Chemistry stands at the pivot of science. On the one hand, it deals with Biology and provides explanations for the processes of life. On the other hand, it mingles with Physics and finds explanations for chemical phenomena in the fundamental processes and particles of the universe. Chemistry links the familiar with the fundamental. P.W. Atkins
Examination Board OCR A
The main reason to study A Level Chemistry should be that you are interested and enjoy learning about Chemistry, both the theoretical and the practical aspects of the subject. The course encourages the appreciation of the connections between concepts and the underlying patterns that are fundamental to the knowledge and understanding of Chemistry. You will continue to build on what you have covered at GCSE and the links between the development of the subject and its application at environmental, social, economic and technological levels and be able to recognise the value of Chemistry to society as a whole and how it may be used to benefit society now and in the future.
The qualification builds on the same topics and skills inherent in the GCSE course. It is expected that you will have achieved a good GCSE grade in Chemistry or Science Double Award and to have good mathematical skills as a poor understanding will make some aspects of the course significantly more difficult.
The qualification integrates theory and relevant practical work, which are developed at different levels throughout the course. You will need to be able to problem solve, think critically and communicate effectively about chemical ideas. You will develop skills in laboratory procedures and practical techniques and will be encouraged to be both creative and analytical. In choosing to study Chemistry at AS/A Level you will need to demonstrate high performance in an academically rigorous subject.
Chemistry is the central science and offers many career opportunities both within the numerous scientific disciplines and as the basis for a more general career in business and the financial world. As a qualification, Chemistry is highly valued as a sound basis for employment. Demand for chemists is high, and opportunities for Chemistry graduates have been increasing. Chemistry graduates are increasingly sought after to work in oil, chemical, engineering and manufacturing companies including the fine chemical industries of pharmaceutics, food, optics and the new technologies. Alternatively, you could follow a degree course in the Biological Sciences, Dentistry, Medicine or Veterinary Science.
Structure and outline of the course
LOWER SIXTH YEAR
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
•Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)
Module 4 – Core organic chemistry
•Alcohols and haloalkanes
•Analytical techniques (IR and MS)
UPPER SIXTH YEAR
Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements
•Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative)
•pH and buffers
•Enthalpy, entropy and free energy
•Redox and electrode potentials
Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis
•Carboxylic acids and esters
•Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR)