Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of substances. Everything around you involves chemistry and chemists help unlock some of the biggest challenges faced by the world today from the fight against cancer to tackling environmental issues.

A level Chemistry involves laboratory practical investigations, analysis and group-work to develop your understanding. At first you will build on topics covered in GCSE including materials (structure, bonding, electron configurations), a unit covering organic chemistry (alkanes and alcohols) and physical chemistry (rates of reaction and energy changes) as well as modern analytical methods and mass spectrometry and infrared spectromscopy. Later you will study further organic chemistry and analytical techniques, including nuclear magnetic resonance. There is also more physical and inorganic chemistry, including rates, equilibrium, entropy, electrode potentials, energy for the future, and environmental issues.

Each year we enter a team in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Schools Analyst practical competition. There is also an opportunity to enter the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and the national Chemistry Olympiad.

A qualification in chemistry is highly valued and leads to a wide variety of careers including in the chemical industry, public services, teaching, technical writing and patent law. Chemistry is also an essential subject for those wishing to study medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and dentistry.

Periodic table, elements and physical – Exam Paper – 37% of marks

Chemistry – Exam Paper – 37% of marks

Unified Chemistry – Exam Paper – 26% of marks

Summary

The course is divided into 6 modules

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in chemistry
Practical skills assessed in a written examination

Module 2 – Foundations in chemistry
Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations; Amount of substance; Acid–base and redox reactions; Electrons, bonding and structure.

Module 3 – Periodic table and energy
The periodic table and periodicity; Group 2 and the halogens; Qualitative analysis; Enthalpy changes; Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative).

Module 4 – Core organic chemistry
Basic concepts; Hydrocarbons; Alcohols and haloalkanes; Organic synthesis; Analytical techniques (IR and MS).

Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements
Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative); pH and buffers; Enthalpy, entropy and free energy; Redox and electrode potentials; Transition elements.

Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis
Aromatic compounds; Carbonyl compounds; Carboxylic acids and esters; Nitrogen compounds; Polymers; Organic synthesis; Chromatography and  spectroscopy (NMR).

The A level Chemistry course requires you to have the basic chemistry knowledge and skills learnt in your GCSE course. It is a good idea to read over your GCSE notes or to use a revision guide to go over some of the key ideas before you start. The following topics are a good place to start:

• Atomic structure
• Formulae and calculations
• Oxidation and reduction
• Structure and bonding

Reading about chemistry and developing an interest in the wider subject is all part of becoming an advanced level student.

Study Level

A Level

Exam Board

OCR

Contact Details

Mr L Potts

Head of Department

potts_l@sjd.ac.uk