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What is it about at sixth-form level?

Have you ever wondered why ice floats, why people put salt on icy roads, why onions make you cry, how aspirin stops pain in your body or whether you can turn lead into gold? Study A level Chemistry to find out the answers.

Everything you hear, see, smell, taste, and touch involves Chemistry and chemicals. Hearing, seeing, tasting, and touching all involve an intricate series of chemical reactions and interactions in your body. With such an enormous range of topics, it is essential to know about Chemistry at some level to understand the world around us.

A level Chemistry will give you an exciting insight into the contemporary world of Chemistry. Key concepts and practical skills are integrated throughout the course. This combination of academic challenge and practical focus makes the prospect of studying the A level highly appealing. You will learn about Chemistry in a range of different contexts and the impact it has on industry and many aspects of everyday life. You will learn to investigate and solve problems in a range of contexts.

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Lower sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry: Practical skills assessed in a written examination; Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement. 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).

Upper sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry: Practical skills assessed in a written examination; Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement. 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).

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Chemistry A level students will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other; develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods; develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills; develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject; as well as understanding how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need to have obtained 5 GCSEs at 9-4 including a grade 4 in English. You will need to have gained a grade 6 or above in GCSE Chemistry, GCSE Double Science or their equivalent. Students should also have gained a grade 6 or better in GCSE Maths.

How is the course assessed?

A level

Periodic table, elements and physical Chemistry (Component 01) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 3 and 5. Synthesis and analytical techniques (Component 02) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 4 and 6. Both include multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions. Unified Chemistry (Component 03) assesses content from across all teaching modules 1 to 6. Question styles include short answer and extended response questions. Practical endorsement in Chemistry (Component 04) is a separately reported non-exam assessment component which rewards the development of practical skills. Students may work in groups but must be able to demonstrate and let teachers record independent evidence of their competency. The activities will take place throughout the lower sixth and upper sixth.


To be confirmed at the start of the course

A Level Chemistry A for OCR Student Book
By D. Gent, R. Ritchie
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835197-9

A Level Chemistry A for OCR Year 1 and AS Student Book
By D. Gent, R. Ritchie
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835196-2

A Level Chemistry A for OCR Year 2 Student Book
By D. Gent
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835765-0

What is Chemistry?
By Peter Atkins
Published by OUP, ISBN13: 978-0199683987

Why Chemical Reactions Happen
By Kames Keeler and Peter Wothers
ISBN-13: 978-0199249732

Exam Board and Specification Codes

A level: OCR-A H432

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Grades achieved at èAV: A*AABB Progressed to: King's College London (International Relations)

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