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Byron Bay High School

Byron Bay High School

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Chemistry (Years 11-12)

Chemist mixing chemicals

What is involved in studying Chemistry?

The Chemistry Course is a 2 Unit BDC. It requires 2 full years of study during year 11 and year 12.

Year 11 is better known as 'Preliminary' and Year 12 as 'HSC'.

Preliminary areas of study (Yr 11)

Topic Name in Syllabus

Major Area of Study

The Chemical Earth

Chemical Formulae, Reactivity, Types of Bonding


Metals with Acids, Oxygen & Water, Trends in the Periodic Table, The Mole


Properties of Water, Intermolecular Forces, Solutions, Heat Capacity


Carbon Compounds & Bonding, Fuels, Endothermic/Exothermic Reactions

HSC areas of study (Yr 12)

Topic Name in Syllabus

Major Area of Study

Production of Materials

Ethylene, Polymers, Ethanol, Galvanic Cells, Nuclear Chemistry

The Acidic Environment

Indicators, Equilibrium, Atmospheric Pollutants, Acids & Bases, Esters

Chemical Monitoring & Management

Haber Process, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, CFCs & Ozone, Water Quality


The class will study ONE of the following

Industrial Chemistry

Equilibrium Reactions, Sulfuric Acid, Electrolysis, Saponification, Solvay Process

Shipwrecks, Corrosion and Conservation

Composition of the Ocean, Rusting & Corrosion, Electrolytic Cells, Conservation & Restoration of Objects

The Biochemistry of Movement

ATP metabolism, Carbohydrates, Fats & Proteins, Glycolysis & Aerobic Respiration

The Chemistry of Art

Pigments, Radiation Spectra, Electronic Configuration, Complex Ions

Forensic Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemical Properties, Enzymes, Electrophoresis, DNA

The full description of the content and skills can be viewed in the Chemistry SyllabusThe Chemistry course is very engaging and allows students to draw evidence-based conclusions; and make informed decisions about the environment and their own health and well-being.


Chemistry has substantially improved life. Chemistry has substantially improved life. Chemicals are everywhere doing all sorts of useful stuff. From materials to detergents to lubricants to drugs, chemical technology has solved an astounding number of problems for humanity.

Chemistry works. There is an incredible amount of reliable, fundamental work in our field. The thrill of a reaction that you've only seen on paper actually working in the lab never gets old.

Students that are able to think conceptually and whom enjoy practical investigations usually make excellent Chemistry students. They can use Mathematics to help them solve problems, are dexterous, contemplative and excellent observers.

As a guide, students wishing to study Chemistry should be studying Mathematics. Advanced 2 Unit Mathematics or higher is recommended however not mandatory. Please consult a Science Teacher for more information.

Due to the nature of the Chemistry course, students need to be dedicated learners and prepared to work very hard in order to improve. This is an academic course which requires continual effort to master. In addition, students will need to be highly organised. Some of the best students in Chemistry are analytical, critical, methodical and persistent.

Chemistry is mostly about understanding concepts and applying skills and understanding to new situations.

It is expected that students complete the coursework in class time. Homework is sometimes set for students on areas that require additional student focus. In addition, the school's Moodle server contains several mandatory and voluntary activities to deepen students' understanding.

Chemistry has got to be the basis for figuring out a number of important unsolved problems. The greatest historical question of all time is how life originated on Earth four billion years ago. That is all but certainly a chemical problem. The greatest technological problem of our time is finding an environmentally-friendly solution to our energy needs. This is all but certainly a chemical problem. Don't let anyone tell you that all the interesting chemistry has been done already.

What career opportunities does Chemistry produce?
Chemistry is a very diverse area in which to study. The content and skill learned in this course are highly transferable and are valued in leading professional communities. Chemistry can be an entry point to any field of Science, Medicine or Engineering. Please have a look at Chemistry Bullseye Poster (pdf 144 KB).

New career opportunities are emerging all the time. Some of the more recent additions in the field of Chemistry include the areas of Biotechnology and Organic Polymers (Material Engineering) and Nanotechnology. 




Chemistry is everywhere and for this reason it is sometimes called "The Central Science". There are advances being made every day in new and exciting fields. 


Talk to Mr Hawkins or Mr Connell if you think you may be interested.