A-level Chemistry

To understand Chemistry is to understand the nature of science. Advances in Chemistry are behind technological innovations and medical breakthroughs throughout the world.

A-level Chemistry is the ideal grounding to go on to study not only Chemistry itself, but also many other related subjects: for example, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Biochemistry or Biotechnology. It is essential if you wish to study Medicine, Pharmacology or Environmental Sciences.

Course content L6

  • Atoms
  • Electron configuration
  • Bonding and structure
  • Moles and equations
  • Acid-base and redox reactions
  • Patterns in the periodic table (with an emphasis on groups 2 and 7)
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Energetics
  • Reaction kinetics
  • Basic organic chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Alcohols and organic halogen compounds
  • Aromatic compounds
  • Mass spectrometry and IR spectroscopy
  • Development of practical skills

Course content U6

  • Chemical and acid-base equilibria
  • Lattice enthalpies
  • Entropy
  • Electrode potentials
  • Transition metal chemistry
  • Further organic chemistry
  • Carbonyls
  • Carboxylic acids
  • Esters
  • Amines
  • Polymers
  • Organic synthesis
  • Chromatography
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Further development of practical skills

Examination arrangements

The course is assessed in three papers sat in Trinity term of Upper Sixth, and a Practical Endorsement that is assessed throughout the course and reported separately from the final A-level grade. The written papers are:

  • Periodic Table, Elements and Physical Chemistry: 37% of A-Level; 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Synthesis and Analytical Techniques: 37% of A-Level; 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Unified Chemistry: 26% of A-Level; 1 hour 30 minutes

All papers include synoptic assessment and questions relating to practical skills.

All essential preparation materials will be given to pupils at induction.

Further inspiration
Atkins, Peter Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction
Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science
The Periodic Kingdom
Bryson, Bill A Short History of Nearly Everything
Emsley, John A Healthy, Wealthy, Sustainable World
Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements
Molecules at an Exhibition
Levi, Primo The Periodic Table
Sachs, Oliver Uncle Tungsten
Strathern, Paul Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements
Swaby, Rachel 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World