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FAQs for AS & A Level Chemistry (9701)


What is the difference between the two Advanced Practical Skills paper options?

The two Advanced Practical Skills papers contain different questions, but are equivalent in difficulty and the level of practical competency that is examined. Students should be prepared in the same way whichever of these papers they are to be entered for.

The practical papers will be timetabled on different days. We anticipate that schools will decide which paper to enter students for based on the number of students and the laboratory resources available. Schools can either:

  • enter all students for the same practical paper (it does not matter which one, but the school will need to have enough laboratory space and resources to accommodate all of their students) or
  • enter half the students for one paper and the other half for the other paper (which means that the laboratories only have to be able to accommodate half the total number of the students on any one day. However, the laboratories will be in use for two days rather than one).

Do Cambridge supply chemicals for Chemistry practical examinations?

No. We are not a chemical supplier and do not have the necessary international permits to supply such materials. It is therefore not possible to order chemicals from Cambridge.

The following UK suppliers have shipped internationally in the past, and some Cambridge schools around the world have used them for their laboratory supplies:

If you have any other Cambridge schools locally, you may find it beneficial to contact them to ask how they source materials for practical examinations.

Where can I find the Data Booklet?

Please find the A Level Chemistry Data Booklet here.

Hazard codes on confidential instructions for science syllabuses

To align with changes to global chemical labelling regulations1, we have updated the hazard codes which appear in the confidential instructions of Cambridge science practical exams. These changes took effect in 2016.

These changes will not affect candidates as hazard codes do not appear on question papers, nor are candidates expected to recall such information in their answers.

Please remind candidates that all substances in science practical exams should be treated with caution. ‘Hazard Data Sheets’ for materials used in the exams should be available from your chemical supplier. You should carry out appropriate risk assessments to ensure that local regulations relating to safety, first-aid and disposal of chemicals are followed.

We will update science syllabuses with the new hazard codes as each syllabus undergoes its regular review process. We will use the new hazard codes where relevant and in accordance with information provided by CLEAPSS2.

  • C = corrosive
  • MH = moderate hazard
  • HH = health hazard
  • T = acutely toxic
  • F = flammable
  • O = oxidising
  • N = hazardous to the aquatic environment

  1. United Nations Global Harmonised System (GHS) for hazard classification and compatible labelling
  2. An advisory service providing support in practical science and technology for schools and colleges (

For more information and materials on this syllabus, please visit our "FAQs for AS & A Level Science Practical Exams" and the School Support Hub here.

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