You are here: Home / Departments / Sciences / Chemistry / Department Documents / National 4/5 Chemistry

National 4/5 Chemistry


This course is designed primarily for those who  have shown real ability in S3 and wish to continue studying Chemistry with the option of continuing to Higher. It will also be suitable for those wishing to return to Chemistry in S5 or S6.

This is proving to be a challenging course but is also enjoyable and provides Learners with a strong foundation for future studies.

Each learner who chooses Chemistry will be taught for 4 periods a week. The course is split into 3 Units, called Chemical Changes & Structure, Nature's Chemistry and Chemistry In Society.

More details on the two courses are available on the SQA website by clicking the links below.

            National 4               National 5


As learners progress through the course they will cover certain 'Key Areas' and these will be assessed in the form of short Knowledge questions and 50% correct will be required to pass. Only two attempts are provided. Internally assessed.


At the same time, certain questions will test 4 Problem Solving skills :- Selecting, Processing, Predicting and Analysing. Several attempts will be given and the learner only has to demonstrate success on one occasion. Internally assessed.


Learners will also have to demonstrate the ability to Plan and Carry out an Investigation.

This will require them to produce a full report which must satisfy all the criteria set out by the SQA. They will, however, be provided with feedback and can redraft sections of their Report. Internally assessed.


They will also have to undertake an 'Added Value' Assignment. At National 5, this requires Data to be collected and processed, both through Research and a Practical. The underlying Chemistry must also be researched. A  report must be produced (under exam conditions) and will be submitted to SQA for external marking. A mark out of 20 will be awarded and will count towards their final Grade.


National 4 have a similar task but the criteria for marking is different and the level of demand is slightly less. Like the Investigation, this will be internally assessed and must satisfy all the critera set out by the SQA to pass.


Finally, there is an Exam at National 5 worth 80 marks. There is no exam at National 4.


Recommended Entry Requirements


To gain entry into the National 4/5 Chemistry you should have a recommendation from your current science teacher. You will have gained this recommendation by either:

  • successfully completing the S3 Chemistry course to the required standard

  • successfully completing the S3 Biology or Physics to a high standard

    and for S5/6 pupils:

  • successfully completing the National 5 course in Biology, Physics or Environmental Science.

    In addition, you should have demonstrated a genuine interest in Chemistry and a willingness to engage with demands such as Homework and Revision. There are also a lot of Calculations in National 5 Chemistry so you should also have a suitable level of Numeracy skills.

    Class Organisation


    Learners will be taught National 5 Chemistry and will attempt all the National 5 Assessments. After the Prelim it may be appropriate for some pupils to switch and attempt to obtain the National 4 qualification.

    Much of the course will be Teacher-led lessons using a variety of techniques and resources including multimedia and interactive resources. These lessons will be backed up by Booklets of Notes that Learners will complete - usually in class but sometimes as Homework.

    In addition, the Booklets contain short sections of Self-Check Questions that allow Learners and Teacher to monitor understanding.


    The most important Homework a learner can do is to regularly spend some time reading over notes to help consolidate the work done in class. In particular, the Learning Outcomes, that are included in each booklet of Notes, provide the learner with the means to check their Understanding.

    Learners will also be asked to finish off Notes, attempt Self-Check and Consolidation Questions. At appropriate times they should also be using Past Papers to prepare for Tests and Exams.

    At times, they will have to undertake Research in their own time and prepare notes for relevant Assessments.

    The more responsibility the Learner takes for work done outside the classroom, the more useful and more effective that work is likely to be.

Lunchtime Help Sessions are available for any Learner who then feels they need more explanation