Chemistry A Level

About the Course

Chemistry is the study of matter. Chemistry is about understanding the properties of different substances and how these substances can change. Chemistry allows us to predict how substances may alter when the surrounding conditions change or how they may react to form new substances and explains why this happens. Chemists are continually changing matter into new and more useful forms.

Exam Board

At Hall Cross we study the AQA specification.


High B grades in Chemistry or Additional Science examinations and level 6 in Mathematics at GCSE.

Course Content

The AQA Chemistry course is designed to the highest standards, so teachers, students and their parents can be confident that an AQA award provides an accurate measure of a student's achievements. The assessment structures have been designed to achieve a balance between rigour, reliability and demands on candidates. The course is split into three key parts and will consist of two examinations. The physical section involves looking at the structure of the atom, the way atoms bond and the mathematics that power chemical reactions. The inorganic section considers the patterns of the Periodic Table looking specifically at the trends going down a group and across period 3. The organic section assesses the naming of molecules and involves studying the millions of covalent compounds of the element Carbon. Organic mechanisms will be taught and examined which allow chemical reactions to happen. Students will be expected to keep a lab book with all of the practicals that they complete. These will also be graded and marks sent to the exam board. At the end of the year students will take an end of year internal examination. Subject to scoring well on this end of Year 12 mock, the Year 2 course builds in the physical, inorganic and organic work that was studied in Year 12. At the end of Year 13 there will be three examinations. Paper 1 covers Inorganic and Physical Chemistry. Paper 2 also covers Physical Chemistry; as well as Organic Chemistry. Finally, a third synoptic exam will cover everything from the previous two years along with a multiple choice examination. In addition to the earlier physical side of chemistry studied in Year 12 students will also be taught about the complex nature of transition metals. Le Chatelier's principle and the way it can be used to predict the effects of changes in temperature, pressure and concentration on the yield of a reversible reaction is studied in great depth. This has important consequences for many industrial processes. For the inorganic section of Year 13 Chemistry we look at the way in which the Periodic Table provides chemists with a structured organisation of the known chemical elements from which they can make sense of their physical and chemical properties. This historical development of the Periodic Table and models of atomic structure provide good examples of how scientific ideas and explanations develop over time. Finally for the organic section we consider the way that Kekule originally studied the structure of Benzene. You will also consider other carbonyl structures and the way they can be attacked by nucleophiles.

Beyond the Classroom

Outside the classroom it is recommended that for every hour of learning completed in lesson, a further hour should be dedicated to private study around the subject. On a Thursday and Friday after school we run a revision session called "Brew & Review". A large percentage of our Chemistry students choose to attend this to practise past paper questions and ask their teachers about areas where they are confused. We even make them a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate whilst we review their work!

Your Future

Each year more students are studying Science subjects as they realise that Science degrees generally lead to higher incomes. More students leave us with grades allowing them to study pure Chemistry or Chemistry based subjects like medical Chemistry or environmental Chemistry at university. If you want to join them then you must study Chemistry at A level, preferably with Mathematics. A level Chemistry is essential if you want to study medicine, veterinary science, dentistry or Biochemistry at university. It is also appreciated by admissions tutors in many other subjects, including law, due to its logical discipline. It is useful if you want to go and study subjects such as Geology, Physical Geography, Engineering or Material Science. Many Chemistry graduates are also recruited by the financial companies in big cities and often with high starting salaries. Studying Chemistry would even help you with the pyrotechnics in Theatre Studies and if you want to train in Art conservation, a knowledge of Chemistry is necessary!

Contact Department

Staff Contact: Mr C Wood
A paper copy of the information on our website is available on request to the School.