Fast Track A Level in Chemistry

Fast Track A Level in Chemistry

(Full AS+A2) 2420

OverviewFast Track A Level in Chemistry

Chemistry is an impressive subject to have on a CV – highly respected by universities and employers alike it shows a depth of learning that requires numerous skills of its students; maths, scientific reasoning, written and spoken communication and practicality among many others. It is for this reason that Chemistry is considered a highly academic subject that keeps many of life’s “doors” open to you.

This particular course will encourage you, the student, to: –

  • Explore the very basic, core principles of chemistry – including the structure of the atom, modes of bonding and the concept of periodicity
  • Discover the basics of the world of organic chemistry – from organic nomenclature to understanding some of the key reaction mechanisms.
  • Further develop understanding of chemical concepts such as equilibria and thermodynamics
  • Uncover the world of aromatic chemistry and the fascinating macromolecules known as polymers
  • Consider all the concepts and ideas in a real-world setting and discover how these principles are applied.


This course consists of six units:

  • CHEM1: Foundation Chemistry
  • CHEM2: Chemistry in Action
  • CHEM3: Practical Skills in AS Chemistry
  • CHEM4: Kinetics, Equilibria and Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM5: Energetics, Redox and Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM6: Practical Skills in A2 Chemistry

The AS Units

CHEM1: Foundation Chemistry

Our understanding of the atom and its structure has not long been so advanced, and it is only in the last century or so that we have begun to piece together the true miracle of the building blocks of our world. Unit 1 uses the concept of the atom and applies it to some common areas of chemistry – How are atoms held together? How was the periodic table arranged, what does it mean? How does atomic structure inform the behaviour and properties of elements and compounds?

The areas that this module looks at are: –

  • Atomic structure – revises the idea of the atom and focusses on the evidence we have for its structure. The idea of atomic orbitals is introduced as well as the technique of Mass Spectrometry, a technique used to measure the masses of atoms.
  • Amount of substance – you will discover the concept of the “mole” as a quantity and how this can be used to calculate theoretical and percentage yields – how much of a product is or can be obtained from a given reactant.
  • Bonding – This section revises the three main types of strong bond – ionic, covalent and metallic but also introduces the concept of weak bonding forces such as hydrogen bonding and van der Waals interactions.
  • Periodicity – Here you will begin to understand the beauty of the periodic table as a way of organising the elements and you will discover trends in behaviour among members of the same period.
  • Introduction to organic chemistry – This provides a basic grounding in the chemistry of organic, carbon compounds and looks at the naming system, or nomenclature, and the concept of isomerism and introduces the idea of the “functional group”
  • Alkanes & Crude Oil – This section looks at the idea of fractional distillation and how a natural product, crude oil, can be split in constituent components. These components are alkanes and you will be introduced to this family of carbon compounds and their importance and behaviour.

CHEM2: Chemistry in Action

Chemistry in action continues to develop on ideas discovered in unit 1 and understanding gained at GCSE level covering the very core principles of why chemical reactions happen or indeed why they don’t and also investigates some of the important elements and compounds involved in our everyday lives.

  • Energetics – you will revise the concept of exothermic and endothermic reactions and will discover the concept of enthalpy. You will also encounter different methods of measuring enthalpy change and see how enthalpy changes dictate the efficiency or very existence of a chemical reaction.
  • Kinetics – this is all about rates of reaction – how fast reactions proceed. You will look at factors effecting the rates of chemical reactions, how we can control them and ways of speeding up sluggish reactions. You will also discover some high-level mathematical models in kinetics such as the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution
  • Equilibria – this introduces the concept of reactions that can proceed in both directions and do not necessarily go to completion, these are equilibria and you will see how we can change the position of equilibria and factors affecting chemical equilibria.
  • Redox – Builds on your understanding of reduction and oxidation reactions and introduces the idea that these concepts involve the movement of electrons. You will also discover the concept of oxidation states and how these affect chemical reactions
  • The Halogens – Group 7 of the periodic table consists of the some very unique, reactive gases and this section will look at their behaviour, reactivity and electron structures and you will see how behaviours differ and relate within a group like this.
  • The Alkali Metals – Group 1 of the periodic table is home to some very reactive metals and here you will look at the electron structures and understand on this level why these metals are so reactive. You will also see various behaviours in the presence of other substances.
  • Extraction of metals – Metals exist naturally as components of minerals called “ores” this section looks at how to extract the precious or useful metal from its ore and connects appropriate methods with the varying reactivity of the different metals.
  • Further Organic Chemistry – This section expands on the brief introduction to organic chemistry provided in unit 1 – and here you will discover three new families of organic compounds and how they fit into our world.
  • Analytical techniques – Analytical techniques delves into the world of chemical analysis and will develop on your understanding of mass spectrometry and introduces the very important technique of Infra-red spectroscopy which is used to identify organic compounds based on the functional groups present.

