Exam Board: AQA

What is the GCSE about?

GCSE Chemistry is really the study of “stuff”. You will learn about the material world around you - what it is made of, what holds it together and why chemical reactions happen. There is so much complexity, and yet once you see the patterns and principles you can appreciate that Chemistry is simple, but certainly not always easy! There is much practical work that we do throughout the GCSE course and this allows you to develop a much deeper understanding of how Chemistry works and where we get our ideas from.

What does the GCSE consist of?

There are ten main areas of study over the course. Of course, there are chapters within each of these and each chapter is broken down into a number of lessons. Here are the topics: 1. Atomic structure and the periodic table 2. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter 3. Quantitative chemistry 4. Chemical changes 5. Energy changes 6. The rate and extent of chemical change 7. Organic chemistry 8. Chemical analysis 9. Chemistry of the atmosphere 10. Using resources

Do I need to have studied GCSE Chemistry to study Chemistry for A levels?

If you think you might wish to study A level Chemistry or as it is necessary for your career or University plans, then you will need to choose Chemistry GCSE.

Whom does the subject suit?

If you are interested - perhaps fascinated - with the key questions of what makes up the world that we live in and how stuff works, Chemistry is for you. It is the beginning of a journey via A level, and university perhaps, into a huge range of possible careers. These include not only material science research and development, but also many of the medical paths such as medicine itself and treatment development, biochemistry, chemical engineering, atmospheric studies - cutting edge ideas, and others that really make a difference in life. You could even become a Chemistry teacher!

What skills should I have?

A "can do" attitude is extremely important along with a good grasp of the English language and an ability to learn and use new terms well. You need to be able to think in a logical manner and communicate your ideas using precise words. Having good mathematical skills is also very useful for Chemistry.

What might the subject lead to?

Many of these are mentioned above, and if you want more ideas of careers have a look at this website…

What trips are involved?

The annual trip to the Big Bang Fair in the fourth form is not just a spectacular Science fair with some awesome shows but introduces pupils to the vast array of careers that use Chemistry.

What else should I consider before choosing?

The full Chemistry GCSE is a challenging course and should not be chosen thoughtfully and carefully. In truth it is not an easy option; it will take full commitment on your part, but the hard work will make it all the more worthwhile when you successfully complete a really rewarding and valuable qualification.

What wider reading is there?

There are some really interesting books - one is example is “The Disappearing Spoon” by Sam Kean.

There is a monthly magazine called "Catalyst" which is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry and is at just the right level for GCSE.

You can also access loads of interesting information and articles through the RSC website at

Who will teach me?

Mr Lane or Mr Blackie