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Are you interested in a career in healthcare, engineering, energy, or consumer products? Have you wondered what makes up the world around us and how these interact with each other and with us? Are you interested in research, experimentation and developing problem solving and analytical skills? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then Chemistry is the subject for you!
Chemistry is the study of matter: what are substances made of, how they interact and what role they play in living organisms and other processes. Chemistry is all around us, from the air that we breathe, to the food we eat and the clothes that we wear. It develops analytical and evaluative skills gained from practical experiments and exploration of theories.
This subject is taught on the OCR exam board. You will sit the A Level exams at the end of your second year. There are three exams and you will also need to complete a minimum of 12 practical activities over the course of the A Level.
A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including English Language.
A grade 6 in GCSE Maths plus a grade 7 in GCSE Chemistry or 7-7 in GCSE Combined Science.
We will accept learners with a grade 6 in GCSE Maths and GCSE Chemistry or 6-6 GCSE Combined Science if they pass an entrance assessment.
In the first year you will study four units.
1. ‘Development of practical skills in chemistry’: This unit develops the practical and fundamental skills to be successful in chemistry. You will be shown how to solve problems in a practical context, how to use different apparatus and equipment and how to analyse and evaluate results.
2. ‘Foundations in chemistry’: In this unit you will explore the basics of chemistry, such as atomic structure and relative masses, the formulae of ionic compounds, interaction between acids and bases, different types of bonding and how they affect the physical properties of substances.
3. ‘Periodic table and energy’: This unit examines inorganic and physical chemistry and how energy use works in everyday life and industrial processes and the relationship of this to sustainability. You will explore the periodic table and how it is structured and why, you will examine Group 2 metals and redox reactions, look at the halogen elements and develop skills in qualitative analysis and physical chemistry including enthalpy changes, reaction rates and chemical equilibrium.
4. ‘Core organic chemistry’: The last unit of the first year introduces organic chemistry and its application to everyday life. The unit also provides you with a knowledge of the important chemical ideas that underpin the study of organic chemistry, such as nomenclature and formulae representation, functional groups, organic reactions and isomerism, aliphatic hydrocarbons, alcohols and haloalkanes. The unit will also develop practical skills and analytical techniques to provide evidence of structural features in molecules.
In the second year you will study two units:
5. ‘Physical chemistry and transition elements’: This unit explore further the study of energy, reaction rates and equilibria, and the periodic table. You will look at rate equations, orders of reaction and equilibrium constants. You will also examine lattice enthalpy and Born-Haber cycles as well as entropy, free energy, electrochemical cells and transition elements.
6. ‘Organic chemistry and analysis’: The last unit further develops understanding of organic chemistry, exploring aromatic compounds, carboxylic acids and esters, nitrogen-based compounds and polymers. You will also further develop your analytical and practical skills in synthesising liquid and solid organic compounds.
Studying Chemistry will allow you to progress onto a variety of routes. Combining Chemistry with other sciences, such as Biology and Physics allows you to apply for Medicine and healthcare related courses. Combining Chemistry with Applied Science, or Forensic Science allows you to focus your skills for real-world laboratory-based employment options. A combination of Geography and Chemistry also opens opportunities for Geology and earth sciences-based careers and degrees.
Learners studying Chemistry are encouraged to join either our Science Academy or Medical Academy based on your career direction. In these academies you will further develop the skills and learning in these subjects to really make your UCAS application stand out to universities. You also have the opportunity to take part in our regular STEM@Lunch talks where various academies come in and speak on a variety of different science-based topics. In addition, you will also be able to spend a day doing practical work in ChemLabs at Bristol University, using their bespoke advanced equipment and apparatus.