Chemistry A level

Chemistry – The central science.

Chemistry is truly the “central science”. New breakthroughs in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, medicine, materials science, forensics, nanotechnology, drug discovery, the environment and next-generation computer hardware are all driven by chemistry.

A sound knowledge of chemistry is required to fully understand most other areas of science, and this is why the study of chemistry is either compulsory or recommended by many other disciplines at University.

Chemistry is the study of matter, its properties, how and why substances combine or separate to form other substances and how substances interact with energy. Many people think of chemists as being white-coated scientists mixing liquids in a laboratory, but chemistry is part of everything in our lives.

Every material in existence is made up of matter- including our own bodies. Chemistry is involved in everything we do, from growing and cooking food to cleaning our homes and bodies to launching a space shuttle.

Chemistry is one of the physical sciences that help us to describe and explain our world. Chemistry is not limited to beakers and laboratories. It is all around us and the better we know chemistry, the better we know our world.

Entry Requirements

You should have an A* or A grade at GCSE level with a sound knowledge and retention of topics covered in the GCSE Chemistry course. You will also need to be competent in Mathematics and have a good level of written English. You should be well motivated and enthusiastic with a logical and numerate mind and have an organised and methodical approach to practical tasks.

Course content

The WJEC A-level in Chemistry provides a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. It encourages learners to develop confidence in, and a positive attitude towards, chemistry and to recognise its importance in their own lives and to society.

The WJEC specification is divided into a total of 5 units: 2 AS units and 3 A2 units.

AS Unit 1:
The Language of Chemistry, Structure of Matter and Simple Reactions
This unit covers the following areas of study:

1.1 Formulae and equations
1.2 Basic ideas about atoms
1.3 Chemical calculations
1.4 Bonding
1.5 Solid structures
1.6 The Periodic Table
1.7 Simple equilibria and acid-base reactions

AS Unit 2:
Energy, Rate and Chemistry of Carbon Compounds
This unit covers the following areas of study:

2.1 Thermochemistry
2.2 Rates of reaction
2.3 The wider impact of chemistry
2.4 Organic compounds
2.5 Hydrocarbons
2.6 Halogenoalkanes
2.7 Alcohols and carboxylic acids
2.8 Instrumental analysis

A2 Unit 3:
Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
This unit covers the following areas of study:

3.1 Redox and standard electrode potential
3.2 Redox reactions
3.3 Chemistry of the p-block
3.4 Chemistry of the d-block transition metals
3.5 Chemical kinetics
3.6 Enthalpy changes for solids and solutions
3.7 Entropy and feasibility of reactions
3.8 Equilibrium constants
3.9 Acid-base equilibria

A2 Unit 4:
Organic Chemistry and Analysis
This unit covers the following areas of study:

4.1 Stereoisomerism
4.2 Aromaticity
4.3 Alcohols and phenols
4.4 Aldehydes and ketones
4.5 Carboxylic acids and their derivatives
4.6 Amines
4.7 Amino acids, peptides and proteins
4.8 Organic synthesis and analysis

A2 Unit 5: Practical:
Practical work is an intrinsic part of chemistry, and is greatly valued by higher education. It is imperative that practical skills are developed throughout the course and that an investigative approach is promoted wherever possible.
The course includes specified practical work that must be undertaken by learners in order that they are suitably prepared for the written examinations. It is a compulsory requirement that students keep a record of their practical work in a ‘lab book’.
This unit gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in relation to practical techniques and their ability to analyse and evaluate experimental data. The practical examination comprises two tasks to be carried out individually under controlled conditions:
• Experimental Task
• Practical Methods and Analysis Task

Assessment
The specification is divided into 2 AS units and 3 A2 units. Weightings noted below are expressed in terms of the full A-level qualification.

AS Unit 1: The Language of Chemistry, Structure of Matter and Simple Reactions
Written examination: 20% of qualification

AS Unit 2: Energy, Rate and Chemistry of Carbon Compounds
Written examination: 20% of qualification

A2 Unit 3: Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
Written examination: 25% of qualification

A2 Unit 4: Organic Chemistry and Analysis
Written examination: 25% of qualification

A2 Unit 5: Practical: 10% of qualification

Experimental Task
Practical Methods and Analysis Task

WHY STUDY A-LEVEL CHEMISTRY?

Chemistry is an essential qualification for a number of careers, as well as being an exciting, challenging degree level subject to study. A large number of our students move on into areas such as Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Chemical Engineering and Environmental Science. If you want any science based career, then chemistry keeps your options open.

Other A-Level subjects that would go well with Chemistry are Mathematics, Biology and Physics. However, the specification provides a coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study for candidates who do not progress to further study or employment related to chemistry. Even if your focus is the Law, Arts or Modern Languages you may wish to broaden your studies by taking an AS level in Chemistry.

RESOURCES
Teacher prepared booklets for all topic areas
WJEC AS text book for general reading and additional practice questions
WJEC A2 text book for general reading and additional practice questions
Laboratory workbook for practical work
Data Sheet- as issued by WJEC for use in external examinations
www.wjec.co.uk for specification details and Past Papers
www.chemiguide.co.uk
www.avogadro.co.uk
www.rsc.org
www.practicalchemistry.org

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