Accessibility links

Chemistry AS/A Level at Alton 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 studying A level Chemistry highly appealing for many students. Chemistry investigates the properties and structure of a whole range of different substances and is also concerned with chemical reactions in which new substances are produced.

What’s in the course?

  • Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations
  • Acid-base and redox reactions
  • Electrons, bonding and structure
  • The periodic table and periodicity
  • pH and buffers
  • Enthalpy, entropy and free energy
  • Organic chemistry and organic synthesis
  • Polymers
  • Analytical techniques, chromatography, spectroscopy

Course content

f you have ever wondered about the answers to any of the following questions, then you have been thinking about some of the problems that Chemists solve. You will be able to answer these questions yourself when you have completed the course.

  • What is the importance of 6.02 x 1023?
  • How is nitrogen similar to arsenic?
  • How can spectroscopy be used to solve a crime?
  • How does the shape and bonding in a molecule affect its smell?
  • How can dissolving plastics be manufactured?

In class you will carry out a variety of activities which include practical sessions (for which you must wear a lab coat and safety glasses supplied by the College), group discussions, solving problems, analysing data, making models to help you understand molecular structure and interpreting scientific information.

You will be expected to do at least 4 to 5 hours study time per week outside lessons. There is a Science Work Area where students can borrow the resources used in class for further study. The resources are also available on the College network. Each topic takes approximately one month and you will have a test at the end of each. You will need to be very organised in your approach to work and you will be helped to take responsibility for your own learning as the course progresses.


Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in English (unless specified otherwise).

You should have gained at least grade B in Chemistry or B/B in Science before starting the course. AS and A2 Chemistry also requires Mathematical competence; it is essential therefore that you have a B grade in Maths at GCSE.

Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels.


AS Chemistry; 2 written papers;
Foundations of Chemistry, 1 ½ hours, 50% of the total mark
Chemistry in depth, 1 ½ hours, 50% of the total mark

A level Chemistry; 3 written papers;
Fundamentals of Chemistry, 2 ¼ hours, 41% of the total mark
Scientific literacy in Chemistry, 2 ¼ hours, 37% of the total mark
Practical skills in Chemistry, 1 ½ hours, 22% of the total mark. (This is a written paper based on practical skills)

To achieve a Practical Endorsement you will undertake a range of experiments to display your competency in:

  • Following procedures
  • Applying an investigative approach when using instruments and equipment
  • Working safely
  • Making and recording observations
  • Researching, referencing and reporting

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own stationery and calculators (where appropriate). Students will also use online resources such as Kerboodle which has an online copy of the textbook. Purchase of a textbook is therefore optional.

Any further costs are outlined below:
Optional: £20 for trips

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

Past students have gone on to a wide range of courses and careers. Chemistry is an essential subject for Higher Education in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Pharmacology, Food Science, Veterinary Science and for some Biology courses. Lee came to Alton College with ten GCSEs including Chemistry. He took A Levels in Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Further Maths and AS Spanish. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and is now doing his PhD at Oxford. Danielle came with 10 GCSEs including Double Science. She took A Levels in Chemistry, Psychology, Art and AS Biology. She is now studying Forensic Science at Kent.

Approximately 65% of our students each year will be using their Chemistry in a Higher Education course.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 05 August 2016

Key information