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Chemistry A Level at Heanor Gate Science College

Course description

A-level Chemistry attempts to answer the big question ‘what is the world made of’ and it’s the search for this answer that makes this subject so fascinating. From investigating how one substance can be changed drastically into another, to researching a new wonder drug to save millions of lives, the opportunities that chemistry provides are endless. Chemistry seeks to understand the behaviour of natural materials, and then find ways of using these materials to produce new materials . AS/A2 Chemistry introduces students to the need for finding patterns in the behaviour of chemicals, of controlling and persuading reactions to occur, and of understanding how and why chemicals react in the way they do. There is a large practical element to the course and students will learn how to test and analyse chemicals and synthesise organic compounds.

Course content

AS Chemistry lasts one year, with exams at the end. A-level Chemistry lasts two years, with exams at the end of the second year.

AS and first year of A-level

Physical chemistry - Including atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s principle.

Inorganic chemistry - Including periodicity, Group 2 the alkaline earth metals, Group 7(17) the halogens.

Organic chemistry - Including introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols, organic analysis.

Second year of A-level

Physical Chemistry - Including thermodynamics, rate equations, the equilibrium constant Kp, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells.

Inorganic chemistry - Including properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solution.

Organic chemistry - Including optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy, chromatography.

Practicals Chemistry, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will carry out practical activities including:

  • Measuring energy changes in chemical reactions
  • tests for identifying different types of compound
  • different methods for measuring rates of reaction
  • studying electrochemical cells
  • preparation of organic solids and liquids
  • an advanced form of chromatography for more accurate results

Entry requirements

Ideally you should have achieved at least grade B in GCSE Science (not BTEC) or at least B in Chemistry. Grade B GCSE Maths is essential.


There is no coursework on this course. However, your performance during practicals will be assessed. There are three exams at the end of the two years for A-level, all of which are two hours long. At least 15% of the marks for A-level Chemistry are based on what you learned in your practicals. The AS has two exams at the end of the year. Both are 1 hour 30 minutes long.

Future opportunities

According to, the top five degree courses taken by students who have an A-level in Chemistry are:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Pre-Clinical Medicine
  • Mathematics
  • Pharmacology

Studying an A-level Chemistry related degree at university gives you all sorts of exciting career options, including:

  • Analytical chemist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Clinical biochemist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Doctor
  • Research scientist (physical sciences)
  • Toxicologist
  • Chartered certified accountant
  • Environmental consultant
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Patent attorney
  • Science writer
  • Secondary school teacher.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Heanor Gate Science College directly.

Last updated date: 06 September 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September