Chemistry

Chemistry is everywhere, from the reactions happening in your body keeping you alive, to the shampoo you use to wash your hair, or even the fuel needed to heat your home or run your car! Studying Chemistry involves an exploration of matter at a molecular level, it is often seen as the ‘central’ science providing insights into a variety of interlinking physical and biological phenomena. Have you ever wondered; What makes perfume smell? How fireworks have so many different colours? How new drugs are discovered? These are just some of the questions you will be able to answer by studying Chemistry. Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to carry out a wide range of practicals in a state-of-the-art laboratory, developing your critical thinking, analytical and problem solving skills with the guidance of enthusiastic and knowledgeable lecturers. Chemistry is an important subject for many different careers including medicine, environmental science, engineering, space exploration, developing perfumes and cosmetics. The skills developed are transferable and highly valued by many other professions including Business, Law and ICT.

Awarding Body

Available As

A Level

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What will I study?

The A-level course is divided into 6 compulsory modules:

Module 1: Development of Practical Skills

Module 2: Foundations in Chemistry

  • Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations
  • Amount of substance
  • Acid–base and redox reactions
  • Electrons, bonding and structure

Module 3: Periodic table and Energy

  • The periodic table and periodicity
  • Group 2 and the halogens
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Enthalpy changes
  • Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)

Module 4: Core organic Chemistry

  • Basic concepts
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Alcohols and haloalkanes
  • Organic synthesis
  • Analytical techniques (IR and MS)

Module 5:Physical chemistry and transition elements

  • Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative)
  • pH and buffers
  • Enthalpy, entropy and free energy
  • Redox and electrode potentials
  • Transition elements

Module 6:Organic chemistry and analysis

  • Aromatic compounds
  • Carbonyl compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and esters
  • Nitrogen compounds
  • Polymers
  • Organic synthesis
  • Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR)

The AS Course contains modules 1-4.

How will I learn?

Learning will take place in many ways including:

  • Independent learning including pre-reading to prepare for lessons and post lesson review and completion of booklets.
  • Practical work
  • Discusion with others
  • Collaborative learning
  • Problem solving
  • Building models for structures

All resources used in lessons are put on to the college Moodle site, enabling learners to access resources at any time.

 

How will I be assessed?

Informal Assessment:

Throughout the course we will make use of both summative assessment (e.g. end of topic tests) and formative assessment (e.g. answering questions in class) to review your progress.

Formal Assessment:

For A-level, there are three written exams in the summer of your second year:

  • Paper 1: Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry 2h 15 min  (37%) 
  • Paper 2: Synthesis and analytical techniques 2h 15 min  (37%) 
  • Paper 3: Unified chemistry 1h 30 min  (26%)

Practical skills are assessed in both written exams and through the practical endorsement. The practical endorsement is assessed throughout the course and is awarded a pass or unclassified (separate to your final grade).

For AS, there are 2 written papers at the end of the year:

  • Paper 1: Breadth in Chemistry 1h 30 min (50%)
  • Paper 2: Depth in Chemistry 1h 30 min (50%)

 

Are there any trips on this course?

There are a range of trips and experiences organised throughout the course including:

  • Chemistry in Action A-level Chemistry Lectures at Warwick
  • Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
  • RSC Analyst Competition
  • Spectroscopy in a Suitcase

Are there any extra costs?

During the course students will complete a work booklet for each topic including past paper questions. Students will be expected to pay for these at the start of the year. Purchasing booklets is a mandatory requirement of the course.

The total cost is approximately £10 per year.

We also ask that you pay a deposit for your course text books (£10) which will be returned to you when books are returned to the library at the end of the course.

Are there any specific entry requirements?

Grade 6 in Chemistry OR 6 in both Core AND Additional Science. 6 in Maths.

What enrichment activities are offered?

There are a range of enrichment activities for you to participate in, including:

  • Attend the Chemistry in Action A-level Chemistry Lectures at University of Warwick
  • Attend the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
  • Attend 'Spectroscopy in a Suitcase' workshop run by PhD Students from Bath University
  • Opportunity to take part in STEM enrichement programme
  • Volunteer to be a Chemistry mentor for GCSE students
  • Participate in Chemistry Olympiad
  • Complete the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

What work experience opportunities are there?

We have a strong link to Catalent, a local pharmaceutical company, and they accept 4 students each year to complete a 4 week work experience placement over the summer, gaining expertise in a range of different sectors within the business.

We also encourage students to apply for Nuffield Research placements and other opportunities to gain essential experience of the work place.  It is a college expectation that all students not progressing to university should undertake work experience.

Careers Information

FAQs

What resources are there for me to use?

The Chemistry student text books are library books which are loaned to you until after you finish your final exams. We use OUP books specifically written for the syllabus. The College intranet (Moodle) contains all the information you need for the course. You will also be expected to purchase course booklets which contain lots of information and practice questions.

Is it a hard subject?

Yes – but very satisfying when it starts to fit together. It is highly recommended that you work from the beginning of the first lesson, asking questions if you do not understand and attend work shops. You should also speak to others who have already completed the Chemistry course.

Do I need to study Mathematics as well?

No – but you need to have achieved Grade 6 in HIGHER GCSE Maths.

Can I study Chemistry without the right GCSE qualifications?

Individual circumstances will be taken into consideration. You will be need to discuss your situation with the Chemistry course leader.

Do I need to study Chemistry to study medicine at University?

Yes, it is essential to study Chemistry A-level for all medical degrees including vetinary science and dentistry.