A Level Chemistry

 

What is it about at sixth-form level?

Have you ever wondered why ice floats, why people put salt on icy roads, why onions make you cry, how aspirin stops pain in your body or whether you can turn lead into gold? Study A level Chemistry to find out the answers.

Everything you hear, see, smell, taste, and touch involves Chemistry and chemicals. Hearing, seeing, tasting, and touching all involve an intricate series of chemical reactions and interactions in your body. With such an enormous range of topics, it is essential to know about Chemistry at some level to understand the world around us.

A level Chemistry will give you an exciting insight into the contemporary world of Chemistry. Key concepts and practical skills are integrated throughout the course. This combination of academic challenge and practical focus makes the prospect of studying the A level highly appealing. You will learn about Chemistry in a range of different contexts and the impact it has on industry and many aspects of everyday life. You will learn to investigate and solve problems in a range of contexts.

Lower sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry: Practical skills assessed in a written examination; Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement. Module 2 – Foundations in Chemistry: Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations; Amount of substance; Acid–base and redox reactions; Electrons, bonding and structure. Module 3 – Periodic table and energy: The periodic table and periodicity; Group 2 and the halogens; Qualitative analysis; Enthalpy changes; Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative). Module 4 – Core organic Chemistry: Basic concepts; Hydrocarbons; Alcohols and haloalkanes; Organic synthesis; Analytical techniques (IR and MS).

Upper sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry: Practical skills assessed in a written examination; Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement. Module 5 – Physical Chemistry and transition elements: Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative); pH and buffers; Enthalpy, entropy and free energy; Redox and electrode potentials; Transition elements. Module 6 – Organic Chemistry and analysis: Aromatic compounds; Carbonyl compounds; Carboxylic acids and esters; Nitrogen compounds; Polymers; Organic synthesis; Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR).

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Chemistry A level students will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other; 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; develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject; as well as understanding how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need to have obtained 5 GCSEs at A*-C including a C grade at English. You will need to have gained a grade B or above in Chemistry GCSE, a Double Science GCSE or their equivalent. Students should also have gained a B or better at GCSE Maths.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

Breadth in Chemistry (Component 01) is split into two sections of compulsory questions and assesses content from all teaching modules, 1 to 4. It includes multiple choice, short answer (structured questions, problem solving, calculations, practical) and extended response questions. Depth in Chemistry (Component 02) assesses content from across all teaching modules, 1 to 4 with compulsory questions. Question styles include short answer (structured questions, problem solving, calculations, practical) and extended response questions, including those marked using Level of Response mark schemes. AS Component 01 and AS Component 02 will be sat at the end of the AS year, with each paper contributing 50% towards the stand-alone AS qualification, but will not contribute towards the overall A level.

A level

Periodic table, elements and physical Chemistry (Component 01) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 3 and 5. Synthesis and analytical techniques (Component 02) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 4 and 6. Both include multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions. Unified Chemistry (Component 03) assesses content from across all teaching modules 1 to 6. Question styles include short answer and extended response questions. Practical endorsement in Chemistry (Component 04) is a separately reported non-exam assessment component which rewards the development of practical skills. Students may work in groups but must be able to demonstrate and let teachers record independent evidence of their competency. The activities will take place throughout the lower sixth and upper sixth.

Reading

A Level Chemistry A for OCR Student Book
By D. Gent, R. Ritchie
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835197-9

A Level Chemistry A for OCR Year 1 and AS Student Book
By D. Gent, R. Ritchie
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835196-2

A Level Chemistry A for OCR Year 2 Student Book
By D. Gent
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835765-0

 

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: OCR-A H032, A level: OCR-A H432

 

Matthew

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”

Gabriel

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”