This article presents the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) physics topics and physics syllabus for high school students in Kenya. Here you will find all the physics topics for form 1, form 2, form 3, and form 4 arranged in order and expanded into their subtopics.

For your comfort and ease of access, you can download the pdf version of this physics syllabus and the subjects.

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### Form 1 Physics Topics and Subtopics/ Form 1 Syllabus

** 1. INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS**

- Physics as a Science
- Definition of Physics
- Branches of Physics
- Relationship between Physics, other subjects, and technology
- Career opportunities in Physics
- Basic laboratory safety rules

** 2. MEASUREMENT 1**

- Introduction
- Physical quantities
- Basic physical quantities and their SI Units
- Length, area, volume, mass, density and time
- Estimation of quantities
- Conversion of units
- Measuring instruments
- Experiments on density
- Problems on density

** 3. FORCE**

- Definition of force
- Types of forces (including cohesive adhesive and surface tension)
- Experiments to demonstrate cohesion, adhesion and surface tension
- Effects of force
- Mass, weight and their relationship
- Scalar and vector quantities
- Problems involving W=mg (take g=10N/kg)

** 4. PRESSURE**

- Definition of pressure
- Pressure in solids
- Factors affecting pressure in fluids
- Derivation of P=hdg or p = h(rho)g
- Atmospheric pressure
- Simple mercury barometer
- Application of pressure drinking straw syringe siphon, hydraulic press hydraulic brakes bicycles pump force, pump lift pump
- Problems on pressure

** 5. PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER**

- Experiments to show that matter is made up of tiny particles (eg cutting papers into small pieces, and dilution experiments)
- Brownian motion
- Diffusion

** 6. THERMAL EXPANSION**

- Temperature
- Thermometers (liquid in glass, clinical, six’s maximum and minimum)
- Expansion of solids liquids and gases
- Effects of expansion and contraction
- Unusual expansion of water (anomalous expansion)
- Application of thermal expansion (include bimetallic strip)

** 7. HEAT TRANSFER**

- Heat and temperature
- Modes of heat transfer
- Factors affecting heat transfer
- Application of heat transfer on – the Vacuum flask, the domestic hot water system, solar concentrators

** 8. RECTILINEAR PROPAGATION OF LIGHT AND REFLECTION AT PLANE SURFACE**

- Rectilinear propagation of light (experimental treatment required)
- Formation of shadows and eclipses (umbra and penumbra)
- Formation of shadows and eclipses (umbra and penumbra)
- Laws of reflection
- Images formed by plane minors, ray diagrams, parallel, and inclined mirrors
- Devices based on reflection: periscope, kaleidoscope
- Problems on pin-hole camera and mirrors inclined at an angle

** 9. ELECTROSTATICS 1**

- Electrostatic charging of objects by rubbing
- Types of charges and law of charges
- The source of charge
- The gold leaf electroscope: features, charging and discharging
- Charging by contact and by induction
- Identification of charge
- Conductors and insulators

** 10. CELLS AND SIMPLE CIRCUITS**

- Simple electric circuits
- Circuit symbols
- Electric current and its units
- Primary and secondary cells (simple cell, dry cell, Leclanche, and lead-acid accumulators)
- Care and maintenance of secondary cells

### Form 2 Physics Topics and Subtopics/ Form 2 Syllabus

** 1. MAGNETISM**

- Magnets, properties, and uses
- Magnetic and nonmagnetic materials
- The basic law of magnetism
- Magnetic field patterns
- Magnetization and demagnetization
- Domain theory of magnetism
- Care of magnets
- Constriction of a simple compass

** 2. MEASUREMENT II**

- Measurement of length using Vernier calipers and micrometer screw gauge
- Decimal places, significant figures, and standard form
- Estimation of the diameter of a molecule of oil (relate to the size of the HIV virus, mention effects of oil spill on health and environment)

** 3. TURNING EFFECT OF FORCE**

- Moment of a force, the unit of moment of a force
- Principle of moments
- Problems on the principle of moments (consider single pivot only)

