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Aiming for grades A/A* in the 2023 exams

Course Code:


Achievement in AQA A Level Chemistry requires students to overcome some key challenges in order to secure a top A/A* grades in the upcoming AQA A Level Chemistry 2023 exam. Students need to be able to recall a wealth of knowledge across the varied disciplines of chemistry study and apply this knowledge in familiar and unfamiliar situations. Chemistry students have a variety of strengths and weaknesses so a range of techniques are needed to ensure they can achieve the best possible mark over the 3 main subject areas: physical, organic and inorganic chemistry; as well as the practical component.

This intensive new course will demonstrate how to guide your students to achieve their maximise possible grades in future AQA A Level Chemistry examinations. The course is designed for teachers of AQA A Level Chemistry, but would be of benefit to teachers of other exam boards as well.

Please note the topics for the sessions will be adapted as required according to the announcement to change post 07 February 2022.


  • Explore the key concepts in chemistry that underpin topic content to develop an integrated approach to chemistry study
  • Develop the use of retrieval practice to promote student recall, supporting the teaching of the most challenging A Level topics.
  • Increase awareness of what we should aim to achieve with the most able Chemists
  • Take away fresh ideas, approaches and methods that challenge A/A* students and support their further development
  • Develop greater understanding of the precision and detail that examiners are looking for in A/A* students
  • Find out more about the barriers to progress and ways to support highly able students to overcome them


The ingredients for success in AQA A Level Chemistry

10.00 – 10.15am
  • Identifying and highlighting the core concepts to build an integrated approach to teaching chemistry. What are the ‘first principles’ in chemistry that give students a solid foundation for A Level study?

Structuring an excellent two-year linear teaching course

10.15 – 11.00am
  • Planning the course with the end in mind
  • How to plan to present material in small steps across the two years of study to support students in developing their skills and knowledge required
  • Identifying foundational knowledge that supports teaching of the most challenging areas of the course
  • Sequencing topic content appropriately allowing opportunities to embed retrieval practice


11.00 – 11.15am

Every Mark Matters: a look at some of the topics students find most challenging

11.15 – 12.15pm
  • Dealing with the maths – a look at some of the challenging areas of physical chemistry including: challenging titration questions, graphs and related questions, pH and buffers
  • Mechanisms – A look at the more challenging areas of organic chemistry and how to get students to identify the correct mechanism and then draw it accurately.
  • Memory and explanations – A look at some of the more challenging areas for inorganic chemistry
  • Avoiding potential hazards – what can cost a top student their A/A* grade?

Every Mark Matters: using the required practicals to promote understanding of the theory

12.15 – 1.00pm
  • How to integrate the practicals with the theoretical aspects of the course.
  • Explaining the practicals. Strategies to get the students to think about the methods rather than just blindly carrying them out.
  • Making the practicals real. Linking the practicals to the real world to promote engagement and understanding.
  • Where are marks lost? – what does an A Level Chemistry student need to do to obtain maximum marks on practical questions.
  • Integrating practical skills and theoretical content – evaluating conclusions made by other scientists – why students don’t seem to get it?


1.00 – 2.00pm

Preparing for challenging exam questions

2.00 – 2.45pm
  • Providing scaffolds to develop examination technique and build student confidence in answering trickier question types.
  • Strategies to help students excel when answering questions involving maths and graphs.
  • Modelling approaches to unfamiliar context questions
  • Example responses

Stretching and challenging A/A* Chemistry students

2.45 – 3.30pm
  • RSC Olympiad resources and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge – using questions over and above recommended reading, preparing for Oxbridge – signposting, pushing and probing
  • Embedding RSC Olympiad resources and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge resources into schemes of work and lessons to stretch the most able students in Chemistry.
  • Strategies for stretching A/A* students in a mixed-ability classroom and challenging complacent high-achievers. Embedding example Oxbridge interview questions in lessons to increase depth and breadth of student understanding.

Q&A, Evaluation and Close

3.30 – 3.40pm


Online | Wednesday 28 September 2022
London | Wednesday 25 January 2023

Please select your preferred date

Online | 25 September 2022
London | Wednesday 25 January 2023

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Chris Coloney is an experienced teacher of Chemistry, Head of Science and latterly a College Principal. He is the author of numerous educational textbooks, including the much praised Collins Advanced Science Chemistry, now in its third edition.

As a Senior A Level Examiner, he understands how important it is that students acquire and develop the science skills necessary for success. He leads training courses for teachers both in the UK and overseas and is passionate about making science relevant, accessible and fun.


  • Heads of Science
  • Heads of Chemistry
  • Teachers of AQA A-level Chemistry


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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