Key Skills for A Level Chemistry


The new A Level syllabi for chemistry have placed increased demands on students in terms of the key skills that underpin the content covered. In terms of maths skills, the exam boards have stated that 20% of questions will require the contextual use of skills that are at least the level of higher tier GCSE maths. The specification also requires a very good understanding of many of the concepts that are studied in GCSE chemistry, with many being further developed throughout the A Level. Moreover, all assessment for the final A Level grade will now take place at the end of the two year course. It is therefore more important than ever that students ensure they are fully prepared for the demands of A Level. This course provides opportunities for students to firmly embed the key skills they need to approach A Level chemistry, giving them a solid foundation on which to build their knowledge and understanding of the challenging concepts they will face.

Structure of the Day

The workshop is delivered across four sessions, with breaks for refreshments and lunch in between. The sessions cover concepts such as ionic formulae, balanced equations, rates of reaction (delivered alongside graph skills), molar ratios, percentage yield, limiting reagents and titration. The final sessions brings together all of the content, demonstrating how exam questions can link topics to raise challenge. The minimum tutor to student ratio for the course is 1:4.

A detailed break down of the day and the topics covered in each session is given below. If you have any queries please don't hesitate to contact us.

Next course: Summer 2017

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CPD Suite

Central Teaching Laboratories

University of Liverpool



Timings of the Day

 9.15am –Registration and welcome


 9.45am – Introduction to the day


10 am – Session 1: Key skills in chemistry


11am – Break


11.15 am – Session 2: Rates of reaction and graph skills for A Level chemistry


12.15 pm – Lunch break


1 pm – 2.30 pm – Session 3: Molar ratios, reacting masses, percentage yield and limiting reagents


2.30 pm – Break


2.45 pm - 4 pm – Session 4: The link between moles, concentration and volume and titration calculations

Session Details

Session 1

This session focuses on developing the fundamental maths and chemistry skills that are required to embark upon AS/A level chemistry. This includes rearranging equations (including squares and logs/inverse logs), standard form, significant figures, converting units, balancing equations and building ionic formulae.

Session 2

This session will develop students' ideas about rate of reaction, the factors that affect it and how it can be measured. This will incorporate opportunities for students to practise analysing experimental data, plotting accurate graphs and using them to extrapolate data, all of which are skills that are focused upon in the A Level syllabi.

Session 3

 This session builds upon ideas around the concept of a mole and using stoichiometry (molar ratios) to determine reacting masses. The concepts of percentage yield and limiting reagents are also developed and students will be given the opportunity to apply their knowledge to A Level standard questions. This sessions also incorporates aspects of the key maths skills covered in session 1.

Session 4

The final session develops the concept of concentration in mol/dm3 and incorporates this into titration calculations. Students who show good understanding of titration and the associated calculations will be stretched with more challenging contexts and introduced to back titrations, which extend the topic to A Level standard. This session also incorporates many of the maths and key chemistry skills covered in session 1.