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Chemistry OCR Advanced GCE

Chemistry B (Salter’s) is designed to be taught in context. The course takes pupils on a journey through ten Storylines, while introducing chemical concepts in a spiral approach. These Storylines engage pupils through learning in a contemporary context and range from concerns about the ozone layer to the development of new medicines. In Chemistry, there are 10 overarching areas:

  • Elements of life
  • Developing fuel
  • Elements from the sea
  • The ozone story
  • What's in a medicine
  • The chemical industry
  • Polymers and life
  • The oceans
  • Developing metals
  • Colour by design

The first 5 topics are taught in the Lower 6th and cover many chemical ideas which are explored within different topics as part of a ‘spiralling curriculum’.

This is a very accessible course that relates Chemistry to its everyday roots and has a high practical content. This course suits those pupils who are prepared to play an active role in their own learning and involves a variety of teaching styles encompassing experimental, research, presentation and problem solving based activities.

This specification is uniquely different from other A Level specifications because:

  • It starts from applications and develops the theory as required
  • It introduces chemical topics in one unit and revisits them in later units
  • All external units in the examinations ask all the questions in context
  • There is an advance notice passage included in the A Level Paper 2 which can be studied, researched and discussed by pupils well in advance of the unit test

Pupils will be assessed on how well they carry out a wide range of practical work and how to record the results of this work. These hands on skills form the practical endorsement. By carrying out experimental work through the course, pupils will develop their ability to:

  • Design and use practical techniques to investigate and solve problems
  • Use a wide range of experimental and practical apparatus, equipment, and materials, including chemicals and solutions
  • Carry out practical procedures skilfully and safely, recording and presenting results in a scientific way
  • Research using online and offline tools

Pupils will be taught the necessary skills to be a competent and effective practical chemist.

Year 1 Topics

Topic 1 (Sep-Nov) - Elements of Life

  • The model of the atom
  • Emission and absorption spectra
  • Electronic structure and atomic orbitals
  • Periodicity
  • Chemical bonding
  • Chemical quantities
  • Ionic substances and bonding
  • Group 1 and 2 reactivity
  • Solutions of acid and bases

Topic 2 (Sep-Nov) - Developing Fuels

  • Naming hydrocarbons
  • Isomerism and cracking
  • Heterogeneous catalysts
  • Mechanisms
  • Calorimetry
  • Hess' Law
  • Enthalpy
  • Fuels
  • Emissions

Topic 3 (Dec-Mar) - Elements from the sea

  • Group 7 reactivity
  • Redox reactions and oxidation states
  • Electrolysis
  • Chemical equilibrium
  • Reactions of chlorine
  • Reactions of hydrogen halides
  • Le Chatelier’s principle

Topic 4 (Dec-Mar) - The ozone story

  • Gas calculations
  • Radiation energy calculations
  • Radical reactions
  • Rates of reactions
  • Homogeneous Catalysts
  • Haloalkanes
  • Intermolecular bonding
  • Nucleophilic substitution

Topic 5 (Apr-Jun) - What’s in a medicine?

  • Organic groups
  • alcohols and their reactions
  • carboxylic acids and their derivatives
  • infrared spectroscopy
  • mass spectroscopy
  • Aspirin
Year 2 Topics

Topic 1 (Sep-Oct) - The chemical industry

  • Nitrogen chemistry
  • Equilibrium Constant, Kc
  • Le Chatelier’s Principle
  • Measuring Rates of Reactions
  • Rate equations and the rate constant
  • The Arrhenius equation
  • Analysing progress curves
  • Half-life of reactions
  • The Rate determining step
  • Manufacturing chemicals

Topic 2 (Sep-Oct) - Polymers and Life

  • Carboxylic acids
  • Esters and polyesters
  • Amides and polyamides
  • Amines
  • Amino acids
  • Proteins
  • Enzymes
  • Molecular recognition
  • DNA
  • Translation
  • Transcription
  • Mass spectroscopy
  • 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Topic 3 (Nov-Feb) - The Oceans

  • Ions in solution
  • Enthalpy changes of solution
  • Radiation
  • Brønsted-Lowry theory
  • Strong and weak acids
  • Calculating pH
  • Buffers and calculations
  • Solubility equilibria
  • Enthalpy
  • Entropy

Topic 4 (Nov-Feb) - Developing metals

  • Electronic configuration of d-block elements
  • Variable oxidation states
  • Catalytic activity of transition metals
  • Coloured compounds
  • Ligands
  • Redox reactions
  • Electrode potentials and Ecell values
  • Electrochemical cells
  • Rust
  • Chemistry of complexes

Topic 5 (Mar-Apr) - Colour by design

  • Coloured organic molecules
  • Electronic transitions and colour
  • Benzene
  • Reactions of benzene rings
  • Arenes
  • Reactions of arenes
  • Azo compounds
  • Bonding dyes to fibres
  • Oils and fats
  • Gas-liquid chromatography
  • Organic synthesis
  • Aldehydes and ketones
  • Functional group reactions
  • Classification of organic reactions




Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus