1. AQA Revision Guides

New A-level 2015

The revision guides are split into physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. There are no modules. The AS only topics are labelled AS.

Physical Chemistry

1.1 revision guide Atomic Structure AQA (AS) (updated February 2021 )

1.2 revision guide Calculations AQA(AS)(updated January 2022 )

1.3 revision guide Bonding AQA(AS) (updated January 2022 )

1.4 revision guide Energetics AQA(AS) (updated April 2020)

1.5 revision guide Reaction Kinetics AQA (AS) (updated February 2023)

1.6 revision guide Equilibria AQA(AS) (updated January 2022 )

1.7 revision guide Redox(AS) (updated November 2018)

1.8 revision guide Thermodynamics AQA (updated February 2023)

1.9 revision guide Rate Equations AQA (updated January 2022 )

1.10 revision guide Equilibrium Constant Kp AQA(updated January 2022 )

1.11 revision guide Electrode Potentials AQA (updated January 2022 )

1.12 revision guide acid base equilibria AQA (updated January 2022 )

Inorganic Chemistry

2.1 revision guide periodicity (AS)(updated December 2019)

2.2 revision guide Group 2 AQA(AS) (updated January 2022 )

2.3 revision guide Halogens AQA (AS) (updated January 2022 )

2.4 revision guide Period 3 AQA (updated February 2023)

2.5 revision guide Transition metals AQA  (updated February 2023)

2.6 revision guide Reactions of Aqueous Ions AQA (updated February 2021 )

Organic Chemistry

3.1 revision guide introduction organic AQA(AS) (updated February 2021 )

3.2 revision guide Alkanes AQA (AS) (updated April 2020)

3.3 revision guide Halogenoalkanes AQA(AS)  (updated February 2021)

3.4 revision guide Alkenes AQA(AS)  (updated February 2023)

3.5 revision guide Alcohols AQA(AS)(updated February 2021)

3.6 revision guide Organic Analysis (AS) (updated December 2019)

3.7 revision guide naming and isomerism (updated February 2021)

3.8 revision guide Aldehydes and Ketones AQA(updated January 2022 )

3.9 revision guide Carboxylic acids and derivatives AQA (updated February 2023 )

3.10 revision guide Arene Chemistry AQA (updated February 2023)

3.11 revision guide Amines AQA(updated January 2022 )

3.12 revision guide polymers AQA (updated April 2020)

3.13 revision guide amino acids proteins and DNA AQA (updated May 2023)

3.14 revision guide Organic Synthesis AQA (updated February 2023)

3.15 revision guide NMR (updated February 2023 )

3.16 revision guide chromatography(updated December 2019)

AQA mechanisms summary AS (AS)  (updated February 2021 )

AQA mechanisms A level summary (updated February 2023 )

Practical Guide AQA (updated February 2023 )


471 thoughts on “1. AQA Revision Guides

  1. APR

    Hi, I was wondering for Jan 11 Chem 4 Q7c, is there a difference between saying free radical substitution and free radical CHAIN substitution? as I wanted to form ethane then chloroethane, which NH3 can undergo nucleophilic substitution on. Is chain substitution only for further substitution (dichloroethane etc), or should I always write/omit it? thanks
    (QP: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-CHEM4-W-QP-JAN11.PDF
    MS: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-CHEM4-W-MS-JAN11.PDF)

    1. chemrevise Post author

      No there is no difference between free radical substitution and free radical chain substitution. The chain does not generally appear in mark schemes but you would be marked correct if you put it there.

  2. Wei

    Hi, with regard to mod 4 guide 5 isn’t it the wrong way around for the strength of the carboxylic acid? the electronegative atom should push charge density on the COO- ion shouldn’t it? and the alkyl groups should withdraw charge from the charge density on the COO-?

    1. chemrevise Post author

      I did in the past have a comment about it but I removed it. My issue is with the AQA definition of a transition metal which I think is the official IUPAC definition. As far as I can see the Sc fits the definition of an incomplete d orbital in atoms or ions because it has a 3d1 structure in its atom form. I don’t think it’s an important point. I can’t find a question about it in the past 15 years.
      If you look at other exam board definitions they still use the definition of an incomplete d orbital in the ions, which definitely excludes Sc

  3. Matthew

    I’ll defo be donating if I get an A or B this year (which hopefully I will with these notes). These notes are the most concise, clear and simple notes I have found, much better than the CGP book and AQA textbook. Thanks a lot.

