A Level in Chemistry – September 2024

Funding information: Free For Eligible 16-18 year olds and First Full L3 for 19+ year olds. Adult Learner Loans available, course costs apply.
Duration: 2 years
Attendance: Full-time subject

Course Overview

A Level Chemistry will be brought to you in various lectures, workshops and practical laboratory sessions by experienced chemist Dr Kirsty Davey. You will require a passion for Chemistry to fuel your studies during this demanding but very rewarding course.

The course is taught as a series of modules, all examined at the end of year one (for AS Level qualifications) or at the end of year 2 (for A Level qualifications). Although your final A Level grade will be determined solely by your exam results, you will be regularly updated on your progress and attainment throughout. Your working grade will be determined by mock exams, assessed homework and practical work.

You will also work towards your CPAC practical endorsement. This is a certificate which accompanies your A Level and informs your university of choice about your practical capabilities. A lot of universities require you to have completed a course that includes the CPAC (common practical assessment criteria) certificate. This involves taking part in a minimum of 12 required practicals which must be fully evidenced in a lab book. These 12 practicals are designed to help you develop a diverse range of practical skills, far beyond what you will have seen at GCSE level.

Whilst we encourage you to enjoy your summer after your GCSEs (you’ve earned it!) but if you’re raring to go and want to get a head start then we recommend downloading the AQA transition guide which includes activities to get you started. You can also look into purchasing the following resources which will help you throughout your two years of study:

  • AQA Chemistry A Level Student Book: Ted Lister and Janet Renshaw
  • New A-Level Chemistry: AQA Year 1 & 2 Complete Revision & Practice (CGP A-Level Chemistry)
  • AQA Year 1 & 2 exam practice workbook that accompanies the revision guide

Course Content

The modules will fit into one of three general categories:

  • Organic Chemistry – The chemistry of carbon-based molecules. This includes hydrocarbons, alcohols, and even proteins and enzymes. This category involves a lot of practical work and requires an understanding of how reactions happen. You will be introduced to a new way of representing reactions known as mechanisms.
  • Inorganic Chemistry – The chemistry of everything else. This category is wide ranging and diverse. It involves a look at many different reactions and strange chemistry often involving dramatic colour changes. You will look at transition metals, the halogens and catalysis.
  • Physical Chemistry – The chemistry of energy and how atoms and molecules interact with each other. In these modules you will gain an understanding of factors affecting the speed and energy of reactions. This category features a significant amount of maths.

Entry Requirements

You will need 5 GCSEs at a minimum of grade 5, including a 5 in English and a 6 in maths. Your science GCSEs can be either combined science or triple science and one of your grades must be a 6.

Assessment Methods

  • <p>Year 1 (AS Level): 2 1h30 exam papers in May plus practical science assessments
  • building a portfolio towards your CPAC practical endorsement certificate in Y2.</p><p>Year 2 (A Level): 3 2h exam papers in May/June
  • one with a focus on practical skills. You will also complete assessed practical science for your CPAC practical endorsement certificate.</p>


The top five degree courses taken by students who have A Level Chemistry are:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Pre clinical medicine
  • Mathematics
  • Pharmacology