This page focuses on IGCSE/GCSE Physics
Other relevant pages:
Science A levels (includes information on practical endorsements for A level)
Science (for an overview of the options)
Alternative Qualifications (see Science and Engineering section)
Physics Qualifications from Home Education
Home-ed students usually take International GCSE (IGCSE) Physics exams, which consist of written exams only. Unlike GCSEs, IGCSEs do not require core practical work to be carried out in the exam centre.
Edexcel IGCSE and Cambridge(CAIE) IGCSE Physics are exam-only syllabuses and available to private candidates.
Can I do GCSE Physics?
For most home educators GCSE physics is not an option and they must do IGCSE. GCSE Physics does not have a practical exam or controlled assessments, BUT the head of the exam centre has to sign a form for each candidate saying that the candidate has been offered the opportunity to carry out all core practicals at the centre. Most centres won't do this for external candidates. Many home-educated children still do some physics practicals, either in groups or at home, to prepare for IGCSE physics, but they do not have to do practicals in the exam centre.
Practicals exam questions in IGCSE Physics
Although there is no practical exam in IGCSE Physics, an understanding of practical work is necessary. Many home educators undertake physics practicals on the syllabus, whether at home, in tutor groups or at workshops.. For those that are more difficult to do at home, there are usually videos available online. Please see Physics Practicals for more on doing experiments through home education. The IGCSE specifications include 'alternative to practicals' questions, rather than requiring a practical exam.
Physics options for IGCSE
- 1 Physics Qualifications from Home Education
- 2 Physics options for IGCSE
- 3 Physics Resources
Edexcel International GCSE Physics (4PH1)
This is a popular choice among home educators, as it is often easier to find an exam centre in the UK for Edexcel exams. The specification was changed in 2017 for exams from summer 2019.
The specification, past papers and other resources can be found here Edexcel International GCSE Physics (2017) The most recent papers are not usually available to the public until several months after the exam, but you can ask on the HE exams and alternatives group to see if anyone has access to them.
Exams are usually available in Summer and January sittings.
Syllabus overview: This specification has two exams and is a single tier entry, so all candidates take the same papers and have access to all grades from 9-1. The difficult and easier questions are scattered between the two papers. Unlike Cambridge IGCSE Physics (which has an alternative to practicals paper), the practical questions in Edexcel International GCSE Physics (2017) are spread over both papers.
Previous Specifications: Edexcel International GCSE Physics (2009) - 4PH0 (that's a zero on the end) - A*-G grades. First teaching was 2009, first exams 2011. Minor changes from 2012. The Edexcel Certificate, KPH0, shared the same syllabus and exam papers. Past papers are useful for practice, but be mindful of any changes that have happened when syllabuses were revised.
Edexcel Teacher Support Materials - the specification, teacher's guide, scheme of work and past papers on the qualification page contain some helpful material. There is also a mapping document which states what has changed from the previous syllabus.
Student Textbooks for Edexcel IGCSE Physics
You only need one of these
(Pearson) Edexcel International GCSE (9-1) Physics Student Book (2017) by Arnold, Woolley and Johnson.
(Hodder) Edexcel International GCSE Physics Student Book Second Edition (2017) by England
Edexcel International GCSE (9-1) Physics Student Lab Book: Exam practice and further application (2019) Not essential, but some families have found it helpful
Workbooks and Revision books for Edexcel IGCSE Physics
Revision books and workbooks aren't essential, but some students find them helpful. There are lots of options below and you don't need to buy all of them!
(Hodder) Edexcel International GCSE Physics Workbook (2017) by England and Thomas
My Revision Notes: Edexcel International GCSE (9–1) Physics Phy (2018) by Horsewell
CGP offer a large range of revision resources and workbooks. Some people find CGP revision books cluttered, and other people love them. Take a look on the 'look inside' feature of Amazon to see whether they will suit your child.
Grade 9-1 Edexcel International GCSE Physics: Revision Guide with Online Edition (2107) designed for revision, but can also give a useful overview of each topic as it is being studied.
Grade 9-1 Edexcel International GCSE Physics: Exam Practice Workbook (includes Answers) (2017) A workbook to accompany the above revision book. Can be useful for testing knowledge before progressing to whole exam papers.
Grade 9-1 Edexcel International GCSE Physics: Complete Revision & Practice with Online Edition (2107) This book combines the CGP revision guide with some questions (fewer questions than if buying the exam practice workbook). There might be some overlap with the above books.
Edexcel International GCSE Physics: Grade 8-9 Targeted Exam Practice Workbook (with answers) (2017) questions for students aiming for the top grades.
New Grade 9-1 Edexcel International GCSE Physics: Revision Question Cards (2019) Note these are NOT flash cards of topic summaries, but are question cards. Not essential, but might be useful for some students.
Grade 9-1 Edexcel International GCSE Physics: 10-Minute Tests (with answers) (2018) Again, not essential, but a possible tool for some students.
Ben Ryder's YouTube Videos Note that these are for the old syllabus 4PH0
Cambridge (CAIE) IGCSE Physics (0625 and 0972)
The current specification exam code for A*-G grading is 0625. The equivalent specification for 9-1 grading is 0972 The syllabuses are identical, with the same exam content, just with different grading options (numerical or letter). Some exam centres will only enter students for 0972.
You can find the specifications, past papers and teaching and learning resources on the exam syllabus pages linked above.
Syllabus overview: The specification has three papers: a 1h Alternative to Practical, a 45 min Multiple Choice and a 1 hr 15 Theory paper. The multiple choice and theory exams used to be taken back to back (so effectively 2 hours), but for the past two years have been examined on separate days. CAIE science IGCSEs are tiered. This means that less able students can opt for the core tier, (papers 1, 3 and 6) but can only get a maximum grade of C or 5. More able students can opt for the higher (extended) tier (papers 2, 4 and 6) with the full grade range of 9-1
Resources for Cambridge IGCSE Physics [last updated Aug 2020]
Some books include answers, others don't. Some publishers will provide links to answers if you contact them. If you are not sure what textbooks or revision books to buy, or where to find answers, please ask on the HE exams and alternatives group ]
Student Textbooks for Cambridge IGCSE Physics
(Oxford University Press) Complete Physics for Cambridge IGCSE (2014) By Pople
(Cambridge University Press) Cambridge IGCSE® Physics Coursebook with CD-ROM (2014) By Sang
(Collins) Cambridge IGCSE Physics Student's Book (2014) By Bradley and Gardner
(Hodder)Cambridge IGCSE Physics 3rd Edition (Book & CD) (2014) by Duncan and Kennett
AQA Level 1/2 Certificate in Physics
This was a specification available to private candidates that is no longer available.
For how to find past exam papers see Past Papers
Free courses and resources
Ben Ryder Physics YouTube collection of physics revision videos, tailored for each exam board.
Chris Gozzard Physics Videos - YouTube collection of physics revision videos for IGCSE and A-level. Cheerful voice!
Grade Gorilla - highly recommended by a home-ed physics tutor.
Home-ed practicals for IGCSE Physics - one family's notes on experiments which can easily be carried out at home.
Mrs Haroony Free IGCSE - GCSE Physics lessons - diagrams and pictures good, though electronic reading voice not to everyone's taste.
Seneca Learning - A free online learning platform that has courses in Physics for all of the exam boards, at both foundation and higher level.
Paid courses and other resources
See our page on course providers for science