Exam Board: AQA

Why study this subject?

Chemistry is so fundamental to our everyday lives and touches almost every aspect of our existence in some way. Chemistry is essential for meeting our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, health, energy, and clean air, water, and soil. A foundation understanding of chemistry is so vitally important within all aspects of science and many engineering courses.

What will a lesson look like?

A typical chemistry lesson will require you to recall knowledge from the previous lesson, followed by the learning of new knowledge and making notes on that theory. Drawing diagrams is an important part of studying chemistry and there is a combination of written answers and some maths based content.

Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the properties, composition, and structure of elements and compounds, how they can change, and the energy that is released or absorbed when they change.

Carrying out experiments and observing practicals is a big part of applying the knowledge you will learn in lessons and you will be tested on that knowledge using exam questions.

You will often be asked to describe, explain and evaluate the evidence from experiments and draw your own conclusions too.

What does Homework look like in this subject?

In GCSE Chemistry, homework will fall into one of two categories; pre-learning or relearning. Where a pre-learning homework is set this will be used as your basis for the next step in learning and gives you an insight into where the future lessons will be going but also the aspects within that topic that you struggle with. This kind of homework is key so that you come into the lessons with a initial appreciation of where we will be going within the topic. These homework tasks may consist of projects or pre-reading.

For relearning, this is done to cement ideas and understanding gained during lesson time and the benefits of this type of homework will be the retention and deeper understanding of each topic. These types of homework tasks will often focus on exam questions. 


GCSE Chemistry is assessed on a 100% written Examination split between two 1hr and 45 min written papers each worth 50%.

Paper 1 (1 hr 45 mins):

1.    Atomic Structure
2.    Periodic table
3.    Bonding, Structure and Properties of Matter
4.    Quantitative Chemistry
5.    Chemical Changes
6.    Electrolysis
7.    Energy Changes

Paper 2 (1 hr 45 mins):

1.    Rate of Reaction
2.    Equilibrium
3.    Organic Chemistry
4.    Chemical Analysis
5.    The Atmosphere
6.    Using Resources

Where can it lead?

GCSE Chemistry acts as a foundation for many A level and university courses.

A firm understanding of chemistry gained from GCSE will aid you in all the sciences including physics and biology but also in subjects such as product design and engineering where your foundation understanding of polymers and materials gained in GCSE Chemistry will be developed. The transferable skills learnt through topics such as quantitative chemistry, where manipulation of formula is important, will also aid in subjects such as Maths and computer science. Chemistry is also one of the only subjects that must be sat at A level to be able to access courses such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and pharmaceutical science.