* Doc Brown's GCSE Physics Revision Study Notes *

Suitable for GCSE/IGCSE Physics/Science courses or their equivalent

Some notes links are quoted twice in different sub-indexes where appropriate

I am gradually writing GCSE physics revision notes for AQA GCSE physics, Edexcel GCSE physics, OCR (gateway science physics and 21st Century Science physics) exam board specifications.

Links to my new GCSE physics pages will be added to this physics index page AND to the GCSE science/physics pages summarising what you need to know for any GCSE science/physics paper specification (link below).

see also at end of page

Energy resources, and transfers, work done and electrical power supply revision notes index

Types of energy & stores - examples compared and explained, mechanical work done and power calculations

Conservation of energy, energy transfers-conversions, efficiency - calculations and Sankey diagrams

Energy resources: uses, general survey & trends, comparing renewables, non-renewables, generating electricity

Renewable energy (1) Wind power and solar power, advantages and disadvantages gcse physics revision notes

Renewable energy (2) Hydroelectric power and geothermal power, advantages and disadvantages gcse physics

Renewable energy (3) Wave power and tidal barrage power, advantages and disadvantages gcse physics

See also Renewable energy - biofuels & alternative fuels, hydrogen, biogas, biodiesel

Greenhouse effect, global warming, climate change, carbon footprint from fossil fuel burning gcse physics

See also The Usefulness of Electricity gcse physics electricity revision notes

and The 'National Grid' power supply, mention of small scale supplies, transformers gcse physics

energy 5 & 6 spare

Heat Transfer and explaining physical changes and physical properties using a particle model

Introduction to heat transfer - conduction (and thermal conductivity), convection and radiation gcse physics

Specific heat capacity: how to determine it, use of data, calculations and thermal energy stores GCSE physics

More on methods of reducing heat transfer eg in a house and investigating insulating properties of materials

The density of materials (including measurements) and the particle model of matter gcse physics revision notes

Energy transfer and efficiency - calculations and Sankey diagrams gcse physics revision notes

Particle theory models, internal energy, heat transfer in state changes and latent heat and particle motion in gases

Electricity and magnetism revision notes index

1. Usefulness of electricity, safety, energy transfer, cost & power calculations, P = IV = I2R, E = Pt, E=IVt

2. Electrical circuits and how to draw them, circuit symbols, parallel circuits, series circuits explained

3. Ohm's Law, experimental investigations of resistance, I-V graphs, calculations V = IR, Q = It, E = QV

4. Circuit devices and how are they used? (e.g. thermistor, LDR, diode), relevant graphs gcse physics revision

5. More on series and parallel circuits, circuit diagrams, measurements and calculations gcse physics revision

6. The 'National Grid' power supply, environmental issues, use of transformers gcse physics revision notes

7. Comparison of methods of generating electricity gcse physics revision notes (= energy 1 page)

8. Static electricity and electric fields, uses and dangers of static electricity gcse physics revision notes

9. Magnetism - magnetic materials - temporary (induced) and permanent magnets - uses gcse physics revision

10. Electromagnetism, solenoid coils, uses of electromagnets  gcse physics revision notes

11. Motor effect of an electric current, electric motor, loudspeaker, Fleming's left-hand rule, F = BIL gcse physics

12. Generator effect, applications e.g. generators generating electricity and microphone gcse physics revision


States of matter, state changes and gas laws revision notes index

Particle models of gasesliquidssolids, explaining properties, state changes GCSE chemistry notes

Particle theory models, internal energy, heat transfer in state changes and latent heat and particle motion in gases and gas pressure (written more from a 'physics' point of view) gcse physics revision notes

P-V-T pressure-volume-temperature gas laws and calculations (revision notes for physicists or chemists!)

