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Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: AQA

Why study Chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of the properties and reactions of materials. It is sometimes called a central science, because it links the other sciences to each other, such as biology, physics, geology and environmental science.

Chemistry is a challenging but rewarding subject at A level. It is also one of the ‘facilitating’ subjects for university entry, which will open a wide range of options for progression to degree level. A level Chemistry will build on the ideas you have already developed at GCSE about structure, bonding and properties of materials.

Chemistry is taught through problem-solving activities that will develop your analytical and evaluative skills. Most Chemistry students progress onto a science degree with a substantial amount of chemistry content.

What can it lead to?

Chemistry offers the opportunity to learn by the development of transferable skills…skills that can be used in many other disciplines.  Our students generally progress onto a wealth of scientific based careers. Chemistry has strong links with biology so many aspire to the field of medicine through a variety of routes; pharmacy is very popular, as is the biomedical sciences. With those of a more mathematical background chemical engineering has proved a very popular choice at university. Examples of progression are:

  • Medicine/Biomedical Sciences                                     
  • Chemical Engineering   
  • Pharmacy                                                                     
  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry                                                                 
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Nutritional Science                                                       
  • Nursing

It is a testimony to the skills developed at A level chemistry that past students always comment on how valuable these skills have been to their university studies and beyond.

How is the course organised?

Board OCR

A Level Chemistry (Specification code: H432)

Duration: Two Years

The course content is divided into Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.  Practical skills are developed and assessed across all these Chemistry areas and you can expect to complete one practical activity per week, on average.  Students use lab books to keep record of their practical work.  The lab- book constitutes part of the evidence that counts towards your practical endorsement at the end of the two years. 

Mathematical and literacy skills are integral to the delivery of the course and will be developed over the course.

How is the course assessed?

At the end of two years you will sit three exam papers:

A level Chemistry. Assessment overview

Content is in six modules:

  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills in chemistry
  • Module 2 – Foundations in chemistry
  • Module 3 – Periodic table and energy
  • Module 4 – Core organic chemistry
  • Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements
  • Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis

Practical endorsement: Students who demonstrate competency with a range of practical skills and techniques, will gain a practical endorsement.

What do I need to qualify for this course?

Within the general requirement of 6 grade 5 s at GCSE, for A Level Chemistry you will need

  • An average GCSE score of 5.6 or more
  • 66 in Combined Science  or minimum 66 if Triple Science taken, with 6 in Chemistry 
  • Maths grade 6 
  • English grade 5 

There is an increased demand in mathematical skills required in the new Chemistry curriculum and, although it is not a requirement, it is beneficial to take A-level Maths alongside your A-level Chemistry course.

You will need a scientific calculator and a 30 cm see-through ruler.  You are also expected to use a hard backed ring binder to compile your notes and homework. 

Who are the teachers?

Chemistry is taught by Dr Singh who is pHD in Chemistry with international research publications and patent also the Head of Department and who has many years’ experience of teaching A-level Chemistry.  She has overseen many curriculum changes and has worked as an examiner with exam boards OCR and AQA.

You will have all the support you need to be successful on the course, but you must be prepared to put in the hard work and time that is required to succeed on this challenging A level.

What do students say about the course?

"In chemistry we get to explore different topics and the practicals are always enjoyable and they help to understand the theory."

​"Chemistry is a challenging but rewarding subject to learn. It allows you to choose any types of courses in the future because you develop a wide range of skills that you can apply to other subjects. I am very glad I chose Chemistry!"

Extra Curricular

We subscribe to Chemistry Review and all students have access to the journals both online and hard copies, which are available in the library.  The library is very well resourced with up to date textbooks and study guides to support your independent study. 

We have an excellent careers service and careers adviser and you will be provided with plenty of opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities to support your development and progression to higher education.

For further information, please contact Dr N Singh on nsi@stcharles.ac.uk.