Chemistry is a fascinating subject that explains the world around us. It is crucial in understanding how we can make and apply new materials now and in the future. Students study the properties and applications of substances and how we can utilise chemistry and chemical reactions in everyday life. From mobile phones and tablets to fuels of the future, developing new medicines and solving environmental problems, Chemistry is vital in developing future technology and solving issues that affect the whole world. This course is ideal for any students who wish to continue their study of chemistry from GCSE Double or Triple Science.
Year 1 and 2 Topics studied
AS Chemistry A Module
1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry. Students will develop key skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation through practical tasks and investigations into aspects of chemistry. Module 2 – Foundations in Chemistry. Students will study the key concepts of chemistry including atoms, compounds and equations, electrons bonding and structure, acid-base and redox reactions. Module 3 – Periodic Table and Energy. This topic covers periodicity and the elements of Group 2 and 7. Students will develop qualitative analysis techniques for chemical reactions, including enthalpy changes, reaction rates and equilibrium. Module 4 – Core Organic Chemistry. Students will discover practical techniques for making and reacting a variety of organic substances including hydrocarbons, alcohols, haloalkanes. They will develop their analytical skills with analysis techniques such as IR and MS as well as carrying out various organic syntheses.
A Level Chemistry A
In addition to the above modules, A2 Chemistry students will also study the following modules: Module 5 – Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements. This includes the quantitative study of reaction rates and equilibrium along with developing the understanding of pH and applications of buffer solutions. Further insight is given as to why reactions occur spontaneously with the study of entropy and free energy and how this is linked to disorder. Students will investigate redox and electrode potential to understand how fuel cells and batteries provide us with useful energy along with looking at useful applications of transition elements. Module 6 – Organic Chemistry and Analysis This builds on key concepts from module 4 with the study of aromatic compounds and their applications, particularly as medicines. Further study of organic chemistry allows students to develop their understanding of a variety of organic compounds and will apply this knowledge to the synthesis of pharmaceuticals with complex structures. The application and production of polymers is explored along with further analytical techniques used to identify organic structures.
AS Students will sit 2 papers that cover modules 1,2,3 and 4 AS Paper 1 – Breadth in Chemistry AS Paper 2 – Depth in Chemistry A Level Students will sit a total of 3 papers A Level Paper 1 – Periodic Table, Elements and Physical Chemistry A Level Paper 2 – Synthesis and Analytical Techniques A Level paper 3 – Unified Chemistry A Level Practical Endorsement – teacher assessed Practical skills will be tested throughout external assessment papers
Students need a good qualification from GCSE Double or Triple Science. We require that students have achieved a minimum of grade B in all Chemistry GCSE external exam modules.
Students are required to put in a considerable amount of study outside of lessons. Independent learning and management of time are key skills required to succeed at A Level Chemistry. It is a big increase in demand from GCSE and students must be prepared to put in a great deal of focus and time in order to do well. Students will need to develop practical and investigative skills and also utilise analytical skills throughout the course. High numeracy and literacy skills are also vital to ensure student success.
Outside of the Classroom
Students must put in a number of hours every week outside of the classroom in order to consolidate their learning. Some aspects of the course require independent learning and research. Homework is set regularly and students will be given individual targets and feedback which they must respond to. All deadlines must be met and all work must always be completed. Students must produce quality notes in their own time and are expected to regularly carry out wider reading around their subject.
Reasons to Study this
Chemistry is a challenging yet hugely satisfying course to study that requires intelligence and a high work ethic. This is recognised by both employers and higher education establishments. A career in Chemistry offers a huge variety of opportunities in a wide range of different fields. Chemistry A Level is essential if you wish to follow a career in Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and Pharmacy. It is also very helpful in opening pathways to various other careers such as engineering, environmental studies, finance and many more.
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