This new course is intended for teachers of A-level physics who want to improve the achievement of their students on the AQA A-level Physics course. The focus is on the practical skills paper and Options (Paper 3) but there will also be general guidance of raising achievement at the A/A* level.

The course will focus on the main causes of learners’ poor attainment in in this area of the examination and the techniques which can be developed to improve their understanding and exam technique. The course focuses on AQA A-level Physics but the skills developed would also be useful for teachers teaching other specifications.


  • Develop teaching strategies that lead to deep learning and ensure successful outcomes for your students in some of the challenging topics of Year 2
  • Explore how different approaches to problem solving lead to effective ways of tackling unfamiliar questions in Paper 3
  • Enhance laboratory learning through innovative activities in the classroom.
  • Build advanced skills in data analysis through targeted exercises
  • Gain insights into approaches that work in answering ‘levels of response’ questions and other questions
  • Embed synoptic learning using active learning methods
  • Apply some of the latest research to build learning power in your students
  • Support for the most able students to achieve the highest grades and nurture for those who struggle
  • A level Physics teachers teaching the AQA specification
  • Heads of Department
  • Heads of Faculty
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 -10.30am
Key Challenges for Students in Paper 3

  • Identifying areas of weakness from analysis of examiner reports including use of technical vocabulary, dealing with original experiments and planning accurate procedures
  • Identifying the causes of these weaknesses in student performance
  • Identifying methods to address these weaknesses in classroom practice

10.30 – 11.30am
Teaching Paper 3 Section A Q 1 and 2

According to the examiners’ report, students “ found descriptive writing challenging exposing a poor grasp of technical vocabulary.” and were “unprepared for questions that tested more general ideas about practical work, and offered only generic responses when asked to describe and explain procedures to reduce uncertainty.” They were advised to “work transparently in multi-stage calculations and not assume that examiners will always be able to follow their line of reasoning”

You will tackle these issues by:

  • Improving the skills of graph-plotting and analysis of graphs through explaining the guidelines for best practice
  • Developing communication skills in relation to describing methods and use of equipment by embedding written communication activities within practical sessions
  • Focussing on basic numeracy skills needed to achieve full marks by training students to use systematic approaches to mathematical problem-solving
  • Enabling learners to tackle novel experiments beyond the 12 core practicals

11.30 – 11.45

 11.45 – 12.45pm
Teaching Paper 3 Section A Q 3

The specification states that students need to be able to:” make judgements and reach conclusions and develop and refine practical design and procedures.”

To address this, we will:

  • Work through two typical Q3 style question; one a standard Gas Laws practical and the other a non-standard practical on oscillations.
  • Adapt it for a different Core Practical to make the delivery of core practical sessions more exam-oriented.
  • Discuss the most effective method of delivering the practical curriculum to develop the skills needed to tackle Section A on Paper 3.
  • Consider how to deepen students’ understanding of the importance of uncertainty in planning and evaluating experiments.

12.45 – 1.45pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.45pm
Teaching Paper 3: Section B

The examiner commented that students lacked “the ability to reason and reach a judgement” and “failed to provide sufficient detail both in written and numerical answers”

We tackle these issues by:

  • Analysing comments by examiners on student responses in section B
  • Applying methods to improve communication skills in terms of level of detail and clarity of explanation
  • Using online resources to enable reluctant readers to engage with complex topics
  • Developing reasoning and evaluative skills through two questions, the evidence for the Big Bang theory and in comparison of CT scanning with MRI.

2.45 – 3.30pm
Accessing top grades in Paper 3

Tactics for achieving the A*:

  • Identifying the ‘danger’ questions where marks are lost
  • Enabling learners to’ read the mind’ of the examiner by independently researching feedback from awarding bodies
  • Stretch and challenge resources for high-achievers through extra-curricular activities such as the Olympiad, HE link projects and ISAAC Physics activities

3.30 – 3.45 pm
Discussion and Depart


Tony Dunn

Tony Dunn is a current examiner for OCR A-level Physics and has taught for over 30 years in secondary schools and sixth form colleges, mainly in inner city areas, specialising in A-level Physics. Since the new A-level curriculum was introduced, he has had 100% pass rates with all his A-level Physics groups, whilst working at an inclusive college in a deprived borough. He was a Head of Science for 12 years and also spent several years training Physics teachers in SE Asia.