Why study Chemistry A Level?
A Level Chemistry will develop your understanding of chemistry allowing you to explain the properties and structures of the molecules and compounds which make up the very world around you. The course takes a broad but detailed approach to chemistry where you will study a range of topics from the shapes of atoms to how cancer treatments work. A Level Chemistry is challenging but will allow you to work hard to develop new knowledge and see it applied in a variety of different situations. Practical work is spread throughout the course to complement the theoretical knowledge gained in lessons.
What will I learn?
There are six main modules in Chemistry. In Year 12 you will study:
- Development of Practical Skills in Chemistry
This is spread throughout the two-year course as we carry out practical work.
- Foundations in Chemistry
Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations; amount of substance; acid-base redox reactions; electrons, bonding and structure.
- Periodic Table and Energy
Periodic table and periodicity; group 2 and the halogens; qualitative analysis; enthalpy changes; reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative).
- Core Organic Chemistry
Basic concepts; hydrocarbons; alcohols and haloalkanes; organic synthesis; analytical techniques (infrared and mass spectroscopy).
In Year 13 you will study:
- Physical Chemistry and Elements
Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative); pH and buffers; enthalpy, entropy and free energy; redox and electrode potentials; transition elements.
- Organic Chemistry and Elements
Aromatic compounds; carbonyl compounds; carboxylic acids and esters; nitrogen compounds; polymers; organic synthesis; chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR).
How will I be assessed?
End of Year 13:
- Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry (Modules 1, 2, 3, 5). 100 marks. 2 hr 15 mins. (37%)
- Synthesis and analytical techniques (Modules 1, 2, 4, 6). 100 marks. 2 hr 15 mins. (37%)
- Unified Chemistry (Modules 1-6). 70 marks. 1 hr 30 mins. (26%)
Each paper has a mixture of multiple-choice, short and long answer questions which include a range of maths skills.
Practical skills will also be assessed through the ‘Practical endorsement in chemistry’. This is not an exam. Instead, your teacher will assess whether or not you have adequately completed the skills required in 12 class practicals. This will then be reported as a pass or fail on your final A Level certificate but will not affect your grade.
What other subjects go with Chemistry?
Pupils often study Chemistry alongside Biology and Physics.
Where could it lead me?
You could be a chemist or biochemist. Chemistry also provides essential knowledge for careers such as those in medicine, veterinary science, geology, dentistry, biology, engineering, forensic science, toxicology, nanotechnology, environmental law or policy making, patent law and teaching.
“Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking