Revision and exam help
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Differences between GCSE, AS and A2
At GCSE you were required to know some formulae and units and you needed to be able to discuss ideas using physics concepts. At AS level the number of concepts increases greatly, they have to be defined very precisely and the links between them become both more complex and again greater in number.
The ideas can be more difficult to understand. Some ideas are more abstract – they are harder to visualise and imagine what is going on. For instance voltage is no longer sufficient as a thing pushing current around a circuit. Instead potential difference or electromotive force represents the energy transferred by or to charge going around the circuit – a complex idea that also requires an understanding of energy and charge before you can even start. This is why it is vital to get help early on if you do not understand any concepts.
At A2 you need to learn more definitions and relationships, again building on ideas that you should understand from AS. The ideas are even more complex and abstract. For example most specifications deal with fields, electromagnetic induction and other challenging ideas at A2. Thus it is even more important that you put in the time and effort needed to deal with this.
Also at A2 questions do not just deal with ideas topic by topic. They also test you on being able to combine ideas from different topics (synoptic skills) and analyse them, such as comparing different concepts and finding similarities and differences. This requires new skills and a deeper understanding of the topics.