Chemistry A Level

Departmental contact

Mr Wallis – [email protected]

Examining board & Qualification

OCR Chemistry A – A LEVEL

Entry requirements

Please see current prospectus for further information

Students say

“Chemistry is a highly challenging course, but probably the most stimulating academic school subject you will ever take part in. I really enjoyed studying the course and found that it prepares your independent learning and time management skills which will be beneficial in later life. There are lots of exciting practical’s to complete every week and you will never find yourself sitting there with nothing to do.”


Chemistry is everywhere in the world around you! It’s in the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the water you drink. It’s in medicines, the atmosphere, and cleaning agents. Chemistry connects other sciences – like Biology, Physics, Geology and Environmental Science – together. It links with many areas of everyday life and helps develop an understanding of current events and phenomena.

The course will provide a rewarding experience across the ability range, while genuinely challenging the most able students. There are many careers in chemistry, but even if you’re looking for a job in another field, the analytical skills you gain in chemistry are helpful. Chemistry A Level can open doors to a vast diversity of careers.


There is a large jump between GCSE Science or Chemistry and A Level. You will build on the topics you’ve learnt, but to a much higher level of understanding. The course requires significant additional and independent learning which will help to develop the independent learning skills you need in your further studies and in many career options.

Practical chemistry skills and scientific skills of analysis and evaluation will be integrated into the theoretical topics which will be teacher-assessed through specific practical activities designed to demonstrate students’ practical competence.

The course will develop your chemical knowledge and understanding and your practical skills. It will also develop their communication skills and their ability to work as an effective member of a team.


Module 1 – Practical skills

  • Development of practical skills
  • Planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation

Module 2 – Foundations in Chemistry

  • Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations
  • Amount of substance
  • Acid-base and redox reactions
  • Electrons, bonding and structure

Module 3 – Periodic table and energy

  • Periodic table and periodicity
  • Group 2 and the halogens
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Enthalpy changes
  • Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)

Module 4 – Core organic chemistry

  • Basic concepts
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Alcohols and haloalkanes
  • Organic synthesis
  • Analytical techniques (IR, MS)

Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements

  • Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative)
  • pH and buffers
  • Enthalpy, entropy and free energy
  • Redox and electrode potentials
  • Transition elements

Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis

  • Aromatic compounds
  • Carbonyl compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and esters
  • Nitrogen compounds
  • Polymers
  • Organic synthesis
  • Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR)

A Level Practical Endorsement – Minimum of 12 practical activities.


Examination paper (01) 37% – Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry – 100 marks
2 hour 15-minute written paper
Examination paper (02) 37% – Synthesis and analytical techniques – 100 marks
2 hour 15-minute written paper
Examination paper (03) 26% – Unified chemistry – 70 marks
1 hour 30-minute written paper
Practical endorsement in chemistry (04) – non-exam assessment


Chemistry A Level is particularly suitable preparation for Higher Education courses in Pure Sciences, Applied and Vocational Sciences, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Applied Chemistry, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Microbiology, Food Biology, Dentistry and Psychology.

The analytical and applied nature of the course also prepares students for a wide variety of non-scientific courses such as Law, Accountancy, Management and Finance.


The Chemistry Department has close links with the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham as well as with Warwick School. There are regular Chemistry lectures advertised by the Chemistry Department which students are encouraged to attend to extend their experiences of higher education.

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