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 often a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science. The skills learnt in chemistry will also open up applications to a vast range of other courses.
Through studying a science subject, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, the emphasis on a practical approach. In addition, through the overarching theme of the “Nature of Science” this knowledge and skills will be put into the context of the way science and scientists work in the 21st century and the ethical debates and limitations of creative scientific endeavour.
The sciences are taught practically. Students have opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings. The investigations may be laboratory based or they may make use of simulations and data bases. Students develop the skills to work independently on their own design, but also collegiately, including collaboration with schools in different regions, to mirror the way in which scientific research is conducted in the wider community.
At both higher and standard level 80 % of the final grade is based upon examinations with 20 % on Internal Assessment. The IB Chemistry exam is made up of 3 exam papers:
Paper 1 – Multiple Choice (20 %)
SL – 30 questions in 45 minutes
HL – 40 questions in 60 minutes
Paper 2 – Structured Questions (40 %)
SL – 75 minutes
HL – 135 minutes
Paper 3 – Data Response questions plus the Option topic (20 %)
SL – 60 minutes
HL – 75 minutes