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Physics A level without maths?

(31 Posts)
Appuskidu Tue 12-Sep-17 07:32:54

Both my DH and my brother did physics without maths A level, but I keep hearing warnings that this is a bad idea!

Does anyone have any first hand experience of this either being a good or a bad idea?!

SuperSange Tue 12-Sep-17 08:07:58

It depends. I did it without, but it would have been far, far easier with maths. All things being equal, id advise doing it, but what it the alternative scenario?

DrDreReturns Tue 12-Sep-17 08:18:56

I didn't do it but I don't think my school let you do it without taking a level maths as well. Certainly everyone I knew who took it did maths as well.

Tigerblue Tue 12-Sep-17 10:07:05

If you've got a DC looking at Sixth Form options, you're looking at maybe able to talk to the schools and get their opinions.

DD's only requirement to do a science subject was to achieve an A at GCSE. My friend's son is doing physics and he's chosen to do core maths as an extra, but it wasn't a requirement for physics.

catslife Tue 12-Sep-17 11:39:55

There was another thread about this recently see here /www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/3015071-Wobble-about-doing-A-level-Maths-but-wants-to-do-Physics.
Tbh it depends on what your dc would like to do after A levels - options for some degrees may be more limited without it.
The new linear Physics does have more maths skills required than the old specification taken between 2000 and 2016.
You need to ask the sixth form if they have noticed a difference in grades between those taking Maths and those without it and whether (or not) they provide any maths post 16 for pupils taking Physics without maths.

trevortrevorslattery Tue 12-Sep-17 11:41:47

It also depends if the person wants to do Physics later. You'd definitely need A level Maths to cope with university Physics

Appuskidu Tue 12-Sep-17 18:18:36

Thank you for the replies-no, he wouldn't want to do physics at degree level I don't think, it's just his favourite science. We haven't had any careers meetings yet, but I will continue to investigate!

LoniceraJaponica Wed 13-Sep-17 21:53:20

At DD's school you can't do A level physics without doing A level maths.

Helpuschoose Wed 11-Oct-17 23:54:03

DS did it. His school didn’t insist on maths so I assumed it would be ok. This was a few years ago when AS’s we’re still a thing so we got him a tutor to help. Long story short at AS he got AAB in his other three subjects (including biology and chemistry) and a D in physics. I wish he had done something else instead as the reality was that without maths he was always behind the curve in physics. Unless someone is madly deeply in love with physics I’d say do something else instead tbh or do maths at least in year 12.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 15-Oct-17 19:59:51

At my sons' school, those doing Physics A-level without Maths A-level do the Core Maths course alongside it, as TigerBlue mentioned. I know of at least one other local school that does the same.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 15-Oct-17 20:02:03

Core Maths

jeanne16 Tue 17-Oct-17 08:16:05

It seems rather pointless to do Physics without Maths at A level as it will be impossible to continue with Physics at university. Also it is no longer possible to do some Core Maths as the syllabus is now linear rather than modular.

DamsonGin Tue 17-Oct-17 08:22:38

I did both (some years back), the only ones to drop out of physics were the ones who hasn't taken maths too.

Seeline Tue 17-Oct-17 08:29:03

We've been to several different 6th form events recently as DS is Y11 and wants to do physics (and probably maths). They have all said if you get A/A* or equivalent, you should be OK for A level physics as long as you don't want to carry on with it.

Fffion Tue 17-Oct-17 08:35:54

There's a lot less Maths in the new Physics A-level, so it is perfectly fine to not do Maths.

Seeline Tue 17-Oct-17 09:59:04

Doh - They have all said if you get A/A* or equivalent at Maths GCSE you should be OK for A level physics ....

catslife Wed 18-Oct-17 16:37:21

Most pupils taking A level Physics will take A level Maths because they are aiming for STEM degrees that require both A levels e.g. engineering.
If this is not the case then the course should be accessible with GCSE Maths. The percentage maths skills is 40% which is the highest of the A level Sciences.
The link for AQA is here www.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/as-and-a-level/teach/maths-skills-briefings
This percentage is the same across all the A level syllabuses.
However pupils not taking A level Maths need to do some extra work to make sure they keep on top of the necessary math skills.

Fffion Thu 19-Oct-17 04:57:21

The need to be able to solve word problems, rearrange equations, understand simple geometry, interpret graphs, use standard form - all accessible from GCSE, and reinforced by their Physics teacher.

catslife Thu 19-Oct-17 14:15:51

I suspect though Ffion that schools that say "you must take A level Maths" do not provide the support needed within the subject classes.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 22-Oct-17 10:46:00

If A level physics has become much less mathematical how does it provide a stepping stone for a degree in Physics? Much of physics is inherently mathematical. I think that could end up backfiring. Especially if it puts off strong mathematicians from doing a physics degreee because they haven’t enjoyed physics a level.

catslife Sun 22-Oct-17 11:28:58

The OPs ds doesn't want to take a degree in Physics. Whether they wish to do anything closely related afterwards isn't stated.
However, the number of options post 18 will be more limited if Physics is taken without Maths including if the OPs ds changes his mind.

Fffion Sun 22-Oct-17 13:33:11

Students who want to do a degree in Physics or Engineering need to take A-level Maths - it's a requirement for those degree subjects.

outedmyselfagain Sun 22-Oct-17 13:48:00

The trouble is that you need some of the maths to complete the physics course and if just one kid on the physics course therefore needs teaching the extra stuff it’s an extra burden on the teacher.

Plus if you do well at maths you tend to do better at physics.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 22-Oct-17 13:50:15

catslife I was bemoaning the idea that the new A level physics may be less mathematical than the current one. There is something wrong imo if maths is being removed from physics, it is inherent.

Fffion Sun 22-Oct-17 13:55:20

But the Maths isn't removed, but it is accessible to students who got A/A* at GCSE. Their Physics teacher will teach any Maths they struggle with, but mostly they are rearranging 3-term equations. Deriving equations, dealing with homogeneity, standard form and error have always been taught within Physics.

The challenge in Physics is not plugging numbers into equations, but deciding what these numbers are by pulling them out of word problems.

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