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AEAs were last offered in Summer 2009, when they were replaced with the the A* grade at A level, Maths is still offered at AEA but 2015 will be the last year it is offered.


'Therefore most of the following is outdated and only remains on TSR for REFERENCE ONLY.

The Chemistry AEA is a qualification introduced in 2002 aimed at the top end of the candidates for Chemistry A-level. It is based on the core A-level specification, as outlined by the QCA, and as with all AEAs the material is designed to be independent of exam board or specification route. It is administered by AQA, with examination code 6821.


Contents

Structure

In line with all other AEAs, the Chemistry AEA is a linear qualification (as opposed to modular A-levels), consisting of a single three-hour exam. It is only available in the summer session each year; the exam is usually in the last week of the exam calendar for A-levels. There are three sections, designated A, B and C. The paper is worth 120 marks, although from 2002 to 2004 (and including the specimen paper), the paper was worth 160 marks. This reduction in the marks available aimed to give "more time to consider and develop their answers", but "the questions set were intended to have the same demand". A calculator is required for the exam; a required formula will usually be in the question itself as there is no formula sheet.

Section A contains a question based on a passage for comprehension. The parts of the question ask for pieces of relevant chemistry not explicitly provided by the passage, such as an explanation of a piece of information using chemical principles, or applying a type of reaction given in the passage to a particular substance. The section is worth 10 marks (having been reduced down from 15 marks in 2005; the specimen paper gives 16 marks for this question); it is advised that 30 minutes are spent on this section.

Section B comprises three questions, roughly centred on physical, inorganic, and organic chemistry respectively. Each question is worth 30 marks, so section B as a whole is worth 90 marks (before 2005, and in the specimen, 40 marks per question were available in this section, so 120 marks were available). Within each question, not all of it is necessarily based on the same situation; the question usually skips between several topics within the field of chemistry, with few links between the parts of each question. Most of the calculation occurs in section B; these questions usually have only minimal guidance. Drawing diagrams is usually required, especially chemical structures for the organic chemistry question 4, and often for the inorganic chemistry question 3 too.

Section C is composed of a single "essay-like" question, split into two parts: 5a and 5b. There is a choice between these two parts of the question. Each question option contains a series of bullet points, which comprise the required material to be covered in the answer (although prior to 2005, the bullet points were fewer in number and less detailed; the 2002 and the specimen paper lack any bullet points to elaborate, which made section C closer to an essay). These points required generally cohere together well, although they draw on concepts from different topics, including those between AS and A2. This section is worth 20 marks, composed of 17 marks for specific chemical points and 3 marks for QWC: 'quality of written communication' (before 2005, there were 25 marks available for section C; in the specimen paper 24 marks were available for this section, of which 4 were QWC marks).


Grading

Like all AEAs, the Chemistry AEA has two grades, Distinction and Merit. Distinction is the higher grade, Merit is the lower grade; there is no mere 'pass'.

Performance Level Descriptors

Merit

  • use and apply the specified chemical knowledge, with few significant omissions;
  • select the relevant chemical information, principles and concepts and bring together principles and concepts from different areas of chemistry in seeking a solution, demonstrating a clear understanding of relationships between these;
  • demonstrate good understanding of principles and concepts, applying them to familiar and new contexts;
  • communicate their ideas clearly and logically, making use of appropriate chemical and mathematical terminology;
  • carry out calculations in a logical manner, even when little guidance is given;
  • are thoroughly conversant with the use of chemical equations and use them in a range of contexts, including quantitative contexts;
  • interpret, analyse and evaluate qualitative information and quantitative data from a range of sources, identifying weaknesses and strengths, and drawing appropriate inferences.


Distinction

  • use and apply the specified chemical knowledge, with no significant omissions;
  • select and use the relevant chemical information, principles and concepts, recognise information that is not relevant, and bring together principles and concepts from different areas of the subject in seeking a solution, demonstrating a clear and deep understanding of the relationships between these;
  • apply principles and concepts in a range of familiar and new contexts proficiently and sometimes innovatively;
  • communicate their ideas with clarity and precision, selecting a form appropriate to the context, and make effective use of appropriate chemical and mathematical terminology, concepts, data and techniques in constructing arguments and solving problems;
  • carry out calculations in a logical and concise manner, even when no guidance is given;
  • are thoroughly conversant with the use of chemical equations and use them in a range of contexts, including quantitative contexts, and will select ways of presenting and using chemical equations appropriate to the context;
  • interpret, analyse and evaluate qualitative information and quantitative data from a range of sources, identifying weaknesses and strengths, and suggest improvements, and draw inferences and, where appropriate, relate these to other contexts.


Future

Like almost all other AEAs (the sole exception is the Maths AEA), the last Chemistry AEA is in the summer 2009 session. After this, it will be withdrawn.


Links

AQA Advanced Extension Award Chemistry (BROKEN)

AQA AEA Chemistry Past Papers and Mark Schemes (BROKEN)

QCA page on the science AEAs (BROKEN)

Papers and mark schemes for the Chemistry AEA from 2003 to 2008, along with the specimen paper and mark scheme.

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