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Chemistry is a practical subject and laboratory skills and techniques are developed within a framework, which pays due regard to health and safety and promotes an awareness of their uses and limitations. It is hoped to develop positive pupil attitudes through success and enjoyment of the subject. 


The Cambridge IGCSE Chemistry syllabus (0620) is a linear course and is studied over three years. It is a demanding course with a significant practical component and it develops good analytical skills and emphasises the use of Mathematics as a tool to solve problems. It is perhaps a more traditional course than other IGCSE level courses and demands decent algebra skills and the ability to memorise and make use of fundamental formulae. Although this is quite demanding it is excellent preparation for studying Chemistry at IB. All students start the Chemistry IGCSE course, but can opt instead for Coordinated Science during the Middle Fifth.

The syllabus itself consists of 20 topics and each one is divided in to a core and extended curriculum. Students entered for a higher tier examination are taught both, whereas those being entered for a paper only follow the core curriculum.

The students are assessed at the end of Upper Fifth by written examinations and a practical examination, though it is possible if students prefer to do the alternative to practical exam.


All students use the same textbook 'Essential Chemistry for Cambridge IGCSE', Roger Norris published by Nelson Thornes.

Students are always encouraged to ask their teacher for help if needed but they can also attend the Chemistry clinic, which is run on Monday lunchtimes from 1345 until 1410.



The IB Chemistry course is designed to increase pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the subject, their ability to solve problems and their practical and investigative abilities; to deal with abstract and theoretical material; increase their knowledge and understanding of the social and economic importance of Chemistry; foster independent study, practical work and research as well as prepare pupils for further study and employment.


It is assumed that everyone coming into the Sixth Form to study IB Chemistry will have a IGCSE in the subject or in Coordinated Science or an equivalent level of achievement. Pupils who have only achieved a C grade may find some aspects of the course difficult. A certain amount of mathematical knowledge is required but this is not excessive and students will be taught to the required standard.


The IB Chemistry course is offered at both the Standard Level and Higher Level. The course itself is split into five basic sections; the subject specific core (topics 1 to 11), the additional Higher Level material (topics 12-20), the optional units (A to D), Internal Assessment and the Group 4 project. The core material provides a solid foundation on which the remainder of the course is built.  The additional Higher Level work explores some of the work already covered in the core topics but in a much greater depth. There are four optional units available and those offered will be specific to the expertise of the staff.

SL and HL Options
Topic 1: Stoichiometric Relationships
Topic 2 &12: Atomic Structure
Topic 3 & 13: Periodicity
Topic 4 & 14: Chemical Bonding and Structure
Topic 5 & 15: Energetics and Thermochemistry
Topic 6 & 16: Chemical Kinetics
Topic 7 & 17: Equilibrium
Topic 8 & 18: Acids and Bases
Topic 9 &19: Redox Processes
Topic 10 & 20: Organic Chemistry
Topic 11: Measurement and analysis
Option A – Materials
Option B – Biochemistry
Option C – Energy
Option D - Medicinal Chemistry


External Assessments take place at the end of two years: students are examined using multiple choice questions as well as data-based, short answer and long answer questions. Weighting: 80% at Higher and Standard Level.

Standard Level students have to complete 40 hours and Higher Level students have to complete 60 hours of Internal Assessment, including 10 hours on a collaborative interdisciplinary project with other Group 4 Sciences. Students are expected to design experiments, carry out experiments, analyse results and come to conclusions supported by the data.  Weighting: 20% at Higher and Standard Level.

Our son has been at King William’s College for two years and has settled in very well with the full support of the boarding staff and teachers, who have demonstrated great kindness and caring. The highly disciplined, but dynamic education system has helped our 15 year old son to adapt well and his confidence has noticeably improved in a short space of time. What's especially pleasing is that not only does the College have an excellent calibre of teaching staff and a strong academic curriculum, but we have been surprised and delighted to discover their excellent music achievements! With such great experience, our second son will also join KWC starting at Lower 5, to have a well rounded education. We cannot be more pleased with our decision to send our sons here all the way from Hong Kong!

M5 Overseas Parent