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Chemistry A level at Westcliff High School for Boys

Course description

The Chemistry Department follows the Edexcel syllabus due to the depth of syllabus content, balanced coursework component and relevance to topical issues. This course enables students to extend their knowledge and understanding of Chemistry through an appreciation of both its patterns and its wider applications.  The principal areas of study are inorganic, organic and physical chemistry and the syllabus content seeks to stimulate interest in Chemistry and encourages students to use chemical principles and concepts to interpret and explain phenomena in unfamiliar situations.  A significant amount of time is spent on practical exercises to develop manipulative skills but students will also be required to collect and process data and to interpret qualitative observations.  Students will, on occasions, be required to research and to report in essay form on certain topics but the majority of exercises will involve the completion of numerical problems, short answer questions and responses to comprehension exercises.   The most successful students will be those who are analytical in thought and are able to draw freely on concepts and ideas to solve problems.  Students are encouraged to read publications such as New Scientist, Chemistry Review and RSC Chemnet, all of which may be accessed via Fronter. 

Course content

The Advanced Subsidiary Curriculum: Unit 1: The Core Principals of Chemistry (75 minute examination). 30%

The first unit builds on students’ pre-existing knowledge of formulae, equations and amounts of substance from GCSE. It progresses to examine the topic of energetics and the mathematical concepts behind chemical reactions. The atomic structure and the periodic table are taught alongside these topics and pupils are given a firm understanding of bonding. The unit concludes by introducing pupils to organic chemistry – alkanes and alkenes. 

Unit 2: Application of Core Principles of Chemistry (105 minute examination). 50%

Developing on pupils’ knowledge of formulae and bonding, shapes of molecules and ions are introduced in this unit. Terms including intermediate bonding and bond polarity are examined and intermolecular forces are described. Redox and the periodic table – particularly groups 2 and 7 – are studied. Chemical equilibria, advanced organic chemistry and the importance of chemistry to the world around us (‘green chemistry’) are considered while mass spectra and infra-red spectra are described with a view to understanding how chemists can identify unknown compounds. 

Unit 3: Chemistry Laboratory Skills 1 (internal assessment) 20% 

This unit will address the following aspects of the AS subject criteria. The ability to:

  • demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques, selecting appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
  • make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations and measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy
  • analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental and investigatory activities in a variety of ways.
The A2 Curriculum: Unit 4: General Principles of Chemistry (90 minute examination). 30%

In the first unit of A2 Chemistry pupils are given further information about kinetics and rates of reaction. The concept of entropy, or disorder of systems, is introduced. Acid/base equilibria are described and the mathematical concepts behind linked to work carried out in the AS Chemistry course. The unit concludes through further work on organic chemistry – chirality, carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids and their derivatives – and spectroscopy and chromatography are studied to summarise further methods of chemical analysis. 

Unit 5: General Principles of Chemistry 2 (135 minute examination). 50%

The course concludes through study of redox and the chemistry of the transition metals. Finally, organic chemistry studies conclude through looking at arenes, nitrogen compounds and synthesis. 

Unit 6: Chemistry Laboratory Skills 2 (internal assessment). 20%

This unit will address the following aspects of the A2 subject criteria. The ability to:

  • demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques, selecting appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
  • make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations and measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy
  • analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others' experimental and investigatory activities in a variety of ways.  

Entry requirements

A minimum of an A grade in GCSE Chemistry or an equivalent grade in the Chemistry component of the Dual Award Science is expected.   In addition, a good mathematical background, the ability to express ideas clearly and coherently in written form and an ability to identify patterns within data are desirable.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Westcliff High School for Boys directly.

Last updated date: 09 June 2015

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