A Level Analytical Chemistry for teachers


Our A level Analytical Chemistry course is primarily led by Dr Cate Cropper and Dr Ian O'Neil, both of whom have taught spectroscopy to undergraduate chemistry students for a number of years. The final session is focused on answering exam questions, and is led by our A Level specialist Dr Carly Brooke. The aims of the course are:

  • To gain a detailed understanding of the principles of each of the types of spectroscopy covered in the A Level syllabi
  • To practise applying this knowledge methodically in the elucidation of organic structures
  • To explore tried and tested methods of teaching analytical chemistry to A Level students
  • To understand how to maximise marks in examination questions

Structure of the Day

The workshop is delivered across four sessions, with breaks for refreshments and lunch in between. The sessions cover the theory of IR, mass spectrometry and NMR as well as the use of spectroscopic data in structure elucidation of organic molecules. The final session provides an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained to exam situations, with a focus on maximising marks in exam questions.

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


CPD Suite

Central Teaching Laboratories

University of Liverpool

L69 7BX

Email: info@chem-education.com

Outline of the Day


9.30am –Registration and coffee


10am – Session 1: Theory of NMR, IR and mass spectrometry


11am – Coffee break


11.15am – Session 2:  From spectra to structure


12.15pm – Lunch break


1pm – Session 3: Elucidation workshop


2.15pm – Coffee Break


2.30pm – Session 4: Approaching exam questions


3.30pm - Finish

Session Details

Session 1

This session focuses on enhancing understanding of the theory behind the three key analysis techniques covered in A Level chemistry – there will be a major focus on NMR as this is the one that is most commonly poorly understood. The theory of NMR will include proton exchange (D2O shakes) to identify N-H and O-H environments, choice of reference, solvent choice and the origin of coupling between proton environments.

Session 2

This session focuses on interpreting spectra methodically, using the information to build up fragment libraries and ultimately elucidating whole structures. The session will include characteristic fragmentations (relevant to AQA only) and isotope patterns in mass spec, using characteristic peaks in IR spectra to suggest potential functional groups and processing the wealth of information that can be gleaned from NMR. 

Session 3

This session allows delegates to practise the skills they have learnt in the first two sessions. They will be presented with analytical data for a range of compounds and will work in teams to elucidate the structure of each. The RSC's Spectroscopy in a Suitcase initiative will also be introduced. This half day workshop can be delivered to any school in the Merseyside region free of charge, and gives students hands on experience of NMR and IR analysis.

Session 4

The final session aims to give guidance on how maximum marks can be achieved when approaching analysis questions in examination situations. This will include what information should be accounted for in each spectrum and interpretation to build simple fragments. We will then move to building complex fragments and putting them together to deduce the total structure.