The density of materials and the particle model of matter gcse physics revision notes

WAVES - electromagnetic radiation, sound, optics-lenses, light and astronomy revision notes index

General introduction to the types and properties of waves, ripple tank expts, how to do wave calculations

Illuminated & self-luminous objects, reflection visible light, ray box experiments, ray diagrams, mirror uses

Refraction and diffraction, the visible light spectrum, prism investigations, ray diagrams explained gcse physics

Electromagnetic spectrum, sources, types, properties, uses (including medical) and dangers gcse physics

The absorption and emission of radiation by materials - temperature & surface factors including global warming

See also Global warming, climate change, reducing our carbon footprint from fossil fuel burning gcse chemistry

Optics - types of lenses (convex, concave, uses), experiments and ray diagrams, correction of eye defects

The visible spectrum of colour, light filters and explaining the colour of objects  gcse physics revision notes

Sound waves, properties explained, speed measure, uses of sound, ultrasound, infrasound, earthquake waves

The Structure of the Earth, crust, mantle, core and earthquake waves (seismic wave analysis) gcse notes

Astronomy - solar system, stars, galaxies and use of telescopes and satellites gcse physics revision notes

The life cycle of stars - mainly worked out from emitted electromagnetic radiation gcse physics revision notes

Cosmology - the Big Bang Theory of the Universe, the red-shift & microwave background radiation gcse physics


Atomic structure, radioactivity and nuclear physics revision notes index

Atomic structure, history, definitions, examples and explanations including isotopes gcse chemistry notes

1. Atomic structure and fundamental particle knowledge needed to understand radioactivity gcse physics revision

2. What is Radioactivity? Why does it happen? Three types of atomic-nuclear-ionising radiation gcse physics notes

3. Detection of radioactivity, its measurement and radiation dose units, ionising radiation sources - radioactive materials, background radiation gcse physics revision notes

4. Alpha, beta & gamma radiation - properties of 3 types of radioactive nuclear emission & symbols ,dangers of radioactive emissions - health and safety issues and ionising radiation gcse physics revision

5. Uses of radioactive isotopes emitting alpha, beta (+/) or gamma radiation in industry and medicine gcse notes

6. The half-life of a radioisotope - how long does material remain radioactive? implications!, uses of decay data and half-life values - archaeological radiocarbon dating, dating ancient rocks gcse physics revision

7. What actually happens to the nucleus in alpha and beta radioactive decay and why? nuclear equations!, the production of radioisotopes - artificial sources of radioactive-isotopes, cyclotron gcse physics revision notes

8. Nuclear fusion reactions and the formation of 'heavy elements' by bombardment techniques gcse physics notes

9. Nuclear Fission Reactions, nuclear power as an energy resource gcse physics revision notes


Forces revision notes index

1. What are contact forces & non-contact forces?, scalar & vector quantities, free body force diagrams

2. Mass and the effect of gravity force on it - weight, (mention of work done, GPE and circular motion)

3. Calculating resultant forces using vector diagrams and work done calculations gcse physics notes

4. Elasticity and energy stored in a spring gcse physics revision notes

5. Turning forces and moments - from spanners to wheelbarrows, levers, gears and equilibrium situations

6. Pressure in liquid fluids and hydraulic systems gcse physics revision notes

7. Pressure & upthrust in liquids, why do objects float or sink?, variation of atmospheric pressure with height

Motion and associated forces notes index (including Newton's Laws of Motion)

1. Speed and velocity - the relationship between distance and time, distance-time graphs gcse physics revision

2. Acceleration, velocity-time graph interpretation and calculations, problem solving gcse physics revision notes

3. Acceleration, friction, drag effects and terminal velocity experiments gcse physics revision notes

4. Newton's First, Second and Third Laws of Motion, inertia and F = ma calculations gcse physics revision notes

5. Reaction times, stopping distances, safety aspects. calculations including F=ma gcse physics revision notes

6. Elastic and non-elastic collisions, momentum calculations and Newton's 2nd law of motion gcse physics



Most GCSE physics courses will expect you to know and be able to use the following units

