Why study A level Chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of all chemical substances and how to change one chemical into another; your body, medicine design and your mobile phone all rely on chemistry. Although it may seem a very complicated subject at first, the ideas are built on a set of fundamental underlying patterns. We aim to help you gain an understanding of these, so that you can then enjoy their logical application to the real world. If you like problem solving, thinking hard, and applying mathematics in a scientific discipline then chemistry is for you. If you want to know what makes up the world around you, you are a natural chemist.

What are the careers or further education that this course be suitable for?

The A-level course should nurture your passion for chemistry and lay the groundwork for further study in courses such as chemistry, medicine and pharmacy. It is also essential for a wide variety of scientific careers, including dentistry, chemical engineering, agriculture, research and development, biological sciences, petrochemicals, veterinary science and careers in the pharmaceutical industry. A large number of non-scientific professional careers, such as law, politics, philosophy and economics welcome a chemistry qualification as it shows an ability to work analytically, quantitatively and deal with multi influenced situations. A-level chemists are in demand because they can handle abstract explanations and highly detailed information

Key Information Summary:

Course TitleChemistry
Examination BoardAQA
Linear Qualification?Yes
Course Webpage
Entry Requirements

Minimum of two Grades at 6 in GCSE combined science (dual award)


Grade 6 in GCSE chemistry and Grade 6 in either GCSE biology or physics

In addition a Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics and a Grade 5 in English language or English literature

Contact TeachersDr J Neild:
Dr S Jones:

Course Details:
AQA A-level Chemistry is a natural next stage from the GCSE course and so there are many recognisable topics that are taken a stage further. Some topics, such as atomic structure, are studied in greater detail while others, such as equilibria, broaden the GCSE experience and then use mathematics so that the qualitative understanding becomes more quantitative. The biggest content difference at A-level is the great increase in the amount of organic chemistry. This includes many more functional groups, an understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions as well as beginning an understanding of synthetic routes.
Throughout the course, principles are developed, revisited and reinforced. The subject content is relevant to real world experiences and interesting to learn. Chemistry is fundamentally a practical subject, and there are numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to enhance theory and equip you with accredited practical skills. AQA chemistry is a linear course with terminal examinations at the end of the A-level year.

Subject Content:

Chemistry is taught through 3 main subject areas:

Physical chemistry
Atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, chemical equilibria, redox, thermodynamics, rate equations, electrode potentials, acids and bases.

Inorganic chemistry
Periodicity, groups 2 and 7 of the periodic table, properties of period 3 elements and oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solution

Organic chemistry
Introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols, organic synthesis, optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, nuclar magnetic resonance, chromatography. 

Assessment details:

A Level – 2 Year Course
Paper 1 (35% of A-level)
2 hour paper, 105 marks, short and long answer questions.
Physical and inorganic chemistry
Some aspects of practical skillsPaper 2 (35% of A-level)
2 hour paper, 105 marks, short and long answer questions.
Physical and organic chemistry
Some aspects of practical skills

Paper 3 (30% of A-level)
2 hours paper, 90 marks.
40 marks on practical techniques and data analysis, 20 marks testing across the specification, 30 marks multiple choice questions.
Any content
Any practical skills


A-level grades are based only on marks from the three written papers. Practical skills assessed in the classroom will be given a separate endorsement to the A-level grade.

Entry Requirements:

We recognise the need for Chemistry A-level in many university courses and the increasing importance placed upon it, especially with the move to a linear qualification. These university courses often required the highest grades as a means of entry onto these courses.

Science entry requirements

Science GCSE coursePreferred gradesMinimum grades
Combined Science (dual award)Two Grades at 7 or higherTwo Grades at 6
Separate scienceGrade 7 or higher in GCSE chemistry and Grade 7 or higher in either GCSE biology or physicsGrade 6 in GCSE chemistry and Grade 6 in either GCSE biology or physics


Other requirements

In addition to these science entry requirements the science team will require a minimum of a grade 5 in GCSE mathematics and a minimum grade of a 5 in GCSE English language or English literature.

This does mean that the student who enters the course with either a grade 6 or a 7 will need to show a dedication, enthusiasm and a work ethic that is essential in order to achieve the high grades that the majority of university courses expect. We will consider these characteristics when reviewing a student’s access to the A-level Chemistry course by reviewing school reports during Year 11.