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A level Chemistry

What is Chemistry?

Why can you smell pepper, but you can’t smell salt? Why are some elements metals and others non-metals? Can we do anything about global warming? How and why will we be affected when we run out of oil? Why does your bedroom get messy by itself, but not tidy? A Level Chemistry is the study of the elements and their compounds and it tries to describe and explain how and why the materials, which make up our world, behave as they do. Whether it’s developing specific drugs to target disease, finding better ways to use the resources we have, or developing new materials with enhanced properties, Chemistry is everywhere. If you enjoy asking questions about the world around you, then you will like AS and A Level Chemistry because, at last, you will get some answers!

What is Chemistry at BWA?

Starting in September, there are changes to the A level Chemistry curriculum. Students will be following the new AQA Chemistry A courses, completing the AS course in their first year and then having a chance to complete their A level with a second year of study. Being a linear course, all the exams which count towards their final grade will have to be taken at the end of the second year. Those students starting the second year of their A level course will be completing the legacy AQA specification, a modular course made up of six units, two of which focus on the practical laboratory work undertaken over two years. In addition, at Blackwater Academy we offer an intensive, one-year A level course. The majority of students following this route have previously studied some or all of the units before and wish to improve their grades. The science staff at ACB are a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and supportive group and have many years’ experience of adapting their approaches to meet the varied needs of their students. Expectations are high and we aim to develop the important skills of problem solving, data analysis and clear thinking in order to enable each and every student to reach his or her full potential in the subject, while enjoying the journey along the way.

How is it assessed?

New AS (AQA) – One Year


Component     Weighting               Format

Paper 1              50%             External exam: 1 hour 30

Paper 2              50%            External exam: 1 hour 30

Practical work: 6 practical experiments must be completed, assessed and recorded through the year. Questions about these practicals will appear in the written papers. New A level (AQA) – Two Year

Component      Weighting            Format

Paper 1              35%              External exam: 2 hours

Paper 2              35%              External exam: 2 hours

Paper 3              30%              External exam: 2 hours

Practical work: 12 practicals must be completed, assessed and recorded through the two years. Questions about these practicals will appear in the written papers, mostly in Paper 3, and a Practical Skills Endorsement to accompany the A level certificate will only be awarded to those able to evidence that they have completed these practicals. Legacy A level (AQA) – Two Year

AS             Weighting               A Level          Format

Unit 1          30%                     15%              External exam: 1 hour

Unit 2          50%                     25%              External exam: 1 hour 45

Unit 3          20%                     10%              Coursework: Internal Tutor assessed (ISA) or Externally assessed (EMPA)

Unit 4                                      15%              External exam: 1 hour 15

Unit 5                                      25%              External exam: 2 hour

Unit 6                                      10%              Coursework: Tutor assessed

At A2 an A* grade will be awarded to those students scoring over 90% in Units 4 and 5 on the UMS.



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       I travelled from Windsor to come to Blackwater Academy for tutoring in mathematics and economics. Mr. Adams made it very easy for me as lessons were pre planned and focused on my weak areas

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    Simon changed the way I looked at Chemistry A level, making it easier for me to understand and very concise

Sahrish, Erdington-Birmingham



      Has worked wonders for my son, he has become confident in his abilities across the curriculum

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