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GCSE Chemistry

Exam Board: AQA

Why should I choose this subject

GCSE Chemistry is really the study of “stuff”. Pupils will learn about the material world around them - what it’s made of, what holds it together and why chemical reactions happen. There is so much complexity, and yet once we see the patterns and principles, we can appreciate that Chemistry is simple, but certainly not always easy!

There is a lot of practical work that we do throughout the GCSE course and this allows pupils to develop a much deeper understanding of how Chemistry works and where we get our ideas from.

What does the subject consist of?

There are ten main areas of study. Of course, there are chapters within each of these and each chapter is broken down into a number of lessons. The topics are as follows:

  1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
  2. 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

How is the subject assessed?

Throughout the two years, pupils will complete at least twelve required practicals to achieve their practical endorsement. There are two externally set exams at the end of the 5th form. Each exam is a written exam of 1 hour 45 minutes. The content of the course will be assessed as well as how this content is applied. There will also be questions about the required practicals and there will be other skills assessed such as mathematical and graphical skills.

Whom does the subject suit?

If pupils 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 them. It is the beginning of a journey via A level, and perhaps university, 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 and treatment development, biochemistry, chemical engineering, atmospheric studies - cutting edge ideas, and others that really make a difference in life. Pupils might even become a Chemistry teacher!

What else should pupils consider before choosing this subject?

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