Gumley House School FCJ

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Chemistry (A Level)

Mixing Science with Precision

Head of Department: Dr D George

Chemistry is a vital science.  It is the study of materials based on the properties of atoms and the way that these atoms can be combined.  Without chemistry, there could not have been any new drug development, new dyes, agrochemicals, plastics, computers or spacecraft. We would have a much poorer understanding of the world, from the way that our bodies work, to the effects on the environment of human activity. Chemistry is at the cutting edge of new technology.

CURRICULUM INFORMATION (CHEMISTRY)

 

WHAT WILL I BE STUDYING ON THE COURSE?

Topics covered can include:

  • Core organic
  • Inorganic and physical chemistry
  • Atomic theory
  • Structure and Bonding
  • Redox
  • Periodic Table and calculations involving amounts of substances
  • Modern analytical methods
  • Energetics
  • Kinetics and equilibrium

Studying chemistry at A Level will help you understand the world in which you live. You will study physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, and undertake practical work to develop your skills. The work will be stimulating and challenging. You will learn about current topics such as fuel cells, useful catalysts and the impact of chemical reactions on the environment. You will learn how to analyse data and how to problem solve, building on the knowledge you have gained at GCSE.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING IN LESSONS?

We will ensure that you cover all the theory required in the syllabus so that you can prepare for your unit tests with confidence.  In addition, you will have lots of opportunities to develop your practical skills.  Lessons will involve a range of activities including individual and group work, practical investigations, presentations and videos.

HOW WILL THE COURSE BE ASSESSED?

Assessment is by exam at the end of two years. Your practical skills will also be tested by a specially written paper.

PAPER 1: INORGANIC AND PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

Content: 
■ Inorganic Chemistry
■ Relevant practical skills
■ Relevant physical Chemistry topics such as:
  -  Atomic structure
  -  Amount of substance
  -  Bonding
  -  Energetics
  -  Equilibria
  -  Acids and bases
  -  Redox

Questions
■ 105 marks, with a mixture of short and long-answer questions

PAPER 2: ORGANIC AND PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

Content
■ Organic Chemistry
■ Relevant practical skills
■ Relevant physical Chemistry topics, such as:
  -  Amount of substance
 -  Bonding
 -  Energetics
  -  Equilibria
  -  Kinetics

Questions
■ 105 marks, with a mixture of short and long-answer questions

PAPER 3: PRACTICAL SKILLS, DATA HANDLING AND SYNOPSIS

Content
■ All content
■ All practical skills

Questions
■ 40 marks of questions on practical techniques and data analysis
■ 20 marks of questions testing across the specification
■ 30 marks of multiple-choice questions

WHICH OTHER SUBJECTS GO WELL WITH CHEMISTRY?

Chemistry goes well with mathematics (and further mathematics), physics and biology. Other subjects such as economics, modern languages and geography may also open up a range of opportunities in different areas.

We would strongly recommend that you study mathematics alongside chemistry, particularly if your GCSE score is less than 8. Most scientific degree courses, and many degree apprenticeships, will expect you to have studied mathematics at A-level. If you don't, you may be limiting your progression options. Chemistry has a large mathematical component (30%) and students who do not study maths will have to do significant additional work outside the lesson each week to keep up. Success in the chemistry A-level is strongly correlated to GCSE maths result - our most successful students (A-A*) generally have an 8 or 9 in maths at GCSE. 

Physics is a strong supporting subject as you will see similar concepts from a different perspective. If you wish to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, you must take chemistry, and it is a good idea to study biology too.

AND AFTER THE COURSE?

Demand for people with qualifications in chemistry is high. Chemistry graduates are sought after to work on industrial and academic research, in the chemical industry, in the financial world, in management consultancy, senior leadership roles and in many other areas where numeracy and other problem solving skills are valued.

WHICH EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS WILL I LEARN?

  • Understand, manipulate and make use of numerical data
  • Scientific practical skills
  • Decision making and reasoning
  • Problem solving
  • Good communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Team building skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines

COURSE RESOURCES

CGP A Level Chemistry (AQA) Complete Revision and Practice - ISBN: 9781789080292, CGP 2018

Edexcel AS/A Level Chemistry Student Book 1 by Cliff Curtis, Dave Scott and Mr Jason Murgatroyd (textbook) - ISBN: 9781447991168, Pearson Education 2015

New Headstart to A level Chemistry - ISBN: 9781782942801, CGP 2015


Summer Preparation Work
 
This section will be updated in the summer term of each year

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CHEMISTRY

Q: Is it harder than GCSE?
A: Yes - there is much more content to learn and you will need a deeper understanding of the chemistry.  You will need to work well and consistently throughout the two years of the course.

Q: Do I need maths to study chemistry?
A: You do not have to study A level mathematics. However, we strongly recommend that you do because the content of the chemistry course requires a high degree of mathematical competence. If you do not study maths you will need to do additional work outside lessons to practise and build your mathematical skills. Students who study maths alongside chemistry generally achieve higher grades than those who do not.

Q: Why do I need a 6 in English Language to study chemistry?
A: Chemistry is a very precise subject and requires a high degree of literacy to enable students to both understand questions and answer them effectively. Chemistry uses a wide variety of highly specific terminology and we have found that students who do not achieve a grade 6 in GCSE struggle to access the course materials.

Q: How much practical work is there? 
A: You will complete approximately one practical per week. This will include 16 core 'assessed' practicals which, if passed, will result in you receiving a practical endorsement as well as your A level grade. You will also complete a variety of other practicals to support the theory you are studying and to prepare you for the exams. One of the three assessments at the end of the course has a substantial practical element.

Q: Will I have the same teacher throughout the course?
A: You will likely have the same teacher throughout the first year but then you may have a different teacher in the second year.

Q: Do I need chemistry to study medicine? 
A: Yes - you must have a grade A at A level and a strong overall GCSE profile.

Hear from some of our Students

CAREERS AND LABOUR MARKET INFORMATION

Please see below for careers and labour market information for Chemistry - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.