CHEM3: Practical Skills in AS Chemistry

This unit is worth 20% of the total AS marks and 10% of the total GCE marks

The content of Units 1 and 2 provides a basis for different practical topics which may be used for experimental and investigative skills. The experience of dealing with such activities will develop the skills required for the assessment of these skills in the Unit.

You will discover and become familiar with ‘standard’ laboratory equipment which is deemed suitable at AS level, throughout your experiences of carrying out their practical activities.
In the course of your experimental work, you will learn to: –

  • demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques
  • process and select appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
  • make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations
  • make measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy
  • analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental and investigative activities in a variety of ways.

With Oxford College, you will follow the Externally Marked Option, Route X.

Suggested reading

While this course is designed so you do not need to invest in textbooks – it may be beneficial to get an alternative point of view by looking at the textbook below: –

AQA AS Chemistry – Ted Lister & Janet Renshaw –  Nelson Thornes –  ISBN: 978-0-7487-8280-2

The A2 Units

CHEM4: Kinetics, Equilibria and Organic Chemistry

Unit 4 takes you back into the field of physical chemistry building on the ideas first introduced at AS: –

  • Kinetics – You will develop your understanding of rates and reactions introducing more complex maths into its explanation and prediction including the introduction of the concept of the rate-determining step of a reaction mechanism.
  • Equilibria – You will revisit the AS material on equilibria and start to deduce mathematical representations and calculations to predict the position of equilibrium according to a set of given parameters and conditions.
  • Acids, bases & buffers – Here you will reconsider your definitions of acids and bases you will also encounter a mathematical formula used to calculate the pH of a solution and differentiate between weak and strong acids and bases. You will also investigate the mechanics of a buffer solution that maintains a constant pH.
  • Nomenclature and isomerism – This section goes deeper into the naming protocols for organic compounds, extends your understanding to include more functional groups and the idea of optical isomers.
  • Carbonyls – The carbonyl group, a double bond between a carbon atom and an oxygen atom is a very important functional group in organic chemistry. Here we look at the three members of the carbonyl “family” – aldehydes, ketones and carboxylic acids.
  • Aromatic chemistry – You will discover the very interesting molecule, C6H6, otherwise known as Benzene, a cyclic compound with very interesting properties and behaviours owing to the new concept of “aromaticity”
  • Amines – Another new organic functional group is introduced here, the amines, relating to the functional group –NH2. Common reaction mechanisms are considered and this involves completely new reaction concepts.
  • Amino acids – The building blocks of life – amino acids are the monomers that come together to make the innumerable, vital proteins found in our everyday lives – our bodies and our environment. Without them life would not exist and here we look at their chemistry and why they are so vital
  • Polymers – Builds on the AS work on polymers and addition polymers but also introduces you to a new polymerisation concept – condensation polymerisation. Polymers are a very important topic of debate currently and the course will look at their issues, biodegradability and recycling.
  • Organic synthesis – This very interesting section encourages you to discover the means to build a specific organic molecule using various organic reactions discovered earlier in the course and how you work through these step wise to achieve your target molecule. This is coupled with analysis techniques used to check the molecule is pure and indeed accurate – this revisits IR Spectroscopy, Mass Spec and introduces NMR in a whole new applied context.

