Chemistry

Who is it for?

Chemistry is a challenging subject which is highly regarded by universities and employers. It is also a prerequisite for some of the most prestigious university courses. This course will also appeal to students who have enjoyed and succeeded in their chemistry studies so far.

The AQA specification will be taught. Students will build on their GCSE chemistry knowledge, digging deeper into the underlying explanations of chemical properties and behaviours; familiar areas of chemistry are revisited in more detail and new concepts will also be introduced.

Entry Requirements

In addition to the general entrance requirements, the department specifically requires:

  • GCSE maths grade 5 in the higher tier
  • Science (combined) Grade 5/5 or above in the higher tier papers
  • For students sitting the triple science GCSE, Grade 5 in all three subjects is required.

Induction

Homework is set for completion over the summer holidays and a test follows within the first few weeks of Year 12. It is essential that students have a good grasp of their GCSE chemistry, and are successful in the induction assessments. Past experience shows that these tests are a strong indicator of subsequent success at A level.

Course content

There are three main strands of chemistry that are covered in the course:

 

Organic

Inorganic

Physical

Year 1

Alkanes, halogen alkanes, alkenes, alcohols and organic analysis.

Periodicity, Group 2 and Group 7.

Atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetic, chemical equilibrium, Le Châtelier’s principle and Kc.

Year 2

Optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins, DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy and chromatography.

Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solutions.

Thermodynamics, rate equations, equilibrium constant (Kp) for homogeneous systems, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells.

Weekly commitment

Nine hours taught lessons per week and the equivalent amount of homework. Independent study is an important part of the course and students will be expected to revisit their notes.

Coursework

There will be no coursework, however students who are doing the full A’ level will receive a practical endorsement with either a pass or not reported status (fail). In order to attain the practical endorsement students are expected to complete and evidence twelve core practicals. Knowledge and understanding of these practicals will also be assessed in the written exams at the end of the year.

Assessment

Linear exams at the end of Year 2

Paper 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paper 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paper 3

Content:
Inorganic chemistry, with relevant physical chemistry

Relevant practical skills

Content:
Organic chemistry, with relevant physical chemistry

Relevant practical skills

Content:
All practical skills
All content

Assessment:
Written exam: 2hr
105 marks
35% of A-level  

Assessment:
Written exam: 2hr
105 marks
35% of A-level

Assessment:
Written exam: 2hr
90 marks
30% of A-level

Questions:
105 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

Questions:
105 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

Questions:
40 mark: questions on practical techniques and data analysis
20 marks: testing across the specification
30 marks: multiple choice questions  

Source: Copyright AQA 2014

Additional Costs

You will need to purchase a lab coat, safety goggles and hardback lab book from the department (approximately £20-£25).

Career Prospects

Students can gain employment directly from the course in laboratories in local industry. This is an essential course for those students wishing to go on to study medicine, veterinary science, biology, dentistry, dietetics, chemistry or chemical engineering. Chemistry demonstrates a high level of logical and analytical thinking which is sought after by universities and employers.

For further information, contact:

Miss M Thomas, Head of Chemistry