Chemistry is central to an understanding of natural phenomena and the creation of useful products.
Chemists are at the forefront of research in new technologies in medicine, materials, food and alternative energy production. It is because of this key role in emerging markets that employment prospects are good.
However, it is important to remember that the skills acquired in Chemistry are applicable to many different and varied career choices. Eltham College follows the AQA Chemistry specification (7405) at A Level. The modern syllabus builds on topics begun at GCSE, advancing a fundamental understanding of key principles. Many skills are developed throughout the course, such as mathematical problem solving, analysis and evaluation. Students may already be familiar with some topics in this course from GCSE, but these are now studied in much more depth. In the Lower Sixth, students study foundation topics such as atomic structure, periodicity, quantitative chemistry, energetics, organic chemistry and analytical techniques. During the Upper Sixth, students are introduced to topics which include equilibria, aromatic chemistry, thermodynamics, and inorganic chemistry.
The A Level course is designed specifically to ensure that the learning of the subject is, where possible, practically based. It is necessary to provide evidence that around 12 core practical tasks have been completed, though in practice many more experiments are carried out across the two year course. The practical tasks enable students to develop the necessary observational and analytical skills required of a good scientist. Students learn to handle chemicals with confidence and gain the dexterity to carry out practical procedures with due care to accuracy and safety.
Chemistry A Level is almost always essential for entry into Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Chemical Engineering as well as most Medical and Biological Sciences. A Level Chemistry provides a sound training in scientific methodology and enquiry, which is highly regarded in higher education and in the wider world of employment. As well as becoming scientists, engineers and doctors, students with Chemistry often move into areas of Business Management, Law and Finance where a logical, enquiring mind is a highly desirable asset.