Physics A covers the more modern aspects of physics: in Lent term you study Quantum Mechanics and in Easter term Condensed Matter physics.
The topics covered in Michaelmas term: Experimental Methods and “Waves, Oscillations and Optics” are strongly linked to physics practical classes. In the lab sessions in Michaelmas you are introduced to some of the electronics used in experiments, with a focus on op-amps, while in lent term the experiments will illustrate some of the concepts in the Optics course.
For this course there are three lectures per week and generally one supervision. Handouts are generally be sufficient for exams, but given the wide range of material covered it will help to look things up in further detail in textbooks.
Physics A is the more popular option for those who are only taking one physics option, i.e. those looking to specialise in another field such as Chemistry or Materials Science.The concepts covered, e.g. error analysis, spectrometry and semiconductor physics, are perhaps more directly applicable to research than physics B, which delves into more classical areas of physics.