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Chemistry

A LEVEL (OCR)

What interests should I have if I want to follow this course?

Understanding chemistry helps you to understand the world around you.  Cooking is chemistry; everything you can touch or taste or smell is a chemical.  To study chemistry you should be interested in finding out how things work on the atomic and molecular level.  Qualities a successful chemist possesses are a good grasp of mathematics, excellent practical skill and an enquiring mind.

What will I learn about?

Year 1

Module 1 – Development of practical skills

Skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.  
Examples of the practical in this module include:

  • Determination of a formula by gravimetric methods
  • Determination of the concentration of an acid by titration
  • Calculating the enthalpy change of a chemical reaction

Module 2 – Foundations in chemistry

Includes:

  • atoms, compounds, molecules and equations;
  • amount of substance;
  • acid–base and redox reactions 
  • electrons, bonding and structure.

Module 3 – Periodic table and energy

Includes:

  • the periodic table and periodicity;
  • group 2 and the halogens;
  • qualitative analysis;
  • enthalpy changes 
  • reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative).

Module 4 – Core organic chemistry

Includes:

  • basic concepts;
  • hydrocarbons;
  • alcohols and haloalkanes;
  • organic synthesis and
  • analytical techniques (IR, MS).

Year 2

Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements

Includes:

  • 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

Includes:

  •  Aromatic compounds
  • Carbonyl compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and esters
  • Nitrogen compounds
  • Polymers
  • Organic synthesis
  • Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR).

How will I be assessed?

The entire content Year 12 and Year 13 is assessed at the end of the course in order to gain a full A level qualification.  There will be three assessments in the forms of examinations.

Paper One - Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry (37% of A level)

This consists of some multiple choice questions and some structured, extended response questions covering theory and practical skills

Paper Two - Synthesis and analytical techniques (37% of A level)

This consists of some multiple choice questions and some structured, extended response questions covering theory and practical skills.

Paper Three - Unified Chemistry (26% of A level)

Consists of structured questions and extended response questions, covering theory and practical skills.

Students must also complete the practical endorsement for chemistry.  This internally teacher assessed component is where students complete 12 practical activities to demonstrate practical competence.  Performance in this area will be reported separately to the A level grade.

Examples of these activities include:

  • Determination of a formula by gravimetric methods
  • Determination of the concentration of an acid by titration
  • Calculating the enthalpy change of a chemical reaction
  • Synthesis of organic compounds
  • Preparation and oxidation of organic compounds
  • Identification of unknown compounds and functional groups
  • Investigating cell potentials
  • Finding the order and rate constant for a reaction
  • Identifying unknown solutions via pH measurements

What minimum qualification will I need to start the course?

7 and 6 in Combined Science and 5 in Maths, or 7 and 6 (minimum of 6 in Chemistry) in Triple Science and 5 in Maths.

What Teaching and Learning methods will be used?

A wide variety of teaching methods will be used, from small group discussions to traditional teacher led activities.  Some parts of the course are taught through supported self-study sessions and a proportion of the course is practical based.  This mirrors the theory that is taught throughout the course, in preparation for the examinations and practical endorsement activities. 

What can I do when I complete my qualifications?

An understanding of chemistry is important in many careers and can lead into almost any profession.  You will also learn a variety of transferrable skills throughout the year, including:
experimental skills- observing, recording; analysing evidence and drawing conclusions;  written communication and problem solving skills.

A level chemistry is essential if you wish to study medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary science, chemical engineering and many other courses.  It is also highly desirable in many careers such as food technology or any scientific studies. 

How can I find out more information?

If you have any further questions please contact Miss Pringle in the science department.