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Dr Holmes
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Aims of the course

A Level Chemistry is an intellectually challenging, hands-on and stimulating course that provides boys with a set of practical and analytical skills that are relevant to a wide variety of careers:

  • To develop knowledge and understanding of content that is relevant to real world experiences in the area of chemical sciences, promoting interest and enthusiasm for the subject
  • To develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods
  • To develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills
  • To develop an interest in further study and careers associated with Chemistry

Course content

Boys will follow AQA A Level Chemistry. AQA is the examination board used at GCSE and as such, this is a natural progression for boys. The specification provides boys with an excellent foundation from which to continue their study of Chemistry at University, should they choose to pursue the discipline further.

The course is divided into three units:  Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. A brief summary of the topics covered in each unit is given in the table below, with certain subjects studied in Year 12 to allow the development of new concepts and ideas. These ideas are investigated and developed further in Year 13.  Practical skills will be assessed during lessons throughout the year via practical laboratory sessions and also in written examinations at the end of the course.

Physical Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Organic Chemistry
Atomic structure (Y12)

Amount of substance (Y12)

Bonding (Y12)

Energetics (Y12)

Kinetics (Y12)

Chemical equilibria (Y12)

Redox reactions (Y12)


Rate equations

Equilibria, extent of reaction and equilibrium constants Electrochemical cells

Acids and bases

Periodicity (Y12)

Group 2 (Y12)

Group 7 (Y12)

Period 3

Transition metals, complex formation, redox titrations and catalysis

Reactions of ions in aqueous solution

Introduction to organic Chemistry (Y12)

Alkanes (Y12)

Halogenoalkanes (Y12)

Alkenes (Y12)

Alcohols (Y12)

Organic analysis (Y12)

Optical isomerism

Aldehydes and ketones

Carboxylic acids

Aromatic chemistry



Amino acids, proteins, DNA

Organic synthesis

NMR spectroscopy


AS Level Chemistry Assessment

Assessment comprises of two written examinations.

Paper 1: Inorganic and Physical Chemistry

Paper 2: Organic and Physical Chemistry

Both exam papers include relevant practical skills students have developed. They both last 1 hour 30 minutes and are both worth 80 marks. Each paper accounts for 50% of the AS mark.

Advance level Chemistry Assessment

The course is assessed via three written papers. A summary of each paper is given in the table below. Content from both years of study is examined.

Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3
Physical Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry

Practical skills

Physical Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Practical skills

Any content

Any practical skills with emphasis on the required practical skills developed throughout the course of study

Written exam: 2 hours

Extended and short answer questions.

105 marks

35% of A-Level

Written exam: 2 hours

Extended and short answer questions.

105 marks

35% of A-Level

Written exam: 2 hours

Extended, short answer and multiple choice questions.

90 marks

30% of A-Level

Notably, there is now no internal coursework that contributes marks towards the A level grades. Instead practical work will be assessed in the written examinations. A separate ‘endorsement’ of practical work will be awarded by teachers. If students pass this will be reported on their certificate and independent of their A level grade. Boys will also be required to take regular internal assessments in order to monitor progress. Feedback from internal assessments will be delivered directly to parents, tutors and boys.

Career Opportunities

Chemistry is the science of materials, and is a rapidly changing subject that is constantly in the news. Studying Chemistry at A level will help you develop an understanding of patterns of behaviour and the influence that the subject has over our modern day lives – particularly of how chemical processes have been developed and to help us understand how materials behave and how they may be modified and improved.

Chemistry is a popular subject of study at A level. It is considered as being a facilitating subject due to the number of transferable skills developed through its study thus allowing egress into a wide number of higher education courses.

Apart from the obvious career choices within the chemical industries there are many other job paths. These range through:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Medicine (for which Chemistry is an essential subject choice)
  • Dentistry
  • Forensic Science
  • Pharmacy
  • Finance
  • Business
  • Agriculture