Why choose this specification?

GCSE Chemistry gives students an insight into the chemical processes, reactions and transformations that impact on our daily lives, from the products we use, the buildings we live in and the food we eat.

Its structure allows opportunities for co-teaching and flexibility in curriculum planning because of unit overlaps with the GCSE Science A, Additional Science and Further Additional Science specifications.

It can contribute towards the Science component of the English Baccalaureate if students enter all four separate sciences – GCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science – and achieve grades A* to C in at least two of them.

Teachers like:

  • the lesson and homework ideas and the numerous ideas for practical activities
  • the fact that the practical work opens students up to the 'magic' of Chemistry
  • the fact the specification contains lots of green elements eg looking at the impact on the environment of burning fossil fuels which appeals to eco-minded students
  • the fact the course encourages students to think logically in a way that can be applied to a whole range of other subjects
  • the clear additional guidance on the level of detail required.

Students like:

  • being able to come up with questions and ideas for practical work and then carry it out
  • learning how things work and how products can be created
  • learning how the properties of substances can be used to solve problems or fill a need
  • the green elements of the course
  • how it makes them look at everyday things in a new way
  • the experiments that they get to do and watch.

Knowledge/Skills gained:

  • understanding of Chemistry
  • observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem-solving skills
  • grasp of how hypotheses, evidence, theories and explanations work together
  • understanding of how Chemistry can affect society and the environment
  • awareness of risk and the ability to assess and weigh risk against potential benefits
  • ability to evaluate claims using scientific methods
  • skills in communication, Maths and the use of technology in scientific contexts.


  • tools to help plan workload, create exam resources, check student progress and become consistent in marking
  • Enhanced Results Analysis to help understand student strengths and weaknesses
  • access to subject departments
  • training for teachers, including practical teaching strategies and methods that work, presented by senior examiners
  • individual support for controlled assessment
  • 24-hour support through the website and Ask AQA
  • past question papers and mark schemes
  • a wide range of printed and electronic resources for teachers and students.


Students have to enter all the assessment units at the end of the course in June, at the same time as they enter for the subject award. Re-sits can be taken in any of the June series available, until the end of the specification. Students who choose to re-sit must sit all of the exams in the next series.

As a consequence of the move to linear assessment, students may carry forward their controlled assessment unit result(s) following the initial moderation and aggregation during the lifetime of the specification.

Overlap with other qualifications

The Unit 1 content of GCSE Chemistry is used as the Chemistry Unit in GCSE Science A. The same Unit 1 content is covered in GCSE Science B, though not as one self-contained unit.

The Unit 2 content of GCSE Chemistry is used as the Chemistry Unit in GCSE Additional Science.

The Unit 3 content of GCSE Chemistry is used as the Chemistry Unit in GCSE Further Additional Science.

Private candidates

Private candidates must have their centre-assessed work supervised and assessed at an AQA school/college. Please consult the information on our private candidates page.

Follow-on study

GCSE Chemistry could lead on to further study in Chemistry at A-level or other related subjects, or more vocationally-related courses.