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It's hard to think of any manufactured product that did not need the creative talents of a chemist at some stage in its development. Find out how chemistry contributes to our quality of life by enabling us to make new substances ranging from detergents and plastics to anti-cancer drugs and by helping us to monitor the environment, detect crime and much more.

Chemistry is an exciting and relevant science that provides answers to everyday questions through a practical and problem-solving approach. If you study chemistry in the Sixth Form you will meet intellectually challenging ideas and consider numbers infinitely large and particles infinitesimally small. 

You will gain an understanding of the molecular complexity of the world around us and an insight into how and why chemical reactions happen. Yet your study of chemistry will not be simply an encounter with fundamental ideas and concepts but the development of a wide range of transferable skills that will last a lifetime. 

Beyond the classroom

During the course you will have many opportunities to extend your studies, including the chance to compete in events such as the Cambridge C3L6 competition, the International Chemistry Olympiad and The RSC Schools’ Analyst Competition. Scientific work experience opportunities also arise through the Nuffield Bursary Scheme and our local Cambridge connections.

Course content

  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry: skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation
  • Module 2 – Foundations in Chemistry: atoms, compounds, molecules and equations; Amount of substance; Acid–base and redox reactions; Electrons, bonding and structure
  • Module 3 – Periodic table and energy: the periodic table and periodicity; Group 2 and the halogens; Qualitative analysis; Enthalpy changes; Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)
  • Module 4 – Core organic Chemistry: basic concepts; Hydrocarbons; Alcohols and haloalkanes; Organic synthesis; Analytical techniques (IR and MS)
  • Module 5 – Physical Chemistry and transition elements: reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative); pH and buffers; Enthalpy, entropy and free energy; Redox and electrode potentials; Transition elements
  • Module 6 – Organic Chemistry and analysis: aromatic compounds; Carbonyl compounds; Carboxylic acids and esters; Nitrogen compounds; Polymers; Organic synthesis; Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR)


Three written papers

  • Paper 1: 2hr 15 minutes, 100 marks

Periodic table, elements and physical Chemistry on content from modules 1, 2, 3 and 5

  • Paper 2: 2hr 15 minutes, 100 marks

Synthesis and analytical techniques on content from modules 1, 2, 4 and 6

  • Paper 3: 1 hr 30 minutes, 70 marks

Unified Chemistry on content from all modules

Practical work

Your knowledge and understanding of practical work will be assessed as part of the written exam papers. The A Level will include at least 15% of the written papers covering knowledge and understanding of practical. At A Level your practical work will be also be endorsed on your examination certificate (pass/fail).