The new course – what’s in and what’s out?

Hopefully by now you will have found and downloaded a copy of the new subject guide (for exams 2016) from the OCC.

Have you read it? Looked over it? Glanced at it? Or are you letting it gather dust, afraid to peek inside at its contents? After all, chemistry is chemistry ….. isn’t it? There can’t be that many changes – can there?

The good news is that there is still lots of chemistry packed into the new guide. The other news (and I am specifically not using ‘good’ or ‘bad’) is there are a few changes – probably more than the last time the course changed seven years ago.

I hope this blog post is able to save you a job or two in terms of sifting through the guide, finding the new material and then working out what material has been removed ….. so here we go….. (to help, I have also added the new topic names and numbers).

The ‘In’s’


Topic 1, Stoichiometric Relationships: Elements, compounds, mixtures, changes of matter and state, homogeneous and heterogeneous phases, standard solutions and titrations.

Topic 2, Atomic Structure: Electronic configuration.

Topic 3, Periodicity: Electronic configuration from position on the periodic table.

Topic 4, Bonding: Resonance, Graphene, Anion and Cation.

Topic 5, Energetics: Standard enthalpies of reaction.

Topic 6, Kinetics: Potential energy profiles.

Topic 7, Equilibrium: Reaction quotient, Q.

Topic 8, Acids and Bases: Acid deposition, pH calculations.

Topic 9, Redox: Redox titrations, BOD.

Topic 10, Organic: Easter naming.

Topic 11, Analysis: Quantitative and qualitative data, percentage error, sketched and drawn graphs, analytical techniques.

Topic 12, Atomic Structure: Calculation of IE.

Topic 13, Periodicity: Coloured complexes.

Topic 14, Bonding: Formal charge, mechanism and catalysis of Ozone.

Topic 15, Energetics: Enthalpy of hydration.

Topic 16, Kinetics: None (!)

Topic 17, Equilibrium: DG

Topic 18, Acids and Bases: Lewis acids and bases.

Topic 19, Redox: EMF definition.

Topic 20, Organic: SN1 and SN2, electrophilic substitution (nitration), reduction reactions of carbonyls, E/Z

Topic 21, Measurement and Analysis: NMR

The ‘out’s


Topic 1, Stoichiometric Relationships: STP.

Topic 2, Atomic Structure:

Topic 3, Periodicity: Electron arrangement, similarities and differences between elements in the same group.

Topic 4, Bonding: None (!)

Topic 5, Energetics: None (!)

Topic 6, Kinetics: None (!)

Topic 7, Equilibrium: None (!)

Topic 8, Acids and Bases: Lewis theory.

Topic 9, Redox: None (!)

Topic 10, Organic: SN1 and SN2, reaction pathways.

Topic 11, Analysis: None (!)

Topic 12, Atomic Structure: Electron configurations.

Topic 13, Periodicity: Trends with the period 3 oxides and chlorides.

Topic 14, Bonding: Examples of catalysts and industrial processes.

Topic 15, Energetics: Standard enthalpy of reaction.

Topic 16, Kinetics: None (!)

Topic 17, Equilibrium: Liquid-vapour equilibrium.

Topic 18, Acids and Bases: Buffer calculations, salt hydrolysis.

Topic 19, Redox: None (!)

Topic 20, Organic: Elimination and condensation.

Topic 21, Measurement and Analysis: None (!)

I think there are three important observations to make about this list:

Firstly, there has been some moving around of material between SL and HL topics (see what is ‘in’ in topic 20 and ‘out’ in topic 10 for example).

Secondly, the detail. It should be stressed that this is a list to help you but is not definitive. The guide will give you the detail (for example, we now have to teach about the ‘Winkler’ method in topic 9, Redox).

Thirdly, the options. The options have had a major overhaul (more about this in the next blog posting). Some material has moved from options into the SL / HL (eg, NMR) and some has moved from SL / HL into the options (eg, buffer calculations).

So, what do you think? Is change good? Do you prefer the old course or are you excited by the new? As ever, your thoughts are most welcome and it would be good to hear from you.

  • Kajal Manglani
    May 25, 2014

    Dear David,

    It’s a very quick memory aid for the new changes…thanks! I have been reading through the new guide and was trying to compare the old and current version, but this post is indeed Grt!

    • David Allen
      July 21, 2014

      Hi Kajal,

      Thanks for the feedback – glad you find it useful. It is my intention to post more updtes on the new course over the next few months.

      Good luck with it!


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