Science – Chemistry


How long does it last? Two years for A Level, one year for AS Level.
Exam Board: AQA Chemistry 7404/7405
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/chemistry-7404-7405

Students who take this course:
Students will have a minimum of a Grade B in GCSE Chemistry or BB in GCSE Core and Additional Science and have enjoyed the GCSE course. A good grasp of mathematics is also essential – minimum grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics is required. Written communication is also important and you’ll need to be a strong writer, preferably with at least grade 6 in GCSE English as well.

Course Description:
A-level Chemistry attempts to answer the big question ‘what is the world made of’ and it’s the search for this answer that makes this subject so fascinating. From investigating how one substance can be changed drastically into another, to researching a new wonder drug to save millions of lives, the opportunities that chemistry provides are endless.

AS and first year of A-level will cover:
Physical Chemistry – including atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s principle
Inorganic Chemistry – including periodicity, Group 2 the alkaline earth metals and Group 7 the halogens
Organic Chemistry – including introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols and organic analysis

Second year of A-level will cover:
Physical Chemistry – including thermodynamics, rate equations, the equilibrium constant, Kp, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells
Inorganic Chemistry – including properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solutions
Organic Chemistry – including optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy and chromatography

Practicals:
Chemistry, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will carry out practical activities including:

  • measuring energy changes in chemical reactions
  • tests for identifying different types of compound
  • different methods for measuring rates of reaction
  • studying electrochemical cells
  • preparation of organic solids and liquid
  • an advanced form of chromatography for more accurate results.

Exams:

There is no coursework on this course. However, your performance during practicals will be assessed. There are three exams at the end of the two years for A-level, all of which are two hours long. At least 15% of the marks for A-level Chemistry are based on what you learned in your practicals. The AS has two exams at the end of the year. Both are 1 hour 30 minutes long.