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Chemistry - A level

Chemistry is an exciting subject, sometimes beyond what we can see and often beyond what we can even imagine or believe.

What will I learn?

A level chemistry builds upon the concepts learned at GCSE including atomic structure, the periodic table and chemical reactions. Organic chemistry is studied in more detail allowing students to appreciate the application of chemistry in synthesising new molecules, in drug development for example. The study of physical chemistry develops a better understanding of why chemical reactions happen; the importance of this in industrial applications is considered. Content covered includes:

Physical chemistry - topics include; atomic structure, amount of substance, energetics, thermodynamics (A level only), acids and bases (A level only).

Periodicity - topics include; group 2, group 7, the transition metals (A level only).

Organic chemistry - topics include; alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, optical isomerism (A level only), aromatic chemistry (A level only).

What skills do I need?

Throughout the year you will undertake a range of tasks. These will require you to:

  • Read around the subject and research given topics
  • Work in teams within and after lessons
  • Manage your own time
  • Solve problems

Entry requirements are decided with individual students once final GCSE results are known, but as a general rule:

  • GCSE Grade B (or better) in both additional and core science - Grade A (or better) in GCSE additional science is advisable.
  • For students intending to take the full two-year A level course, Grade Bs (or better) in both GCSE courses are advisable.

How is the course graded?

AS level A level
Paper 1 – 1 hour 30 minutes, 80 marks 50% of AS level assessing physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and relevant practical skills. Paper 1 – 2 hours, 105 marks 35% of A level assessing physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and relevant practical skills.
Paper 2 – 1 hour 30 minutes, 80 marks 50% of AS level assessing physical chemistry, organic chemistry and relevant practical skills. Paper 2 – 2 hours, 105 marks 35% of A level assessing physical chemistry, organic chemistry and relevant practical skills.
  Paper 3 – 2 hours, 90 marks 30% of A level. assessing any content, plus relevant practical skills.

What is next for me after this course?

A qualification in chemistry is recognised as being extremely important by employers and universities. Possible careers include: medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, science teaching and most forms of management.

A level course information

Qualification & Board

AQA A Level Chemistry  

Course Content (for A level, how this follows on from GCSE)

Physical chemistry: Including; atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s principle, thermodynamics, rate equations, the equilibrium constant Kp, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells.

Inorganic chemistry :Including periodicity, Group 2 the alkaline earth metals, Group 7(17) the halogens, properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solution.

Organic chemistry: Including introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols, organic analysis, optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy, chromatography.

Potential Career paths

Analytical chemist • Chemical engineer • Clinical biochemist • Pharmacologist • Doctor • Research scientist (physical sciences) • Toxicologist • Chartered certified accountant • Environmental consultant • Higher education lecturer • Patent attorney • Science writer • Secondary school teacher.

Assessments (inc. field work / assessed practicals)

3 exam papers:

Paper 1: Physical and inorganic chemistry and relevant practical skills

2 hour written exam, 105 marks of short and long answer questions. 35% of A level grade

Paper 2: Physical and organic chemistry and relevant practical skills

2 hour written exam, 105 marks of short and long answer questions. 35% of A level

Paper 3: Any content and any practical work can be assessed.

2 hour written exam, 90 marks; 40 marks of questions on practical techniques and data analysis, 20 marks of questions testing across the specification, 30 marks multiple choice questions. 30% of A level.

Practical assessments have been divided into those that can be assessed in written exams and those that can only be directly assessed whilst students are carrying out experiments. A-level grades will be based only on marks from written exams.

A separate endorsement of practical skills will be taken alongside the A-level. This will be assessed by teachers and will be based on direct observation of students’ competency in a range of skills that are not assessable in written exams.

Core or Option

Option

No Option Choices (GCSE only)

 

No. GCSE / A Level equivalent

 One