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Science at Key Stage 5 - Chemistry

A-level Chemistry

Chemistry is at the heart of modern society.  Many technologies just would not exist without a detailed, applied, knowledge of chemistry and chemical reactions. From the latest technologies for mobile phones to global warming to cosmetics, chemists are involved in designing new products to enhance our lives, improve life expectancy and even make us look good.

What does the course cover?

  • Organic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of carbon and links into biology with biochemistry.
  • Physical chemistry is the study of the properties of substances, how far a reaction goes, and how fast a reaction is.
  • Inorganic chemistry is the study of the periodic table and looks at how and why reactions happen.
  • Practical experiments make up a large part of the course and are also assessed throughout the year.  These include analysis of unknown compounds, synthesising aspirin and dyes, and extracting oils from plants.

The course is made up of 4 examined units, 2 units are taken at the end of AS and 2 units are taken at the end of A2 and each year covers a selection of the material mentioned above.  Practical skills are assessed throughout both years through a series of specific tasks.

An A-level in Chemistry obviously leads onto a career in the chemical sciences, for example chemistry or biochemistry, and of course supports careers in the other sciences too.  It is a vital qualification for careers such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Other careers that Chemistry can lead into include forensic science, journalism, law, accountancy, business, commerce, Civil service, all of which require many of the skills developed as a Chemistry student.  Chemists are not always involved in research and development they are found in careers such as marketing, manufacturing and management. There are many careers open to a well qualified chemist.

Students who succeed in Chemistry are well motivated, hard working problem solvers.  Chemistry can be a tough subject at times so students need perseverance.  Students who enjoy Chemistry have an inquisitive mind, like to find out the answers to why something happens and how something happens. Successful Chemistry students are independent learners who utilise all the resources available to them both in and out of college.