Advanced Higher
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Advanced Higher
SCQF Level 7 (32 SCQF credit points)

You would usually study Advanced Higher courses in your sixth year at school, or at college, often along with Higher courses.

  • More challenging than Higher level courses, Advanced Highers help you to prepare for the independent learning involved in degree level study.
  • They also give you the opportunity to study a subject in greater depth.

Chemistry: Advanced Higher

Why Chemistry?

This course provides insight into the underlying theories of Chemistry and develops the practical skills used in a chemical laboratory.

The study of chemistry at this level can make a major contribution to your knowledge and understanding of the natural and physical environment. You will have the opportunity to develop the skills of independent study and thought that are essential in a wide range of subjects and occupations.

Advanced Higher Chemistry is particularly relevant if you wish to progress to degree courses, either in chemistry, or in subjects of which chemistry is a major component, such as medicine, chemical engineering or environmental science. The course also provides a sound basis for direct entry to chemistry related employment.

Entry to the course

This is at the discretion of the school/college but you would normally be expected to have attained one of the following:

Course Outline

The course comprises three compulsory units and an assessment.

Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (8 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • discover how electromagnetic radiation is used in atomic spectroscopy to identify elements
  • extend an understanding of the concept of atomic structure by considering atomic orbitals and electronic configuration related to the periodic table
  • using electron pair theory, predict the shape of molecules
  • gain an understanding of the physical and chemical properties of transition metals and their compounds
  • investigate the quantitative component of chemical equilibria
  • develop their understanding of the factors which influence the feasibility of chemical reactions
  • progress your understanding of reaction kinetics by exploring the order and mechanisms of chemical reaction.

Organic Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis (8 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • research the structure of organic compounds, including aromatics and amines
  • draw on this research to explain the physical and chemical properties of the compounds
  • consider the key organic reaction types and mechanisms, and link these to the synthesis of organic chemicals
  • discover the origin of colour in organic compounds and how elemental analysis and spectroscopic techniques are used to verify chemical structure
  • study the use of medicines in conjunction with the interactions of the drugs.

Researching Chemistry (8 SCQF credit points)

This unit will equip you with the scientific background and skills necessary to analyse scientific articles and use them in order to make informed choices and decisions.

In this unit you will:

  • develop the key skills associated with a variety of different practical techniques, including the related calculations
  • identify, research, plan and safely carry out a chemistry practical investigation of your choice, based on your knowledge of chemistry apparatus, techniques and an understanding of concepts.

Course assessment (8 SCQF credit points)

The course assessment consists of two components with a total of 130 marks:

  • Component 1 - Question paper (100 marks)
  • Component 2 - Project (30 marks)

For Component 2, you will carry out an in-depth investigation of a chemistry topic and produce a project-report.

The question paper will be set and marked externally by SQA.

Course Assessment

Your work will be assessed by your teacher on an ongoing basis throughout the course. You must pass both units and the course assessment to gain the course qualification.

The course assessment is graded A-D. Your grade will depend on the total mark for all the units in your course.


Successful completion of this course may lead to:

Further study, training or employment in: