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?

OCR A A-Level Chemistry is taught within the two-year, five-term and one year A-Level programmes.

Chemistry 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.

Edexcel and AQA A-Level Chemistry are also available as a two-term or one year retake programme. 

How is A-Level Chemistry assessed?

Exam Board: OCR A 

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


What do I need?

In order to study A-Level Chemistry, students should have a grade C (5) for GCSE Chemistry or IGCSE Double Science or GCSE Science (or equivalent) and a grade C (5) for GCSE Mathematics (or equivalent).

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 including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and engineering.

If you are undecided about your career, studying Chemistry can help you keep your options open.

What can I do with A-Level Chemistry?

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.

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 Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Pharmacy.


Questions about the course

Can I take A-Level Chemistry in one year?

As an A-Level retake student, yes and if you have completed AS-Level equivalent studies outside of the UK and can clearly demonstrate high ability in chemistry and academic English, yes.

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