Changes in AH from 2019

I am grateful to Ms K Ward from George Heriot’s School for trawling through the new and old curriculum and recorded the changes. Thanks to her for also allowing me to reproduce it here.


Old assessment: 100 mark question paper, 30 mark project, plus pass all the units

New assessment: 155 mark question paper, scaled to 120, 40 mark project (hence project is 25%)

Changes to content:

The content is no longer divided into ‘mandatory course key areas’, ‘suggested learning activities’, and ‘exemplification of key areas’.  There is simply a list of the course contents.

Where the wording has changed but I don’t see any real difference, I have said ‘no change’. 


Kinematic relationships – no change

Angular motion – derivation of centripetal acceleration equation is gone

Rotational dynamics – no change


–       ‘Conversion between astronomical units (AU) and metres and between light-years (ly) and metres’ – is new

–       ‘Consideration of the energy required by a satellite to move from one orbit to another’ – is gone

General Relativity

–       ‘Knowledge that the escape velocity from the event horizon of a black hole is equal to the speed of light’ – is new

Stellar physics
has changed to

Specific example of  a p-p chain is now given

Hertzprung-Russell section is rewritten more clearly.

Quanta and Waves

Introduction to quantum theory – no change

Particles from space

–       ‘Knowledge of the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field’ – is gone.  New document only mentions composition of solar wind.  Helical motion of charged particles is still there though, so it might not really matter.

Simple harmonic motion (SHM)– no change

Waves – no change


Relationship for interference due to division of amplitude is now specified, 
opd=mλ or (m+1/2) λ where m=0,1,2…

Polarisation – no change



–       ‘Knowledge of Millikan’s experimental method for determining the charge on an electron’ – this was in ‘exemplification’ before but is now specifically required knowledge

–       ‘Comparison of gravitational, electrostatic, magnetic, and nuclear forces in terms of their relative strength and range’ – the words in bold are new


–       ‘Knowledge that, in an RC circuit, an uncharged capacitor can be considered to be fully

charged after a time approximately equal to 5τ.  Knowledge that, in an RC circuit, a fully charged capacitor can be considered to be fully discharged after a time approximately equal to 5τ.’ – is new

Electromagnetic radiation– no change


Knowledge and use of appropriate units, prefixes and scientific notation
Data analysis

–       ‘Absolute uncertainty should normally be rounded to one significant figure. In some instances, a second significant figure may be retained.’ – the words in bold are new.  It does not specify the instances in which a second figure may be retained.

–       ‘Knowledge that, when uncertainties in a single measurement are combined, an uncertainty can be ignored if it is less than one third of one of the other uncertainties in the measurement’ – is new

–       ‘Knowledge that, when uncertainties in measured values are combined, a fractional/percentage uncertainty in a measured value can be ignored if it is less than one third of the fractional/percentage uncertainty in another measured value’ – is new

–       The equation for the uncertainty in a value raised to a power is now given:

Evaluation and significance of experimental uncertainties

–       This short section is new

HSDU / ES Materials to help you through your course

There was some amazing material produced for the previous revision of AH (when it changed from SYS to AH). Some of this material is out of date, but most is not. It is a shame not to share it, especially as the previous host Education Scotland has removed the materials from their site. These materials should not be sold and should only be used for educational purposes.

further AH questions  These ought to be named, good simple starter questions for each part of the course.

Guide to excel 5795 This is a little out of date but still contains some cracking materials.

student material for AH check_uncert_mech_5959

student material for AH elec_wave_6581

student material for AH mechcorr_elec_wave 6581

Tutorial solutions

Mech Q (further) and solutions

AH (Wave Phenomena)

Uncertainties Norman Fancey Gemmell Millar This is a great document and essential reading for all those who want an excellent introduction to Uncertainties at this level. Ignore the parallelogram plot though.

AH Physics staff guide N Fancey G Millar J Woolsey

quantity symbol sheet Again the document is not totally up-to-date, but it contains some really important information.

Revised AH Materials

Revised AH is is very similar to the current CfE AH course, so materials should be compatible.

AH Space and Time TeachersNotes_tcm4-726395

Rotational Motion and Astrophysics_tcm4-726390



AH Physics SpaceandTimeTeachersNotes Mary Webster

AH Physics QuantumTheoryTeachersNotes Mary Webster