Chemistry GCSE

This course follows the AQA GCSE Chemistry syllabus. It is a linear syllabus suitable for the post-16 student. You will need a sound knowledge of Maths and English to succeed on this course and you will need to have knowledge of how you learn - your preferred learning style for example - as well as a knowledge and understanding of study skills. This is a busy and comprehensive written examination based course.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics

Topic 1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
Atoms, elements and compounds
The development of the model of the atom
Relative charges of subatomic charges
Size and mass of atoms
Relative atomic mass
Electronic Structure
The Periodic Table
Properties of Transition Metals

Topic 2. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
Chemical bonds, ionic, covalent and metallic
How bonding and structure are related to the properties of substances
Structure and Bonding of Carbon
Bulk and surface properties of matter, including nanoparticles

Topic 3. Quantitative chemistry
Chemical measurements, conservation of mass and the quantitative interpretation of chemical equations
Use of amount of substance in relation to masses of pure
Yield and atom economy of chemical reactions
Using concentrations of solutions in mol/dm3
Use of amount of substance in relation to volumes of gases

Topic 4. Chemical changes
Reactivity of metals
Reactions of acids

Topic 5. Energy changes
Exothermic and endothermic reactions
Chemical cells and fuel cells

Topic 6. The rate and extent of chemical change
Rate of reaction
Reversible reactions and dynamic equilibrium

Topic 7. Organic chemistry
Carbon compounds as fuels and feedstock
Reactions of alkenes and alcohols
Synthetic and naturally occurring polymers

Topic 8. Chemical analysis
Purity, formulations and chromatography
Identification of common gases
Identification of ions by chemical and spectroscopic means

Topic 9. Chemistry of the atmosphere
The composition and evolution of the Earth's atmosphere
Carbon dioxide and methane as greenhouse gases
Common atmospheric pollutants and their sources

Topic 10. Using resources
Using the Earth's resources and obtaining potable water
Life cycle assessment and recycling
Using materials
The Haber process and the use of NPK fertilisers

Required practicals
Eight required practicals -
Making salts
Temperature changes
Rates of reaction
Identifying ions
Water purification

You can sit the exams at either foundation tier or higher tier. If you take foundation tier, you can achieve grades within the range 1-5. If you take higher tier, you can achieve grades within the range 4-9. After Christmas, you will discuss with your tutor which tier you would like to take.

Entry Requirements

To be eligible for this course you must be 19 or over on 31st August prior to the course start date.

In order to enrol onto this course you need to have established skills at Level 2 Maths and Level 2 English as a minimum. You will need to sit a computer based initial assessment to indicate and evidence your current level of Maths and English.

If you have been asked to complete an English and/or maths screening test, it is important that you read the following information -
The entry requirements for the GCSE Science course on the screening tests are Level 2 English and Level 2 Maths
You should allow sufficient time for the screening test (up to 1 hour per test), so that you are not rushed.
You should take the screening tests seriously, as the tests results will determine which course/s you can enrol on
If you do not achieve the required levels on the screening tests for your chosen course, then you will not be offered a place on the course.
It would be sensible to complete the screening tests on a separate day prior to the interview
Please note we only allow one attempt at these screening assessments

First Class Requirements

You should bring along an A4 writing pad as well as a selection of pens. You will also need to purchase a scientific calculator - preferably one of the Casio FX series, which will cost in the region of c£9.00 - though if you already have a scientific calculator, it should suffice for the course. Please discuss this with your tutor. You should also purchase the textbook for the course, which the tutor will advise you of in the first session. You will also need a 30 cm Ruler, and 2mm (light blue or grey) squared graph paper. You need to bring these resources with you to each session unless directed by the tutor.

Attendance Requirements

You attendance is required at each and every session. You are expected to have 100% attendance. If you feel you cannot commit to this expected level of attendance, then you should consider whether this is a suitable course for you. If you are unable to attend any one session then you are asked to notify the tutor in advance so that they can liaise with you on the work and topics, which will be covered during that session. We must stress though that attendance at every session is important for you as a learner and for your tutor as well as your classmates as it ensures continuity in the teaching and consequently in your learning. Because of the demands of the course, there is limited time for the tutor to spend on each topic. Hence, s/he will keep moving forward. This is why it is important for you as a learner to keep up with the homework and to work as a pro-active learner in the classroom; contributing in a positive and constructive manner and asking questions when you are unsure.

Assessment Methods

Your assessment is through 2 x 1 hour 45 minute exam papers on different nationally set days. You will sit the exam papers in May and June, dates to be confirmed. Please note the exam dates and times will be different to your class day and time. Each paper is worth 50% of the marks. Paper 1 will assess Topics 1-5: Atomic structure and the periodic table; Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter; Quantitative chemistry, Chemical changes; and Energy changes.. Paper 2 will assess Topics 6-10: The rate and extent of chemical change; Organic chemistry; Chemical analysis,
Chemistry of the atmosphere; and Using resources.

Further Study Options

GCSE Chemistry is an entry requirement for a significant number of HE courses and in particular Teacher Training courses. It is also a qualification required and sought by a significant number of employers

Additional Information

As a result of the government’s closure of schools and colleges, some of our courses will be delivered through remote learning including video conferencing, (using Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and email contact with your tutor.

If your course is indicated as an ONLINE COURSE, you will need either a PC (with a camera and microphone), laptop, tablet, smartphone and access to the internet to be able to join the lessons. Lessons will run at the published time – so be ready and set up to join in.

We hope you will enjoy this new approach to learning – many of our learners have commented on how they are enjoying the classes and have improved their IT and digital skills in the process.

Please don't worry if some of this is new to you - you are not alone! See here for guidance on how to use our simple software. If you are experiencing any problems with connection or installing software for your online class please contact our learning resource team on We are here to help you.

Please be aware that there is a significant level of commitment required of you in order to successfully complete this course. If you are willing to commit to the course and the college in this way then we will support you through the course.

You will be expected to do at least 3 to 4 hours of homework per week.