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Chemistry is a challenging and practical subject. It will give you an in-depth understanding of key chemical concepts and provide you with problem solving skills and knowledge that are highly sought after by universities and employers. As your understanding develops, you will appreciate the importance of the subject to everyday life, learning about drug development, atmospheric chemistry, electrochemical cells and industrial catalysis.

Chemistry is taught by a team of highly qualified subject specialists in two well-equipped laboratories that have modern IT facilities. This course is aimed at students with a strong academic background in Mathematics and Science. You should have an interest and enthusiasm for the subject and enjoy practical work. You will extend your investigative skills and grow in confidence, handling sophisticated lab apparatus and hazardous chemicals. You will also learn how to research and report your ideas in a precise and scientific manner.

Enrichment opportunities include visits by guest lecturers, trips to the University of Bristol and the chance to participate in the Chemistry Olympiad and other Chemistry competitions.


Year 1 Topics

  • Physical Chemistry: moles calculations, equilibria, structure and bonding and enthalpy changes
  • Inorganic Chemistry: group 2 and group 7 chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry: alkanes, alkenes, haloalkanes and alcohols.

Year 2 Topics

  • Physical Chemistry: thermodynamics, kinetics and pH calculations
  • Inorganic Chemistry: transition metals
  • Organic Chemistry: carboxylic acid derivatives, nitrogen chemistry, benzene and polymers.

You will need (or equivalent to);

  • GCSE Mathematics grade 6/B or above
  • GCSE English Language or Literature grade 5 or above
  • GCSE Chemistry/Double Science at grade 6/B or above
  • plus two more GCSEs grade 4/C or above

There are three exams at the end of the course:

  • Periodic Table, Elements and Physical Chemistry – 37% of A Level (100 marks, two hours and 15 minutes)
  • Synthesis and Analytical Techniques – 37% of A Level (100 marks, two hours and 15 minutes)
  • Unified Chemistry – 26% of A Level (70 marks, one hour and 30 minutes)

You will also achieve a separate Practical Endorsement in Chemistry through an accumulation of the practical work you do during the course.

Students progress onto degrees and careers in Veterinary Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Research. As a numerical subject, it also facilitates entry to Accounting, Law or Engineering opportunities.

Will I need to be good at Mathematics?

Chemistry is a highly mathematical subject so studying A Level Maths will be beneficial to your Chemistry A Level.  We highly recommend you choose Maths if you are aspiring towards Veterinary, Medicine or Oxbridge. 

I like practical work, will I enjoy Chemistry?

You will do a lot of practical work during the course, so it is good to enjoy this side of learning. However, you also need to be prepared to learn the content, develop your problem solving and hone your attention to detail as well.

Is A Level Chemistry hard?

It will challenge you but we support you to develop your independent learning skills and your resilience so that you can cope with the demand. 

“Chemistry is challenging, but I would struggle to find something more satisfying than solving a problem piece by piece and putting it all together at the end. This course involves the use of maths, language and the application of prior knowledge to new scenarios, which helps to see how Chemistry A Level relates to real life. The skills and knowledge you gain will be invaluable, and won’t always be theoretical, as you will get many a chance to put your skills to the test in unguided practicals where the choices are all yours”.


“Studying Chemistry has been so enjoyable at Richard Huish College. It is a very detailed course and the interest and enthusiasm for the subject exuded by the teachers in the delivery of every lesson has been absolutely amazing and unfaltering. I have found that the dedication and commitment from the Chemistry department has made my personal experience of studying Chemistry both unforgettable and rewarding. I have been given great encouragement and complete engagement by the department throughout. A Level Chemistry is a brilliant course to study – I would definitely recommend it!