Chemistry is the study of matter, atoms and molecules, and their interactions with each other. The A level course aims to provide an introduction to the study of Chemistry for students and to show how Chemistry is an integral part of everyday life, from the components of the air to the manufacture of modern materials. At the same time we look into the basis of chemical reactions and the practical techniques needed to observe and quantify them. This requires developing good equipment handling, as well as observational and reasoning, skills.
At AS level the course covers Physical chemistry—the structure of atoms and molecules and the forces that hold them together, Chemical Energetics, Electrochemistry, and Chemical Reactions and factors that affect them; Inorganic Chemistry—Chemical Periodicity and the Periodic Table, Group II and Group VII Elements and their compounds, Nitrogen, and Sulphur; Organic Chemistry—Hydrocarbons, Halogen Derivatives, Hydroxy Compounds, Carbonyl Compounds, Carboxylic Acids, and Polymers.
In A2 many of the AS topics are revisited in more detail; Chemical Energetics, Electrochemistry, Chemical Reactions, Hydrocarbons, Carbonyl Compounds, Carboxylic Acids, and Polymers. Additionally, several new areas are covered in Inorganic Chemistry—Group IV and Transition Metals; Organic Chemistry—Amines; Applications of Chemistry, including Biochemistry.
Through all of this, regular practical exercises ensure that students have an understanding of how laboratory techniques are performed and how experiments are designed and planned.
The level of Mathematical ability for the course is not high, but Chemistry has a large amount of specialized vocabulary and depends a great deal on following detailed written instructions. Students who have difficulty reading large amounts of English text will find Chemistry a challenging subject at A level.
There will be an entrance test during week 0 for the following students: any A1 repeaters; A2 students who have not previously taken AS Chemistry; students who have obtained C grade at IGCSE level; and any new entrants to the college who have not sat IGCSE Chemistry. If there are more applicants for AS Chemistry than places available, this test will be used to determine entry into the course. The test will be 40 mins long and will consist of structured questions from past IGCSE paper 3’s. The latest IGCSE syllabus, together with sample paper 3 questions and answers can be downloaded below.