A Level Chemistry

Studying A Level Chemistry at New Hall School is a stimulating and enriching experience. The OCR A Level Chemistry course is academically rigorous and your Chemistry teachers will hold you to high standards, driving you to work hard and helping you to succeed. Practical Chemistry forms a large part of the learning and every student is expected to set up and perform their own experiments, particularly when the practical is assessed as part of the A Level qualification. Students flourish at Chemistry if they can take a newly taught concept and apply it in new and unique ways to solve a more complex problem. A Level Chemistry helps us understand why things happen on an atomic level, and with that comes a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world that we live in.

What you will study in Year 12

The course begins by covering the structure of the atom and looking more closely at electronic orbital notation. Calculations form a large part of the first term’s work; titration experiments are carried out to calculate the concentration of unknown solutions and reaction stoichiometry is studied. We also cover the Ideal Gas Equation and simple spectroscopic methods. Over the year, you will also study Organic Chemistry.

Some examples of topics focusing on the different functional groups include how alkanes act as fuels, how CFCs can break down the ozone layer, how alkenes can be used to make everyday polymers and the interesting properties of alcohols that make them soluble in water. As part of the Physical Chemistry section, you will learn about equilibria and Le Chatelier’s Principle, including applying the equilibrium constant Kc to specific reactions to help predict their outcomes based on changing concentrations and pressures. You will also study rates and calorimetry and get to grips with Hess’s Law.

What you will study in Year 13

As part of the Organic Chemistry course, you will learn about many different functional groups and their associated reactions. Aspirin is studied in detail, including the synthesis and purification of a sample as part of the A Level Chemistry practical assessment. You will study familiar compounds like paracetamol and amino-acids and progress through the year to design synthetic routes to make these compounds. In your Physical Chemistry lessons, you will learn about entropy and kinetics; these explain why reactions happen and how fast reactions may go.

Through learning about buffers, you will see how these extraordinary chemicals can be used in biological systems to maintain pH. In the electrochemistry topic, you will have opportunities to build electrochemical cells and to study fuel cells as alternative sources of electrical energy. As part of the Inorganic Chemistry course, you will learn about the properties and reactions of transition metal compounds and why they are coloured.

Why is A Level Chemistry important?

Chemistry A Level is essential for degrees in Biochemistry, Material Science, Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Chemical Engineering. It can lead to university courses such as Nanotechnology, Environmental Science, Forensics, Sportswear Development, Teaching and Food Technology. Academically rigorous, A Level Chemistry is highly regarded by Admissions Officers on many other courses, such as Accountancy, Economics and Law.

Chemistry Support

A Level Chemistry clinics run every week on Tuesdays after school (4.00 – 5.00pm) and students can use this time to ask for help on prep tasks and re-visit the material covered in lessons in a relaxed and informal setting.

Subject extension and extra-curricular opportunities

  • Chemistry Extension Lectures will run once a week on Monday lunchtimes covering topics that go beyond the Level curriculum
  • All Chemistry A Level students are invited to UCL to take part in spectroscopy workshops. All Chemistry A Level students will be encouraged to attend courses arranged via a collaboration with the UEA Chemistry department
  • Year 12 students are all expected to take on the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Paper at the end of the year
  • Year 13 Students are all expected to take on the Royal Society of Chemistry Olympiad paper in their second term


Head of Chemistry: 

    Instagram: @newhallchem