Faculty: Science

               “A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.”

                ― Marie Skłodowska Curie (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1911)

Exam Board: OCR

Course Details:

Assessment Details

Assessment overview H432 A Level Chemistry   (OCR)


Periodic table, elements and   physical chemistry

2 hours 15 minutes, written   paper


Synthesis and analytical   techniques

2 hours 15 minutes, written   paper


Unified chemistry

1 hour 30 minutes, written   paper


Practical endorsement in   chemistry

(04 non-exam assessment)

Pass   or Fail

Practical Endorsement

The new Chemistry specification has changed (for the better) the way in which practical work is conducted at A Level.  Through a minimum of twelve practical investigations (in practice there are more), students accumulate the scientific skills and laboratory techniques that will result in a smooth transition to degree‑level study.  We have dedicated 2‑hour slots timetabled for practical work and these enable a proper learning experience for students.  There is no graded assessment, although the end-of-course examinations will test students’ understanding of the experimental techniques they have employed.

Course outline

The two-year A Level is made up of six units which are assessed in three written papers taken at the end of the second year.  These papers test both the students’ theoretical knowledge and their understanding of, and application of, the practical chemistry skills that they have accumulated over the two years.  The Practical Endorsement is a skills-based certification that runs the length of the course and which prepares students for successful progress in practical sciences at degree level.

Students have 10 lessons over a fortnight covering the content of the OCR course.  Teaching is provided two Chemistry teachers, one Organic Chemistry specialist, the other a specialist in Inorganic/Physical Chemistry. 





Content Overview

A   level (2 year)

Year 1


Module 1 – Development of practical skills   in chemistry


• Atoms and compounds

• Electrons, bonding and   structure

• The periodic table and   periodicity


• Molecules and equations

• Amount of substance

• Acid–base and redox   reactions

• Organic chemistry basic   concepts


• Group 2 and the halogens

• Qualitative analysis

• Enthalpy changes

• Hydrocarbons

• Alcohols and haloalkanes

• Organic synthesis


• Reaction rates and   equilibrium (Year 12 and 13 content)

• Analytical techniques (IR   and MS)


Year 2


• Acids, pH and buffers

• Enthalpy, entropy and free   energy

• Aromatic compounds

• Carbonyl compounds

• Carboxylic acids and   esters


• Redox and electrode   potentials

• Transition elements

• Nitrogen compounds

• Polymers

• Organic synthesis


Skills required

Students should show strong deductive reasoning and problem solving skills, supported by solid numeracy.  They should be able to assimilate new concepts and principles and apply them to novel situations; Chemistry is not a subject for those that learn by rote.  They need to be well-organised both in the laboratory and in their studies outside of class.  This should be reflected in their clear written communication of ideas and concepts.  They need to be cooperative and demonstrate good interpersonal skills to enable efficient and precise practical work.

Goes well with

Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Computer Science

Subjects that use scientific methods or evidence-based reasoning such as Psychology, Law, Business or Geography

Progression pathways and careers

Chemistry A Level is

  • Required for: Chemistry, Chemical Engineering; Medicine; Pharmacy; Dentistry; Veterinary Science
  • Supportive Subject for: Forensic Science; Engineering; Biological Sciences (e.g. Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Microbiology); Physics; Environmental Science

Chemistry is a route to many science careers but it is also a subject that incorporates with many transferable skills that are valued highly in the marketplace; it is not unusual for Chemistry graduates to move into other fields such as law and finance.

Contact Details, Head of Chemistry, Inorganic & Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Deputy Head of Sixth Form




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