Why can you smell pepper, but you can’t smell salt? Why are some elements metals and others non-metals? Can we do anything about global warming? How and why will we be affected when we run out of oil? Why does your bedroom get messy by itself, but not tidy?


Since 2015, we have followed the OCR Chemistry A linear specification, which is divided into 6 modules, each covering a key concept in Chemistry.

The modules are:

Both years 1: Development of practical skills in chemistry
Year 1 2: Foundations in chemistry
3: Periodic table and energy
4: Core organic chemistry
Year 2 5: Physical chemistry and transition elements
6: Organic chemistry and analysis

Students take progression exams at the end of Year 1, and subject to a suitable pass grade, can move into Year 2.

The staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, applying a variety of strategies to help all students. We encourage imaginative, critical and logical thinking for problem solving and for interpreting and answering text-based questions.

Collaborative practical work enables students to learn about Chemistry in a task-based, student-focused and interesting way, supported by lessons where the results of practical work are drawn together and students can learn from each other, as well as from the teacher. The incorporation of practical methods into the learning process enables students to tackle practical assessments in a more confident manner.

In addition to these courses, any student applying for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Dentistry has the opportunity to join ‘Medsoc’, which helps to prepare students for all aspects of their application.


Paper Modules Weighting Length
1 1,2,3 and 5 Section A – multiple choice questions (15 marks)
Section B – short answer questions including extended response (85 marks)
37% 2h 15 min
2 1,2,4 and 6 Section A – multiple choice questions (15 marks)
Section B – short answer questions including extended response (85 marks)
37% 2h 15 min
3 1-6 Short answer questions including extended response (70 marks) 26% 1h 30 min

Practical work: 12 practicals must be completed to create a portfolio, which provides evidence for the Practical Endorsement. Questions about these practicals will be tested in the written papers.

Exam Board: OCR (A)


A Level Chemistry requires an interest in the subject and an enthusiasm and commitment to work hard. You will need to develop your abilities to work independently and take responsibility for your own progress. Ideally, you will have at least a B grade (level 6) in GCSE science (double or separate sciences) and mathematics. We have worked with students from a variety of backgrounds and experience and so the first few weeks of the course are designed to help everyone reach a common skill set.


Chemistry is unique in sitting evenly between the other sciences, involving mathematical, high conceptual and practical activities, and to some extent, an artistic component as well. For example: Organic chemistry is essentially the chemistry of life, and topics as diverse as amino acids and reaction rates link well with Biology. Atomic structure is concerned with interactions between fundamental particles, entropy is the fundamental idea behind why anything ever happens at all, and these topics link well with Physics. Mathematics will help with calculations and working out units, but you will get enough training on this from the Chemistry department if you are not actually studying mathematics itself. Also, due to its development of analytical and problem solving skills, Chemistry would be a good subject to study in conjunction with subjects such as Psychology and Geography.

A qualification in Chemistry is highly valued and leads to a wide variety of careers, including Prime Minister of the UK. If you are undecided, many options are kept open by studying Chemistry.


If you want to study medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or veterinary science you will need A Level Chemistry. However an understanding of Chemistry is necessary to all other sciences and universities value A Level Chemistry.

Chemistry is central to careers in Physics, Materials, Engineering, Medicine, Earth Science and Life Sciences. Chemists often end up working in sectors such as the Chemical Industry (Research and development, Analytical Chemistry, Technical Sales and Marketing), Public Services (Forensic Science, Health Services, Environmental Protection and Water Companies), Academia and Teaching, Publishing, Technical Writing and Patent Law. Studying the chemical sciences at university provides you with many skills such as problem solving, communication, creativity and teamwork; hence chemical scientists are much sought after and can pursue careers in many exciting and varied fields of work.


To study A Levels, your current or pending exam results should be equivalent to or higher than GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in at least 5 subjects and a minimum level of English equivalent to IELTS 5.5.

At the start of each academic year of study students following an A Level course without a pass at Level 5/Grade C in GCSE or IGCSE English Language or with an Academic English score below 6.5 overall must join an Academic English training course for the duration of the academic year which will be timetabled alongside A Level lessons.

If your level of English is not sufficient to meet the entry criteria for the A Level programme you will normally be offered a place on the one year Academic Preparation Course (pre A Level) in order to bring your English skills up to the required level.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Every year we enter our students into national competitions.

Students participate in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, Cambridge Chemistry Race, RSC Analytical Competition and the RSC Chemistry Olympiad.

Students have also attended New Scientist Live and a chemistry day at London Metropolitan University.