Course at a glance

Examining Board: AQA
Next Examination Period: May / June 2026
Exam Specification Code: 7405
Coursework Element: No
Practical Element: Yes
Course Fee Includes: Online course materials and tutor support. Additional materials available at extra cost.
Fast Track Option: Fast Track A Level Chemistry
Payment Options: Interest free instalment plans available

AQA A Levels are available for study anywhere in the world. Examinations must be taken in a registered UK exam centre. It is recommended students check with UK examining centres that the chosen exam is available.


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.

A Level Chemistry Entry Requirements

Although the AQA A Level Chemistry programmes build on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking an A-Level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literacy and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE. Please note that full tutor support is still provided throughout your course duration.

All students must be 16 years of age or above.

A Level Chemistry Course Duration

2 years.

Study Hours Required

Approximately 350 hours.

Awarding Body


AQA A Levels are available for study anywhere in the world. Examinations must be taken in a registered UK exam centre. It is recommended students check with UK examining centres that the chosen exam is available.

Examination Information

Students are required to arrange and pay for their A Level Chemistry 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.

All examinations are held during the May / June exam period of every year.

Further information on exam centres can be found here:



A Level Chemistry Course Content

The full A Level Chemistry consists of 6 units of content:

A Level Chemistry Unit 1 Physical chemistry

3.1.1 Atomic structure
3.1.2 Amount of substance
3.1.3 Bonding
3.1.4 Energetics
3.1.5 Kinetics
3.1.6 Chemical equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle and Kc
3.1.7 Oxidation, reduction and redox equations

The opening unit begins by looking at the atom, the building blocks of chemistry and considers how the atom is made up and how this impacts the chemistry of the molecules they form.  We then look at concentrations of solutions and the concept of the ‘mole’ as an amount of substance. The unit continues on to look at how atoms bind together using different types of bonding to form molecules and how the type of bonding influences the properties of a given compound. Energetics covers the energy transfers involved in chemical reactions and we investigate the requirements for a chemical reaction to successfully occur. The kinetics topic in the A-Level course show the student how the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution and collision theory are key in the creation of models in chemistry and how they account for the different effects that changing variables can have on the rate of a reaction before the unit finishes off by looking at equilibrium reactions can go in both directions and investigates ways in which we can control the reaction, and finally, redox reactions, types of reactions that involve the loss and gain of electrons.

A Level Chemistry Unit 2 Inorganic chemistry

3.2.1 Periodicity
3.2.2 Group 2, the alkaline earth metals
3.2.3 Group 7(17), the halogens

Unit 2 concentrates on the chemistry of inorganic compounds (those not generally involved in living things and do not contain the element, carbon). In this unit, we look at the periodic table and some of the key families of elements within it.

A Level Chemistry Unit 3 Organic chemistry

3.3.1 Introduction to organic chemistry
3.3.2 Alkanes
3.3.3 Halogenoalkanes
3.3.4 Alkenes
3.3.5 Alcohols
3.3.6 Organic analysis

Unit 3 introduces the organic compounds all of which share in common the elements carbon, hydrogen and often oxygen or nitrogen. The unit opens by introducing some common ideas in organic chemistry including how to name an organic compound based on its constituent elements and the coordination of these elements within the molecule. We then look at four particular groups of organic compounds, before discovering ways in which we can analyse organic compounds to identify them.

A Level Chemistry Unit 4 Physical chemistry

3.1.8 Thermodynamics (A-level only)
3.1.9 Rate equations (A-level only)
3.1.10 Equilibrium constant Kp for homogeneous systems (A-level only)
3.1.11 Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells (A-level only)
3.1.12 Acids and bases (A-level only)

Unit 4 builds on the AS unit 1, exploring in greater depth the path of energy through chemical reactions. We also build on our understanding of the requirements for a reaction and start to calculate and measure the actual rate of a given reaction and the precise position of equilibrium reactions. The unit introduces the idea of electrode potentials as a way of observing the movement of electrons in redox reactions.

