A-Level Chemistry

Gaining A Deeper Knowledge Of The World

Exam Board and Specification Codes: OCR

Why Study Chemistry?

As the study of the elements and their compounds, Chemistry is both conceptually challenging and requires good factual knowledge. Everything we see, touch or taste is made up of chemicals. All our body parts are made up of chemicals, from the DNA in our cells to the enzymes that catalyse the reactions that keep us alive. We live longer due to the chemicals we manufacture, such as the fertilisers sprayed on crops to feed us, the medicines that protect us from disease and the fuels that heat our homes and transport us from one place to another.

Technology such as computers, telephones and televisions would not exist but for the materials inside them developed and manufactured by chemists. Chlorinated drinking water, devised by chemists to make water safe, protects us from a huge number of waterborne diseases that would otherwise make us ill. Since chemical reactions lie at the heart of understanding how living systems function, A-Level Chemistry is essential for students wishing to study Medicine, Veterinary Science and other related degrees.

What is Covered by the Course?


The AS course covers the following topics:

  • Calculations
  • Atomic structure
  • Structure and bonding
  • Introduction to thermodynamics
  • Introduction to organic chemistry
  • Green and environmental chemistry


  • The A-Level course covers the following topics:
  • Entropy
  • Quantitative kinetics and equilibrium
  • Advanced organic chemistry
  • Spectroscopy and chromatography

How is it Examined?

AS-Level course – 2 written papers (Breadth in Chemistry and Depth in Chemistry).

  • Breadth in Chemistry comprises multiple-choice questions followed by short and long-answer questions on various areas of the course
  • The Depth in Chemistry paper examines pupils’ knowledge and understanding of different areas covered in the course and is more similar to past papers from before the specification changed

A-Level course – 3 written papers (Periodic Table, Elements and Physical Chemistry; Synthesis and analytical techniques; Unified Chemistry) and 12 assessed practicals.

  • Multiple-choice questions followed by short and long-answer questions
  • 1 written paper is a synoptic examination of the entire AS- and A-Level course

Related University Courses?

Many pupils study Chemistry in conjunction with other sciences and/or Mathematics and go on to read Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy at university. The most common combinations of A-Level subjects are those with Biology, Mathematics and Physics.