Higher Entrants in Physics 2010-2018

Higher Entrants in Physics 2010-2018

What does this data show?

In 2018 there were 8,280 entries to Higher physics. This continues the drop in entries over recent years, and a further decline of 7.5% on 2017 numbers.

There were also drops in other subjects: the number of entries to chemistry and biology dropped by 1.4% and 3.2% respectively, while maths fell by 0.6%. Across all subjects, the total number of entries dropped by 1.5% on 2017. In 2016 there had been a considerable drop in entries compared with 2015, so the number of students studying these subjects to Higher level remains below the entries observed prior to the replacement of Standard Grades with National 4 and National 5 qualifications.

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Higher Entrants Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology 2010-2018

The 8,280 physics entries in 2018 account for 4.3% of all entries to Highers qualifications, which is a decline since 2017 when physics made up 4.6% of the total entries. 

The chart above illustrates the proportion of Higher physics entrants compared to other subjects: physics has remained roughly in line with both biology and chemistry since 2002. In 2016, physics, biology and chemistry experienced a significant drop in entrants at Higher level, and a fall in the proportion of entrants compared to all Higher entrants. In 2018, the number of entries as a proportion of total entries was more stable in biology and chemistry, but dropped in physics.

In 2018, biology entries made up 3.8% of all entries and chemistry 5.2% of all entries. Mathematics has had a consistently higher proportion of the total entries to Highers – in 2018 it was 9.8%. The average proportion of entrants in Higher physics between 2001 and 2018 is 5.2%, compared to 5.2% in biology, 5.6% in chemistry and 11.4% in maths.

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