Chemistry AS/A Level


Considered to be one of the more challenging A Levels, Chemistry is a problem solving subject. Students will study the role Chemists play in a variety of relevant and current technologies, such as the development of new medicines and materials, climate change and alternative fuels.

Students enjoy developing expertise in a wide range of experimental techniques.  Practical experiments are a key feature of the course.

What goes well with this course?

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Geography


A Level Chemistry is essential for Chemistry, Biochemistry, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science at degree level. It is a preferred A Level for many other university courses, including Sports Science, Forensics, Environmental Science and any Biomedical Sciences. Employers have a great deal of respect for A Level Chemistry as it indicate's a student’s ability to analyse information, make reasoned judgements and use their imagination.

Course Content

AS Level (duration 1 year - first year of A Level) - The physical, inorganic and organic chemistry content is covered in the first year of the A Level and are also the AS subject content. Students will study the structures, chemical and physical properties and reactions of elements and compounds. Practical work will be assessed in the written papers.

  • Inorganic Chemistry – topics covered includes: periodicity, group 2, the alkaline earth metals and group 7(17), the halogens.
  • Physical Chemistry – topics covered includes: atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s principle and oxidation, reduction and redox.
  • Organic Chemistry – topics covered includes: Introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes,  halogeno alkanes,  alkenes,  alcohols and organic analysis


A Level (duration 2 years) – the A Level course, also a linear quali­fication consists of three written papers. The course builds on the knowledge and understanding gained at AS, students will study more advanced physical, inorganic and organic chemistry content.

  • Inorganic Chemistry  – topics covered includes: properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals and reactions of ions in aqueous solution. 
  • Physical Chemistry  – additional materials covered will include: thermodynamics, rate equations, equilibrium constant (Kc) for homogenous systems, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells.
  • Organic Chemistry  – topics covered in addition to AS content includes: isomerism (optical), aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy and chromatography.


Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

The College runs a number of educational experiences each year to enable students to contextualise their learning. These experiences include trips to St George’s teaching hospital to look at the Medical Imaging Process ie MRI scans etc. In addition, the College runs a programme of visiting speakers, which includes representatives from Higher Education and Industry.


AS and A2 exams are taken at the end of the course.

AS Level

  • Paper 1 and 2 are both worth 50% of AS and both papers have a total of 80 marks (Duration for each exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes).

The papers are in 2 sections, short and long answer questions worth 65 marks and multiple choice questions worth 15 marks.

A Level

  • Paper 1 and 2 are both worth 35% of A Level and have a total of 105 marks (Duration for each exam is 2 hours).

The papers consist of short and long answer questions.

  • Paper 3 worth 30% of the A Level covering both AS and A Level content and have a total of 90 marks (Duration for each exam is 2 hours).

The practical-based exam is designed to assess the application of practical skills knowledge and understanding studied throughout the course and will be examined in every written examination.  

The exam board is AQA.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:  

  • Grade 6 in Maths and B in both Core and Additional Science, or
  • Grade 5 in Maths and either an A in both Core and Additional Science or A in Chemistry. 


Students will do well on this course if they:

  • are interested in the Chemistry of the world around them
  • can work independently and to deadlines
  • can solve Mathematical equations and use graphs
  • can extract information from new sources
  • are organised, hard working and want to solve problems rather than be given all the answers

Mathematics is a core part of the course, so students should be confident working with numbers and using formulae in calculations.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2017

The application form for the academic year 2017-2018 is available to download here.

Students should return their completed forms directly to Coulsdon College, NOT their schools. All applications will be considered according to the College's Admissions Policy Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

Download Course Leaflet

Download the AS/A Level in Chemistry information leaflet.

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