WHY STUDY CHEMISTRY?
Chemistry is the study of the small atoms and molecules, and the ways they interact, but this governs all of life as we know it. When you look at the world, everything is influenced by Chemistry and chemical interactions: food & drink, fuel & energy, concrete, clothing, batteries and beauty products. Everything is based on Chemistry. Consider current global issues like climate change and global warming, they are all about Chemistry too. The aspect that never fails to amaze me is that these huge issues are governed by things that are so small, things like bond energies and intermolecular forces of attractions, created by the movements of individual electrons. It is only by looking at the tiniest details that we can truly understand how matter interacts, and why the world is as it is. Only when we have an understanding of these principles can we begin to create things ourselves.
A-Level Chemistry can be very hard. I am very honest about this with my students. I will not try to convince people to study Chemistry unless they have a real passion for the subject, they are really good at it or it is a compulsory subject for their further studies. If you are thinking about studying chemistry and you don’t fit any of these statements, then I would advise some caution. Conversely, if you love chemistry and are fascinated by it, then go for it, work hard and you should enjoy it.
Chemistry is a very different subject at A-level compared to GCSE. It can be a very rewarding if you like hard work, but very frustrating when you don’t quite get it. This is sometimes made harder by the fact you will learn that a lot of the GCSE content is no longer relevant, as it often over simplifies the science to the point of being wrong. This can mean re-learning a lot of content you thought you knew well. A-level chemistry is a very detailed subject, with a lots of questions needing lengthy calculations or technical diagrams, which often need a logical approach for solving. I often find myself saying that the question is harder to understand than the answer. Consequently, I would recommend selecting at least one other science or mathematics subject alongside chemistry. The problem solving approach is similar in these subjects making the skills developed transferrable, meaning they complement and support each other very well Andy Hatton Head of Chemistry
“There are many further education courses and careers that require a chemistry qualification, including medicine, forensics, environmental science and pharmacy. However, the analytical skills learned in chemistry are highly valued in the legal, financial and engineering industries”
ABOUT THE COURSE
Chemistry is the study of matter, energy and the amazing interactions between them. Chemistry is everywhere around you! In the food you eat, the air you breathe and every cell of your body. Chemists have changed the world, developing modern medicines, materials, fuels, cosmetics, plastics and fertilisers – the list is endless. Often called the ‘central science’, chemistry has strong links to physics, biology, geology and environmental science. This course will provide an excellent grounding in this challenging and rewarding subject. Through practical lessons you will learn to prepare and analyse a number of chemical substances, make accurate observations, precise measurements and valid conclusions that link practical lab work to chemical theory.
Theory lessons will build upon and extend your GCSE knowledge of atomic structure and the chemical patterns found on the periodic table. You will also learn about the complex world of organic chemistry, which is the study of carbon-based molecules and the chemistry of life. The physical chemistry modules apply the techniques and theories of physics to the study of chemical systems and will involve significant mathematical content. Studying A-level Chemistry will develop and enhance your practical skills and knowledge in this fascinating subject. There are many further education courses and careers that require a chemistry qualification, including medicine, forensics, environmental science and pharmacy. However, the analytical skills learned in chemistry are highly valued in the legal, financial and engineering industries.
EXAMINATION BOARD OCR Chemistry A (H432)
Unit 1 Practical Skills
Unit 2 Foundations in Chemistry
Unit 3 Periodic Table and Energy
Unit 4 Core Organic Chemistry
Unit 5 Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements
Unit 6 Organic Chemistry and Analysis