What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is a physical science – the study of the properties of and interactions between matter and energy. In other words, chemistry is a way to study the properties, characteristics, and physical changes of matter.

Chemistry also has a huge number of applications, including treating diseases with targeted drugs, maximising our use of natural resources, and developing new materials.

How is it studied?

Chemistry is usually studied as a two-year course with a final assessment. It is a content-led, flexible approach where the specification is divided into topics, each covering different key concepts of chemistry. Teaching of practical skills is integrated with the theoretical topics: both are assessed through written papers and the Practical Endorsement, which is studied in the A2 year. This consists of a minimum of 12 Practical Activity Groups (PAGs) that demonstrate the required skills and techniques.


We also offer a demanding one-year accelerated course. This is usually for students who already have some A Levels, but now wish to add an A Level in Chemistry, often to apply for Medicine at university.


It is also possible to complete a one-year AS course for students who do not wish to take the subject further.

How is A Level Chemistry assessed?

Exam Board: OCR A H432 A Level in Chemistry


Unit Modules Weighting Format
Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry 01 37% / 100 marks Written paper:

2 hours 15 mins

Synthesis and analytical techniques 02 37% / 100 marks Written paper: 2 hours 15 mins
Unified chemistry 03 26% / 70 marks Written paper: 1 hour 30 mins
Practical endorsement 04 Reported separately Non-exam assessment


Exam Board: OCR A H032 AS Level in Chemistry


Unit Modules Weighting Format
Breadth in chemistry


01 50% /

70 marks

Written paper: 1 hour 30 mins
Depth in chemistry 02


50% /

70 marks

Written paper: 1 hour 30 mins
No practical assessment


What do I need?

In order to study A Level Chemistry, students should have a good GCSE pass (preferably at least a B) in Double Award Science or Chemistry. They should be reasonably confident in mathematics and have a good understanding of the English language.

What should I study with Chemistry?

Chemistry links particularly well with Biology, Physics and Mathematics. It is also a good subject to study alongside Geography, as both are highly relevant to each other.


A qualification in Chemistry leads to a wide variety of careers, from industry to medicine. If you are undecided, studying Chemistry can help you keep your options open.

What can I do with A Level Chemistry?

Our recent students have gone on to study Chemistry, Medicine, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences and Geology at top universities, amongst other subjects. Chemistry is also an essential requirement for Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Pharmacy.


Studying the chemical sciences at university teaches you many skills such as problem solving, communication, creativity and teamwork, together with specialised industrial knowledge: hence, chemical scientists are much sought-after and can pursue careers in many exciting and varied fields of work.


Questions about the course

How much practical work will there be?

You will have time in the laboratory every week. You will complete more practicals than the minimum demanded by the specification, enhancing your understanding of the fundamental theories and improving your ability to answer questions on the examination.

Can I study the course in one year?

Yes, If you enrol on the accelerated course and are willing and able to work at a consistent high level.


Can I take the course if I have previously studied Chemistry AS or A2?