Chemistry


A Level

Chemistry plays a vital part in virtually every aspect of our lives and the work of chemists has been responsible for the development of many of the materials which we now take for granted: plastics, dyestuffs, paints and cosmetics to mention but a few. Chemistry is also intimately involved in understanding and combating a wide range of problems from the depletion of the ozone layer and pollution to unravelling the mysteries of the genetic code and researching cures for rampant diseases.

Course Overview

Teaching will start with an introductory unit to ensure you start with a firm foundation of the basics. The remaining content will be woven together to emphasise the interconnected nature of chemistry, and will therefore not move completely linearly through the modules. Learning will be made up of work in group and individual sessions cross-linking between the physical, inorganic and organic areas of chemistry through a variety of approaches including comprehensions, discussions, problem solving and presentations. The course has been designed to ensure it develops all essential knowledge and understanding of chemistry in preparation for a wide array of future career paths. Furthermore it promotes the acquisition of competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills, as well as a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods.

Unit Guide

You will study the following units on A Level Chemistry:

  • 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

Assessment

In the first year you will study the first 4 modules, while module 5 and 6 will be done in the second year. Being a linear qualification the A Level assesses content from both the first and second years with the foundation content covered at the beginning being developed significantly by the time you reach the end. This highlights the importance of thorough revision across both years’ work, as well as the need to focus on long term understanding from the outset. There are three examination papers: one on inorganic chemistry (modules 1,2,3 and 5) one on organic chemistry (modules 1,2,4,6) and one which covers material from all the units. All will ask questions based upon the practical tasks you will have done across the two years and for the practical endorsement.

Special Features

The planned course of practical work reinforces the theoretical principles you study, teaches you how to handle equipment and chemicals safely and accurately, and how to interpret the results of chemical investigations. The understanding, interpretation and evaluation of practical work is assessed within the final written examinations. There is also a practical endorsement based upon a minimum of twelve practical assessments. This is recorded on your A Level certificate as either pass or fail, though does not contribute to the A Level grade.

Progression

Chemistry is an integral part of many degree courses, the main ones being chemistry itself, medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, chemical engineering, pharmacology, biochemistry, food science, marine biology and forensic science. Chemistry A Level or AS Level is required for many biology-based degrees. Its scientific approach also makes it a well-respected subject when applying for degrees in law, psychology, business studies and accountancy – no shortage of choice!

Last year, A Level Chemistry students progressed onto a wide range of degree programmes including –

University Degree
University of Bristol Biology
University of Cambridge Natural Sciences
Hull York Medical School Medicine
Nottingham University Chemical Engineering including an Industrial Year
University of Oxford Materials Science
University of Aberystwyth Marine & Freshwater Biology
University of Bristol Biochemistry

Exam Board

OCR.