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Chemistry A Level at PETROC

Course description

For prestigious careers like medicine, veterinary science and pharmacy, knowledge of chemistry is essential. This stimulating, practical study programme builds on topics you will have covered at GCSE, and then takes you into new territories such as spectroscopy and the transition metals.

We are really proud of our superb chemistry facilities and resources. We have modern, state of the art labs which were modernised a few years ago. They have fully functioning fume cupboards that are used by students and these allow us to carry out experiments that you couldn't do at school. 

Students have excellent access to IT, all labs have fully interactive smartboards and trolleys of wireless laptops which allow us to access the internet and college chemistry VLE website whenever we need to. 

The chemistry VLE website is extremely well resourced with lots of interactive revision aids, past exam papers and mark schemes and interactive software that you can access from college or home. We teach the course through topics and each topic has a work booklet that has been specifically written by the staff at the college to exactly match the exam board specifications. Students and parents frequently compliment us on the quality of our labs, VLE and work booklets.

Course content

Topics in year 1 include atomic structure and bonding, the periodic table, rates of reaction (and others) in depth. Around a third of the qualification looks at organic (carbon based) chemistry where you will investigate the reactions of different organic families such as alkenes and alcohols.

The second year topics include aromatic compounds and amines, identifying mechanisms for chemical reactions and learning how to conduct characteristic tests for carbonyl compounds. You'll find there is also more application of mathematical formulae in the second year, such as using logarithmic functions to determine pH and use of spectroscopy in analysis of compounds.

Entry requirements

To be accepted onto a two-year A Level programme, all entrants must hold at least a grade 5 in GCSE Maths and a grade 5 in GCSE English Language, as well as at least 3 other GCSEs at grade C or above. Certain subjects require a minimum of GCSE grade B; these are detailed in this prospectus and on the Petroc website.
Continuation onto Year 2 of the A2 programme will be dependent on achieving at least a grade D at AS in the subjects being continued to A2.

A grade BB in Double Science, or a grade B in Chemistry.


In addition to the theory, there is a strong practical element to the course. We will set you regular homework and end of topic tests to provide you, your teacher and your parents or guardians with feedback on your progress. We also give you exam paper packs and set you mock exams before the real thing.

Future opportunities

Many of our students go on to university (including Oxford and Cambridge). A Level Chemistry is highly regarded and leads into a huge range of science-based degree courses from medicine to biochemistry and chemical engineering. It is also extremely useful if you want to study other sciences, especially Biology and Physics.

Further information

Q. Is A Level Chemistry hard?
A. Our pass rates are amongst the best in the country. As you can see from the student views above, some students do find the subject difficult but we give you lots of help and support and if you come with good GCSE grades and have the right attitude then you will do really well.

Q. Do I really need grade B in GCSE Additional Science or Chemistry?
A. AS Level Chemistry is more difficult than GCSE Chemistry or GCSE Science. Students with grade C in GCSE Science or Chemistry have passed the course in the past but they usually find it really tough. A grade B is the minimum we recommend to succeed.

Q. Do I need GCSE Maths?
A. You will need Maths GCSE at grade C or above. However, most of the maths in chemistry is very straight forward and we will remind you or teach you all the maths you need to succeed at this level. Maths is much more important at A2 Level than at AS Level.

Q. How big are the classes?
A. Most classes have 16 to 22 students in them.

Q. How much homework will I get?
A. Approximately three hours a week including revising for end of topic tests but this varies from week to week.

Q. Is it an interesting course?
A. Most students tell us that the course is really interesting and many say that it is the most interesting course they do at college. The course is very practical and we spend a lot of the time looking at how and why things happen so you really start to understand chemistry rather than just learning a set of facts.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact PETROC directly.

Last updated date: 17 February 2017

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