  4. Sakura

    THANKS!!! Looking through them these notes seem very concise and thorough, I think it’s be really helpful in cross referencing with my notes, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything 🙂

  5. Ali

    there is a mistake in mod 2 group 2 , the last page it says:
    Spectator ions are ions that are not
    • Not changing state
    • Not changing oxidation number

    the not should not be here ‘Spectator ions are ions that are NOT’

  6. chem2

    hi very good set of notes – i just have a query for the june 2012 aqa chem 2 paper there is a question asking for the simplest ionic equation when conc sulfuric acid reacts with solid potassium chloride. However your halogen resource has the equation
    KCl(s) + H2SO4(l) ==> KHSO4(s) + HCl(g)
    however none of the reactants or products are aqueous so how can any cancellation occur ? maybe my understanding of foriming ionic equations is flawed? any help would be appreciated

    1. chemrevise Post author

      It’s a good question you ask. I have seen that question and they cancel out the K+ ion. In general spectator ions are ones that don’t change oxidation state or physical state (does not have to be aqueous) so K+ can be classed as a spectator ion.

  7. Ishtyaq

    I think I found a minor mistake on group 2 (2.6)
    of the AQA AS specification, On the last page under writing ionic equations for precipitatiin reactions. You prote Pb2+, I think its probably a typo and should be Ba2+
    Thanks for all the help!

  8. John M

    Sir any tips on NMR and how to go about doing the questions. Im worried about chem 4 because my nmr skills are very poor, as well as my ability to think about different isomers etc etc.

    Many thanks

  9. Aletta

    Thank you, this looks like a fantastic guide – I will be writing CIE Chemistry AS in October this year. Does this revision guide cover all the AS Chemistry topics or topics from A levels as well. Will this be sufficient to prep me for my AS Chemistry exam?

  10. Shadab

    Hello again,
    I am really worried for the EMPA that we will be doing. I got a C last year in Unit 3 so I’m resitting it this year. I don’t know what it was but the practical just freaked me out and in the written exams I panicked really badly. I tried the past papers but I’ve heard that they don’t help. What would be the best way to prepare for the EMPAs? Something about the EMPA really scares me.
    Also, I had a question about Equilibria, why does the equilibrium constant change when you change the temperature but does not change when you change the concentration or pressure?

    1. chemrevise Post author

      Preparation is the key. There is no short cut and superficial revision will mean you can’t handle the more complex questions. When you are told what chapters the ISA is based on then revise the whole chapter and look at a range of past module paper question and ISA past papers. The better your understanding the more likely you can answer the more applied questions.
      I made some more detailed notes on equilibrium constants in the OCR guide on this topic.

  11. APR

    Hi, thanks very much for these notes!
    I was wondering what the ‘more detailed notes’ are for? are they for all specs?
    do the aqa revision notes have all you need to know for the aqa exams? or do we need to refer to other notes too?
    thanks again

    1. chemrevise Post author

      The more detailed notes are more general in nature and not limited by any one syllabus. They are still mostly AQA though.
      I think my notes contain all the factual information that you need to know. It is best, however, to use more than one source. The key is can you understand and apply the information?

  12. RDM

    Great Notes. I am having a few issues with Buffer Solutions explanations, any tips? Secondly, any notes/tips/advice on ISAs would be great. If you create a specific ISA sheet that would be great/

    1. chemrevise Post author

      For buffers look at your text book, class notes, my more detailed notes, and http://www.chemguide.co.uk/ – even search for a youtube video. The more sources you look the more chance you will find an explanation that makes sense to you.
      I had looked at producing ISA specific sheets but it made more sense to include the practical information in the relevant chapters. When you are told what chapters the ISA is based on then revise the whole chapter and look at a range of past module paper question and ISA past papers. There is no short cut. The better your understanding the more likely you can answer the more applied questions.

  13. John M

    Thanks for the notes they’ve been a great help. Noticed that you updated the transition metals notes what were the new changes you made sir?

    1. chemrevise Post author

      It is up to date for current teaching specifications which have not changed in a few years. There is a new course which will start being taught in September 2015. The syllabus for the new courses are still not all accredited. When they are accredited I will write the new notes. If you are currently studying A-level they are the correct notes. If you are starting A-level in September then they are not here yet.

  14. Ace

    Thanks for the notes. Its brilliant! Although I do have one issue with the notes regarding to Halogens in Unit 2. Its says on your notes that if bromine is present as a free halogen, the solution turns yellow. But though some other websites which I used for revision says that if bromine is present as a free halogen, the solution turns orange-reddish brown? Thanks again for these wonderful notes!

