St Peter's School

Chemistry

ChemistryThe Course

A strong A level grade in Chemistry demonstrates a wealth of transferable skills. Logical thinking and problem-solving skills are cultivated continuously through practical and written activities. A clear appreciation for attention to detail is critical to ensure the precision of measurements and accuracy of recording. Written and verbal communication skills are developed in a variety of ways, including the preparation of tables, graphs, equations and mathematical problem-solving. Practical activities provide an opportunity for teamwork and the ability to analyse data critically is central to the course. In almost every walk of life, the ability to reflect and evaluate is crucial to facilitate progress; these skills are integral to successful experimental work in Chemistry.

Success in the A level course hinges on substantial consolidation of core knowledge and care over the detail, a problem solving, “can do” approach to challenging, multi-step problems and good mathematical competence and confidence. The course is made up of topics in Physical, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry. Some topics are familiar from the IGCSE and GCSE courses, including Amount of Substance, Atomic Structure, Structure and Bonding, Kinetics, Energetics and Redox, which are each studied in greater depth and detail, with an increasingly quantitative, mathematical treatment. Other topics expand existing knowledge and understanding in completely new ways and include biological chemistry, equlibria and the study of a diverse range of organic functional groups and analytical methods. There is no practical exam but an understanding of practical methods and skills are assessed rigorously within the written papers; the necessary skills and understanding are developed by adopting a “minds-on” approach to practical learning throughout the two-year course.

To support and enhance learning, the department offers drop-in Chemistry Clinics, a challenging Question of the Week, the opportunity to enter the RSC Chemistry Olympiad competition and bespoke resources such as the in-house lab book, annotated topic cards, definitions book and weekly mini-tests.

Assessment

  • Paper 1 - 2hr written paper
    Physical and Inorganic Chemistry - 35%
  • Paper 2 - 2hr written paper
    Physical and Organic Chemistry - 35%
  • Paper 3 - 2hr written paper
    Practical Skills & Techniques and Synoptic Assessment - 30%

Examination Board: AQA

Additional Notes

Many science-based university courses including Medicine and Veterinary Medicine have A level Chemistry as a prerequisite. Pupils must consult university course websites and the Careers Department for specific course requirements.