Chemistry

Chemistry is a popular subject with approximately 40-50% of Yr11 boys choosing to study Chemistry at A Level.

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The linear A level course is assessed in three external papers:

  • Paper 1 ‘Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry’ will include multiple choice and structured questions covering practical skills and theory and carries a 37% weighting.
  • Paper 2 ‘Synthesis and analytical techniques’ includes structured questions and extended response questions covering practical skills and theory and carries a 37% weighting.
  • Paper 3 ‘Unified chemistry’ includes structured questions covering theory and practical skills and carries a 26% weighting.


In addition to the examinations there is also an assessment called the ‘Practical endorsement for chemistry’ assessed by the teacher at either pass or fail level. The practical endorsement does not contribute to the Year 13 assessment/grade and is reported separately. Practical skills are a fundamental aspect of science study and students will build a portfolio of evidence documenting their practical skills which they develop throughout the two year course. This portfolio will support the assessment of the endorsement and will be a documented record of their skills which they may wish to share at job or university interviews. Practical skills will be assessed in the external examinations and the portfolio of evidence will also be an essential revision resource. We are confident that all students who undertake the course at BWS will have sufficient opportunities to develop these skills to ensure a pass. The practical endorsement covers essential skills for any chemist and is common to all examination boards. Areas of focus for the practical endorsement include: moles determinations, acid base titrations, enthalpy determination, qualitative analysis of ions, synthesis of an organic liquid and solid, qualitative analysis of an organic functional group, electrochemical cells, rates of reactions work, pH measurement and research.

The course textbook is below and needs to be purchased for the start of the course in September of Year 12.

Author Rob Ritchie and Author Dave Gent
ISBN: 978-0-19-835197-9


Linear Specification

Available for download at the bottom of this page

Chemistry Olympiad

Most students sit the first round of the chemistry Olympiad in February. Year 13 students have covered a greater part of the linear course specification and as such are at an advantage however, students in year 12 have previously been entered and achieved highly.

Subsequent rounds follow for exceptionally talented young students. The Chemistry Olympiad paper is a written test of chemical knowledge and understanding.

The questions are usually interesting and challenging on real and relevant chemistry, raising awareness of what the subject is all about. Tackling the paper provides a good opportunity to develop some of the skills required for success in the linear examination and support those students who wish to study at university and beyond.

Chemistry Olympiad Competition (past papers and support booklet)

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

Many Year 12’s enter this competition in the June of year 12 with most boys achieving a medal position.

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Details

Linear Specification - Chemistry A
Year 12 Curriculum Planner 2019-2020
Year 13 Curriculum Planner 2019-2020
Sixth Form Open Evening - Chemistry