Students study the popular OCR A course. Chemistry A is a content-led approach where practical skills are integrated within the theoretical topics. The specification encourages students to develop an essential knowledge of the key chemical concepts in order to apply it to problem-solving and practical tasks, and to increase their awareness and understanding of the impact of chemistry on the success of the economy and society.
The A level course is split into six modules: Module 1 Development of practical skills; Module 2 Foundations in chemistry; Module 3 Periodic table and energy; Module 4 Core organic chemistry. Where modules 1-4 are studied in Year 12, the additional modules 5: Physical chemistry and transition elements and 6: Organic chemistry and analysis are studied in Year 13. The internally assessed Practical Endorsement skills also form part of the full A level. Students are assessed via three written papers: Paper 1 Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry, 37% of the total A level; Paper 2 Synthesis and analytical techniques, 37% of the total A level; Paper 3 Unified chemistry, 26% of the total A level (Practical Endorsement in chemistry is internally assessed).
In addition to their academic studies, students are offered unique opportunities to engage in genuine chemical research. Two projects are currently available: the Polymer Chemistry Research project which is a collaboration with the University of Kent at Canterbury and the Omega-3 oil Research project. These exclusive opportunities enable students to develop hugely beneficial transferral skills such as project management, mentoring and advanced data-handling and other in silico skills.
Chemistry is a rewarding and challenging subject. Students are expected to carry out independent consolidation and extension of their understanding between lessons. It is worth knowing that historically, students taking Mathematics alongside Chemistry perform better than those who do not, since there is a significant emphasis on mathematics in the context of chemistry (20% of the marks available within written examinations are for the assessment of mathematics).
Grade 6 in GCSE Chemistry and 6 in Maths guarantees a place on this course.
Please note that applicants must also meet our overall entry requirements of scoring at least a total of 42 points (simply add up all your GCSE grades) and achieve a Grade 4 or higher in both English Language and Mathematics.
You could take this course to complement other advanced level courses such as Biology or to prepare for the A2 part of an Advanced GCE in Chemistry, which could lead onto higher education in science related subjects or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to Chemistry or one of the other sciences such as a Doctor, Nurse, Scientist or Pharmacist. You could also go straight into a job as the AS GCE is a recognised qualification that will help you to develop the basic skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.