Chemistry A Level


Program Description

What is it like to study this course and how will I be assessed?

This two year course is designed to provide a smooth transition from GCSE Core/Additional Science and GCSE Chemistry courses and to interface with the needs of Higher Education courses. It provides an appreciation and understanding of important chemical principles which are fundamental to the understanding of the world in which we live. The course also encourages students to come to understand how scientists investigate scientific phenomena in their attempts to explain the world around us. Students develop their practical skills to complement their understanding of chemical concepts. The study of chemistry is useful in understanding other areas of science.

You will be taught through lectures, practical work, problem solving and discussions. You will have access to fully equipped laboratories and PCs with interactive media. You will be assessed in May/June of each year with mock exams in the January of each year. In the first year there are 2 exams of 1 hour 30 minutes duration, and in the second year, there are 3 exams each of 2 hours duration. There is no coursework element but a series of practical investigations will be assessed in order to award a certificate of practical endorsement and to prepare students for practical questions in the main exams.

What topics will I study?

Chemistry is divided into distinct disciplines that are assessed in all the written papers across the 2 years.

Physical Chemistry includes the study of:

  • Atomic structure and periodic trends
  • Amount of substance
  • Bonding and structure
  • Kinetics and equilibria
  • Redox and electrochemistry

Organic Chemistry includes the study of:

  • Alkanes, alkenes, aromatic systems and halogenoalkanes
  • Alcohols, aldehydes and ketones
  • Carboxylic acids and their derivatives
  • Amines, amino acids, proteins and DNA
  • Polymers, mechanisms and organic synthetic methods

Inorganic Chemistry includes the study of:

  • Group 2, the alkaline earth metals
  • Group 7, the halogens
  • Properties of period 3 elements and their oxides
  • Transition metals and their complexes
  • Reactions of ions in aqueous solution

Analytical Chemistry includes the study of:

  • Isomerism and identification of functional group by test tube reactions.
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Time of flight mass spectrometry
  • Thin-layer, column and gas chromatography
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

What experiences will I get?

You will have use of well-equipped labs, guest speakers about careers in chemistry as well as the opportunity to take part in national competitions and attend workshops run by the RSC.

What are the entry requirements?

You need five GCSEs at grade C or above and three GCSEs at grade D or above. It is essential you have English language and maths at grade B or above and two GCSEs in science subjects including additional science or chemistry at grades B or above. Students enrolling with a grade B in Additional Science will be asked to attend an additional support course for chemistry. A grade D or above is needed at the end of year 1 for progression to the second year of the A Level.

What can I study alongside this course?

This course can be combined with other courses to make a full programme, and it is recommended that it is combined with another maths and science subject for applicants looking to progress to a science-related course at university.

What facilities are there?

You will have access to new fully equipped laboratories and PCs with a wealth of information and learning tools on the chemistry intranet as well as access to a learning centre.

What can the course lead on to?

If your programme includes other Sciences and/or Mathematics, a wide range of scientific and technical courses and careers are available. You could progress to Higher Education or a career in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Forensic Science, Pharmacy, Medicine and related subjects. A scientific training is also widely recognised as a valid preparation for ultimate careers in a whole range of occupations from management to marketing.

Are there any additional costs?

There are some costs of materials and resources.

What do our students think?

"I chose to study here because I knew I was guaranteed a good education and also it offers freedom that I enjoy – I travel from Barnstaple each day, so it was a big decision. I enjoy the subjects, they interest me, and the teaching is good, and I have succeeded. It’s a big college, but you always know where you’ve got to be and when, and it’s very sociable. I have a place to study medicine at Bristol, so hopefully I’ll be a doctor one day. My tip for future students is to work hard, be social and enjoy yourself."

"I chose to study three science subjects because I'm hoping to study Bio-chemistry at university, I'm thinking about Oxbridge. It's livelier here than at school but better because people do listen to the teacher because they've chosen to do the subject."

This further education course is free for all 16-18-year-olds who are resident in the UK and the European Economic Area for the last 3 years. (You must be under 19 on 31st August in the calendar year that you start your course).

Last updated February 2018

About the School

Exeter College is a large, thriving and growing tertiary college which places teaching, learning and student success as our top priority. We enjoy an excellent regional reputation. The College was jud ... Read More

Exeter College is a large, thriving and growing tertiary college which places teaching, learning and student success as our top priority. We enjoy an excellent regional reputation. The College was judged as outstanding by Ofsted in a pilot "no notice" inspection in 2012, and again in a full inspection in 2014. Read less