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Chemistry - AS / A level at Ipswich School

Course description

Chemistry is at the very centre of our existence on this planet. Human life, even at its most prosaic, is a marvellous sequence of chemical reactions. The high quality of food we are lucky enough to enjoy, the medicines we expect to cure our illness and the dazzling firework display to entertain us - all these, to name only a few, are the result of carefully controlled chemical reactions underpinned by a full understanding of the way chemicals react together.
Studying Chemistry is an exciting privilege. Naturally, if you are to understand some of the most important and fundamental processes which occur on earth, you will need to draw on, and extent to the full, all your academic powers.

There is a substantial (but not overwhelming) amount of memory work involved. You will do many experiments where you will learn to interpret and explain the results. Other exercises will involve making predictions and seeing whether they are borne out in practice. Despite its factual base, Chemistry requires insight, flair and imagination, particularly in the design of new drugs and medicines.

Course content

The course promotes the study of motivating contemporary Chemistry. Students study different aspects of Chemistry that are often in the media, and that affect our lives. It is important that students have the required knowledge and understanding needed to explain many different aspects of contemporary Chemistry. These areas include:

Climate Change Pharmaceuticals

Green Chemistry Chemistry Research

The AS level course in Chemistry assumes at least a grade C in Science or Chemistry at GCSE. Material covered includes a more detailed look at some elements with particular emphasis on how their properties are related to their position in the periodic table. Organic Chemistry includes the study of alcohols, hydrocarbons and haloalkanes. Redox reactions, bonding and energy changes are some of the more fundamental areas covered. Practical skills are further developed and are a part of the AS level qualification.

The A2 course includes much more Organic Chemistry (including synthetic pathways), transition metals and the more quantitative subjects of rates, equilibria and entropy. Instrumental techniques such as spectroscopy (IR, MS and NMR) and chromatography (gas and HPLC) are also studies to this advanced level. Practical skills are again developed further by performing at least two assessed practical exercises, one of which may be a multi-stage experiment.
As well as the obvious chemical knowledge and understanding, students will improve their skills in the following areas:
Communication by practical write-ups and general discussion
Application of Number by collection and interpretation of data from experiments
Problem Solving by planning experiments and theoretical synthesis routes

Working with Others practical work is often done in pairs (sometimes larger groups)

Future opportunities

The wide range of skills developed and the challenging nature of the material make Chemistry an excellent preparation for university study – in any subject.  Although no longer essential for every medical or dental course, virtually all still require it and it is essential for veterinary medicine.  It is also an excellent qualification for a whole range of science courses.  Law, accountancy and patents are other areas where expertise in Chemistry is valued.  Chemical engineering is always a good career choice and one where women are increasingly successful.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 20 May 2014
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