Exam Board Entry Requirements Subject Leader
OCR Grade 7/6 if Double Science was taken, Grade 6 if Triple Science was taken Ms L Tighe

This course aims to develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of chemistry and how these areas relate to each other. We aim to develop and demonstrate in students a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods. We also aim to develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills.

Students study chemistry in a range of different contexts, conveying the excitement of contemporary chemistry.  Ideas are introduced in a spiral way with topics introduced in an early part of the course reinforced later. The ‘B’  specification places a particular emphasis on an investigational and problem-solving approach to practical work and is supported by extensive new materials developed by the University of York Science Education Group.

The specification is structured in a series of teaching modules that allow the concepts to unfold throughout the  course. Each module is intended to be taught through a chemical ‘storyline’. The storylines address topics such as the use and development of fuels, and the use of metals in a wide range of applications including in medicines.


Story Lines

The course follows several story lines, namely:

  • Elements of life
  • Developing fuels
  • Elements from the sea
  • The ozone story
  • What's in a medicine?
  • The chemical industry
  • Polymers and life
  • Oceans
  • Developing metals
  • Colour by design



This A-Level is assessed by three externally assessed written papers and further practical activities. The written examinations undertaken are:

  • Paper 1 (Fundamentals of Chemistry) lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes. It assesses content from all teaching modules and accounts for 41% of the grade.
  • Paper 2 (Scientific Literacy in Chemistry) lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes. It assesses content from all teaching modules and places a particular emphasis on practical literacy. This exam features a pre-release Advance Notice article. It is worth 37% of the grade.
  • Paper 3 (Practical Skills in Chemistry) lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes. It is a written paper assessing content from all modules with a particular emphasis on practical skills. It is worth 22% of the grade.

Further to the written examinations, students also undertake practical activities embedded in their learning. Students complete a minimum of 12 practical activities to demonstrate practical competence as well as enhancing their understanding of chemical theory. Performance in practical work is reported separately to the A-Level grade as a pass or fail.


Further Information

Textbooks have been written specifically for the course. Salters Advanced Chemistry introduces chemical ideas through real live contexts (storylines) and explains the chemical principles behind them. The Activities Pack supports with practical work, data analysis, IT applications and group exercises such as discussions and presentations.

Performance during the course is assessed by a test at the end of each topic. As the transition from GCSE to A level can be difficult, these tests have become increasingly important and are used to monitor progress and highlight strengths and weaknesses. The tests have also proved invaluable in predicting potential A level grades.


Progression into Higher Education/Vocational Destinations

A level chemistry is essential for those who wish to study medicine, veterinary science, dentistry and chemical
engineering. Hospitals require the study of chemistry for pathology, pharmacology and clinical biochemistry. The study skills developed in chemistry mean that it is a respected discipline for careers in law, management, banking, computing, accounting and economics.