Our Subject


An introduction to Chemistry
A Level Chemistry FAQs

Studying Chemistry at this level will take you some way to understanding how the universe works, in its basic form. You, for example, are almost entirely composed of just six different elements. At Bilborough you will learn fundamental theory and mathematical methods to help you understand the changes that take place in chemical reactions. Chemistry is also a practical subject, so your learning will be enhanced with lab work and demonstrations. Ours is an impressively resourced department, with state-of-the-art laboratories and five teaching staff with a dazzling thirteen degrees between them. Our students achieve impressive results every year with many achieving the very highest A* grade; up to 40% of students in the top performing classes! If you choose us you can rest assured you will only be taught by fully qualified and inspirational chemistry teachers with many years A-level teaching experience.

To study Chemistry at Bilborough, you will need to have a minimum of a grade 6 in GCSE Maths and a 5 in English Language. In addition you need to have a 6 in Core and Applied GCSE Double Science or a 6 in Chemistry GCSE if you have studied Triple Science. You must also have a strong work ethic both in and out of lessons.

BTEC Science Level 2 and Applied Science is not sufficient, but please consider our BTEC Science Level 3 courses.

Our links with HE

Because chemical reactions lie at the heart of how living systems function, an A-level in Chemistry is essential for reading Medicine, Veterinary Science and many other related degrees. In fact, it is probably the most in-demand A-level for university, with many admissions departments insisting upon an A grade for entry. Bilborough aims to go one further and secure you an A*: our track record shows this is a realistic expectation for our students.

Every year many of our chemists go on to study Medicine, Natural Science and other high-calibre courses at top universities, including Oxbridge. We like staying in touch with our alumni, who return to share their success with current students. Feedback from universities shows that Bilborough College students cope admirably with their degrees, and universities are keen to see more of our star chemists in the future.

Course Structure

We follow the OCR-A specification, assessed with six hours of exams at the end of Year 13 and no coursework.

We strive to enhance our students’ learning and CVs with opportunities to go for extra qualifications. Almost all students reach the standard where they choose to enter the highly regarded Cambridge Chemistry Challenge which takes place in June in Year 12. In Year 13 there is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry Olympiad – a two-hour exam which really stretches you beyond the normal requirements of A-level.


We push our students well beyond the levels required by other centres. Students complete at least five hours of challenging homework every week, tackling questions of increasing difficulty, from a diverse range of exam boards. Unlike some centres we really check that all of this is completed and don’t let students under-achieve.  We have very regular tests which include questions designed to really stretch the high flyers. Our greater depth of study in Chemistry has resulted in spectacular results in the national Chemistry Olympiad with 52 medals in 2017 including 19 silver and three gold (perhaps the best state sector results nationally). The 2016 Cambridge University Chemistry Challenge results were incredibly good with one student achieving the highest possible Roentgenium award (only awarded to the top 48 students in the UK), plus five Gold awards, 9 Silver awards and 35 Copper awards.”
–  Bilborough College’s Chemistry department

“I think the encouragement and being pushed by teachers in the Chemistry department has really helped me to achieve higher than my predicted grade in my last two Chemistry exams.”
–  Student

“I’ve really loved all of the lessons, particularly enjoyed the transition metal stuff as the practicals really cemented what I knew and understood to be happening.”
–  Student

Discover more in

Science and PE

Also on offer

Skip to content