What does studying Chemistry involve?

What would the world be like if there weren’t any chemists? There wouldn’t be any shampoos, no medicines, no crease free/machine washable clothes and you wouldn’t be able to even think about having an iPod that would be light enough to carry around in your pocket! Think how lots of super models and celebrities would look like if there wasn’t any make-up? These types of industries rely on chemists to manufacture and discover new materials to make our lives easier and without a chemist’s skills in manipulating chemicals into a variety of combinations the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t exist.

Studying AS/A2 Chemistry will enable you to begin to understand how these chemicals can be made and discovered. You will be taught the basic concepts of chemical activity and how to analyse chemicals in order to discover what it you is that makes them work the way they do.

How will I know if I would be good at it?

If you have a fascination for the world around you and how it works then Chemistry is for you. You will need to have obtained at least 2 B grades in Double Award Science at or a B grade in Chemistry at GCSE and a B grade in another science. An aptitude for maths is also necessary as is the ability to be able to apply the knowledge that you have gained. Independent learning is encouraged so that students can enhance their experiences in the classroom and the laboratory.

Modules that you will cover and assessment

There are six modules, in total, in order to gain a full A-level qualification.

The AS Chemistry is divided into three Units.

  • Unit 1 covers Structure and Bonding; Atomic Structure; Formulae, Equations and Moles; along with introductory Organic Chemistry (alkanes and alkenes).
  • Unit 2 continues to build on the foundation material from Unit 1 and introduces; Kinetics; Equilibria, Intermolecular forces, Shapes of molecules and ions, Spectroscopic techniques and continues to look in greater depth at Organic Chemistry
  • Unit 3 is the “coursework” unit. This is internally assessed practical work that takes place throughout the year. This comprises of a series of non-assessed core practical’s and formally assessed practical activities.

A2 Chemistry is also divided into three Units.

  • Unit 4 extends the themes of Rates and Equilibria, as well as Further Organic Chemistry and spectroscopy, and also introduces Entropy.
  • Unit 5 looks at  Redox and the Chemistry of  the transition metals and Applied Organic Chemistry.

Unit 4 and 5 both contain elements of knowledge and understanding from Ujnits 1 and 2 and are therefore classed as containing “Synoptic elements”.

  • Unit 6 is similar to Unit 3, in that there are practical assessments throughout the year.

The final A2 grade is made up of 50% from AS and 50% from the A2 course.

Examination Board: Edexcel

What skills will I develop and where could studying this subject lead?

You will develop analytical and mathematical skills as well as communication skills in applying the concepts you will be introduced to. A2 builds on the topics studied at AS and links very well with other AS/A2 subjects such as Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology, Health and Social Care and even non-science subjects such as languages, Drama and English.