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A level

Chemistry is central to the sciences, affecting virtually every aspect of the modern world and, although the subject has changed dramatically over the last 150 years, it remains at the cutting edge of research and technology today. Whether it is reactions in cells, designing new materials, agriculture, medicine, drug design, analysis, forensic science or vast industrial scale processes that interest you, our course at Long Road allows you to study the necessary chemical theories through a series of relevant and topical contexts. A level Chemistry specifications are being changed for 2015 entry. We have a history of teaching our Chemistry in a context-led manner, and will continue to do this in 2015 and beyond. 

If you really want to understand the modern world, if you are inquisitive about what substances are made of, if you enjoy experimental work and can visualise things on a microscopic level, then Chemistry is a subject you should consider carefully.

Course content

Year 1 course content

Term 1

Your course will begin by looking at the chemistry of elements, starting with atomic structure, models of bonding between atoms and molecular shapes. You will also study an introduction to organic chemistry by considering the structure and types of molecules found in fuels. You will also study the techniques chemists use to modify these structures and produce fuels with higher energy content that produce fewer pollutants. 

Terms 2 and 3

You will study topics that allow you to build on work done during term 1, covering the extraction of halogen elements from sea water, redox reactions and atmospheric chemistry, with particular focus on ozone. You will also begin to study more complex organic reactions, looking at the synthesis of halogenoalkanes and the extraction and development of drug molecules like aspirin.

Year 2 course content

Term 1

The full A level course builds on all of the work carried out in the first year / at AS level. You will study the chemical industry in more detail, gaining an understanding of equilibrium and kinetics, nitrogen chemistry. The study of polymers involved in biochemical systems is also important, and you will learn about the structure of proteins, DNA and RNA from a chemical perspective.

Terms 2 and 3

You will study some important physical chemistry in the context of the oceans; calculating pH, buffer solutions, solubility and entropy. You also look at the transition elements and the complexions they form, as well as looking at aromatic chemistry of benzene and related compounds and investigating the origin of colour.

The course is assessed entirely by examinations at the end of Year 2. 

Practical Endorsement

Chemistry is a practical subject, and we place a strong emphasis on developing good practical skills. Over the course of the two years, you will complete a large amount of practical work, and at least twelve of these experiments will count towards the practical endorsement.

Special features

We will encourage you to take an interest in Chemistry, and offer a range of enrichment activities including workshops, visits to pharmaceutical companies, the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and external speakers. Recent visitors have talked about their research into the structure and behaviour of proteins and about synthesising and marketing new drugs.

We will also encourage and support you to apply for a Nuffield Bursary.

Is it for me?

You will enjoy and benefit from Chemistry if you:

  • are keen to explore the building blocks of all matter;
  • are interested in both the theoretical background and the practical applications of chemistry;
  • would like to carry out practical work in a laboratory, both as an individual and in small groups.

Entry requirements

At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including English. You need higher tier Mathematics at minimum Grade 6.  Science and Additional Science at higher tier must be at least 6,6, and if you have studied the Sciences separately, you will need a Grade 6 in at least two, including Chemistry.  Only Science GCSE courses which have a high proportion of external assessment will normally be considered.

Examination board: OCR B (Salters)

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