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A Level Chemistry

If you enjoy a challenge and would like a really useful qualification, then Chemistry could be the subject for you. This course develops knowledge and understanding of chemical principles through the applications of chemistry in today's world. You will enjoy carrying out experiments and solving problems. You will be confident in using basic maths such as ratio and proportion, percentages and rearranging simple algebraic formulae.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English Language and usually Mathematics.

Chemistry is a challenging option, requiring sound mathematical skills, and grades B or higher in Maths and Chemistry or Additional Science are required

Course Content

Year one

Chemistry for Life – You will learn about the chemical elements and their origin in the stars. You will look at ideas about the structure of the atom and chemical bonding. You will investigate petrol, the formation and effects of vehicle pollutants and alternatives. Basic organic chemistry is introduced through a study of the alkanes. You will learn to do straightforward calculations involving amount of substance and energy changes.

Chemistry of Natural Resources – This module includes the extraction and handling of halogens, the design of polymers and the effect on the atmosphere of increased carbon dioxide emissions and the use of CFCs. Organic chemistry is developed by considering the formation and reactions of halogenoalkanes and alcohols. You will develop your skills in quantitative analysis using titration and carry out calculations using concentrations of solutions.

Experimental Skills – A coursework component completes the first year.

Year two

Chemistry of Materials – Includes the development of medicines, modern materials and the behaviour of enzymes in the body. Your knowledge of organic chemistry and spectroscopic methods of analysis will be extended. You will learn how to analyse rates of reaction using mathematical methods. A module on steel completes this unit.

Chemistry by Design – You will learn how chemists contribute to modern agricultural industry; you will gain an insight into the methods used to analyse materials used in Old Masters and develop a simple understanding of how colour is produced. A module on the oceans includes major chemical ideas such as entropy and the feasibility of reactions, equilibria and molecular-kinetic theory; you will apply your knowledge of organic chemistry to pharmacologically active compounds from ethanol to heart medicines.

An individual investigation completes the course in which you research and carry out an extended practical project taking three to four weeks of lab time.

How will I be taught?

The course will be taught in well-equipped laboratories. You will have three lessons, every week, each lasting one and a half hours. Lecturers will explain chemical principles; you will carry out problem solving activities which may involve application of mathematical techniques. Experimental work forms a vital component of the course and you will be assessed on your practical skills. You will be expected to complete homework every week. You must be prepared to commit a lot of key facts and formulae to memory.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment details

Will I need any extra equipment?

A scientific calculator is essential. A laboratory white coat and goggles will be provided by the College and must be worn for all practical work.

What qualifications will I get?

Upon successful completion of both courses students will be awarded an A Level in the subject studied.

What will it allow me to do in the future?

Chemistry combines well with other physical and biological sciences and is an essential subject for many science-related careers. It is a required subject for entry to Medicine and Veterinary Science. It is a highly thought of qualification and nearly all Chemistry students from the College progress to higher education courses.

Career paths include: health sciences, pharmacy, nanotechnology, chemical engineering, fuel technology and forensics.

Course Information

Students on this course should allow at least 5 hours per week for home study.

Students, aged over 19 on the 1 September of the year the course commences will be required to pay tuition and assessment fees. If you are in receipt of an income based benefit please ask about financial assistance, which may be available.

Please contact Customer Services on 0800 056 0511 or email customerservices@southdowns.ac.uk for further information.

This subject became a Linear A level in 2015. This means in order to achieve a full A level you will study the subject for two years and take all your exams at the end of this period. Further information will be available at your College interview.


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