What is Chemistry all about?

Chemical processes are important in improving human health, preventing environmental problems and rehabilitating degraded environments. In this study of Chemistry, a thematic approach has been adopted, and throughout the study contexts have been provided to apply chemical knowledge to technology and society. Students will investigate, explore and solve qualitative and quantitative problems and discuss chemical concepts and issues.

This study enables students to:

    • Apply models, theories, and concepts to describe, explain, analyse and make predictions about chemical phenomena, systems, structures and properties, and the factors that can affect them
    • Understand and use the language and methodologies of chemistry to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
    • Understand the cooperative, cumulative, evolutionary, and interdisciplinary nature of science as a human endeavour, including its possibilities, limitations, and political and sociocultural influences
    • Develop a range of individual and collaborative science investigation skills through experimental and inquiry tasks in the field and in the laboratory
    • Develop an informed perspective on contemporary science-based issues of local and global significance
    • Apply their scientific understanding to familiar and unfamiliar situations, including personal, social, environmental, and technological contexts
    • Develop attitudes that include curiosity, open-mindedness, creativity, flexibility, integrity, attention to detail and respect for evidence-based conclusions
    • Understand and apply the research, ethical and safety principles that govern the study and practice of the discipline in the collection, analysis, critical evaluation, and reporting of data
    • Communicate clearly and accurately an understanding of the discipline using appropriate terminology, conventions, and formats


The study is made up of four units.

Unit 1: How can the diversity of materials be explained?

This unit examines a range of chemical processes and activities through the study of common materials. The chemical nature of materials is explored through an investigation of their and properties and their modification. All areas of study in this unit involve the design and performance of experiments.

Unit 2: What makes water such a unique chemical?

This unit examines a range of chemical reactions with the emphasis on the writing of chemical equations and performance of calculations based upon them. Students are encouraged to evaluate the environmental impact of human activity on the biosphere. All areas of the study involve the design and performance of experiments.

Unit 3: How can chemical processes be designed to optimise efficiency?

This unit explores the global demand for energy and materials. Students study chemical production of materials with reference to efficiencies, renewability and minimisation of their impact on the environment. Students compare energy sources, both new and emerging and use stoichiometry to calculate amounts of reactants and products.

Unit 4: How are organic compounds categorised, analysed and used?

This unit examines the chemistry of the carbon atom, organic compounds that not only constitute living tissues but are also found in fuels, medicines and many of the materials we use in everyday life. Students study the ways in which organic structures are represented and named. They process data from instrumental analysis of these molecules to deduce organic structures and perform volumetric analysis to determine the concentration of organic chemicals.


There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students who enter the study at Unit 2 or 3 may need to undertake preparatory work. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4 and in view of the sequenced nature of the study, it is advisable that students undertake Units 1 to 4.


Satisfactory Completion

Demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit.

Levels of Achievement

Units 1 and 2

School-based assessment consisting of coursework, assessment tasks and an exam

Units 3 and 4

  • Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 16 %
  • Unit 4 school-assessed coursework: 24%
  • End-of-year examination: 60 %