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A - Level Chemistry Courses - which course is better?

Discussion in 'Science' started by isabellamistry, May 21, 2012.

  1. Hello All
    We are introducing A-level Chemistry for the first time this September. I am currently trying to choose a course.
    I would appreciated if anyone could share with me any of their opinions on the different courses. I am currently erring towards OCR Salters' Chemistry

  2. Don't do it!!!

    OCR Salters requires them to develop a huge amount of understanding and application, that unless they are very bright they don't understand.

    Also the Key course texts don't help much in my opinion!

    Others may well have different views but if you are looking at OCR go with Chemistry A!
  3. We run Salters chemistry. In my view only very bright students will cope with the rigours of any A level chemistry course. We used to run spec A but the students couldnt apply their knowledge in context very well and there were limited opportunities for them to do so. The coursework component of Salters is unique and all our students have benefitted so much from the experience, setting them up for beginning their further studies at uni by enabling them to work independently. Everything that is examinable is in the course texts plus there is a wealth of support from the Salters team at York University.
    I would recommend getting onto the SAC website and undertaking some of the training they run at the University.

  4. I echo what is said in post 2! Salter's chemistry is not a course for inexperienced chemistry teachers, it is also quite expensive to set up. I would say OCR A or AQA because they cover the basics in a fairly traditional way which will allow you to innovate once you're happy with the content. A-level chemistry is a demanding course, a minimum of grade B in additional science or chemistry GCSE and grade B maths is best as preparation.
  5. Thanks. No one has mentioned Edexcel Chemistry. Do people have any views on Edexcel versus OCR versus A-level?
  6. Sorry, meant to add AQA instead of A-level!
  7. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I teach OCR A and it covers all the content in a logical way (one of my issues with Salters) and the practical assessments are straightforward both for technicians to prepare and for students to complete.
  8. in my experience salter's is percieved by univeristies to be easier and less rigorous that Chemistry A
    and some of the stuff which is covered is GCSE whereas other bits which aren;t inlcuded but are uncluded in Chemistry A is what I and my students percieve to be the hard stuff
  9. Hi

    I have taught both OCR chemA and AQA. they are both traditional courses covering the foundations of physical inorganic and organic at As and building upon these at A2 along with a healthy dose of practical..

    The biggest differences in terms of content are that OCR A has more of a focus on green /environmental chemistry at As level and AQA more of a focus on redox group 7 and extraction of metals

    At A2 AQA has much more emphasis on organic reaction mechanisms in mod 4 and a huge focus on transition metal reaction in aqueous solution in mod 5. OCR A focus is more on the physical chemistry and aromatic organic.

    Both have a practical coursework component. OCR A very very easy for technicians and staff to run these are marked in house by teachers and moderated. very similar for AQA, However there is also an EMPA externally marked practical exam option with AQA which has better grade boundaries * see comments by other teachers in earlier posts

    So in my opinion it would depend on the skills of your staff and the confidence each of them have in their subject knowledge, technician skills and requirements for organic preparations at A2.

    either way would recommend getting some exam board training and the Exampro database for which ever you choose.

    hope this helps

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