The VCE Unit 3&4 Chemistry course consists of four areas of study within two units (2 areas of study per unit). Unit 3 explores how chemical processes are utilised to optimise efficiency. The first area of study of this part of the course includes fuels, and energy is obtained from them through different types reactions, with emphasis on redox reactions that occur within cells. The key concepts that area of study 2 involve are the rate and extent of chemical reactions and building upon the knowledge of galvanic cells learnt in area of study one. Students will learn about the electrolysis process, and how it allows for cells to be recharged.
Unit 4 primarily focuses on the categorisation, analysis and uses of organic compounds. Area of study one of this unit expands upon the student’s knowledge of carbon compounds from previous areas of study and introduces the possibilities of different variations of carbon compounds. The second area of study of Unit 4 is an application of the knowledge from the previous area of study, exploring the organic chemistry of food. While less knowledge is introduced in this final unit, students are given the opportunity to investigate and present concepts and experimental findings through a scientific approach, applying their learning in practical situations.
The subject has calculation components as well as concepts and theories. Therefore, it is important that students understand how to employ analytical tools on top of developing a strong grasp of the scientific concepts.
Unit 3&4 content builds upon the basis of the fundamental concepts introduced in Units 1&2. It is therefore recommended for students to review prior content before studying Units 3&4. It is also recommended that students use past examinations as both a revision, consolidation and learning tool concurrent to their studies for optimum efficiency and effectiveness while studying.
In IB Chemistry, both SL and HL students will study core topics including atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonding, energetics, kinetics, organic chemistry and redox. However, HL students will learn some of these topics to a greater depth. Both SL and HL students will also study one option topic, at varying degrees of depth. The option may be one of: materials, biochemistry, energy, or medicinal chemistry. Students will learn to appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context, developing an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise scientific information.