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Chemistry

Chemistry is the science which studies the production of new substances from naturally occurring materials. Without chemists our lives would be very different since chemists are responsible for developing, for example: synthetic fibres that are used to make our clothes; biodegradable plastics; greener fuels for use in cars; electrochemical cells; synthetic routes to make pharmaceuticals. They also look into how the environmental impact and costs of making new materials can be reduced and how we can minimise pollution; the list is almost endless.
COURSE STRUCTURE

Starting from the level of GCSE Chemistry, the course builds a theoretical basis on which an understanding of chemical changes can be laid. With the theoretical foundation of the Physical Chemistry course, the Chemistry of the periodic table (Inorganic Chemistry) is studied hand in hand with the study of carbon compounds (Organic Chemistry).

We will be following the OCR specification Chemistry A (H432). The course will involves the study of inorganic chemistry (including transition metals), physical chemistry (including equilibria, kinetics and redox) and organic chemistry (including aliphatic and aromatic chemistry using a functional group approach) and analysis using spectroscopy (to include NMR). The course will include practical chemistry. Completion of a number of set practical tasks during the two year course will result in the A level being awarded “with practical endorsement”. 5381 Sixth Form Prospectus July 2015 AW.indd 20 15/09/2015 15:41

ASSESSMENT COMPOSITION

The A level examination, taken at the end of the two year course,consists of three papers; two of the papers last for 2 hours and 15 minutes each and contribute 100 marks each (37% of the total), the third paper which is synoptic in style lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes (26% of the total). The examinations will cover the material taught over the entire two year course.

WHY STUDY CHEMISTRY?

The best reason to study chemistry is because you enjoy it. Studying chemistry helps develop many transferable skills, including: numeracy; data handling; analysis; logical thinking; communication.

PROGRESSION OPPORTUNITIES

Chemistry can be used as a springboard for the further study of many subjects. As well as the obvious connection to science subject degrees, Chemistry is a required subject for aspiring medical students (and advisable for those wishing to study brewing). The skills developed during the A level chemistry course make it a good foundation for study in non-scientific areas such as law, business studies and many others. There are now many top universities offering courses in Chemistry combined with a wide range of other subjects such as management, environment, languages, forensics, pharmacology and oceanology.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Although the study of Chemistry (particularly Physical Chemistry) does involve the use of some mathematical techniques, there is no requirement to study mathematics to A level. Students who have gained a grade B in GCSE mathematics should be able to cope with the mathematical demands made by the course. Most candidates find it useful to study one (or more) of the companion sciences, but this is not a requirement of the course - candidates may choose to study Chemistry as their only science subject but it is wise to remember that this does not provide a foundation for the study of science subjects beyond A level.

The course is aimed at students who have gained a grade B (or better) in either GCSE Chemistry or grade BB (or better) in GCSE Dual Award Science. For students to make reasonable progress in the Lower Sixth Chemistry course they must:

  • Show an interest in the subject and be willing to learn
  • Be ready to spend 4 hours per week outside of lessons doing preparation
  • Be safety conscious and responsible in the laboratory
  • Show a willingness to think as well as learn facts
  • Be ready to ask questions and answer them, even on new territory where conjecture may be necessary
  • Most importantly, want to do their best

Students who wish to try for Oxford or Cambridge will receive special tuition in this area and may also enter the Royal Society of Chemistry Olympiad. If you have any doubts about your suitability to study Chemistry to level, then you should ask your Chemistry teacher.