Mechanics: distance, velocity, speed, acceleration, and the relationships between them. Interpretation of graphs. Response to forces; Newton’s laws of motion; weight and mass; addition of forces; circular motion. Friction, air resistance, and terminal velocity. Levers, pulleys and other elementary machines. Springs and Hooke’s law. Kinetic and potential energy and their inter-conversion; other forms of energy; conservation of energy and momentum; power and work.
This is the real meat of the physics test. It seems that mechanics is the subject most admissions tutors care the most about; this is reasonable, because if you don’t have an aptitude for mechanics problems you are going to struggle badly in physics and even worse in engineering. We expect that there will always be mechanics questions on every paper making up at least 10% of the total marks, and when you get to the interview you will almost certainly be asked a few mechanics questions, so it is really worth concentrating some effort here.
All the topics should be familiar from AS level, apart from circular motion. An example circular motion question is 2012, question 17, which is answered in detail here; try not to look at the answer before you have had a go at it yourself. An explanation of why objects moving in a circle have centripetal acceleration is here.
Answers to mechanics questions