Physics (National 5)

Why study Physics?

This course is designed to increase your knowledge and understanding of the concepts of Physics and its many applications in modern society. It provides the opportunity to develop skills necessary to find solutions to scientific problems, such as experimenting, investigating and analysing, and gives a deeper insight into the structure of the subject. The course makes a valuable contribution to your general education and provides a sound basis for further study.

The skills you learn on this course are valuable for careers in medicine, energy, industry, material development, the environment and sustainability.

What will I study?

From the sources of the energy we use, to the exploration of space, Physics covers a range of applications that affect our lives. Studying Physics allows you to gain an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. It will help you to develop your logical and critical thinking, solve problems and make decisions.

The course comprises six areas of study.


You will learn about:

  • vectors and scalars; velocity–time graphs; acceleration; Newton’s laws; energy; projectile motion.


You will learn about

  • space exploration; cosmology.


You will learn about:

  • electrical charge carriers; potential difference (voltage); Ohm’s law; practical electrical and electronic circuits; electrical power.

Properties of matter

You will learn about:

  • specific heat capacity; specific latent heat; gas laws and the kinetic model.


You will learn about:

  • wave parameters and behaviours; electromagnetic spectrum; refraction of light.


You will learn about:

  • nuclear radiation.

How will I be assessed?

Course Assessment

The course assessment has two components totalling 155 marks:

  • Component 1: question paper – worth 135 marks
  • Component 2: assignment – worth 20 marks.

The question paper will be set and externally marked by SQA.

For the assignment component, you will be asked to choose a topical issue in physics to investigate, which should involve an experiment, and produce a written summary of your research and development ideas. The assignment component will be set and externally marked by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

The grade awarded is based on the total marks achieved across all course assessment components.

The course assessment is graded A-D.

Study Materials

What can I go on to next?

If you complete the course successfully, it may lead to:

Further study, training or employment in:

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