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Chemistry AS/A Level at New College Durham

Course description

This course aims to introduce you to Chemistry, show you how this area of science is organised, the way in which its ideas have developed and the evidence for our current ideas.  This is done mainly by a mixture of practical and experimental work, some demonstrations, student led learning and discussion as well as teacher centred learning. Full-time students study this subject in combination with other AS/A Levels.  It goes well with other sciences, such as Physics and Biology, as well as Maths.  It can help with Environmental Science, and can be combined with other subjects including Psychology and Applied Science. Appropriate textbooks are provided.  The library has a good selection of books.  Students wishing to purchase their own books may like to consider: Chemistry in Context, Hill and Holman, Nelson Chemistry in Focus, Andrew and Rispoli, Hodder and Stoughton A range of Chemistry books and periodicals, including Chemistry Review, is available from the College library.  There are also revision guides available at the College Media Store.  Materials from the internet and the College’s Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (NCD Online) are also used.  Students are expected to wear lab coats and eye protection, which are supplied, when doing practical work.

Course content

Chemistry at this level tries to explain why processes happen, working out the reasons for chemical changes and the trends and patterns in these changes.  To help with this, information is organised in a systematic way.  An example of this, which you may have come across, is the Periodic Table.  We also study, and try to explain, rates of reaction, energy changes, equilibria, carbon chemistry and amounts of substance.

Year 1 AS Unit F321 - Atoms, Bonds and Groups, 1 hour exam, 30% of the AS marks, 15% of the A Level marks. This is the underpinning unit for the whole course.  It deals with how atoms are made, how they join together, how we measure amounts of atoms and our method of systematically organising information on atoms.

AS Unit F322 - Chains, Energy and Resources, 1 hour 45 minute exam, 50% of the AS marks, 25% of the A Level marks The ideas from the first unit are applied to carbon based chemicals and extended to investigate how energy controls reactions.  The implications of Chemistry for the economy and the environment are a significant component in this unit.  As the timing and marks for the exam suggests this is a larger section of work than the first unit.  This unit is examined in the summer.

AS Unit F323 - Practical Skills in Chemistry, 20% of the AS marks, 10% of the A Level marks Chemistry is an experimentally based subject.  Students are assessed on their ability to apply their knowledge and skills on a series of practical tasks which go towards their final mark.  These are carried out at appropriate times throughout the course and the best marks used towards a final grade.  An AS grade is awarded after one year.

Year 2 - this is dependent on the successful completion of the AS year. A2 Unit F324 - Rings, Polymers and Analysis, 1.25 hour exam, 15% of the A Level marks This unit develops the carbon Chemistry from the AS year and applies it to a range of examples including biologically important molecules such as proteins and fats as well as commercially important materials such as textiles and dyes.  Modern methods of analysis are an integral part of this unit.

A2 Unit F325 - Equilibria, Energetics and Elements, 2 hours exam, 25% of the A Level marks The amounts which control all chemical reactions are studied in this unit - the energy changes, pH changes, rates, positions (equilibria) of reactions.  There is a much more numerical approach than will have been used when these ideas were met in earlier work.

A2 Unit F326 - Practical Skills in Chemistry, 10% of the A Level marks This unit, like the AS practical assessment, tests the developing experimental skills using contexts from work done during the year.  This assessment is done during normal lesson times as part of the course.

Entry requirements

School leavers should have at least five grade A*-Cs at GCSE.  For this subject, this should include GCSE grades B or A in Maths, English and BB in Science (from Triple Science Award, or Core and Additional Science) .

Future opportunities

Related careers

Chemical scientist Chemical scientists analyse and research physical aspects of chemical structure and change within substances and develop chemical techniques used in the manufacture or modification of natural substances and processed products.
Production or process engineer Production and process engineers advise on and direct technical aspects of production programmes to ensure cost-effectiveness and efficiency. This unit group incorporates: planning and quality control engineers who plan production schedules, work sequences, and manufacturing and processing procedures to ensure accuracy, quality and reliability; and chemical engineers who undertake research on commercial scale chemical processes and processed products, design and provide specifications and direct the construction, operation, maintenance and repair of chemical plants and control systems.
Pharmacist Pharmacists dispense drugs and medicaments in hospitals and pharmacies and advise on and participate in the development and testing of new drugs, compounds and therapies. They counsel on the proper use and adverse effects of drugs and medicines.
Teaching or other educational professional n.e.c. Job holders in this unit group perform a variety of other education and teaching occupations not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 231: Teaching and Educational Professionals.
Laboratory technician Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and checks, and perform a variety of technical support functions requiring the application of established or prescribed procedures and techniques to assist scientists with their research, development, analysis and testing, and to verify the physical, chemical and other characteristics of materials and products.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact New College Durham directly.

Last updated date: 21 April 2016

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