Chemistry A level – AQA
(AS and) A Level Chemistry
Course Leaders: Mrs Sarah Horne
What’s it all about?
Chemistry is the study of substances, what they are made of, how they interact and what role they play in living things. It is the study of all materials and is vital to every aspect of our lives. Chemists work to solve the problems of the world about us, providing solutions for disease, hunger and environmental problems. A Chemist may work to discover a new lifesaving drug or to develop smarter and more durable materials to meet our engineering needs. The possibilities are endless.
If you enjoyed chemistry at GCSE, you’ll love this A/AS level course. It is a fascinating subject, preparing you for further education or giving you the credentials to enhance your job options straight away. The Chemistry A Level course helps students develop a number of skills: how to assemble data and assess it, how to investigate facts and use deduction, how to put over your point of view fluently and how to work as a team to achieve results.
With a qualification in chemistry you could go on to further or higher education to study chemistry or one of the other sciences or related topics or work in science based industry such as chemical engineering, materials science or biotechnology. It is essential for the medical field, pharmacy and environmental science. Chemistry is also a well-respected subject in its own right and suitable for entry into a wide range of professions. Chemists, as well as working in research in laboratories, can solve crime, monitor the environment or become an engineer. A Level Chemistry is essential for any medical careers and those relating to the biological sciences.
What are the entry requirements?
Grades 9-6 in higher tier GCSE Combined Science courses or in GCSE chemistry course AND grade 9-6 in GCSE mathematics and English.
An A Level in chemistry is vital for those students who wish to study chemistry or chemical engineering at degree level and also essential for aspiring doctors, dentists and vets. Students traditionally combine chemistry with biology, physics and mathematics. However, the subject sits well with any combination of post-16 courses. Students considering a future in a whole spectrum of careers, from astronomy to zoology, should therefore consider chemistry. Some advanced level subjects are more frequently required for entry to degree courses than others. Russell Group Universities call these subjects 'facilitating' subjects because choosing them at advanced level opens a wide range of options for University Stud; Chemistry is on the list of facilitating subjects. Chemists are seen by universities and employers as good ‘all-rounders’ as a high degree of numeracy, literacy and problem solving skills are required for candidates to be successful in A Level Chemistry.
A Level chemistry is a very demanding course and students should ensure they are prepared to work consistently to the best of their ability in order to meet these demands. This will include significant independent work.
What will I learn on this course?
In the first year you will study physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. Topics will include atomic structure, periodicity, bonding, thermodynamics, alkanes, alkenes and analytical techniques. Year two follows a similar structure where you will study the three key areas of chemistry in more depth. Throughout the course, you will learn new practical skills and there will be numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality.
How will I be assessed?
All assessment takes place at the end of this two year course (summer of Year 13). The A level Chemistry course is assessed by sitting externally examined written papers. The course is assessed in the summer of year 13 (3 exam papers in total). Practical work will be continually developed throughout the course and students will carry out twelve core investigations over the course of the A Level, the aim being to develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of ‘How Science Works’. These practical skills are assessed in written papers.
20% of the overall assessment of A Level Chemistry will contain mathematical skills equivalent to Level 2 or above.
At least 15% of the overall assessment of A Level Chemistry will assess knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to practical work.
Is there anything else I need to know?
You will be provided with laboratory coats and given the opportunity to purchase recommended books or revision guides.
We benefit from excellent technician support and the chemistry department is well resourced with modern apparatus, glassware and hardware.
We pride ourselves on a strong, open and honest working relationship between teachers and students. Our students are kept informed of their progress via short topic tests and verbal feedback. We give students ample opportunity to practise their examination technique but also encourage interactive ways of learning and assessment.
For more information on AQA Chemistry go to AQA website
Who can I contact for further information?
LPalmer@educ.somerset.gov.uk (Head of Sixth Form)