Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is often called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful preparation for employment.
Chemistry is a challenging subject which provides students with a link between the world around them and the more abstract world of Physics or the cellular world of Biology. It sets out to explain how things work on a molecular level which can help us in terms of understanding processes for industry and in the treatment of disease.
We require students to have obtained at GCSE level a grade 7, 7 in the Combined Science Award or ‘7’ in the Chemistry Separate Science Award. The main distinction between IB and GCSE, apart from the difficulty of the material in terms of the underlying concepts involved, is the emphasis which is placed on your own role in the learning process. As much as anything else, the IB course is trying to prepare you for University life, both academically and in terms of the learning process.
As one of the three natural sciences in the IB Diploma Programme, chemistry is primarily concerned with identifying patterns that help to explain matter at the microscopic level. This then allows matter’s behaviour to be predicted and controlled at a macroscopic level. The subject therefore emphasises the development of representative models and explanatory theories, both of which rely heavily on creative but rational thinking.
DP chemistry enables students to constructively engage with topical scientific issues. Students examine scientific knowledge claims in a real-world context, fostering interest and curiosity. By exploring the subject, they develop understandings, skills and techniques which can be applied across their studies and beyond.
Integral to the student experience of the DP chemistry course is the learning that takes place through scientific inquiry both in the classroom and the laboratory.
IB Chemistry falls within group 4. You will be externally assessed at the end of the course on the following theory topics at Higher level only.
chemistry syllabus content overview
The IB has a strong focus on practical skills. Students at higher level are required to spend 60 hours on practical work.
Students are assessed on a scientific investigation which they design, carry out and evaluate. This counts towards 20% of your final grade. We aim to take students on a spectroscopy trip to support Analytical Chemistry (Topic: Structure 3).
The IB programme also includes a collaborative sciences project which is an interdisciplinary science project addressing global issues. This typically takes 10 hours of timetabled time and results in a presentation of findings and self-reflection on your contribution to the process. The exercise should be a collaborative experience where the emphasis is developing skills in team building, negotiation and leadership.
- Chemistry Cambridge Challenge
- Chemistry Cambridge Race
- Chemistry Olympiad
- Science Society
- Medicine Society
- Chemistry in Action
Studying chemistry can lead to jobs in cutting-edge technologies within science and research as well as roles outside the laboratory. Many of our students go on to study Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Forensic Science, Chemical engineering.
N.B. This list is by no means exhaustive and further information should be obtained from the School’s Careers Advisers.
You should also note that the study of Chemistry both at IB and at degree level develops exactly the key skills so much in demand from prospective employers e.g. logical deductive thought processes and high level problem solving ability.
IB Chemistry students would benefit from completing IB Mathematics to at least a Standard Level.