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A Level

Chemistry A Level

Subject Area
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
2 years
Level 3

A Level Chemistry builds on ideas and concepts taught at GCSE. The topics are made interesting and relevant with an emphasis on real life chemistry. As you progress through the course content is revisited, developing your understanding and confidence.

Development of practical skills alongside the theoretical content helps you to gain a wider understanding of chemistry. As you progress through the course, your practical skills will develop and you will gain greater independence.

You will have access to well-equipped specialist chemistry labs, allowing you to work in small groups or individually.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE including English Language. You must have a grade 5 in Maths (must be higher tier), 5 in Chemistry (if taken) otherwise 5 in Additional or 55 in Double Science.

What will I study?

The specification is structured in a series of teaching modules which include:

Year One Modules:

Elements of Life

  • Atomic Structure
  • Atomic Spectra and Electron Configurations
  • Fusion Reactions
  • Mass Spectrometry and Isotopes
  • The Periodic Table and Group 2 Chemistry
  • Bonding and the Shapes of Molecules
  • Chemical Equations and Amount of Substance (Moles)
  • Ions: Formulae, Charge Density, Tests
  • Titrations and Titration Calculations

Developing Fuels

  • Thermochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry: Names and Combustion of Alkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Reactions of Alkenes
  • Addition Polymers
  • Electrophilic Addition
  • Gas Volume Calculations
  • Shapes of Organic Molecules, σ- and π-Bonds
  • Structural and E/Z Isomers
  • Dealing with Polluting Gases

Elements from the Sea

  • Halogen Chemistry
  • Redox Chemistry and Electrolysis
  • Equilibrium
  • Atom Economy

The Ozone Story

  • Composition by Volume of Gases
  • The Electromagnetic Spectrum and the Interaction of Radiation with Matter
  • Rates of Reaction
  • Radical Reactions
  • Intermolecular Bonding
  • Haloalkanes
  • Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions
  • The Sustainability of the Ozone Layer

What’s in a Medicine

  • The Chemistry of the –OH Group, Phenols and Alcohols
  • Carboxylic Acids and Esters
  • Mass Spectrometry and IR Spectroscopy
  • Organic Synthesis, Preparative Techniques and Thin Layer Chromatography
  • Green Chemistry

Year Two Modules:

The Chemical Industry

  • Aspects of nitrogen chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Equilibrium and Equilibrium Constant Calculations
  • Effects of Factors on the Rate and Equilibrium Yields of Reactions; Consideration of the Best Conditions for an Industrial Process
  • Analysis of Costs, Benefits and Risks of Industrial Processes

Polymers and Life

  • Condensation Polymers
  • Organic Functional Groups
  • Amines and Amides
  • Acid–base Equilibria
  • Amino Acid and Protein Chemistry
  • Optical Isomerism
  • Enzyme Catalysis and Molecular Recognition
  • The Structure and Function of DNA and RNA
  • Structural Analysis


  • Dissolving and Associated Enthalpy Changes
  • The Greenhouse Effect
  • Acid–base Equilibria and pH
  • Solubility Products
  • Entropy

Developing Metals

  • Redox Titrations
  • Cells and Electrode Potentials
  • D-block Chemistry
  • Colorimetry

Colour by Design

  • The Chemical Origins of Colour in Organic Compounds
  • Aromatic Compounds and their Reactions
  • Dyes and Dyeing
  • Diazonium Compounds
  • Fats and Oils
  • Gas–liquid Chromatography
  • Carbonyl Compounds and their Reactions
  • Organic Synthesis and Polyfunctional Compounds

Method of delivery

You will typically be in College four days per week, with lesson style varying according to subject. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps.

How will I be assessed?

You will receive a variety of classwork and homework exercises throughout the course allowing you to practise the theory and skills you have learnt during the course. This will include past paper questions, enabling you to develop the technique needed to be successful in the A Level exams.

In addition to theoretical work, the science courses have a significant practical element and you will undertake a series of practical activities that allow you to develop your skills and techniques. You will be continually assessed on this element of the course, with feedback provided to allow you to improve and meet the requirements. On completion of the course you will receive your exam grade together with a Practical Endorsement, which shows that you have the skills and ability to work in a laboratory and use the equipment safely to carry out practical tasks and research.

Good course combinations

Chemistry works well with Biology, Physics and Maths.

Your next steps

Chemistry can lead to a wide variety of careers and higher education courses. It is an essential requirement for entry into medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary science, as well as degrees based on chemistry itself. Chemistry is also a very useful subject for anyone wanting to do a biology-based degree. Past students have gone on to study medicine, veterinary sciences and natural sciences as well as arts subjects.

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