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A-Level Chemistry

Awarding Body

Course Code

Head of Department


OCR H432 Mrs H Manners manner-h@beaconsfieldhigh.bucks.sch.uk

Why study this course?

  • Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other
  • Develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject
  • Understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society (as exemplified in ‘How Science Works’ (HSW))

What skills does it develop?

  • 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

What careers might it lead to?

  • Specific careers related to chemistry, including chemical engineering, research and development, analytical work etc.
  • Medicine and related disciplines
  • To support biology and physics applications
  • All areas of business, law and finance

What level of prior knowledge, attainment and skills are required?

What are the entry requirements?

GCSE/iGCSE Grade 7 or higher in GCSE Chemistry OR two GCSE Grade 7s (or higher) in Additional Science.

Who would it suit?

All students who:

  • wish to broaden their understanding in chemistry
  • to build upon their GCSE learning
  • have a curiosity to learn why substances behave as they do
  • those students who require Chemistry to qualify for further studies e.g. most Medical degree courses and Veterinary science degree courses

What subjects might it combine with/lead to?

Chemistry combines well with many other subjects as it teaches skills which can be utilised across a wide variety of subjects. However, combining with Maths, Physics or Biology provides students a balance of learning within the sciences. 

What does the course cover and how is it structured?

The course is broken down into 6 modules + a practical skills unit which is ongoing throughout the course. The majority of topics will build on GCSE topics already studied.

The course is divided into two sections:

  • Year 1 - Calculations and basic organic chemistry/fundamental physical chemistry and periodic table
  • Year 2 – Further organic chemistry and instrumental analysis/kinetics and enthalpy and transition metals

How is the course assessed?

Students will sit 3 papers in the summer of year 13:

Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry(1)

100 marks (written paper)

2 hours 15 minutes

37% of overall mark

Synthesis and analytical techniques (02)

100 marks (written paper)

2 hours 15 minutes

37% of overall mark

Unified chemistry (03)

70 marks (written paper)

1 hour 30 minutes

26% of overall mark

Students must also pass a practical endorsement in 12 skills groups assessed through practical tasks over the 2 years. These are reported separately.

How can families help?

  • Provide opportunities for students to undertake work experience in their area of interest e.g. encourage them to explore local industries
  • Suggest volunteering in relevant fields of study e.g. medics - with organisations offering care locally
  • Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry, subscription to New Scientist and/or Chemistry Review
  • Any opportunities to visit the Royal Institution in London or science museums in London or further afield