GCSE Syllabus

Last exams for the current GCSE Chemistry syllabus, graded A* to G, will occur Summer 2017.

Thereafter, commencing Summer 2018, GCSE Chemistry will be examined under the new specification, graded 9 to 1. Teaching for the new specification should commence in Year 9 from September 2015.


Current specification (click here)

Proposed new specification

Paper 1
• Questions on topics 1–5
• 1 hour 45 minutes, 100 marks
• Questions: multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open-response.

Paper 2
• Questions on topics 6–10
• 1 hour 45 minutes, 100 marks
• Questions: multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open-response.

Summary of content (divided into 10 topics)
1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
1.1 A simple model of the atom, symbols, relative atomic mass, electronic charge and isotopes
1.2 The periodic table
1.3 Properties of transition metals

2. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
2.1 Chemical bonds: ionic, covalent and metallic
2.2 How bonding and structure are related to the properties of substances
2.3 Structure and bonding of carbon
2.4 Bulk and surface properties of matter including nanoparticles

3. Quantitative chemistry
3.1 Conservation of mass and the quantitative interpretation of chemical equations
3.2 Use of amount of substance in relation to masses of pure substances
3.3 Yield and atom economy of chemical reactions
3.4 Using molar concentrations of solutions 3.5 Use of amount of substance in relation to volumes of gases

4. Chemical changes
4.1 Reactivity of metals
4.2 Reactions of acids
4.3 Electrolysis

5. Energy changes
5.1 Exothermic and endothermic reactions
5.2 Chemical cells and fuel cells

6. The rate and extent of chemical change
6.1 Rate of reaction
6.2 Reversible reactions and dynamic equilibrium

7. Organic chemistry
7.1 Carbon compounds as fuels and feedstock
7.2 Reactions of alkenes and alcohols
7.3 Synthetic and naturally occurring polymers

8. Chemical analysis
8.1 Purity, formulations and chromatography
8.2 Identification of common gases
8.3 Identification of ions by chemical and spectroscopic means

9. Chemistry of the atmosphere
9.1 The composition and evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere
9.2 Carbon dioxide and methane as greenhouse gases
9.3 Common atmospheric pollutants and their sources

10. Using resources
10.1 Using the Earth’s resources and obtaining potable water
10.2 Life cycle assessment and recycling
10.3 Using materials
10.4 The Haber process and the use of NPK fertilisers

GCSE Practical Chemistry
There will be eight required practicals and all will be familiar.
The specification will give clear information on the requirements and guidance about how to integrate practicals into day-to-day teaching.