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Chemistry

Why study Chemistry?

A qualification in Chemistry opens doors to a wide range of careers. Chemistry is involved in our everyday lives and there is a vast range of jobs and careers open to those who have studied Chemistry at any level; great career opportunities exist both inside and outside the laboratory. Nobody knows what the jobs of the future will look like, but many of them will be created in Chemistry to solve global challenges such as human health, energy and the environment. As well as practical knowledge of the subject, Chemistry pupils develop many other skills prized by employers such as problem solving, numeracy, communication, creativity and data analysis. Gaining these skills means that you can have a future in all sorts of careers from finance to public relations. Chemistry is a required course if you want to study Medicine or Veterinary Science as well as many other related Bioscience degrees.

Entry requirements

7 in GCSE Chemistry or 7-7 in Combined Sciences. If taking Combined Science we would expect your mark in the Chemistry component to be of at least 7 standard.

Course Outline

A-level Chemistry gives you the opportunity to study key concepts in greater detail, some of which have been met at GCSE level. Over the course, a minimum of 12 core practicals will be carried out to develop and test practical competency. In Chemistry you will need to be able to communicate effectively, be able to carry out research, work independently and think critically about problems. Throughout the course, an appreciation of the relevance of sustainability to all aspects of scientific developments will be linked to the core content of the A-level courses.

A- level Chemistry includes the following key themes:

  • Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table
  • Bonding and structure
  • Redox
  • Inorganic Chemistry and the Periodic Table
  • Formulae, Equations and Amounts of Substance
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Modern Analytical Techniques
  • Energetics
  • Kinetics
  • Equilibria
  • Acid-Base Equilibria
  • Transition Metals

Terminal written papers taken at the end of the Upper Sixth will be divided into the following units:

  • Paper 1 (2 hours) – Advanced Inorganic & Physical Chemistry (and relevant practical skills) (35%)
  • Paper 2 (2 hours) – Advanced Organic and Physical Chemistry (and relevant practical skills) (35%)
  • Paper 3 (2 hours) – Any content and any practical skills (30%)

The AQA papers will consist of a mixture of multiple choice, short open-response, extended open-response, calculations, data analysis, practical techniques and synoptic-style questions. A separate assessment of ‘practical competency’ will be used to assess the ability of pupils in practical skills at A-level over a series of 12 core practicals conducted in the teaching laboratories: the grade will be reported as ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’. Pupils will be expected to: demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures in a theoretical and practical context as well as interpreting both qualitative and quantitative data; analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including making judgements, reaching conclusions and developing and refining practical design and procedures.

Course Delivery

The course will suit anyone with a strong interest in how the material world functions and how chemists are able to manipulate materials for the benefit of mankind. This course will give you the skills, knowledge and understanding to make decisions about the way chemistry affects your everyday life by applying concepts to contemporary areas of chemistry and highlighting its relevance to environmental issues of sustainability and scientific developments.

All lessons are taught by subject specialists with each class having two teachers during the course of the year. Individual, paired and larger group work takes place throughout the course, and lessons involve practical work whenever possible. Pupils are expected to read ahead, keep detailed notes and be willing to put in a large amount of independent study during prep in order to learn the chemical knowledge that will become part of their chemical vocabulary. Pupils are expected to participate fully and join in with the Lower Sixth Cambridge University Chemistry Challenge and the Royal Society of Chemistry Olympiad. During Science Week, pupils in the Sixth Form are expected to support Chemistry activities across the Foundation.
The non-exam assessment common practical assessment criteria involve the candidates keeping a record of their practical activities in a dated and marked laboratory notebook. This is subject to scrutiny by the exam board. Throughout the two-year, linear course, there will be regular tests and assessments to enable pupils to monitor their progress. Pupils will need to be mathematically competent to cope with the content of the course.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

You may want to use the well-respected Chemistry qualification to progress onto further studies in Higher Education or support other qualifications, such as Medicine or Veterinary Science. An A-level in Chemistry is a mandatory requirement for those wishing to read Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry or Pharmacy Courses at university.

A large number of our pupils go on to read Chemistry and Biosciences at university; those wishing to read or pursue a career in Materials Science, Forensic Science, Environmental Science, Green Chemistry and Biochemistry would benefit from studying Chemistry at A-level.
The scientific and technical knowledge, analytical skills, numeracy, communication skills, management and organisation, logical thinking, teamwork and creativity involved in being successful as a chemist are prized skills by employers in many fields. Consequently, chemists end up in a wide range of careers, ranging from finance in the City, to scientific research and development, to education.

Contact for further information

Dr S Radojevic, Head of Chemistry