Having recently completed Grade 12 Physics (or equivalent), you are aware of the concepts that you have learned. However, we are listing those topics below to help you refresh the concepts and follow a learning path.

This list of Big Ideas and Key Topics has been taken and summarized from the Ontario secondary school curriculum to ensure that you review all the topics.

Reference Source: Ontario secondary school science curriculum, pages 194-207 

In addition to the Basic Concepts listed below, your teachers will have also introduced to additional aspects of the course: 

  •       Conduct lab inquiries by using appropriate lab instruments
  •       Collect, organize, analyze and interpret data
  •       Communicate results in form of lab reports using appropriate scientific terminology
  •       Application and impact of science and technology in the society

As you refresh on the concepts below, we encourage you to go beyond and explore the additional aspects to ensure you have a strong foundation before you take your university science courses.

Review Guide

While you can use any trusted source of information – like your school textbook or your classroom notes – this guide directs you to two sources: 

Khan Academy – for content and concept information 

PhET Interactive Simulations – web and app based simulation for science and math


Key Topics

  • Redox reactions in terms of the loss and gain of electrons and the associated change in oxidation number
  • Galvanic cell – components, component functions in a redox reaction, cell potential
  • Use of Hydrogen half-cell to determine the voltages of another half-cell
  • Applications of electrochemistry including corrosion-inhibition


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry

Energy and Momentum

Key Topics

  • Hooke’s law, and the relationships between that law, work, and elastic potential energy in a system of objects

  • Simple harmonic motion (SHM) of an object, and the relationship between SHM, Hooke’s law, and uniform circular motion

  • Elastic and inelastic collisions

  • Laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum with reference to mechanical systems (e.g., damped harmonic motion in shock absorbers, the impossibility of developing a perpetual motion machine)

  • How the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum were used to predict the existence and properties of the neutrino


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/physics

Simulation: Hooke’s Law https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/hookes-law

Simulation: Pendulum https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/pendulum-lab

Simulation: Masses & Springs Basics https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/masses-and-springs-basics

Simulation: Resonance https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/resonance

Simulation: Rotation https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/rotation

Simulation: Torque https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/torque

Simulation: Collision https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/collision-lab

Simulation: Skate Park https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/energy-skate-park-basics

Simulation: Nuclear Fission https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/nuclear-fission

Gravitational, Electric, and Magnetic Fields

Key Topics

  • Properties of fundamental forces that are associated with different theories and models of physics (e.g., the theory of general relativity and the standard model of particle physics)

  • Corresponding properties of gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields (e.g., the strength of each field; the relationship between charge in electric fields and mass in gravitational fields)

  • Field diagrams, differences in the sources and directions of fields, including, but not limited to, differences between near-Earth and distant fields, parallel plates and point charges, straight line conductors and solenoids


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/physics

Simulation: Charges & Fields https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/charges-and-fields

Simulation: Magnet & Compass https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/magnet-and-compass

Simulation: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/efield

Simulation: Radio Waves https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/radio-waves

Simulation: Coulomb’s Law https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/coulombs-law

Simulation: Magnets & Electromagnets  https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/magnets-and-electromagnets

Simulation: Capacitor Basics  https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/capacitor-lab-basics

Simulation: Faraday’s Law https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/faradays-law

The Wave Nature Of Light

Key Topics

  • Diffraction and interference of water waves in two dimensions

  • Diffraction, refraction, polarization, and interference of light waves (e.g., reduced resolution caused by diffraction, mirages caused by refraction, polarization caused by reflection and filters, thin-film interference in soap films and air wedges, interference of light on CDs)

  • Concepts of refraction, diffraction, polarization, and wave interference and how it explains the separation of light into colours in various situations (e.g., light travelling through a prism; light contacting thin film, soap film, stressed plastic between two polarizing filters)

  • Production of electromagnetic radiation by an oscillating electric dipole (e.g., a radio transmitter, a microwave emitter, an X-ray emitter, electron energy transitions in an atom)


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/physics

Simulation: Wave Interference https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/wave-interference

Simulation: Bending Light https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/bending-light

Simulation: Geometric Optics https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/geometric-optics

Simulation: Colour VIsion https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/color-vision

Simulation: Radiating Charge https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/radiating-charge

Simulation: Radio Waves https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/radio-waves

Simulation: Molecules https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/molecules-and-light

Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity

Key Topics

  • Experimental evidence that supports a particle model of light (e.g., the photoelectric effect, the Compton effect, pair creation, de Broglie’s matter waves)

  • Experimental evidence that supports a wave model of matter (e.g., electron diffraction)

  • Einstein’s two postulates for the theory of special relativity, and the evidence supporting the theory (e.g., thought experiments, half lives of elementary particles, relativistic momentum in accelerators, the conversion of matter into energy in a nuclear power plant)

  • The standard model of elementary particles in terms of the characteristics of quarks, hadrons, and field particles


Review Key Topics at: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/physics

Simulation: Quantum Wave Interference https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/quantum-wave-interference

Simulation: Photoelectric https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/photoelectric

Simulation: Alpha Decay https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/alpha-decay

Simulation: Beta Decay https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/beta-decay

Simulation: Discharge Lamps https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/discharge-lamps

Simulation: Particle Model https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/legacy/self-driven-particle-model

Simulation: Rutherford Scattering https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/rutherford-scattering