Subject Lead for Chemistry: Dr Jo Gowen

Chemistry by Dr Jo Gowen

Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education and science combined are powerful allies. In studying science you are being gifted with the power to make dreams a reality. It is an engine of creation. In science we can envisage a new future and make it a reality. Among the sciences Chemistry is unique as it is the only science to create its own subject at the molecular level. Whatever the world needs - a new pharmaceutical, a new material to make a better touch screen, a solution to the fuel crisis, a bid to end famine, a vaccine during a pandemic - chemists will be involved in vital and very practical roles.

Why Study Chemistry?

Chemistry is often called 'the central science' because it connects the physical sciences, including physics, with the life sciences and applied sciences, such as medicine and engineering. As well as knowledge of the chemical content itself, the subject develops many important cognitive skills, such as; understanding abstract concepts, analysing data, problem identification and solving, numerical analysis, organising recall, and logical argument, as well as the skills of critical thinking. 

Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many courses in higher education, such as medicine, pharmacy, geology, and any of the biological and environmental sciences. It is good preparation for careers in Forensics, the Food industry and even Law. Employers value students who have studied chemistry for they will be numerate, have analytical skills and experience of teamwork, and will have risen to the challenge of a demanding subject.

Course Description

The Salters A’ Level Chemistry course puts emphasis on developing knowledge, competence and confidence in practical skills and problem solving. Salters is a context led course, so students learn the topics through contemporary chemistry situations. Students learn about how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

Practical work is essential to Chemistry, and we go well beyond the practical requirements of the course to ensure students gain the skills to become confident and competent scientists. Excellent skills in mathematics, analysis and written English will help ensure success in this challenging course.

Beyond A level

A level Chemistry is a necessary qualification for a number of higher education courses such as Medicine and Medically related subjects, Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmacology, Physics, Dentistry and Analytical chemistry. There are many joint degrees which involve Chemistry. Graduates with a Chemistry degree are held in high esteem due to the wide range of skills acquired and many go into areas such as Law, Business and Finance.

Entry Requirements

Grade 6 or higher in GCSE Chemistry or Grade 6-5 in GCSE Combined Sciences (with high scores in the Chemistry units). Owing to the mathematical content of the course, a good understanding of Mathematics is also important: we recommend grade 6 or above at GCSE.

Practical work lies at the heart of the sciences and this course provides numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality and equip students with essential practical skills. Students who satisfy the practical requirements of the course will be awarded a separate “Practical Endorsement” alongside their A level grade.

Technical Details
Exam Board OCR
Qualification Type A Level
Course Title Chemistry
Specification Code H433
  Number Duration Weighting of total A Level
External Exams (ond of Year 13) 3 2hr 15min
2hr 15min
1hr 30min
Paper 1: 41%
Paper 2: 37%
Paper 3: 33%