Be able to recall and use the following SI units:

metre, unit symbol: m;   kilogram unit symbol: kg;   second unit symbol: s

ampere unit symbol: A;  kelvin unit symbol: K;   mole unit symbol: mol;

AND some derived units with special names: name unit abbreviation:

Frequency hertz Hz,  Force newton N, Energy joule J, Power watt W,

Pressure pascal Pa, Electric charge coulomb C

Electric potential difference volt V,  Electric resistance ohm Ω,  Magnetic flux density tesla T

Be able to recall and use multiples and sub-multiples of units, including:

giga (G, 109),  mega (M, 106),  kilo (k, 103), centi  (c, 10-2),  milli (m, 10-3),  micro (μ, 10-6)  and  nano (n, 10-9)

Be able to convert between different units, including hours to seconds.

Be able to use significant figures and standard form where appropriate


Using numerical equivalents

e.g.: 1 m 10-6 m, 1 nm 1.0 x 10-9 m, 1 mm 1.0 x 10-3 m, 1 cm 1.0 x 10-2 m,

1 m 1.0 x 106 m, 1 m 1.0 x 109 nm, 1 mm 1.0 x 103 m, 1 cm 1.0 x 104 m, 1 m 1.0 x 106 m (etc.!)


Significant figures and what is legitimate to quote for a final numerical answer

Since many sections of physics involve calculations, significant figure quotation should follow the rule:

Significant figures (s.f.) is the limit of numerical accuracy you can be sure of e.g.

If the data numbers in a question are 20, 25, 0.125, 678, 1.234, you can only quote the final answer to the nearest 2 sf - dictated by the 20 (only quoted to 2 s.f.) even though the data is quoted to 3 or 4 significant figures..

If the question data said 20.0, you could still only quote the final answer to 2 s.f. because of the 25.

If the question data said 20.0 and 25.1, you could then quote the final answer to 3 s.f.

Any intermediate working is not governed by this convention, only the final answer to a specific calculation.


LINKS for my revision pages for the NEW GCSE 9-1 science-physics courses, next exams May-June 2019

Revision Summaries for the new GCSE PHYSICS/combined science physics courses

AQA GCSE Physics 8463 1st Paper (Topics 1-4, Combined Science Trilogy Physics 1 Topics 18-21)

AQA GCSE Physics 8463 2nd Paper (Topics 5-8, Combined Science Trilogy Physics 2 Topics 22-24)

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Physics  1st Paper (Topics 1-7 & Combined Science Chemistry 2 Topics 1-8)

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Physics 2nd Paper (Topics 1, 8-15 & Combined Science Chemistry 2 Topics 1, 8-10, 12-15)

OCR (9-1) Gateway Science GCSE Physics A 1st Paper (Topics P1-4 & Combined Science A physics 1 Topics P1-4)

OCR (9-1) Gateway Science GCSE Physics2nd Paper (Topics P5-8 & Combined Science A physics 1 Topics P5-8)

OCR (9-1) 21st Century Science GCSE Physics B Chapters P1-3 (Chapters P1-3, GCSE Combined Science B physics)

OCR (9-1) 21st Century Science GCSE Physics B Chapters P4-6 (Chapters P4-6, GCSE Combined Science B physics)


IGCSE revision notes gcse physics revision KS4  physics Science notes on gcse physics revision GCSE physics guide notes on gcse physics revision for schools colleges academies science course tutors images pictures diagrams for gcse physics revision science revision notes on gcse physics revision for revising  physics modules physics topics notes to help on understanding of gcse physics revision university courses in biological science careers in science  physics jobs in the pharmaceutical industry laboratory assistant apprenticeships internships technical internships in  physics USA US grade 8 grade 9 grade10 AQA  physics science GCSE notes on gcse physics revision Edexcel physics science notes on gcse physics revision for OCR 21st century  physics science OCR GCSE Gateway  physics science notes WJEC gcse science CCEA/CEA gcse science

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