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Chemistry A-Level at Chesham Grammar School

Course description

Chemistry is a subject that makes students think logically, developing ideas that have been introduced at GCSE. If you study A level Chemistry then you should be able to ask 'Why?' and get a good answer. Students find that AS Chemistry explains chemical ideas mostly using words, while A2 Chemistry develops chemical ideas using maths, while broadening the topics studied.

Chemistry may seem a very complicated subject at first sight, but the ideas and complexities are actually built on a set of fundamental underlying patterns. Once students have mastered a thorough understanding of these it becomes accessible and fun to study. Our aim is always to help students to understand these key principles so they can then enjoy the logic that underpins the subject, and use it to explore and make sense for themselves the many factual details and experimental observations.

Chemistry is the study of all chemical substances and how to change one chemical into another. The food we eat, the air we breathe, our own bodies, our mobile phones, the plants and streets around us are made of chemicals. As we want inexpensive products, chemistry helps us to evaluate the implications to society; and as we want a safe environment, chemistry helps to decrease pollution by detecting the toxins, and by destroying them. Gone are the days that poisonous red lead oxide is used to colour cheese, or to sweeten cider; and now we do not put toxic arsenic in cosmetics; nor do we use lead compounds in white paint, or make CFCs that destroy the ozone layer. These chemicals were used mostly out of ignorance so, with the development of new understanding in chemistry, chemists can contribute to a safer world. Processes in the car industry, for example, include companies working on fuel cells to power our cars more efficiently, new fuels from plant material and new alloys to make vehicles lighter.

If you like logical problems, and thinking hard – really using your brain – then Chemistry is for you. If you want to know what makes up the world around you, you are a natural chemist.

Course content

There are six modules in A-level Chemistry A: Modules 1 to 4 constitute the stand-alone AS Level qualification; Modules 1 to 6, combined with the Practical Endorsement, constitute the full A Level. The modules can be summarised as:

  • Module 1: Development of practical skills in planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation – this module underpins the whole of the specification, and covers the practical skills that students should develop throughout the course. The practical skills in this module can be assessed within written examinations and (for A Level only) within the Practical Endorsement.
  • Module 2: Foundations in chemistry (covering concepts required throughout the remaining modules) – this includes atoms, compounds, molecules and equations; amount of substance; acid–base and redox reactions; electrons, bonding and structure.
  • Module 3: Periodic table – this module covers the Periodic table and periodicity; Group 2 and Group 7; qualitative analysis; enthalpy changes; reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)
  • Module 4: Core organic chemistry – this includes basic concepts; hydrocarbons; alcohols and haloalkanes; organic synthesis and analytical techniques (IR, MS)
  • Module 5: Physical chemistry and transition elements – this includes reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative); pH and buffers; enthalpy, entropy and free energy; redox and electrode potentials; transition elements.
  • Module 6: Organic chemistry and analysis – this includes aromatic compounds; carbonyl compounds; carboxylic acids and esters; nitrogen compounds; polymers; organic synthesis; chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR)

Entry requirements

For Advanced level courses, students will be expected to have successfully completed GCSE level examinations, with an average score of 46 points from their best eight GCSEs.

The average is worked out by converting each grade to a numerical score where:

A* = 58, A = 52, B = 46, C = 40, D = 34, E = 28, F = 22 and G = 16 b.

In an A level subject to be taken there is a requirement of grade B or above at GCSE (Grade A or above in Maths, Music and the Sciences), either in the subject itself or in an appropriate related subject in the case of new courses, as indicated on the subjects’ requirement. At least a C in English Language and Mathematics.

Subject Specific

GCSE Grade A or above in Triple or Double Sciences

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Chesham Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 30 April 2015
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