This is a contemporary course which aims to develop the student’s enthusiasm for Chemistry by exploring its relevance beyond the laboratory. Students will have opportunities to gain hands on practical skills as well as enhance their data handling and problem solving ability.
The three main areas of Chemistry are studied on the course: Physical, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry.
- Physical Chemistry
This section builds upon some of the key Chemistry concepts studied at GCSE including Atomic Structure, Quantitative Chemistry (Calculations) Bonding and Kinetics (Rates of Reaction). The Energetics of reactions, Chemical Equilibria and Redox Reactions are also covered.
- Inorganic Chemistry
Involves the study of the Periodic Table, including explaining trends and patterns in physical and chemical properties of the elements and the study of Group VII Halogens and Group II Alkaline Earth Metals.
- Organic Chemistry
Following an introduction to the principles of Organic Chemistry students study in greater depth the structures, reactions and mechanisms of specific homologous series and functional groups, including alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes and alcohols. We also undertake organic analysis both practically and using spectroscopic techniques.
The course is assessed through examination papers:
Paper 1 assesses Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and relevant practical skills.
Paper 2 assesses Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and relevant practical skills.
Paper 3 assesses any of the content and any of the practical skills
There is also a practical endorsement, which assesses the practical skills throughout the entire course.
You will engage in hands-on practical work and investigate projects throughout the 2 year course. The exams assess your understanding of the practical and experimental techniques taught. Your ability to actually carry out experiments is assessed in a separate qualification called the Practical Endorsement. This is assessed by your teacher based on your performance during practical tasks throughout the course, and also based on the work recorded in your lab book over the two years. The practical endorsement is reported on your final A-level certificate alongside your A-level grade, as either “Pass” or “Not reported”.
The problem solving, numeracy, data handling, analysis, team working, communication and report writing skills gained during A level Chemistry open up opportunities in a vast range of career areas, both inside and outside the laboratory. Chemistry is vital for medical sciences but can also lead to careers in forensics, engineering, pharmaceuticals, toxicology, law, accountancy, physiotherapy and many other exciting and varied fields of work.
GCSE GRADE PROFILE
Students who study this subject will ideally achieve a Grade 6-6 in GCSE Combined Science OR a 6 in GCSE Chemistry, although we are happy to accept Grade 5 students (5-5 or 5-6 in Combined Science) who complete a GCSE/A-Level transition package over the summer holidays to a high enough standard.
Students must also achieve a minimum of a 5 in Mathematics, due the high mathematical demand of this subject.