    1. chemrevise Post author

      Colours can often differ between sources. Bromine would have to be very concentrated to appear red/ brown. It is a red brown liquid as a pure element. Every time I do this experiment it appears yellow or orange. I use the colours in these notes that AQA use in their mark schemes

      1. Blessing

        How reliable are the colours for the transition metal complexes on these notes, since my teacher gave us notes with different colours!

      2. chemrevise Post author

        It is quite common to see different colours quoted. When is it a dark yellow or a light brown? All the colours I have used are the ones commonly used by the exam board on mark schemes. Most mark schemes accept a range of colours though so all your teacher notes are I’m sure fine too. You just need to learn a set of colours.

  15. ffaryad

    Thank you for uploading these, they’re great!
    Sorry if it’s already uploaded, but for Module 1, I can’t seem to find the Alkanes chapter; am I not looking properly? Thank you

  16. Commando

    Hi sir,

    I am slightly confused about the base strengths of secondary amines and tertiary amines. In your guide it says that tertiary amines are stronger bases than secondary amines, however the Nelson Thornes book states that tertiary amines are in actual fact weaker than secondary amines.
    So basically im not sure what to put if I am asked this in the exam.

    I did some outside reading and I came across steric hindrance and im not sure If i should mention this.

    By the way your guide is AWESOME 😀

    1. chemrevise Post author

      The Nelson Thornes book is correct. I had only talked about this to my class last week and said I needed to change the notes. I have now updated them. I wouldn’t worry about it though as I am sure it would never be an examined point. It certainly has not come up in the last 15 years. Just know the comparison between primary amine and ammonia and that aromatic amines are weaker.

  17. APR

    Thanks for all of these notes!
    I had a bit of confusion when I had 2 other books that I revised from:
    one book said that for column chromatography: “the components that are most soluble in the mobile phase will travel through the column quickest”
    the other said that for gas-liquid chromatography: “a component that is highly soluble in the liquid phase takes considerably longer to elute from the column than one having a low solubility”

    1) I was told that GLC and column chromatography work in the same way (except for what the stationary/mobile phases are) so I thought there must be a mistake in one of the books since they say the opposite? if so, which one is true, and is it true for both column and GLC?

    2) also, the second book also said that generally more polar molecules have a greater retention time under the title column chromatography. is this because more polar molecules are more strongly attracted to/adsorbed to the stationary phase or why is it? does this also apply to charged molecules having a greater retention time? does this rule also apply to GLC?

    Thank you very much for all your help

    1. chemrevise Post author

      Both books are correct in fact. In GLC the stationary phase is the liquid phase absorbed on to a fine solid and the mobile phase is the gas. Your confusion comes from thinking that the liquid is the mobile phase in the GLC. For your second question if the stationary phase is polar then polar molecules will be more attracted to it and will travel more slowly through the column whereas non polar molecules would pass through more quickly. Similar ideas apply to the GLC

      1. APR

        Thanks! so do we assume the stationary phase is polar or will they clarify in the exam? but what if the stationary phase is non-polar, surely van der waals attractions exist between the stationary phase and component molecules whether or not component molecules are polar- so will all components spend the same amount of time adsorbed onto it and any differences in retention times are only due to differences in solubility in the mobile phase?

      2. chemrevise Post author

        They would say in the question which phase was polar. Just because all molecular substances have van der waals doesn’t mean they all dissolve equally well in non-polar solvents. The basic rule of solubility is that polar solutes dissolve is polar solvents and non polar solutes dissolve in non polar solvents

  18. Thuza Naing

    Hello, Sir!
    You may not remember but you recommended me your website after my sixth form interview and I am finding it extremely useful. Thank you!

    I’m a bit confused- in mod 1 revision guide atom, you wrote ‘both chromium and copper have an unusual arrangement in having a half filled d sub shell.’ Did you mean, ‘a half filled s sub shell’?

  19. Shadab

    Hello, I have a question on A2 mechanisms. Is there any difference between nucleophilic addition and nucleophilic addition-elimination? Or are those two the same thing? Why wouldn’t the mark schemes accept nucleophilic addition elimination? sorry I’m just really confused with mechanisms. 😀

    1. chemrevise Post author

      They are two different mechanisms and not the same thing. The nucleophilic addition reactions involve the breaking of the C=O bond to form a C-O bond. This is classed as addition as a small molecule is adding across a double bond.
      In the nucleophilic addition elimination reaction, first stage is identical and the C=O bond breaks- this is the addition stage. Then in the second part of the mechanism C=O bond forms again. This is the elimination stage.

