Exam Board

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE mathematics and Grade 5 in English language - and 7 + 6 in science combined trilogy OR grade 7 chemistry + 6 biology + 6 physics.
NB. BTEC science is not a suitable entry qualification

Course Content

Why chemistry?
Chemistry A level will inspire and nurture your passion for the subject and lay the groundwork for further study. It is important that you like and are confident in mathematics, as 20% of the course involves the application of maths. Students gain many transferable skills such as logical thinking, problem solving, team work, communication and independent study skills, and develop their ability to apply their scientific knowledge and these skills to unfamiliar contexts.
Many students go on to study medicine, chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, pharmacy and chemical engineering. Those with exceptional grades go on to study chemistry or natural sciences at Oxford or Cambridge or vocational courses like medicine, veterinary sciences or dentistry. The Chemistry in Action conference, Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, summer schools, the RSC Chemistry Olympiad, guest speakers, and an expedition to Iceland are all available to our students. We also run a spectroscopy workshop and take groups of students to UCL.
Course content
The course is divided into three disciplines:
Physical chemistry topics: atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibria, redox and electrode potentials.
Inorganic chemistry topics: groups 2 and 7, periodicity, transition metals and reactions of ions in aqueous solution.
Organic chemistry topics: functional group chemistry, mechanisms, isomerism, polymers, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis and analysis.
Mark scheme
Exam - 2 hours - 35%
Short and long questions - 105marks
  • Relevant physical chemistry topics
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Relevant practical skills
Exam - 2 hours - 35%
Short and long questions - 105marks
  • Relevant physical chemistry topics
  • Organic chemistry
  • Relevant practical skills
Exam - 2 hours - 30%
Any content and any practical skills may be assessed - 90 marks
  • 40 - practical techniques and data analysis
  • 20 - testing across the specification
  • 30 - multiple choice

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the headings below.

How big are the classes and how many are there?

There are 11 classes in the year 12 group, with around 22 students in each class.

How much practical work and coursework is there?

Practical work is assessed continually throughout the year and the theory of practical work is included in the exam papers.
There are 12 required practicals - you do 6 in the first year and 6 in the second.
Students are required to keep an up to date lab book to show the development of lab skills.
A certificate of endorsement awarded at the end of the A level course.

How much homework is there?

At least 5 hours work set each week. Teacher feedback is given. Additional work is also expected.

Is there a big jump from GCSE?

Most students find it difficult and there is a big adjustment from GCSE. You have to be prepared to work hard right from the beginning.
Having said that, most students love chemistry and it ends up being their favourite subject.

What do you look for in a student?

High level maths skills - at least 20% of total marks, higher Tier GCSE maths skills).
Good literacy skills – there are some longer answer questions and some of the questions can be tricky to interpret.
Resilience – when things get tough they do not give up.
Hard worker who constantly reflects on how they can improve.
Good organisational skills.
Good practical skills.

What higher education routes does chemistry lead to?

Chemical engineering, medicine, pharmacy, research, dentistry, teaching, chemistry biomedical sciences, etc.

What are the entry requirements to study medicine?

A Levels in Chemistry and Biology - AAA to A*AA (Including a minimum of six 8/9 grades at GCSE).
The Archer Academy
“It is harder than GCSE, there was a big jump. But the way the topics link and the way they are structured… you kind of build up to the harder stuff. We are looking at things with more understanding and developing what we’ve learned.
Students here are way more academic and focused. It’s really interesting to make new friends and speak to people that have the same interests as you and actually care about what they are learning.”

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