Is physics A level harder than A level maths?

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When picking A levels, students may consider the difficulty of specific subjects. Of course, everyone likes a challenge, but maybe only up to a certain extent! Some A levels are arguably harder than others and may require you to put more work in, so it’s good to be mindful and make an informed decision.

So, if you’re trying to work out the difficulty level between physics and maths at A level, read on to get a better understanding of this debate!


The maths included in physics A level is a lot more demanding than it is at GCSE. It’s often recommended that students study maths alongside physics just to help them understand this challenging content. Around 40% of the marks at physics A level comes from tackling mathematical questions. It’s very challenging for a lot of students to do physics at A level without the concepts you’ll learn from attending an A level maths revision course.

This shows that students may need to rely on other subjects to get a good grade in physics. Therefore, it could be argued that physics A level is more difficult than maths because many students may need to rely on studying maths alongside it just to get by. Alternatively, you would not be needing physics to get by at maths A level.

The material in physics is also argued to be more challenging than the material in maths, as well as the difficulty of the exam questions. Along with complex mathematical concepts, you’d also have to study the challenging physical theories and other content to prepare for this exam – content which is left out of the maths A level.

Maths is generally a lot easier than all the sciences. With the sciences at A level, getting those all-important marks and higher grades often depends more on the understanding of difficult concepts rather than memorisation. With physics especially, you will need a complete understanding of the academic material to get anywhere near a good grade!

Depends on the individual

The debate over whether physics or maths A level harder has been argued by many and might result in physics being the answer. However, the answer often actually depends on the individual student.

If you hate maths and love physics, you’re bound to find physics easier, and vice versa. Students usually perform better in their favourite subjects whilst they might fall back in their hated subjects. Furthermore, some students might just be more academic in one subject over another.

Whilst physics and maths are similar, every student has their individual strengths and weaknesses. Some students just may be inclined to answers maths questions better than physics questions based on how their brain works. With this in mind, the answer of whether physics or maths is harder could be down to individual performance. Students do perform differently in different exams.

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So, when looking at which A level is harder, many people often sway towards physics. However, it really does involve personal preference too. Your skills, passions and natural intelligence might make either of them easier in your eyes.

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