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Syllabus: AQA

1 - Why study Chemistry?

Whether you aspire to be a scientist, engineer, or healthcare professional, or simply have a passion for understanding the world around you, A-Level Chemistry offers numerous benefits.

Chemistry provides a deep understanding of matter, atoms, and molecules, enabling you to unravel the mysteries of the natural world. From the composition of substances to the intricate reactions that occur, you'll gain a comprehensive perspective on how everything fits together.

The demand for skilled chemists is high, and their expertise is sought after in fields like medicine, engineering, forensic science, and environmental protection.

Studying chemistry equips you with knowledge and skills that are applicable to diverse areas, enhances problem-solving abilities, expands career opportunities, and fosters personal growth.

2 - What will you study?

Year 12

3.1.1 Atomic structure
3.1.2 Amount of substance
3.1.3 Bonding
3.1.5 Kinetics
3.1.4 Energetics
3.1.6 Chemical equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle and Kc
3.3.1 Introduction to organic chemistry
3.3.2 Alkanes
3.3.3 Halogenoalkanes
3.3.4 Alkenes

Year 13

3.1.8 Thermodynamics
3.1.9 Rate equations
3.1.10 Equilibrium constant Kp for homogeneous systems
3.3.7 Optical isomerism
3.3.8 Aldehydes and Ketones
3.3.9 Carboxylic acids and derivatives
3.1.11 Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells
3.1.12 Acids and bases
3.2.4 Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides
3.2.5 Transition metals
3.2.6 Reactions of ions in aqueous solution
3.3.10 Aromatic chemistry
3.3.11 Amines
3.3.12 Polymers
3.3.13 Amino acids, proteins and DNA
3.3.14 Organic synthesis
3.3.15 Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
3.3.16 Chromatography
3.2.5 Transition metals
3.2.6 Reactions of ions in aqueous solution

3 - How will you be assessed?

Paper 1: Physical chemistry (sections 3.1.1 to 3.1.4, 3.1.6 to 3.1.8 and 3.1.10 to 3.1.12), Inorganic chemistry (section 3.2)and practical skills: Written exam: 2 hours (105 marks of short and long answer questions) - 35% of A-level

Paper 2: Physical chemistry (sections 3.1.2 to 3.1.6 and 3.1.9), Organic chemistry (section 3.3), and practical skills: Written exam: 2 hours (105 marks of short and long answer questions) - 35% of A-level

Paper 3: All units (including required practicals): Written exam: 2 hours (90 marks: 40 marks for questions on practical techniques and data analysis, 20 marks for questions testing across the specification, 30 marks for multiple-choice questions short and long answer questions) - 30% of A-level

4 - What skills will you develop?

Analytical thinking: You'll learn to dissect complex problems, break them down into manageable components, and apply logical reasoning to find solutions. These skills are highly transferable and useful in various academic and professional domains.

Problem-solving skills: Chemistry challenges you to tackle intricate puzzles and devise strategies to overcome obstacles. By engaging in experimental design and data analysis, you'll sharpen your ability to approach problems creatively and develop effective solutions.

Attention to detail: Chemistry demands precision and meticulousness. Through conducting experiments and interpreting data, you'll enhance your observational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to identify patterns and trends.

Scientific literacy: A-Level Chemistry equips you with scientific knowledge and concepts, enabling you to critically evaluate information, make informed decisions, and engage in discussions on contemporary scientific issues. These skills are essential in an increasingly technology-driven and scientifically complex world.

5 - What makes a good Chemistry student?

Curiosity and passion: A genuine interest in the subject will fuel your desire to explore, learn, and excel in chemistry. Embrace your curiosity and let it drive your academic journey.

Strong mathematical skills: Chemistry involves mathematical concepts, calculations, and problem-solving. Proficiency in mathematics will help you grasp and apply these concepts effectively.

Dedication and perseverance: Chemistry can be challenging, but a good chemistry student remains determined, puts in consistent effort, and persists in the face of obstacles. Embrace a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for growth.

Strong analytical and critical thinking: The ability to analyse information, draw connections, and think critically is vital in chemistry. Develop these skills by engaging in problem-solving activities, experimental design, and data interpretation.

Effective study habits: Chemistry requires regular practice, active learning, and reviewing concepts. A good chemistry student develops effective study habits, organizes their notes, seeks clarification when needed, and stays proactive in their learning journey.

6 - Where can Chemistry lead?

  • Chemist
  • Pharmacist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Engineer
  • Medical professional
  • Materials science
  • Forensic science
  • Environmental research
  • And many other careers

7 - Reading list and preparation


  • A-Level Chemistry for AQA Year 1 & AS by Rob Ritchie and Emma Poole
  • A-Level Chemistry for AQA Year 2 by Rob Ritchie and Emma Poole
  • Chemistry in Context by Graham Hill and John Holman

Revision Guides:

  • A-Level Chemistry AQA Complete Revision & Practice by CGP Books
  • A-Level Chemistry AQA Exam Practice Workbook by CGP Books

Additional Resources:

Chemguide: A comprehensive online resource with explanations, tutorials, and practice questions covering various A-Level Chemistry topics.

RSC Learn Chemistry: Provides interactive resources, videos, and practical activities to enhance understanding.

Khan Academy: Offers video lessons and practice exercises on a wide range of chemistry topics.

Seneca Learning: Provides interactive online courses and quizzes tailored to the AQA A-Level Chemistry syllabus.

Chemistry-related books

  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean:
  • Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
  • The Chemistry Book: From Gunpowder to Graphene, 250 Milestones in the History of Chemistry by Derek B. Lowe

8 - Stretch and challenge resources

We provide booklets for each unit that include challenging questions to help you progress to A*.

Over summer, you should focus on the reading list and preparation section which will give you lots of challenge.

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