Through learning in physics, pupils develop their interest in and understanding of the world. Through a range of tasks, pupils develop important skills to become creative, inventive and enterprising.
Physics Courses encourage resourcefulness, leading to pupils becoming confident individuals. Successful learners in physics think creatively, analyse and solve problems. Physics can produce responsible citizens, through studying the impact it makes on their lives, on the environment, and on society.

Progress Checks

SQA N5 Helpsheets

National 3 (entry: grade 6 or 7 in S3)
There are 3 units:
  • Electricity and Energy
  • Waves and Radiation
  • Dynamics and Space An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop KU of Physics concepts.

National 4 (entry: grade 4 - 5 in S3, or N4 Biology or Chemistry)
  • Electricity and Energy
  • Waves and Radiation
  • Dynamics and Space
  • Added Value A range of approaches are used to develop KU and skills for learning, life and work.

National 5 (entry: grades 1,2 or 3 in S3, or N4 Physics)
There are 3 units:
  • Electricity and Energy
  • Waves and Radiation
  • Dynamics and Space A range of approaches are used to develop knowledge and understanding and skills for learning, life and work.
This course assessment has 2 components:
Component 1: question paper, 135 marks, 100 scaled mark, 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Component 2: assignment, 20 marks, 25 scaled mark, 8 hours, of which a maximum of 1 hour 30 minutes is to be allocated to the report stage.
Skills progression –
  • develop scientific analytical thinking, inquiry and investigative skills
  • develop the use of technology, equipment and materials, safely, in practical scientific activities
  • develop problem solving skills
  • use and understand scientific literacy, in everyday contexts

HIGHER (entry: NAT 5 Physics)
There are 4 units:
  • Our Dynamic Universe
  • Particles and Waves
  • Electricity
Researching Physics The course provides opportunities for pupils to acquire:
  • An increased knowledge and understanding of facts and ideas, of techniques and of the applications of physics in society.
  • Skill in applying their knowledge and understanding in a wide variety of theoretical and practical problem solving contexts.
  • Skills associated with carrying out experimental and investigative work in physics and analysing the information obtained.
The end of course exam is a question paper: 20 marks multiple choice and 80 marks for short and extended answer questions. The assignment is worth 20 marks and will assess the application of skills of scientific inquiry and related physics knowledge and understanding.

There are 4 units:
  • Rotational Motion and Astrophysics
  • Quanta and Waves
  • Electromagnetism
  • Investigating Physics
The purpose of the Course is to build on the knowledge and skills developed by the learner in the Higher Physics Course and to use their mathematical knowledge and skills to analyse and solve problems in real-life contexts. As our understanding of physics and its potential applications is constantly evolving, our success as an industrial society depends on the development of young people who are secure in their knowledge of physics and who are resilient, adaptable, creative and inventive.

Project (30 marks) – 23% of final grade.
Exam (100 marks) - 77 % of final grade
  • The question paper will contain restricted and extended response questions