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Physics at S3 and S4

National 5 Physics

The National 5 course emphasises the application of physics in the world around us.

The study of well-known physics applications is intended to stimulate interest and increase motivation of pupils of a wide range of ability. By progressing from the known (the application) to the unknown (the underlying principle) and by allowing repeated opportunities for reinforcement of important principles, the course reflects the best-accepted teaching methods. All pupils involved should gain an understanding of some simple applications of physics. For the more able pupils, the essential concepts underlying the applications are firmly established, thus providing the necessary foundation for further study of the subject.

You will study ten units over S3 and S4:

  • Mechanics
  • Electricity
  • Electronics
  • Heat
  • Gas Laws
  • Energy
  • Waves, Sound and Light
  • The Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Nuclear Radiation
  • Space


There is external assessment undertaken in two elements:

  • 20% of the overall marks for the Course assessment.

The assessment will assess the skills, knowledge and understanding specified for the assignment in the Course Assessment Specification and will be written as a research report.

  • 80% of the overall marks for the question paper.

The written element is assessed by means of examination at the end of the two-year course. The Course will be graded A–D.

A practical element is assessed internally with external moderation and includes a practical investigation performed and written up during class time. There will also be internally-marked tests which must be passed to achieve National 5.