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GCSE Physics

Specification at a glance

 Specification at a glance

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the course.

Subject content


For 2023, an equations sheet will be provided for exams. This will be added as an insert with every GCSE Physics question paper, or you can download the equations sheet now.

paper 2 topics physics

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GCSE Physics Topics: What You Need to Know for the Exam

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Table of Contents


Having two years’ worth of coursework to get your head around before the GCSE physics exam is a tall order. To help make things easier for you, we’ve collated all the topics you’ll need to know for the tests.

There are eight main subject areas in the exam, spread out over two test papers:

In the first paper, you’ll be asked questions on subjects 1-4, i.e. energy; electricity; particle model of matter and atomic structure.

The second paper covers subjects 4-8: forces; waves; magnetism and electromagnetism and space physics.

For more information on the GCSE physics test format, please visit the AQA website .

Within each of the eight subject areas, there are individual topics that delve deeper into the mechanics of GCSE physics. Here’s a breakdown of all the topics that you could be assessed in on exam day:

Energy Topics

Electricity Topics

Particle Model of Matter Topics

Atomic Structure Topics

Forces Topics

Magnetism and Electromagnetism

Space Physics

How to Organise GCSE Physics Topics for Revision

Now that you have an overview of the topics that could come up in the exam, the next step is to organise them into a revision schedule. All you really need to create one is a spreadsheet or a diary where you can record what you plan to study and when. However, our preferred format for a revision schedule is a wall planner.

With a wall planner, you have a visual representation of how many weeks you have left to your exam. You can clearly see what topics you’re due to study and on what days. It’s also really satisfying marking off each day on the calendar as you complete a revision session.

In addition to revising each topic, we suggest that you introduce GCSE physics practice tests into your schedule early. Not only do they provide you with an indication of your current attainment, but they’re a great way to chart your progress as you study.

GCSE Physics Practice Tests

If only revising for your physics exam was as simple as reading through your revision notes. The most effective way to put theory into practice is to use practice tests. At Exam Papers Plus, we publish GCSE physics revision packs that help students become familiar with the layout of the test papers. Our packs also provide an indication of the types of questions that you’ll be asked on the day.

When we created our GCSE practice tests, we thoroughly analysed reports from previous years to ensure that our sample questions cover all the essential areas of the exam. And to help you prepare for every eventuality, we included some of the most challenging questions that we know students tend to struggle with.

All of the GCSE practice papers that we publish are written and developed by former GCSE physics examiners and markers. When taken under timed, exam conditions, our tests can help you get used to answering questions quickly and under pressure, improving your time management skills.

Each pack focuses on the key skills that students need to develop to perform well in higher tier GCSE exams and includes detailed step-by-step answers and mark schemes for every question. Each question is labelled to identify the relevant exam boards.

We’d highly recommend the following resources in preparing for the GCSE physics tests:

GCSE Physics: Key Skills

All of our GCSE packs are available immediately after download.

Related posts:

How to Study for GCSE Physics

GCSE Physics Test Format

GCSE Physics Revision Tips

How to Revise and Practice for GCSE Physics

GCSE Physics Energy Questions and Answers

GCSE Physics: Key Skills Pack – Providing Essential Exam Practice and Preparation

GCSE Physics: Working Scientifically

GCSE Physics: Understanding Exam Command Words

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AQA GCSE Physics Revision


paper 2 topics physics

KNEC KCSE Physics Exam Topics Tested in Paper 1 and Paper 2

Topics set in KCSE physics paper 1

The beauty of KNEC KCSE physics exam papers is that the questions tested are normally organized according to topics. That is, topics are grouped in form of papers, paper 1 and paper 2.

There are 19 topics that are normally set in KNEC KCSE physics paper 1 and some 22 topics in paper 2.

These lists of topics will guide you as the student to know the areas that are usually set in each paper.

This will save you time so that during your study, you will only focus on specific areas set in paper 1 or paper 2 when studying for that paper.

Topics Set in the KNEC KCSE Physics Paper 1

Topics set in KCSE physics paper 1

KNEC KCSE Physics Paper 2 Topics

There you have it! I hope these KNEC KCSE physics exam topics will guide you to understand and know exactly the areas tested in each physics exam paper.

Areas that are mainly set in KCSE physics paper 3 include Mechanics, Optics and Electricity.

Discover a Better Way to Study for the May 23 IB Physics Exams - Free Revision Class! SIGN UP HERE!


IB Physics Exam Breakdown of Exam Content [UPDATED for 2023-24]

Ib physics exam breakdown (2023-24), stop inefficient revision now for your ib physics exams, shocking fact not all topics in ib physics are represented equally in the final exams and you must be strategic to maximise marks and minimise effort..

If your aim is to get good marks in your IB Physics exams then you need to study strategically. This means you should have a ‘plan of action’ for your exam revision. This plan should be based on evidence and calculated hunches. I'll walk you through a detailed plan below.

