Course aims

This course aims to provide you with practical skills, and knowledge & understanding of facts, principles and concepts from different areas of chemistry.

Entry requirements

You must have two GCSE 6 grades in double award science or three 6 grades in triple award. Your mathematics GCSE must be grade 6 or higher and you must have a grade 5 in English language, in addition to the general entry requirements.

Course content

The specification is organised into 3 main areas – physical, inorganic and organic chemistry.

Physical & inorganic chemistry is examined in paper 1

Physical chemistry topics include amount of substance, kinetics, thermodynamics, equilibria, electrode potentials and acids and bases. Inorganic chemistry topics include alkaline earth metals, halogens, period 3 elements, transition elements and reactions of ions in aqueous solution. Relevant practical skills from a range of specified experiments must be done over the two years of A level. Paper 1 is worth 35% of the A level course.

Physical & organic chemistry is examined in paper 2

Topics include all physical chemistry topics, all organic chemistry such as alkanes and alkenes, organic analysis, carbonyl compounds, aromatics, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA and NMR spectroscopy. Relevant practical skills from a range of board-specified experiments must be done over the two years of A level. Paper 2 is worth 35% of the A level course.

Paper 3

In paper 3 topics can be from any content and from any of the required practical. Paper 3 is worth 30% of the total A level course.

Course assessment

A level chemistry is assessed via three written exams, papers 1,2 and 3 as detailed above, each two hours long.


You will be given details of recommended textbooks at the start of the course. One textbook will be loaned to you for the whole year. Laboratory coats and safety glasses will be provided. You will need to buy a scientific calculator and basic stationery such as A4 lined paper, ring binders, dividers and plastic wallets.


Most learners who study A level chemistry will go onto Higher Education. Science-based degrees such as biomedical science, forensic science, environmental science, veterinary science, material sciences, pharmacy and medicine require chemistry as an essential subject.