** 4. EQUILIBRIUM AND CENTRE OF GRAVITY**

- Centre of gravity (Experimental treatment required)
- Centre of gravity (Experimental treatment required)
- Factors affecting stability
- Applications of stability
- Problems on centre of gravity and moments of a force (consider single pivot only)

** 5. REFLECTION AT CURVED SURFACES**

- Concave and convex parabolic reflectors
- Principal axis, principal focus, centre of curvature and related terms
- Location of Images formed by curved mirrors by construction method (Experiment on concave mirrors required)
- Magnification formula
- Applications of curved reflectors

** 6. MAGNETIC EFFECT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT**

- Applications of curved reflectors
- Hans Oersted’s experiment (Swimming rule)
- Magnetic field patterns on straight conductors and solenoid (right hand grip rule)
- Simple electromagnets
- Factors affecting the strength of an electromagnet
- Motor effect (Fleming’s left hand rule)
- Factors affecting force on a current-carrying conductor in a magnetic field
- Applications (electric bell, simple motor)

** 7. HOOKE’S LAW**

- Hooke’s law
- Spring constant
- Spring balance
- Problems on Hooke’s Law

** 8. WAVES**

- Pulses and waves
- Transverse and longitudinal waves
- Amplitude, Wavelength, frequency, periodic time
- Wave formula
- Problems involving the wave formula

** 9. SOUND**

- Sound: nature and sources (experimental treatment required)
- Propagation of sound: compressions and rarefactions
- Speed of sound by echo method
- Factors affecting the speed of sound
- Problems on the velocity of sound

** 10. FLUID FLOW**

- Streamline and turbulent flow
- Equation of continuity
- Bernoulli’s effect (Experimental treatment required)
- Applications of Bernoulli’s effect: Bunsen burner, spray gun, carburetor, aerofoil, spinning ball
- Problems on the equation of continuity

### Form 3 Physics Topics and Subtopics/ Form 3 Syllabus

** 1. LINEAR MOTION**

- Distance, displacement, speed velocity, acceleration (experimental treatment required)
- Acceleration due to gravity, free fall, simple pendulum method
- Motion time graphs: -Displacement time graphs, Velocity time graphs
- Equations of uniformly accelerated motion
- Problems on uniformly accelerated motion

** 2. REFRACTION OF LIGHT**

- Refraction of light laws of refraction (experimental treatment required)
- Determination of refractive index
- Snell’s law
- Real apparent depth
- Critical angle
- Dispersion of white light
- Total internal reflection and its effects
- Applications of total internal reflection

** 3. NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION**

- Newton’s laws of motion
- Inertia
- Conservation of linear momentum
- Frictional forces

- Viscosity
- Terminal velocity
- Problems on Newton’s laws of motion and linear momentum

** 4. WORK, ENERGY, POWER, AND MACHINES**

- Forms of energy and energy transformations
- Sources of energy: renewable, non-renewable
- Law of conservation of energy
- Work, energy and power
- Kinetic and potential energy
- Simple machines
- Problems on work, energy, power and machines

** 5. CURRENT ELECTRICITY II**

- Scale reading: Ammeter, Voltmeter
- Electric circuits: current, potential difference
- Ohm’s law (experimental treatment required)
- Resistance: types of resistors, measurements of resistance and units.
- Electromotive force (emf) and internal resistance of a cell (E = V + Ir)
- Resistors in series and in parallel
- Galvanometers: Conversion to ammeters and voltmeters
- Problems on Ohm’s law, resistors in series and in parallel

** 6.** **WAVES II**

- Properties of waves including sound waves: reflection refraction diffraction interference (experimental treatment required)
- Constructive interference and destructive interference
- Stationary waves (qualitative and experimental treatment required)

** 7. ELECTROSTATICS II**

- Electric field patterns
- Charge distribution on conductors: spherical and pear-shaped conductors
- Action at points: lightning arrestors
- Capacitance, unit of capacitance (farad, microfarad), factors affecting capacitance
- Applications of capacitors
- Problems on capacitors (using Q=CV, C = C + C, 1/C = 1/C +1/C)

