A level Chemistry is possibly one of the most challenging subjects students are offered. At Herschel the subject is popular with most students are so the entry requirements are no less than an A at GCSE level. The subject is highly sought after by many universities and expected to be taken for people wishing to pursue a career in science.
The subject is not just all text books though. There are regular lessons where experiments of all sorts take place. The course, however, focuses mainly on calculations. The basics which the GCSE students learn and carried forwards and are used to work out moles, grams, empirical formulae and the other data required by chemists.
At the school the subject is taken by those students who know the amount of work that needs to be put into it. The students produce good grades each year which in turn helps them to go to a university of their choice. This subject is a must for courses like medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and many other challenging degrees in this line.
The department follows the OCR ‘A’ syllabus and this can be found on the OCR web-site.
The course is delivered in 5 hours of teaching per week. The first unit is completed in the Autumn term and students take the exam in January. The second unit will be completed by May and the exam will be taken in June. Practical skills are assessed throughout the year and make up the marks for the third unit.
The three skills areas being assessed are:
During the course students are expected to maintain a ring binder folder containing all their class notes, worksheets, practical experiments, tests and any other information gleaned from their wider reading around the subject. Folders are taken in by staff and advice is given on how to improve organisational skills. Students are also strongly encouraged to participate fully in lessons and to seek help from their teachers as soon as difficulties arise. To do well on this course students are expected to spend at least 6-8 hours per week on the study of this subject outside of lesson time.
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