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Chemistry AS & A Level at Biddenham Upper School and Sports College

Course description

A Level Chemistry will give you an exciting insight into the contemporary world of chemistry. It covers the key concepts of chemistry and practical skills are integrated throughout the course. This combination of academic challenge and practical focus makes the prospect of studying A Level Chemistry highly appealing. You will learn about chemistry in a range of different contexts and the impact it has on industry and many aspects of everyday life. You will learn to investigate and solve problems in a range of contexts.

The sixth form is a bridge between school and university. Students will be responsible for their own learning. Teachers are there to help students learn how to learn. AS level will be a continuation of GCSE Chemistry, but at a consistently higher standard and in more depth. The student must be committed to understanding the fundamental concepts of Chemistry in order to make satisfactory progress, through problem resolution.

The A2 course is even more demanding, where the entire course (AS and A2) is synoptically assessed. It is essential to understand the AS topics in order to make the necessary links between topics that become more complex. However, it is normally at this stage that Chemistry begins to make sense, where all the aspects of atomic structure, chemical bonding and the reasons why chemical reactions happen merge together into a coherent pattern of events. Almost all students find the Chemistry course a challenge. Due to the rigorous nature of the course, homework is set at the end of every lesson

All resources are fully accessible using the school’s intranet. The course is modular in structure with emphasis on the use of Chemistry in everyday life

Course content

In year 12:

  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills in chemistry: Practical skills assessed in a written examination 

 

  • 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; Qualitative analysis; Enthalpy changes; Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative).
  • Module 4 – Core organic chemistry: Hydrocarbons; Alcohols and haloalkanes; Organic synthesis; Analytical techniques (IR and MS). 

In year 13:

  • Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements: 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: Aromatic compounds; Carbonyl compounds; Carboxylic acids and esters; Nitrogen compounds; Polymers; Organic synthesis; Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR).

Entry requirements

  • English GCSE at grade C or above.
  • Maths GCSE at grade B or above.
  • Additional Science GCSE OR Chemistry GCSE at grade B or above.
  • For students who have taken BTEC level 2 courses, a DISTINCTION is required as well as grade B in English and Maths GCSE.

Assessment

There will be 3 exams at the end of year 13. Two of the exams are 2 hours 15 minutes long and each contribute 37% of the final grade. The first of these is on the periodic table, elements and physical chemistry which covers topics taught in modules 1,2,3 and 5. The second exam is on synthesis and analytical techniques which covers topics from modules 1, 4 and 6. The final of the 3 exams is 1 hour 30 minutes long and is worth 26% of the final mark and is synoptic, potentially covering any area from the course. 

Students will also be assessed on their practical skills throughout the two year course and will be awarded a pass or a fail based on their competencies. Whilst this does not make up part of their A level, they will be assessed on their practical knowledge and understanding in the written exams and a pass would be necessary to demonstrate skills for scientific courses at university.

Financial information

The course may include visits to local chemical industries. Textbooks need to be bought. Two textbooks for the A2 course, both published by Pearson Education. One covers all the content from year 12 and one for year 13. (books are £20 each bought new)

Laboratory coats and safety spectacles are advisable, particularly if taking more than one science. Total cost is about £50:00.

Future opportunities

With a qualification in Chemistry a student could go on to Further or Higher Education, studying Chemistry or one of the other sciences or related subjects, such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Law, Veterinary Science, Chemical Engineering, Forensic Science, Civil Service, Environmental Science or Agriculture. Many science based industries are now looking to recruit GCE level students who show an aptitude for Chemistry and have the right attitude towards a working environment, with a view to giving students the opportunity to study at a higher level through one day a week release.

Further information

Course contact: Mr K Walker, karl.walker@biddenham.beds.sch.uk

Examination Board: OCR A

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Biddenham Upper School and Sports College directly.

Last updated date: 04 November 2016

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