electricity 7  
4.3.3 Potential dividers 

(a) Potential divider circuit with components. 
Electricity 6  
(b) Potential divider circuits with variable components e.g. LDR and thermistor. 
Electricity 6  
(c) (i) potential divider equations e.g.
(ii) techniques and procedures used to investigate potential divider circuits which may include a sensor such as a thermistor or an LDR. 
Electricity 6  
4.4 Waves 

4.4.1 Wave motion 
4.4.2 Electromagnetic waves 

(a) Progressive waves; longitudinal and transverse waves 
(a) Electromagnetic spectrum; properties of electromagnetic waves. 
Waves 2  
(b) (i) displacement, amplitude, wavelength, period, phase difference, frequency and speed of a wave.
(ii) techniques and procedures used to use an 
Waves 1 
(b) Orders of magnitude of wavelengths of the principal radiations from radio waves to gamma rays. 
Waves 2 
(c) The equation:

Waves 1 
(c) Plane polarised waves; polarisation of electromagnetic waves. 
Waves 2 
(d) The wave equation: c = fl 
Waves 1 
(d) (i) refraction of light; refractive index:
n sin q = constant at a boundary where q is the angle to the normal. (ii) techniques and procedures used to investigate refraction and total internal reflection of light using ray boxes, including transparent rectangular and semicircular blocks 
Waves 6 
(e) Graphical representations of transverse and longitudinal waves 
Waves 1 
(e) critical angle:
total internal reflection for light. 
Waves 6 
(f) (i) reflection, refraction, polarisation and
(ii) techniques and
procedures used to demonstrate wave effects using a ripple tank 
Waves 6 


(g) intensity of a progressive wave:
intensity ∝ (amplitude)^{2}. 
Waves 1  
4.4.3 Superposition 
4.4.4 Stationary waves 

(a) (i) The principle of superposition of waves 
Waves 3 
(a) Stationary (standing) waves using microwaves, stretched strings and air columns. 
Waves 4 
(b) Graphical methods to illustrate the principle of superposition. 
Waves 3 
(b) Graphical representations of a stationary wave. 
Waves 4 
(c) Interference, coherence, path difference and 
Waves 7 
(c) Similarities and the differences between stationary and progressive waves 
Waves 4 
(d) Constructive interference and destructive interference in terms of path difference and phase difference 
Waves 7 
(d) Nodes and antinodes. 
Waves 4 
(e) Twosource interference with sound and microwaves. 
Waves 7 
(e) (i) Stationary wave patterns for a stretched string and air columns in closed and open tubes; (ii) techniques and procedures used to determine the speed of sound in air by formation of stationary waves in a resonance tube. 
Waves 4
(Pipes)

(f) Young doubleslit experiment using visible light. 
Waves 7 
(f) The idea that the separation between adjacent 
Waves 4 
(g) (i)
for all waves where
a << D
(ii) techniques and procedures used to determine the wavelength of light using (1) a doubleslit, and (2) a diffraction grating. 
Waves 7 
(g) Fundamental mode of vibration (1st harmonic); harmonics. 
(Pipes) 
4.5 Quantum physics 

4.5.1 Photons 
4.5.2 The photoelectric effect 

(a) The particulate nature (photon model) of electromagnetic radiation. 
Quantum 1 
(a) (i) photoelectric effect, including a simple experiment to
demonstrate this effect. 
Quantum 2 
(b) Photon as a quantum of energy of electromagnetic radiation. 
Quantum 1 
(b) The onetoone interaction between a photon and a 
Quantum 2 
(c) Energy of a photon: E = hf 
Quantum 1 
(c) Einstein’s photoelectric equation:

Quantum 2 
(d) The electronvolt (eV) as a unit of energy. 
Quantum 1 
(d) Work function; threshold frequency. 
Quantum 2 
(e) (i) using LEDs and the equation:
to estimate the value of Planck constant
h. 
Quantum 1 
(e) The idea that the maximum kinetic energy of the photoelectrons is independent of the intensity of the incident radiation. 
Quantum 2 

(f) The idea that rate of emission of photoelectrons 
Quantum 2  
4.5.3 Wave–particle duality 


(a) Electron diffraction, including experimental 

(b) Diffraction of electrons travelling through a thin slice of polycrystalline graphite by the atoms of graphite and the spacing between the atoms. 

(c) The de Broglie equation:

