Chemistry A-level

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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.

What will I study in Chemistry A-level?

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)

Entry Requirements

A minimum of five GCSE's at Grade 4 or above all from the core subjects including:

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

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
  • Discussion 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).

Any trips?

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 costs involved?

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 £12.50 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.

You may also be required to buy appropriate PPE such as lab coats and goggles, these will be available from the College

FAQs

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.


What jobs/degrees are there for which Chemistry would be a good A -level to have

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.


Would studying Core Maths alongside A-Level Chemistry be helpful?

If you are not also studying A-Level Maths, taking L3 Mathematical Studies (Core Maths) can give you further practice at some of the maths you will do in A-Level Chemistry. This is a one-year course that you would take alongside your other 3 subjects, with exams at the end of your first year. The overlapped content will mostly be topics that you have seen at GCSE, such as fractions and percentages, and handling data, so Core Maths could give you on opportunity to further your work with these in a number of real-world contexts. Core Maths also looks at critical analysis, data handling and probability, and personal finance which can all be applied to life beyond your A-Level studies.


Available As

A Level
[56 UCAS pts. available]

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What can I do after I have taken this course?

Available As

A Level
[56 UCAS pts. available]

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Hear from some of our First year A-level Chemistry students!

What the students say

Abigail B

I’ve really enjoyed chemistry, it’s a very rewarding subject. I particularly enjoy the practicals as it helps us to understand all of the theory.

Abigail