Studying chemistry gives us the opportunity to better understand and influence the world that we live in.
Chemistry is the science of all matter and the changes it undergoes. Everything we can see is made of the chemical elements and the compounds that they form.
The applications of chemistry are wide-ranging. Drugs, plastics, glass, fuels, dyes, toiletries, metals and alloys are just a small sample of the products that chemistry has provided for us. Silicon, a chemical element, is used widely in electronics for computers due to its semiconductor properties. Metals, like aluminum, titanium and steel, are used in the manufacture of planes, trains, cars, bridges etc. Chemists help to keep our water clean, ensure our food is safe to eat, protect the environment, make our medicines and are instrumental in the development of new materials. Nanoscience is opening up even more avenues for research and development.
The A level course addresses many of the social, economic and ethical issues in providing for an increasing population in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
Many of the topics covered are recognisable from your GCSE studies. There will be greater emphasis on understanding the principles behind the chemistry and more refined and detailed modelling of particle behaviour.
Practical tasks will be more sophisticated and involve skilful use of a wider range of equipment and techniques. You will synthesise and purify more complex products as well as carry out various analytical techniques with precision. These skills lead to a practical endorsement alongside your exam grades.
In terms of studying chemistry, the opportunities after A level are limitless. As well as careers in medicine, veterinary science, research, agriculture and industry, chemists can find themselves working in finance, marketing, publishing, journalism, commerce, patent law and accountancy to name but a few career paths. It was recently reported that chemistry graduates are well sought after as well as enjoying the highest starting salaries of any discipline, more so than the arts, humanities or even other sciences.