Chemistry

Chemistry is the central Science.  Chemistry enables us to understand the world around us, and Biology and Physics more fully.  We learn about how the properties of element and compounds explain how useful materials behave –

  • different conductors of electricity
  • polymers for clothing and footwear
  • pharmaceuticals and fertilisers

Chemists can play a vital role in helping everyone to live a more sustainable and greener lifestyle in order to conserve resources and protect the environment.

A chemist develops a knowledgeable insight into:

  • atomic structure
  • fuels and energy changes
  • organic chemistry – which includes fuels, food, medicines, and the chemicals of living processes

Entry requirements:
We require A-level chemists to have a minimum of 2x A grades at GCSE Dual Science. If separate sciences were studied then we require 2x A grades in Chemistry, Biology or Physics. This being said, due to the conceptual leap between GCSE and A-level, A* grades at GCSE are ideally preferred for taking on this subject.
It is both an interesting and challenging subject.  We would urge you to choose this subject due to a passion for it and not solely for a university course.  Do ask the opinions of previous year 12 and year 13. 
At St. Michaels we study the Edexcel Chemistry specification [8CHO (AS) and 9CHO (A-level)] the main topics of which are summarised below.

Assessment:
Assessment takes place over the course of 3 written papers which are sat at the end of year 13

Paper 1Advanced Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (Paper code 9CH0/01 – 30% ) 1 hr 45 mins

Topics include-atomic structure and the periodic table, bonding and structure, inorganic chemistry, redox, mole calculations, formulae and equations, energetics, equilibria, transition metals

Paper 2 –  Advanced Organic and Physical Chemistry (Paper code 9CH0/02 – 30%) 1 hr 45 mins

Topics include-organic chemistry, modern analytical techniques, kinetics and redox.
(The following topics from Paper 1 will also be examined within Paper 2- mole calculations, formulae and equations, bonding and structure).

Paper 3 –  General and Practical principles in  Chemistry (Paper code 9CH0/03 - 40%) 2 hr 30 mins

Questions in this paper may draw on any of the topics in this specification. The paper will include synoptic questions that may draw on two or more different topics listed. The paper will include questions that assess conceptual and theoretical understanding of experimental methods (indirect practical skills) that will draw on students’ experiences of the core practicals.

Overall, a minimum of 20% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for mathematics

There is no coursework element to the A level course but students over the duration of the course will need teacher assessed certification of practical competency through completing a number of essential practical pieces of work named “core practicals”.

Jump from GCSE:
Many students would say there is a big jump in the amount of work and in the conceptual difficulty between GCSE and A level.  Some say that it is their most difficult A level.  There is a big jump from GCSE Science to AS and then another jump to A2.

To be successful you must regularly work hard at developing these skills.

  • learning detailed information
  • application of the mole concept
  • an ability to write formulae and balanced equations
  • understanding patterns and trends e.g. periodic table
  • practical skills e.g. titration, analysis

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