A Level Course Listing


We take great pride in generating an atmosphere of enjoyable and effective study and our ability to make, what is sometimes considered to be one of the tougher A Level subjects, accessible to all students.

We are well-resourced, both in terms of written support material, apparatus and chemicals. The three teaching laboratories are light, spacious and stimulating places to work for our ever-increasing number of chemistry students. There is also a bright, spacious laboratory shared by all three science departments. The specifications encourage web-based resources to be used by the students and the College’s excellent computer provision helps to facilitate this.

You are taught in three sets and great emphasis is placed on practical work to develop skills and a spirit of enquiry as well as study of the relevant theory. Throughout the course, sets of questions are regularly set and marked and the department is well known by grateful (eventually!) past students for our policy of regular and rigorous testing of the topics taught. It is desirable that students wishing to study chemistry at A Level should have a grade 8 or 9 but at least a 7 in GCSE chemistry or additional science plus a grade 7 at GCSE in mathematics, to get the most benefit from the A Level course. However, the department is very experienced in helping students fulfil their potential.

You are encouraged to take part in the Chemistry Olympiad, Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and other external awards to develop their knowledge and interests above the A Level course.

Where can it lead?

Chemistry is well-respected as a subject by all universities and places of Higher Education. It is compulsory or strongly advised for courses such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, chemistry and all applied chemistry subjects, environmental sciences, pharmacology and forensic science and it is welcomed for subjects such as biology and applied biology, zoology, some branches of engineering, materials science and many others. However, we also want students to study it as a subject they simply enjoy even though they might not want to go on to further education in a chemistry related subject. Previous chemistry students have gone on to study subjects as diverse as law, economics, mathematics, English, history, languages, psychology, sports therapy, management, actuarial studies, philosophy, physics, midwifery studies, computer science, nursing and geography.

Course Outline – Chemistry

Examination Board: AQA 7405

Entry Requirements

At least a grade 7 at GCSE or 77 in double award/combined sciences plus a grade 7 in mathematics.

We teach the AQA Chemistry specification as we feel this offers the best combination of course content, examination structure and resources.

In this specification, the Chemistry content is standard but there are some major differences in the course from those of a few years ago which are listed below:

A Level is a two year course with all examinations at the end of the Upper Sixth

Practical skills are not examined separately but in the following way:

ii. 12 required practicals (minimum) have to be done during the course

iii. questions about these practicals will be set in the theory papers

iv. if the required skills are fulfilled in these practicals a ‘Certificate of Competency’ is awarded

The examination structure at the end of the two year course is as follows:

Paper 1

Physical, inorganic, practical skills 2 hours (105 marks). 35% of A Level.

Paper 2

Physical, organic, practical skills 2 hours (105 marks). 35% of A Level.

Paper 3

All topics, practical skills 2 hours (90 marks). 30% of A Level.