The course involves a study of the fundamental processes behind a huge range of natural and man-made phenomena and provides a range of skills that are relevant to a wide variety of fields – an emphasis on numerical, communication and problem-solving skills in addition to the teamwork involved in the practical situation. While there is a need for learning of facts to provide the groundwork for the subject, the emphasis is on the understanding and application of ideas; so you will be challenged by the subject and learn to think for yourself.

Course Outline

First Year of the A level
Physical Chemistry – Including atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle and Kc, oxidation and reduction and redox equations.
Inorganic Chemistry – Including periodicity, Group 2 the alkaline earth metals, Group 7(17) the halogens.
Organic Chemistry – Including introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols, organic analysis.

Second Year of the A level
Physical Chemistry – Including thermodynamics, rate equations, equilibrium constant (Kp) for homogeneous systems, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells, acids and bases.
Inorganic Chemistry – Including properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solution.
Organic Chemistry – Including optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy, and chromatography.

• AQA provide a list of practical activities that students must carry out. There will be no internal assessment that leads to marks that contribute towards the A-level grade.
• Practical work will be assessed in the written papers. 15% of the total A-level marks will be for practical knowledge and understanding.
• A separate ‘endorsement’ of practical work will be assessed by teachers. This will not be graded. If students pass, it will be reported on their certificate.


Examination (100%)
Examining Board – AQA.
There are 3 written papers all are 2 hours long:
Paper 1: Inorganic chemistry, with relevant physical chemistry and relevant practical skills.
Paper 2: Organic chemistry, with relevant physical chemistry and relevant practical skills.
Paper 3: All content and all practical skills.

Special Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in Maths and grade 6 in Chemistry or grade 5-6 in Combined Science is required. In addition, standard A level entry requirements apply.

Prohibited Options


Career and Progression Opportunities

The wide range of skills developed during Advanced Level Chemistry mean that it is a highly regarded qualification for a vast range of courses in Higher Education, both Science and non-Science based. Chemistry is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, such as medicine, nursing, biochemistry, dentistry or forensic science. It will also equip you for a career in industry, for example in the pharmaceutical or petrochemical industries.

Teaching Methods

The department uses a wide variety of teaching styles appropriate to the topic being considered. We have a large variety of activities on the College virtual learning environment that you are expected to use. As Chemistry is a practical science, we complete and discuss experiments that are important to the understanding of the application of subject content. It is important our students take responsibility for their own learning outside and within the classroom. You will be set a number of tasks to develop your study skills and help you to actively engage with the content.

Cost Implications

There are no specific costs involved in studying A Level Chemistry, but we offer trips that will require payment for transport. We also recommend a variety of possible textbooks that students can buy or borrow from our library.

Links to External Organisations

The department has links with a variety of university departments plus the Royal Society in London. We invite in speakers and advertise local lectures and Masterclasses.

Complementary Subjects or Enrichment Courses

Our students take the whole range of subjects to run alongside their study of Chemistry. However, Chemistry is a highly mathematical subject so any student not continuing with A Level Mathematics is strongly advised to consider the one year Core Maths enrichment course we offer. A level Mathematics is also favoured by universities for students continuing to Chemistry courses. It is also clear that if students take either Biology or Physics in addition to Chemistry, they will benefit from the broad similarities of a study of the three major sciences, and this will provide a firm base for science-based university courses or careers.

This information is correct for September 2019 entry.

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