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Chemistry A Level at The Blue School

Course description

Is there a more vital subject to study at post-16 than Chemistry in today’s world? Climate change science, development of renewable energy, material science, biotechnology and of course medicine and pharmaceuticals all have Chemistry at their core. 

Course content

The course has been designed to benefit students for whom Chemistry will form a major part of their tertiary education, such as aspiring medics, vets and engineers as well as those who have no expectations of continuing with Science after A Level. There is a core practical side of the course which develops contextual understanding of the subject and branches out into research and investigative skills. The theory side of the course is concept led, comprising of a logical progression through steadily more challenging yet exciting topics, building on many topics introduced at GCSE placing a greater emphasis on understanding and includes a significant component of organic Chemistry. It provides an excellent basis for further study of the subject at university or in Chemistry related careers, or a very valuable facilitating qualification which is accepted by many non-scientific degree courses.

There is a huge variety of lesson types incorporating practical skills, chemical maths, seminar-style discussions, student presentations, use of 3-D modelling and ICT as well as the occasional slice of traditional note-taking. As a preparation for Higher Education, students will be expected to be more responsible for their own learning, spending an equivalent time on the subject out of lessons as within them. The course is taught through a series of chemical ‘storylines’ which bring together concepts from different areas of Chemistry. 

Entry requirements

5 GCSE’S at A*-C including grades for English and mathematics as below:

  •           English Language – New grade 4 or above
  •           Mathematics – New grade 4 or above

Assessment

There will no longer be any coursework at A Level from 2015, however the core practical skills will be assessed as part of the written examination series.

AL will be assessed by three exam papers totalling 6 hours of examinations entitled: “Fundamentals of Chemistry”; “Scientific Literacy in Chemistry” and “Practical Skills in Chemistry”. Assessment will be by multiple choice, short structured responses and extended written responses and will also assess students’ application of practical skills. The practical endorsement is based on the 12 core practicals and is teacher assessed on a pass/fail basis. This involves the students keeping a lab book with records of all their practical work which is also an invaluable resource for equipping students to answer the Practical Skills paper and is excellent preparation for future lab work at university, apprenticeships or any job which involves analytical skills. 

Future opportunities

Chemistry is essential at A Level for students wanting to study Chemistry, Biochemistry, Medicine and Veterinary Science. It is also very useful for those who plan to study Physical, Material, Biological and Biomedical Sciences and many students who go on to Engineering will have taken Chemistry.

Chemistry may also be an option for those who are as yet undecided about their future careers and want to ‘leave doors open’. For those who are unlikely to pursue a career in science, studying Chemistry will help develop analytical skills and enable more informed judgements to be made about increasingly complex scientific issues of the day.

In the past, Chemistry has been combined most often with Maths, Physics and Biology. Less orthodox subject combinations have been chosen more recently by some students, including subjects like Design, History, Economics or a Modern Language. These combinations still allow a student to follow a career in Science, but will keep open other career pathways. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Blue School directly.

Last updated date: 05 January 2017

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