Chemistry

Board:  OCR CHEMISTRY B (SALTERS)

The OCR Salters course is probably the most applied of the A level Chemistry courses currently offered and seeks to teach chemistry through an innovative approach whereby all the chemical principles which are applicable to a particular subject of current interest and relevance are taught at the same time.  This enables pupils to understand both the “big picture” and the underlying fundamentals. The ‘drip-feed’ approach to teaching and learning chemical principles allows candidates to revisit a particular area several times during the course, each time taking their knowledge and understanding a step further.  As such thinking and analytical skills are strongly developed and the course is highly regarded by both Higher Education establishments and employers. In particular the course supports and interacts well with the Biology course which is currently offered at the Marist and is particularly enjoyed by pupils wishing to pursue future careers in medicine, the veterinary sciences and engineering due to the many relevant topics which are encountered.  The course is fully supported by a dedicated support package written and developed by the University of York Science Education Group.

Aims

The course takes students on a journey through ten Storylines which engage students in learning in a contemporary context and range from concerns about the ozone layer to the development of new medicines.  Students have many opportunities to develop and practise their investigational and problem-solving skills.  Practical skills are assessed in a specially designed written paper at the end of the A level course and within the other written examinations. 

Course Details

  • The ten Storylines are;
  • Elements of Life
  • Developing fuels
  • Elements from the sea
  • The ozone story
  • What’s in a medicine
  • The chemical industry
  • Polymers and life
  • Oceans
  • Developing metals
  • Colour by design

Colour by design

Level

Unit of Assessment

Mode of Assessment

Weighting

AS %

Weighting

A2 %

AS

Foundations of chemistry

Written examination

20 marks multiple choice

50 marks structured questions covering theory and practical

 

50

-

AS

Chemistry in depth

Written examination

70 marks structured questions and extended response questions covering theory and practical

50

-

A2

Fundamentals of chemistry

Written examination

30 marks multiple choice

80 marks structured questions on theory and practical

 

 

-

 

 

41

 

A2

Scientific literacy in chemistry

Written examination

100 marks structured questions and extended questions covering theory, practical and chemical literacy

-

37

A2

Practical skills in chemistry

Written examination

60 marks structured questions and extended response questions with a focus on the assessment of practical skills

-

22

 

In addition there will be a non-exam assessment reported separately based on practical skills demonstrated in the laboratory.  This will be teacher-assessed and will be a pass/fail.

Changes to Course

All exams for the full A2 course will now be at the end of Year 13.  The AS qualification will remain available and exams may be taken at the end of Year 12 but no marks from these exams will count towards the A2. 

Entry Requirements

iGCSE Chemistry at B grade is essential but A grades are preferred.  A minimum B grade for GCSE Mathematics is also needed.

Teaching approaches

The course is taught by two teachers offering different Storylines in parallel.

The course provides a stimulating and worthwhile range of experiences which aims to encourage pupils to:

  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of modern chemistry
  • sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in chemistry
  • develop intellectual and practical skills that will be of value to their future life and in the study of chemistry
  • develop the ability to study both independently and co-operatively
  • develop positive attitudes of mind, including interest, initiative, open-mindedness and a positive attitude towards the study and applications of chemistry
  • become aware of the nature of scientific and technological endeavour and of the various contexts in which the work of chemists is important to society

Careers and combinations at ‘A’ level

Chemistry is a basic requirement for courses in medicine, dentistry, chemical engineering, veterinary medicine and some biological science courses and most universities will not contemplate making an offer to candidates on these courses unless a good A level grade in Chemistry is obtained.  The course can also provide those taking other scientific disciplines with a good background and in many cases an advantage when studying any science at a higher level. Along with other science ‘A’ levels, Chemistry gives a good training in thinking skills, which will be invaluable in any chosen career.

Chemistry is also an A Level that can be suitably combined with languages and arts subjects to broaden other AS options. Science/arts combinations are acceptable for many areas of study including Law, Philosophy, Psychology and Social and Political Sciences.