Group 4


Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is 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 a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful preparation for employment.

All students undertake both theory and practical work as they complement one another naturally, both in school and in the wider scientific community. The DP chemistry course allows students to develop a wide range of practical skills and to increase facility in the use of mathematics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal and information technology skills, which are essential to life in the 21st century.

By studying chemistry 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, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the subject.

Chemistry provides students with opportunities to develop manipulative skills, design investigations, collect data, analyse results and evaluate and communicate their findings.

Through the overarching theme of the nature of science, the aims of the DP chemistry course are to enable students to:

  1. appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context through stimulating and challenging opportunities
  2. acquire a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
  3. apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
  4. develop an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesize scientific information
  5. develop a critical awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities
  6. develop experimental and investigative scientific skills including the use of current technologies
  7. develop and apply 21st century communication skills in the study of science
  8. become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and technology
  9. develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of science and technology
  10. develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge.

Distinction between SL and HL

Group 4 students at SL and HL undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the option studied. They are presented with a syllabus that encourages the development of certain skills, attributes and attitudes.

While the skills and activities of group 4 science subjects are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, in the additional higher level material and in the common options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.

Group 4 Project

All Diploma Course candidates must participate in an interdisciplinary investigation into the nature and process of science. This is a collaborative investigation including students from all three disciplines.

Course Structure

Core (SL and HL) Additional higher level Option (choice of 1 out of 4)
1. Stoichiometric relationships 12. Atomic structure A. Materials
2. Atomic structure 13. The periodic table—the transition metals B. Biochemistry
3. Periodicity 14. Chemical bonding and structure C. Energy
4. Chemical bonding and structure 15. Energetics/thermochemistry D. Medicinal chemistry
5. Energetics/thermochemistry 16. Chemical kinetics
6. Chemical kinetics 17. Equilibrium
7. Equilibrium 18. Acids and bases
8. Acids and bases 19. Redox processes
9. Redox processes 20. Organic chemistry
10. Organic chemistry 21. Measurement and analysis
11. Measurement and data processing

Assessment at Standard Level

Assessment component Weighting
External assessment
Paper 1 MCQ (45 minutes) 20%
Paper 2 (1 hour and 15 minutes) 40%
Paper 3 (1 hour) 20%
Internal assessment
Research project (10 hours) 20%

Assessment at Higher Level

Assessment component Weighting
External assessment
Paper 1 MCQ (1 hour) 20%
Paper 2 (2 hour and 15 minutes) 36%
Paper 3 (1 hour and 15 minutes) 24%
Internal assessment
Research project (10 hours) 20%