Chemistry AS and A Level


Hi! Welcome to Cambridge AS and A Level Chemistry. We will give you an overview of the syllabus, assessment and some examples of the topics covered. Also, provide examples of some university courses and careers which need chemistry. Following a Cambridge International AS & A Level, the programme helps students develop abilities which universities value highly, including:

• a deep understanding of their subjects

• higher-order thinking skills – analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving

• presenting ordered and coherent arguments

• independent learning and research

1. What will I study?

For IGCSE, you studied the following topics:
1 The particulate nature of matter
2 Experimental techniques
3 Atoms, elements and compounds
4 Stoichiometry
5 Electricity and chemistry
6 Chemical energetics
7 Chemical reactions
8 Acids, bases and salts
9 The Periodic Table
10 Metals
11 Air and water
12 Sulfur
13 Carbonates
14 Organic chemistry

We build on your IGCSE knowledge in AS and cover new concepts too. For example, topics such as atomic structure and bonding we introduce new ideas and review your previous knowledge and understanding. The key concepts for Cambridge International AS & A Level Chemistry are:

• Atoms and forces – Matter is built from atoms interacting and bonding through electrostatic forces. The structure of matter affects its physical and chemical properties, and influences how substances react chemically.

• Experiments and evidence – Chemists use evidence gained from observations and experiments to build models and theories of the structure and reactivity of materials. Theories are tested by further experiments and an appreciation of accuracy and reliability is gained.

• Patterns in chemical behaviour and reactions – Patterns in chemical behaviour can be identified and used to predict the properties of substances. By applying these patterns, useful new substances can be designed and synthetic routes created.

• Chemical bonds – The understanding of how chemical bonds are made and broken by the movement of electrons allows us to predict patterns of reactivity. Appreciation of the strength of chemical bonds leads to the understanding of a material’s properties and its uses.

• Energy changes – The energy changes that take place during chemical reactions can be used to predict the extent, feasibility and rate of such reactions. An understanding is gained of why and how chemical reactions happen.AS Level subject content

Candidates for Cambridge International Chemistry study the following topics:


Physical chemistry 

1 Atomic structure
2 Atoms, molecules and stoichiometry
3 Chemical bonding
4 States of matter
5 Chemical energetics
6 Electrochemistry
7 Equilibria
8 Reaction kinetics
9 Inorganic chemistry
10 The Periodic Table: chemical periodicity
11 Nitrogen and sulfur 
12 An introduction to the chemistry of transition metals


Organic chemistry

13 An introduction to AS Level organic chemistry
14 Hydrocarbons
15 Halogen compounds
16 Hydroxy compounds
17 Carbonyl compounds
18 Carboxylic acids and derivatives
19 Nitrogen compounds
20 Polymerisation
21 Organic synthesis



22 Analytical techniquesAS Level candidates also study practical skills – there is a practical assessment (Paper 3), which is a 2-hour examination where you do three experiments. 

See Assessment section below. A-Level subject contentCandidates for Cambridge International A-Level Chemistry study the AS topics and the following topics:


Physical chemistry

23 Chemical energetics
24 Electrochemistry
25 Equilibria
26 Reaction kinetics
27.Inorganic chemistry
28 Chemistry of transition elements 


Organic chemistry

29 An introduction to A-Level organic chemistry
30 Hydrocarbons
31 Halogen compounds
32 Hydroxy compounds
33 Carboxylic acids and derivatives
34 Nitrogen compounds
35 Polymerisation
36 Organic synthesis



37 Analytical techniquesA-Level candidates also study practical skills (Paper 5), which assesses your experimental skills and knowledge but does NOT involve an actual practical exam. See Assessment section below.

2. How will I be assessed?


Candidates following an AS Level route will be eligible for grades a–e. 

Candidates following an A-Level route are eligible for grades A*–E.

Ch1 End of Chapter-Questions

To give you an idea of the type and standard of questions. These have been taken from the Cambridge textbook.

Ch1 End of Chapter-Answers

Careers and Further Study

Chemistry can be useful in many different job families such as engineering and manufacturing, science and research, as well as medicine and nursing and environmental science. 

Chemistry is essential if you wish to be a Doctor, Nurse, Chemical Engineer, Dentist, Veterinary Surgeon, Pharmacist, Materials Scientist, Environmental Scientist, and many other jobs. 

Even if you do not study a science subject at university, it is still an excellent discipline and recognised as being a challenging subject to employers and universities. 

Of course, some students pursue higher degrees and become academics teaching and researching at university level, while others use their skills in industry and business.