    2. kath

      when it is a nucleophilic addition something is added to the molecule e.g. the reduction of aldehydes and ketones to produce alcohols. when it is a nucleophilic addition-elimination reaction a group is added while another is removed. An example of this would be when alcohols react with acyl chlorides.

  20. Ron

    Thank you for providing us these notes. However I’m afraid that you missed the last chapter of Module 5 in AQA (Chp 16: Reactions of inorganic compounds in aqueous solution).

  21. Nilesh Chauhan

    Hello there. Thank you very much for the exceptional resources that you have posted. It’s certainly the best Chemistry revision material I have seen on the internet. Do you have access to exam questions based on Atomic Structure and Amount of Substance – 2 modules covered in A-level Chemistry? Again, thank you for your help.

    Kind regards,

  22. dominiknal

    My friend just showed me this site. I was worried about making all my revision notes, but this site just helped me skip that step and straight to revision and repeating the content. I am over the moon, this is amazing and for free too. Great work, much appreciated. – A2 student.

  23. Chemnesia

    Dear Mr Goalby,

    I’m only now getting around to it but just wanted to say thank you so much for having put in the time and effort to come up with such a smashing set of notes! And for being gracious enough to share them with us lazy teens.

    During my AS year I unfortunately attained a grade D in Chemistry. However I was able to miraculously pull that 4 grades up during my A2 levels last year! Of course it was in part due to the fact I approached the subject with much more devotion and sincerity in year 13 than prior to that. However the reason this was possible was due to your notes (and my teacher’s irrevocable confidence in my potential, bless him, he is able to pinpoint exactly at which hurdle a student falls). It gave me the push I needed whilst keeping the subject interesting and thus, my passion for Chemistry was reignited.

    It’s teachers like you who actually appear enthusiastic about what they teach that allows us students to enjoy the experience with you.

    Yours sincerely,

    P.S. Also a great big thanks for answering student queries and removing the ginormous grey clouds that envelop our developing brains during your free time. Much appreciated by all of us, believe me, though we’re pretty obnoxious and forget to say it.

    1. chemrevise Post author

      Thanks for the nice message. I am glad you achieved as well as you did and am very happy the site helped you on your way. I am sure a lot of hard work on your part was the most important bit though.

  24. George McGilvray

    What do you mean by this: ‘The smaller carboxylic (up to C4) acids dissolve in water in all proportions but after this the solubility rapidly reduces.’?

  25. George McGilvray

    Will there be notes on Unit 5: Transition Metals and Colour; Acidity or Hydrolysis Reactions; Substitution Reactions and Overview of Inorganic Reactions?

  26. Pooja

    This is really amazing, Thank you so much. I’ve just started my A2 Chem and this makes it so much more easier to revise ahead from, rather than reading pages and pages from books. 😀

      1. Omar

        Yeh I actually just started so yeh I’m finding it hard but the notes are really easy to understand thanks. One request is just can you make some worksheets to answer. Thanks

    1. chemrevise Post author

      The guides cover all the specification points. They generally follow the order of the specification but sometimes they may appear in a different order. This won’t be random though- just what I think is more logical!

  27. Pingback: A Level Chemistry Revision Tips - Oxford Learning College

  28. joe

    I came across a question which asked why is ammonia unlikely to react with chlorobenzene. Is it correct to say that the lone pair on the chlorine is delocalised into the delocalisted system of the benzene ring, which increases the strength of the C-Cl bond?

    1. chemrevise Post author

      I’m pretty sure that will be one of the accepted answers. The other answer is likely to be the electron rich benzene ring would repel the ammonia nucleophile

  29. Juke

    In the CGP book, the Cr3+ ion in aqueous solution is quoted to be a violet colour whereas in the Nelson Thornes textbook it quotes it as a ruby colour. Don’t get why it’s different for the exact same compounds but… Which one would you go for? Thanks.

    1. chemrevise Post author

      You will find many different colours for chromium and iron III aqueous ions quoted and they will all be accepted so just learn the one you find easiest.

  30. Akeel

    Hi Mr Goalby,

    When writing definitions for thermodynamics, i.e atomisation- is it ok just to write an equation (1/2 Cl2 (g) –> Cl (g) ), instead of the word definition.

  31. Student50

    this site is so good for understanding chemistry a level thanks for this.do you teach a level physics and will there be a physics revise like this website? i find that this site has really helped boost my chemistry as grade so thanks


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