Back to top

La Retraithe Sixth Form


Studying Chemistry at the La Retraite 6

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Criteria: A minimum of two Level 7 passes on the Combined course, or a Level 6 in Chemistry as a Separate science. We also recommend a Level 7 in Mathematics.

Why study this course?

Within lesson time, you will develop your knowledge of theoretical Chemistry as well as participate in a wide range of experimental activities where you will enhance your analytical skills. There are thousands of careers and higher education options available to students with an A Level in Biology, including medicine, dentistry, biomedical and forensic science, ecology, science journalism, nursing, nutrition, physiotherapy, environmental science, food technology, marketing, clinical data management, teaching, and finance.

What will I learn?

Students will learn about the different aspects of Chemistry including Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry as well as further develop your experimental skills.

How will I be taught?

We use a variety of strategies to help you build up a detailed but broad understanding of the syllabus content and develop your skills. This includes group and individual work, one-to-one and small group tutorials, individual and group presentations, data analysis, experimental investigations, and the development of practical skills. Experimental work is integrated into the lessons and practical skills are developed alongside theoretical work. There are 12 key practical skills that are developed throughout the course.

How many hours a week of private study are recommended?

As an A-level student, at least six hours of private study per week is expected to consolidate learning and to learn how to apply subject knowledge to different contexts.

You’ll enjoy this course if…

You have an inquisitive mind, enjoy hands-on practical work have strong analytical and maths skills. You will need to be self-motivated, independent and have an active approach to learning new concepts in lessons rather than being a passive learner who wants to take notes.

Course description

The course will split into three key strands which will be taught over two years:

1.  Physical Chemistry

Year 1 topics include:

  • Atomic structure,
  • Amount of substance,
  • Bonding,
  • Energetics,
  • Kinetics,
  • Chemical equilibria and
  • Le Chatelier’s principle.


Year 2 topics include:

  • Thermodynamics,
  • Rate equations,
  • The equilibrium constant KP,
  • Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells.

2.  Inorganic Chemistry

Year 1 topics include:

  • Periodicity,
  • Group 2 the alkaline earth metals,
  • Group 7(17) the halogens.

Year 2 topics include:

  • Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides,
  • Transition metals,
  • Reactions of ions in aqueous solution.

3.  Organic Chemistry

Year 1 topics include:

  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry,
  • Alkanes,
  • Halogenoalkanes,
  • Alkenes,
  • Alcohols,
  • Organic analysis.

Year 2 topics include:

  • Optical isomerism,
  • Aldehydes and ketones,
  • Carboxylic acids and derivatives,
  • Aromatic chemistry,
  • Amines,
  • Polymers,
  • Amino acids, proteins, and DNA,
  • Organic synthesis,
  • NMR spectroscopy, and
  • Chromatography.

Chemistry, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will carry out practical activities including: measuring energy changes in chemical reactions, tests for identifying different types of compound, different methods for measuring rates of reaction, studying electrochemical cells, preparation of organic solids and liquids, an advanced form of chromatography for more accurate results.



At the end of Year 13:

Paper 1: Physical Chemistry topics, Inorganic Chemistry, Relevant practical skills. 35% of the A Level (2 hour written paper: 105 marks of multiple choice, short answer questions and long answer questions).

Paper 2: Physical Chemistry topics, Organic Chemistry, Relevant practical skills. 35% of the A Level (2 hour written paper: 105 marks of short answer questions and long answer questions).

Paper 3: Any content, any practical skills. 30% of the A Level (2 hour written paper: 90 marks of short answer questions and long answer questions).

Core practical skills are a non-examination assessment and are reported separately.