A Level

Exam Board AQA

Course Code 7405

Lead Teacher – Mr R Holdroyd

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

  • The qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and process skills inherent in GCSE Science and Mathematics.
  • There is no requirement to have studied GCSE Biology separately; Additional Science provides a good grounding for the study of A-level Biology.
  • The qualification integrates theory and relevant practical work.
  • You will need to be able to communicate effectively, research and think critically and independently about biological problems.
  • There is a significant mathematical element.

Specific requirements

You should have at least a grade 6-6 in GCSE double award science or a grade 6 in separate GCSE Chemistry, and a grade 6 in Maths.

What will I study?

Year 1 Units 

Physical Chemistry 

Organic Chemistry 

Inorganic Chemistry 

Atomic Structure 

Intro to Organic Chemistry 


Amount of Substance 


Group 2 



Group 7 







Chemical equilibria and Kc 



Redox Reactions 

Organic Analysis 


Year 2 Units 

Physical Chemistry Organic Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry
Thermodynamics Optical Isomerism Amino acids, proteins and DNA Period 3 elements and their oxides
Rate Equations Aldehydes and Ketones Organic Synthesis Transition Metals
Equilibrium Constant Kp Carboxylic acids and derivatives NMR Spectroscopy Reactions of ions in aqueous solution
Electrode Potentials and electrochemical cells. Aromatic Chemistry Chromatography  
Acids and Bases Amines    

How will I be assessed?

All content is examined in three 2 hour written papers at the end of the second year.

Paper 1 - Inorganic and Physical Chemistry - 105 marks total

  • Any inorganic content, any physical content apart from kinetics and rate equations.
  • A mixture of short and long answer questions.

Paper 2 - Organic and Physical Chemistry -  105 marks total

  • Any organic content, any physical content apart from atomic structure, redox reactions, thermodynamics, equilibrium constant Kp, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells and acids and bases.
  • A mixture of short and long answer questions.

Paper 3 - 90 marks total

  • Any content from all sections of the specification.
  • 40 marks of questions on practical techniques and data analysis, 20 marks of questions testing across the specification, 30 marks of multiple choice questions.

Practical endorsement

Practical competency will be assessed and reported separately and does not contribute to the final grade.  However, knowledge of the twelve core practical’s is essential for success in the written exams.  A range of practical work will be carried out to support your studies beyond the core practical’s.

Where does it lead?

You can combine a range of subjects with Chemistry. Those students that tend to be most successful frequently study Biology and/or Maths. Other complementary subjects include Physics, Geography, Psychology.

The range of courses and work opportunities involving chemistry is vast and includes: straight chemistry, veterinary science, medicine, dentistry, biochemistry, applied chemistry, psychology, forensic science, pharmacy, biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, cosmetics, pharmacology, agriculture, environmental science and many others. Chemistry A-level is a requisite for most degree courses in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and veterinary science.

Even if you decide not to pursue a chemistry related career, studying it still develops useful and transferable skills for other careers outside of STEM. You’ll develop research, problem solving and analytical skills, alongside teamwork and communication. Universities and employers regard all of these very highly and it can lead on to skilled, well paid, careers in many different disciplines. 

Wider Reading

What is Chemistry? - Peter Atkins

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur

Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams






Chemistry for your life - weekly

The real chemistry podcast - bi-monthly

Distillations – monthly