Course Title AS/A Level Chemistry
Level: 3
Code MS014

Overview of the Course

Chemistry has a direct impact on our lives, from the water that flows through our taps, the gas that runs into our cooker, the clothing we wear, the vehicles we travel in, to the food we eat. This course is a continuation of the discoveries that you made from GCSE Chemistry and will cover all major aspects of theoretical chemistry and includes practical skills.

What are the career opportunities?

Many of our students go on to study chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmacy or a chemistry-related degree such as pharmaceutical science at university. Others require chemistry as an essential subject to go on to study medicine, dentistry and optometry. Upon completion of a chemistry degree, common areas of employment include analytical chemist, chemical engineer, healthcare scientist, clinical biochemistry, forensic scientist, pharmacologist, research scientist (physical sciences) and toxicologist. Other areas of employment where a degree in chemistry would be useful include a chartered certified accountant and a patent attorney, along with many others.

What are the entry requirements?

The minimum entry requirements for access to an A Level Study Programme will be two subjects at grade B (or grade 5) and four subjects at grade C (or grade 4). To study Chemistry your grades must include two GCSE grades A*-B (9-6) in Sciences (Core and Additional Science/Separate Sciences including Chemistry); and grades 9-5 (A*-C) in GCSE English and maths.

How long is the course and when can I start?

One year for the AS and two years for the A2, starting in September. To progress to the second A2 year, you must achieve a minimum grade E in AS Chemistry.

How is the course structured and how will I be assessed?

The A Level Study Programme is a full-time two year programme, starting in September, with the opportunity to take AS after one year. There will be a continuous assessment of practical skills that are developed throughout the course and assembled in a portfolio. The AS exam consists of two 1.5-hour long papers, with paper one testing you on physical and inorganic chemistry and paper two testing you on physical and organic chemistry. Both papers contain multiple-choice questions and questioning based on practical skills that have been taught throughout the year. The A2 exam consists of three 2-hour long exam papers, with paper one testing you on physical and inorganic chemistry, paper two testing you on physical and organic chemistry and paper three testing you on practical-based questions and theory from any aspect of the syllabus, plus multiple choice questioning.

What employability skills will I develop on this course?

Throughout your time studying chemistry, you will develop and continuously demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures; qualities highly valued in the employment sector. In addition, you will enhance your ability to apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas in a practical and theoretical context. A good understanding and application of English is a necessity during the study of chemistry. Questions can require short or extended responses as an answer in order to demonstrate your understanding and application of the theoretical-basis of the subject matter. At least 20% of questioning in examinations will require maths-based reasoning. These questions may require the drawing, extrapolation and interpretation of graphs, transposition of equations, algebra, geometry, derivation and conversion of units and logarithms. A good understanding of mathematics from GCSE is necessary, and your skills will be further enhanced throughout the course. The combination of theoretical, analytical, mathematical and English skills that are possessed by successful students of chemistry are a key factor in making chemists such highly sought after students in the employment market, enabling this subject to transcend science alone and translate into the complex and varied job market.

Work experience

Work experience is an essential component of A Level Chemistry and will enable you to apply many of the theories that are learnt in a classroom setting to those in the work place. You will be expected to engage in this activity during a specified week in order to raise your awareness of job roles and improve your employability skills. Work placements can be organised in conjunction with a dedicated member of staff at the college. Many of our chemistry students have engaged in work experience, being placed in dentists, optometrists, pharmacies, veterinary practices, lab-based analysis and Bury Hospice for students applying for medicine.

Study programme enrichment opportunities

You will have the opportunity to attend the Practical Club, where we perform fascinating experiments that utilize the theory that has been taught to make a purify compounds, or look at ways in which to test a hypothesis that we may be presented with. Previously students have visited Salford University, where a therapeutic drug was synthesized and used the Universities analytical equipment to assess the purity of the samples.

Are there any additional costs or requirements?

The acquisition of a current AQA-approved textbook is advantageous.


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