A Level Chemistry Unit 5 Inorganic chemistry

3.2.4 Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides (A-level only)
3.2.5 Transition metals (A-level only)
3.2.6 Reactions of ions in aqueous solution (A-level only)

Unit 5 introduces further inorganic chemistry and looks at the behaviour of two further groups of the periodic table including the intriguing chemistry of the transition metals. The unit also looks at how ions dissolved in water behave and how reactions can occur within an aqueous solution.

A Level Chemistry Unit 6 Organic chemistry

3.3.7 Optical isomerism (A-level only)
3.3.8 Aldehydes and ketones (A-level only)
3.3.9 Carboxylic acids and derivatives (A-level only)
3.3.10 Aromatic chemistry (A-level only)
3.3.11 Amines (A-level only)
3.3.12 Polymers (A-level only)
3.3.13 Amino acids, proteins and DNA (A-level only)
3.3.14 Organic synthesis (A-level only)
3.3.15 Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (A-level only)
3.3.16 Chromatography (A-level only)

Unit 6 expands on the learner’s understanding of organic chemistry gained in the first year of the course.  Five new organic families are introduced and we also look at how organic molecules can be synthesised within the laboratory environment as well as how organic molecules relate to biological molecules such as DNA and proteins. We expand on organic analysis techniques and consider two new types of technique that can be used to identify organic compound.


For the full A-Level you will sit three exam papers:

A Level Chemistry Paper 1

Content examined

• Relevant physical chemistry topics (sections 3.1.1 to 3.1.4, 3.1.6 to 3.1.8 and 3.1.10 to 3.1.12)
• Inorganic chemistry (section 3.2)
• Relevant practical skills Exam Details

Exam details

• Written exam: 2 hours
• 105 marks
• 35% of A-level


105 marks of short and long answer questions

A Level Chemistry Paper 2

Content examined

• Relevant physical chemistry topics (sections 3.1.2 to 3.1.6 and 3.1.9)
• Organic chemistry (section 3.3)
• Relevant practical skills

Exam Details

• Written exam: 2 hours
• 105 marks

• 35% of A-level


105 marks of short and long answer questions

A Level Chemistry Paper 3

Content examined

• Any content
• Any practical skills

Exam Details

• Written exam: 2 hours
• 90 marks
• 30% of A-level


40 marks of questions on practical techniques and data analysis
20 marks of questions testing across the specification
30 marks of multiple choice questions


The title of this qualification as will appear on certificates is the AQA A-Level Chemistry (7405)

All the exams must be taken and passed to achieve the full A-Level qualification The AS-level title as will appear on certificates is the AQA AS Chemistry (Specification number: 7405)

The AQA AS and A-Level are linear courses, which means that you will sit your exams at the end of your AS course (for AS students) or at the end of the full A-Level course (For full A-Level students)

Further Reading

CGP Revision Guide – New A-Level Chemistry: AQA Year 1 & AS Complete Revision & Practice with Online Edition – 978 1 78294 287 0. AS LEVEL & A-LEVEL

CGP Revision Guide – New A-Level Chemistry: AQA Year 2 Complete Revision & Practice with Online Edition– Due for release in September 2015, 978 1 78294 339 6 FULL A-LEVEL ONLY

Nicholls – AQA A Level Chemistry Year 1 7 AS Student Book – 978-0007590216– Publisher: Collins AS LEVEL & A-LEVEL

Bayley, Clark, Coppo – AQA A-Level Year 2 Student Book – 978-0007597635 – Publisher: Collins FULL A-LEVEL ONLY

Previous Knowledge

There is no requirement to have studied Chemistry previously, although good use of English language and maths skills (both ideally to level 3 or equivalent) would be expected.


Our A Level Chemistry programmes are eligible for UCAS points, making them a great choice for students aiming to progress to University. UCAS points are awarded according to the grade earned, please see below for details.

A levels are also widely recognised by employers and are useful for students looking to progress their careers or meet requirements for promotion.

UCAS Points Table

A* = 56
A = 48
B = 40
C = 32
D = 24
E = 16