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Physics A-level: Understanding what it means to be human

Dominic’s passion for numbers and equations led him to physics A-level. He explains why it’s a step up from GCSE – but that with planning and focus it’s a fascinating and exciting choice.

"A-level is a step up from GCSE, but it’s an exciting and interesting step up, one that will teach you core values for life after college"

First name: Dominic | Age: 16 | A-levels: Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry

What made you choose your combination of A-levels?
I think originally my interest stemmed from my enjoyment of working with numbers. The language of maths fascinates me – uniform syntax combined with convoluted equations to challenge intellect. By challenging myself daily with maths and physics problems my mind stays refreshed and my curiosity and hunger for new knowledge grows each day.

And what do you enjoy about physics specifically?
The ability to apply myself to any problem has always been deeply rooted within my core values. I enjoy the fact that physics presents me the opportunity to challenge myself to understand the metaphysical aspects of the environment around us. While I might not always succeed, this challenge and need for problem solving is what fascinates me about physics.

How are you finding it so far? What has helped you cope with the bits you might have found difficult?
I’m enjoying the course – this is due to me broadening my knowledge by reading scientific journals and documents, all helping me to gain a deeper knowledge of physics and all of its properties. I think that if I find something difficult I usually look for a second opinion from friends and family who all enjoy the newfound knowledge and each have their own takes on what it represents and symbolises for the physics community.

What do you find most interesting about it?
Definitely the quantum physics, due to its physical effects in the universe. It controls all that we do and what we think. Harnessing more knowledge of quantum physics is the most effective way to understand how everything can be quantified and how objects interact with each other, in relation to their environmental stimuli. This knowledge translates into a deeper understanding of what it means to be conscious and human.

What do you want to do with your A-levels?
I aspire to go to a Russell Group University that invests heavily in STEM. Hopefully, I can then pursue a career involving mathematics, allowing me to integrate my knowledge of physics and the fundamental equations into everyday life. The equations that I think are most transferrable are the probability equations fused with distributions. Alongside calculus and force equations, maths and physics are the foundations for an equation-based life.

With this is mind, I would like to pursue a career as an actuary, working in the insurance industry. This way I can work with numbers and put my skills to use every day. That said, pursuing a career in academia is also appealing as it would allow me to work alongside likeminded people, learning more and more every day, ensuring that I continue to advance my understanding of physics.

What advice would you give to someone considering physics as an A-level?
It’s definitely a challenge, being thrown new equations and introduced to new concepts. Physics revolves around the question “What is the nature of life as we know it?” and if you can begin to grasp that ideology then you can begin to learn anything.

Personally, I found that if I took it all in short strides, doing my homework as early as possible, leaving time on the weekend for revision and extra-curricular reading, allowed me to progress through the course.

All in all, A-level is a step up from GCSE, but it’s an exciting and interesting step up, one that will teach you core values for life after college – like organisation, independence and devotion.