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Chemistry A Level at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Course description

How do complex molecules function in living organisms? How do we make medicines that can fight cancer? How do we make new materials for faster computers and mobile phones? How do we control and deal with pollution? How can we generate energy more efficiently?

Course content

Year 1

Development of practical skills in chemistry

You will develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments.

Foundations in chemistry

You will examine how the properties of atoms relate to their position in the periodic table and how they react to form new substances. You will develop an understanding of how the properties of different substances are related to the atoms they are made from and learn more about electron structure and bonding.

Periodic table & energy

You will learn about the structure of the periodic table, looking at trends in ionization energy, structure and melting point. You will study more on physical chemistry including work on enthalpy changes and reaction rates.

Core organic chemistry

This will provide you with an introduction to organic chemistry.  You will develop an understanding of how the properties of organic molecules are influenced by the functional groups they contain and how we can use modern analytical techniques to identify and study molecules. You will also consider the problems that arise from our dependency on crude oil as a source of energy and synthetic materials.


Year 2

Development of practical skills in chemistry

You will continue to develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in chemistry.

Physical chemistry & transition elements

You will develop an advanced understanding of how and why chemicals react in the ways they do including study of rates, equilibrium, pH, energy, electrochemistry and catalysts.

Organic chemistry & analysis

Building on your AS studies you will develop a deeper understanding of organic chemistry. A study of modern analytical techniques will enable you to interpret data from gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, infra-red spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance analytical techniques.

Entry requirements

You must have achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grade 4/C or above, including 2 GCSEs at grade B in Science (including at least a grade B in Chemistry). You will also need at least a grade 6 in GCSE Maths.


The A level in Chemistry is assessed in three written papers that assess content from all six modules that have been studied. A practical endorsement in Chemistry is also awarded at A level as a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ alongside the overall grade for the qualification.

20% of the marks available within written examinations will be for assessment of mathematics in the context of Chemistry.

Future opportunities

By taking Chemistry A Level, you develop valuable skills; including problem solving, numeracy and practical skills which can be applied across a range of subject disciplines.  An A-level in Chemistry is essential if you want to study Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science or Pharmacy at University.

There are many interesting and rewarding Chemistry -based jobs including pharmacology, chemical engineering, science journalism and patent law. The wider skills you develop while studying Chemistry are also valued in many other careers including management, accountancy, law, sales and marketing and ICT amongst others.

Further information

Check our website for the most up-to-date course details.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Birkenhead Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 20 November 2017
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