** 8. HEATING EFFECT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT**

- Simple experiments on heating effect
- Factors affecting electrical energy, W = VIt, P =VI
- Heating devices:- electric kettle, electric iron, bulb filament, electric heater
- Problems on electrical energy and electrical power

** 9. QUANTITY OF HEAT**

- Heat capacity, specific heat capacity, units (Experimental treatment required)
- Latent heat of fusion, latent heat of vaporization, units (Experimental treatment necessary)
- Boiling and melting
- Pressure cooker, refrigerator
- ProblemS on quantity of heat

** 10. GAS LAWS**

- Boyle’s law, Charles’ law, pressure law, absolute zero
- Kelvin scale of temperature
- Gas laws and kinetic theory of gases
- Problems on gas laws [including PV/T = constant]

### Form 4 Physics Topics and Subtopics/ Form 4 Syllabus

** 1. THIN LENSES**

- Types of lenses
- Ray diagrams and definition of terms
- Construction of ray diagrams
- Characteristics of images formed by thin lenses
- Magnification
- Experimental determination of focal length
- Lens formula
- The human eye, defects
- Optical devices
- Simple and compound microscopes
- The camera
- Problems involving the lens formula and magnification

** 2. UNIFORM CIRCULAR MOTION**

- The radian, angular displacement, angular velocity
- Centripetal force
- Applications of uniform circular motion
- Centrifuge, vertical, horizontal circles, banked tracks (calculations on banked tracks and conical pendulum not required)
- Problems involving the application of F=mv
^{2}/r, F=mrw^{2}

** 3. FLOATING AND SINKING**

- Archimedes’ principle, Law of flotation
- Relative density
- Applications of Archimedes’ principle and relative density
- Problems on Archimedes’ principle

** 4. ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM**

- Electromagnetic spectrum
- Properties of electromagnetic waves
- Detection of electromagnetic radiations
- Applications of e.m radiations (include greenhouse effect)
- Problems involving c =frequency x wavelength

** 5. ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION**

- Simple experiments to illustrate electromagnetic induction
- Induced emf, Faradays’ law, Lenz’s law
- Mutual induction
- Alternating current generator, the direct current generator
- Fleming’s right hand-rule
- Transformers
- Applications of electromagnetic induction (induction coil, moving coil loudspeaker)
- Problems on transformers

** 6. MAINS ELECTRICITY**

- Sources of mains electricity
- Power transmission (include dangers of high voltage transmission)
- Domestic wiring system
- Kw-hr, consumption and cost of electrical energy
- Problems on mains electricity

** 7. CATHODE RAYS AND CATHODE RAY OSCILLOSCOPE**

- Production of cathode rays cathode ray tube
- Properties of cathode rays
- CRO and television tubes
- Uses of CRO
- Problems on CRO

** 8. X-RAYS**

- Production of X-rays, X-rays tube
- Energy changes in an X-ray tube
- Properties of X-rays soft X-rays and hard X-rays
- Dangers of X-rays and precautions
- Uses of X-rays
- Problems on X-rays

** 9. PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT**

- Photoelectric effect, photons, threshold frequency; work function, Planck’s constant, and electron volt
- Factors affecting photoelectric emission
- Energy of Photons
- Einstein’s equation
- Applications of the photoelectric effect
- Problems on photoelectric emissions

** 10. RADIOACTIVITY**

- Radioactive decay
- Half-life
- Types of radiations, properties of radiations
- Detectors of radiation
- Nuclear fission, nuclear fusion
- Nuclear equations
- Hazards of radioactivity, precautions
- Applications of radioactivity
- Problems on radioactivity

** 11. ELECTRONICS**

- Conductors, semiconductors, insulators
- Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors
- Doping
- p-n junction diode
- Applications of diodes: half-wave rectification and full-wave rectification

**You might be interested in:**

- KNEC KCSE Physics Exam Topics Tested in Paper 1 and Paper 2
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