NOTE: In the video above (highly recommended...!) I mention the IB Physics: Starter Study Kit - you can download that here if you want free kit.

I get it.  You don’t have the time or resources to build out a ‘plan of action’ based on evidence and calculated hunches. What does that even mean??

Good news.  I’ve got time.

Great news! I’ve built out a ‘plan of action’ and revision strategy for you and it starts with prioritising the most heavily examined concepts (see below!). The 13 minute video above will help.

Prioritise These Topics (If  You're  Taking IB Exams in 2023-24)

Revert to “normal”.

The IB exams in 2023-24 will revert to the format pre-Covid. This means they will revert back to 'normal' exams with assessment of Paper 3 (Option Topic) and Group 4 project.

The first part of our ‘plan of action’ is to focus on longer term revision. Let’s focus on the weeks and months before the exams.

You should know that all topics are not examined equally in the exam - some are more heavily-weighted than others.

The graphs below show the average percentage that each topic in IB Physics makes up of your final IB mark.  


This means that if you are a Standard Level student and only ever studied Topic 2: Mechanics then you could achieve a whopping 14% in your final IB Physics exam! That’s without ever touching an internal assessment or option topic! Now.... you and I  both  know that you are not going to adopt that strategy. However, it’s certainly worth spending more time on Topic 2 than Topic 6.

The first part of your strategic ‘plan of action’ is to revise the Standard Level topics in the following order:


For a Higher Level student, it’s tempting to forget about Topic 6 altogether - isn’t it? You certainly don’t want to spend weeks revising Topic 6: Circular Motion and Gravitation for the sake of 1% in your final IB Physics mark...

The first part of your strategic ‘plan of action’ is to revise the Higher Level topics in the following order:


Strategies for Paper 1

At the end of your two year course, you will sit three papers for IB Physics. Each paper has its own quirks and trends that we can use to revise strategically using our ‘plan of action’. This will allow you to maximise your marks and prevent you from wasting time on inefficient revision in your short term revision (i.e. days/weeks before exams).

FACTS about Paper 1:

Heavily Examined Topics in  SL Paper 1 :

Heavily Examined Topics in  HL Paper 1 :

Top Tip! There is usually only ONE mark available to Topic 1 (Measurement and Uncertainties) in Paper 1. Don’t bother revising Topic 1 too much when preparing for Paper 1.

ADVICE for Paper 1

Strategies for Paper 2

Many IB Physics students have had nightmares about Paper 2. Let’s break it down and see if we can be strategic about how to prepare for Paper 2 in the shorter term (i.e. the weeks and days before the exam)

FACTS about Paper 2:

Heavily Examined Topics in  SL Paper 2 :

Heavily Examined Topics in  HL Paper 2 :

Top Tip! It is likely that there will be no questions on Topic 1 (Measurements and Uncertainties) in Paper 2.

ADVICE for Paper 2

Strategies for Paper 3

Paper 3 is often examined the day after Paper 1 & 2. Students usually find it to be a welcome relief from the exertions of the previous day. I can help make it even easier for you...

FACTS about Paper 3:

Breakdown of  SL Paper 3 : Section A - It is only 15 marks - Worth 9% of your final IB Physics mark - All about Topic 1 (Measurements and Uncertainties) and the list of required practicals given by the IB (see Strategy 3).

Section B - It is only 20 marks - Worth 11% of your final IB Physics mark - All about your chosen Option Topic

Breakdown of  HL Paper 3 : Section A - It is only 15 marks - Worth 7% of your final IB Physics mark - All about Topic 1 (Measurements and Uncertainties) and the list of required practicals given by the IB.

Section B - It is only 30 marks - Worth 13% of your final IB Physics mark - All about your chosen Option Topic

ADVICE for Paper 3

Use the night before the exam to: • Memorise definitions from Topic 1 and your option topic • Read through all the practicals you have done in class • Read through your revision notes for Topic 1 and your Option Topic. Click here if you’d like to learn how to write effective revision notes QUICKLY

Start being strategic in your revision and you’ll be more efficient and effective in your results. In the months and weeks before the exams, prioritise the most heavily examined topics. You’ll want to make effective revision notes on these topics and practice exam-style questions, split by topic.

In the weeks preceding the exams, your study strategy will alter slightly, depending on the intricacies of each paper. Past papers will become a focus of revision and the most heavily examined topics will change.

paper 2 topics physics

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No matter what stage you are at in IB Physics, this free IB Physics study starter pack will help you organise your class work, improve grades in class tests and excel in exam revision.

Sally Weatherly Blog Author

Sally Weatherly

Teacher | Author | Physics Geek

I started as a Physics Teacher back in 2004, but soon became obsessed with the possibilities of online learning. I teach everything I know.

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Physics Past Papers & Revision Questions

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Physics A Level Resources

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