CHEM5: Energetics, Redox and Inorganic Chemistry

  • Thermodynamics – Builds on the basic ideas encountered at AS – introduces the new concept of entropy – order and disorder in chemical reactions.
  • Periodicity – Here you will discover how trends are formed within periods and how each member of a period differs form the next
  • Redox Equilibria – Understanding of redox is built on further, redox reactions are compared in terms of electrode potentials and the movement of electrons – all of which is used to predict the direction of redox reactions.
  • Transition Metals – The transition metals have unique electron structures which give their compounds intriguing characteristics – one of which are there striking array of colours; here you will discover what it is that makes these metals stand out from the rest.
  • Reactions of inorganic compounds – This section involves the reactions of metal ions in solution and the technique of electrolysis which is used to split metal salts into their constituent elements.

CHEM6: Practical Skills in A2 Chemistry

This unit is worth 10% of the total A-Level marks and builds on the experimental techniques and understanding developed in Unit 3 – with units 4 and 5 now the basis of the practical techniques.

Suggested reading

While this course is designed so you do not need to invest in textbooks – it may be beneficial to get an alternative point of view by looking at the textbook below: –

AQA A2 Chemistry – Ted Lister & Janet Renshaw –  Nelson Thornes –  ISBN: 9978-0-7487-8279-6


Unit 1 – CHEM1 Foundation Chemistry

Examination paper (70 marks). 4 – 6 short answer questions plus 1 – 2 longer structured question(s).

1 hour 15 minutes

33⅓% of the total AS marks

16⅔% of the total A-level marks
Available in June only


Unit 2 – CHEM2 Chemistry In Action

Examination paper (100 marks). 6 – 8 short answer questions plus 2 longer structured questions.

1 hour 45 minutes

46⅔% of the total AS marks

23⅓% of the total A-level marks


Available in June only


Unit 3 – CHEM3X Practical Skills in AS Chemistry

Externally Marked Route X (50 marks)

Practical Skills Verification (PSV – teacher verification)

Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 50 raw marks)

20% of the total AS marks

10% of the total A-level marks
Available in June only


Unit 4 – CHEM4 Kinetics, Equilibria and Organic Chemistry

Examination paper (100 marks) 6 – 8 short answer questions plus 2 – 3 structured questions.

1 hour 45 minutes

20% of the total A-level marks


Available in June only


Unit 5 – CHEM5 Energetics, Redox and Inorganic Chemistry

Examination paper (100 marks). 6 – 8 short answer questions plus 2 – 3 longer structured questions. Some of the questions will have synoptic elements.

1 hour 45 minutes

20% of the total A-level marks


Available in June only



Unit 6 – CHEM6X Practical skills in A2 Chemistry

Externally Marked Route X (50 marks)

Practical Skills Verification (PSV – teacher verification)

Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 50 raw marks)

10% of the total A-level marks
Available in June only




The titles of the qualifications as will appear on certificates are:

AQA Advanced GCE in Chemistry: AS/A2 – A level in Chemistry

Both AS and A2 level courses and examinations must be successfully completed to gain a full A level.


AQA Chemistry (2420)

Course Fee


Payment by Instalments

Students are able to pay course fees in monthly instalments.

What’s Included

Online Learning Documentation, Online Resources,plus priority Tutor support for 1 year.

Entry Requirements

Though the A-level builds on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking this A-level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literary and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE, though full tutor support is given throughout.

Study Hours

Approximately 90 hours per unit

International Students

If you are based outside the UK, it may be possible to sit your examination through your local British Council, depending on your location. Please contact the examination board OCR for details on examination centres in your country.

Further Information

Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.

In the student ‘On Campus’ area you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community. After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 3 working days.

Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.

Materials and support provided by Oxford Learning.  Oxford Learning

A paper copy and PDF copy of course materials are also available to purchase in the online enrolment process

Enquire now