In Chemistry students study the matter that makes up materials, and the properties, uses, means of production, and reactions of these materials.

About the subject

In their study of Chemistry, students develop and extend their understanding of how the physical world is chemically constructed, the interaction between human activities and the environment, and the use that human beings make of the planet’s resources. They explore examples of how scientific understanding is dynamic and develops with new evidence, which may involve the application of new technologies.

Students consider examples of benefits and risks of chemical knowledge to the wider community, along with the capacity of chemical knowledge to inform public debate on social and environmental issues. The study of Chemistry helps students to make informed decisions about interacting with and modifying nature, and explore options such as green or sustainable chemistry, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of chemical products and processes.

Through the study of Chemistry, students develop the skills that enable them to be questioning, reflective, and critical thinkers; investigate and explain phenomena around them; and explore strategies and possible solutions to address major challenges now and in the future (for example, in energy use, global food supply, and sustainable food production).

Students integrate and apply a range of understanding, inquiry, and scientific thinking skills that encourage and inspire them to contribute their own solutions to current and future problems and challenges, and pursue future pathways, including in medical or pharmaceutical research, pharmacy, chemical engineering, and innovative product design.

Course content

Students must be able to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding of the three strands of science:

  • science inquiry skills
  • science as a human endeavour
  • science understanding.

Science understanding is delivered under four main topic areas:

Topic 1: Monitoring the environment

  • Global warming and Climate Change
  • Photochemical Smog
  • Volumetric Analysis
  • Chromatography
  • Atomic Spectroscopy

Topic 2: Managing chemical processes

  • Rates of reaction
  • Equilibrium and Yield
  • Optimising Production

Topic 3: Organic and biological chemistry

  • Introduction
  • Alcohols
  • Aldehydes and ketones
  • Carbohydrates
  • Carboxylic acids
  • Amines
  • Esters
  • Amides
  • Triglycerides
  • Proteins

Topic 4: Managing resources

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Materials


Students provide evidence of their learning through eight assessments.

School based assessment (70%):

Seven tasks are completed throughout the school year. These tasks are graded at school prior to external moderation. All tasks have equal weighting.

  • Investigation Folio (30%)
  • Completion Practical
  • Deconstruct and Design Practical
  • Science as a Human Endeavour Investigation
  • Skills and Applications Tasks (40%) 

External Assessment (30%):

Examination: 2 hours

Stage 2 science inquiry skills and science understanding from all topics may be assessed.


  • will be of different types
  • may require students to show an understanding of science as a human endeavour
  • may require students to apply their science understanding from more than one topic.

For the examination, students are given a sheet containing a periodic table, standard SI prefixes, symbols of common quantities, some physical constants, some mathematical relationships, and a table showing the relative activities of a number of metals.

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