A level Chemistry builds on the knowledge and understanding developed at GCSE level. The course aims to stimulate interest in and enjoyment of chemistry, to foster logical critical thinking and demonstrate the wider application of chemical knowledge. It integrates theory and experimental work, developing investigative and manipulative skills. Students are encouraged to develop their scientific communication through research, discussion and written work. Students who study chemistry at A level have various career opportunities open to them. These include research chemistry, pharmacy, biochemistry, environmental science, medicine, chemical engineering, radiography and careers in the finance sector.
The practical components of the course are delivered during one lesson per fortnight in a dedicated Laboratory Session. During these sessions skills will be introduced, practised and assessed. These Practical Skills activities are subject to external moderation by the OCR examination board and are assessed in the written examination paper. This is reported on the student’s A level certificate as a Practical Endorsement.
Throughout Year 12 and 13 students have the opportunities to attend twilight lectures delivered at the University of Birmingham targeting topical applications of Chemistry.
During Year 13 a workshop covering the application of spectroscopy in chemical analysis is delivered in school by the University of Leicester.
Students are expected to purchase textbooks for the course. Laboratory coats and safety glasses are supplied. Students may wish to purchase their own revision books from a commercial publisher.
Chemistry links well with Biology, physics and Mathematics. Historically a significant proportion of students successfully studied chemistry alongside a variety of different A levels to achieve a broad balanced curriculum
Questions from past papers are used extensively during the delivery of the course and are adapted to augment homework tasks. In addition to this, pupils will complete whole past papers towards the end of the teaching for each unit, in order to prepare pupils for the overall structure of each paper, and the time restrictions associated with them. We fully encourage all pupils to work independently, and the following URL can be followed to locate all of the past papers for the course except the most recent paper, and their mark schemes.