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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?
What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of the elements and their compounds, and it tries to describe and explain how and why the materials, which make up our world, behave.


Whether it’s developing specific drugs to target disease, finding better ways to use the resources we have, or developing new materials with enhanced properties, Chemistry is everywhere.


If you enjoy asking questions about the world around you, then you will like AS and A level Chemistry because, at last, you will get some answers!

What is Chemistry at DLD?

Starting in September, there are changes to the A level curriculum. We will be following the new AQA Chemistry A courses. Students will study the AS course in the first year and suitable candidates will be able to complete the A level with a second year of study.


The content of the legacy course is based upon the OCR AS/A2 specification, combining theory with practical experience. 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-focussed and interesting way, supported by lessons where the results of investigations 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.

How is it assessed?



AS Exams Weighting Format
Paper 1 50% External exam: 1 hour 30
Paper 2 50% External exam: 1 hour 30

Practical work: 6 practicals must be completed to create a portfolio. Questions about these practicals wil appear on the written papers. New A-level (AQA)


A-Level Exams Weighting Format
Paper 1 35% External exam: 2 hours
Paper 2 35% External exam: 2 hours
Paper 3 30% External exam: 2 hours


Practical work: 12 practicals must be completed to create a portfolio. Questions about these practicals wil appear on the written papers.

Legacy Specification


Unit AS Level Weighting A Level Weighting Format
Unit 1 30% 15% External Exam: 1 Hour
Unit 2 50% 25% External Exam: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Unit 3 20% 10% Coursework: Tutor Assessed
Unit 4 15% External Exam: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Unit 5 25% External Exam: 2 Hours
Unit 6 10% Coursework: Tutor Assessed


At A2 an A* grade will be awarded to those students scoring over 90% in Units 4 and 5 on the UMS.


Exam Board: OCR

What do I need?
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 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.
What should I study with it?

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.


If you are looking to broaden your AS curriculum, then studying Chemistry alongside more arts-based subjects would work well, provided you meet the GCSE entry requirements.


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.

18 Month A-Level

This subject can be studied over 18 Months starting in January (minuimum 5.5 IELTS score is required).

After DLD

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.


Q Can I study the course in one year?


A Yes provided you have studied the course previously (and we also have an 18 month course)


Q Can I take the course if I’ve studied Chemistry AS or A2 previously?


A Yes (either in the one year course or over 2 years)

Entry Requirements for international students
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 5.0.
At the start of each academic year of study students following an A-Level course without a pass at 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 Abbey DLD Colleges One Year Pre-sessional (Pre A-Level) in order to bring your English skills up to the required level.

Coming to DLD I didn’t know what to expect, but the Chemistry teacher made me feel right at home. She never fails to help us understand all aspects of our Chemistry syllabus. She is very open to all questions relating to the subject and has expert knowledge and experience. I have grown to love the subject and could not have asked for a better or more encouraging teacher.

Isra Taha – Current DLD Student

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