IB Chemistry

Course description

The course aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and ethical minds. Through studying Chemistry pupils gain a thorough understanding of a wide range of aspects of Chemistry and also become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. Wherever possible the course draws upon environmental and technological contexts and identifies the social, moral and economic effects of science. Both the Standard and Higher Level courses cover: atomic structure and bonding, quantitative chemistry and errors, periodicity; energetic, kinetics, equilibrium; organic chemistry; advanced organic chemistry, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction, chemistry in industry and technology. Students sit one optional module which makes up questions in Paper 3, at Wellington College students follow the Medicinal Chemistry option.

Coursework (24%) is made up of a 10 hour individual investigation taken in class time and written up during prep sessions.

The topics are the same across SL and HL, but the more challenging parts of each course are omitted at standard level and so this means the SL course provides a good general grounding in Chemistry which is accessible to a wide range of students, including those who do not study another science.


Most students achieve an A* before starting, but as a minimum pupils must have attained at least an 8/9 grade in GCSE Science (ideally triple award Chemistry) and have strong understanding of scientific principles. A confident grasp of maths and manipulation of figures is expected and solid IT skills are desirable. It combines particularly well with those wishing to study Biology.

Potential careers

Chemistry provides an excellent opportunity to understand what goes on in the world around us. It challenges us to understand complex interactions and develops a wide range of skills which are easily applicable to a wide range of careers. It is incredibly well regarded in fields as diverse as Law, Accountancy and all scientific disciplines. It is essential (often at Higher Level) for some vocational careers such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.

Contact for further information

Dr C D Evans: cde@wellingtoncollege.org.uk