Chemistry is one of the elective subjects in the three-year senior secondary curriculum. The aim of the Chemistry Curriculum is to provide chemistry-related learning experiences for students to develop scientific literacy, so that they can participate actively in our rapidly changing knowledge-based society, prepare for further studies or careers in fields related to chemistry, and become lifelong learners of science and technology.

Aims and objectives

I. Aims

Chemistry is a central subject of science. It is also closely related to daily life.

The broad aims of the subject are to help students to

  1. acquire some knowledge of the empirical world.
  2. acquire the ability to observe accurately and objectively.
  3. acquire the ability to solve problems.
  4. acquire the ability to think scientifically, independently, and to conduct rational discussions.
  5. acquire the ability to communicate, using the language of chemistry.
  6. develop an appreciation of chemistry and its application in daily life.
  7. develop an awareness of the social, economic, environmental, and technological implications of chemistry.

II. Objectives:

  1. To encourage students to take an active part in class.
  2. To encourage students to develop curiosity and a spirit of enterprise.
  3. To teach good laboratory practices and skills.
  4. To teach students to be aware of the safety of oneself and others in the laboratory and be committed to safe practices in daily life.
  5. To teach students to analyse data from experiments or from other sources.
  6. To assist students in developing a readiness in becoming responsible citizens in an ever-changing world.
  7. To provide students with some insight into future career prospects in fields related to Chemistry.


(I) Syllabus for S3 – S6


S3Introduction of laboratory safety
Section 1: Planet Earth The atmosphereThe ocean
Section 2: The microscopic world Atomic Structure, The Periodic Table and Ionic Bonding
Section 3: Metals Reactivity of metals
S4 (NSS1)Section 1: Planet Earth Introducing chemistryThe atmosphereThe oceanRocks and minerals
Section 2: The microscopic world Part I Atomic structureThe periodic tableIonic and metallic bondsCovalent bondsRelating the properties of substances to structures and bonding
Section 3: Metals Occurrence and extraction of metalsReactivity of metalsReacting massesCorrosion of metals
Section 4: Acids and bases Acids and alkalisMolarity, pH scale, and strengths of acids and alkalisSalts and neutralisationConcentration of solutions and volumetric analysis
Section 7: Redox reactions, chemical cells and electrolysis Chemical cells in daily lifeSimple chemical cellsOxidation and reductionOxidation and reduction in chemical cellsElectrolysis
Section 8: Chemical reactions and energy Energy changes in chemical reactionsHess’s Law and its applications
S5 (NSS2)Section 9: Rate of reaction An introduction to rate of reactionFactors affecting the rate of a reactionGas volume calculations
Section 10: Chemical equilibrium An introduction to chemical equilibriumFactors affecting chemical equilibrium systems
Section 6: The microscopic world Part II Shapes of moleculesBond polarity and intermolecular forces
Section 5: Fossil fuels and carbon compounds Fossil fuelsHomologous series, structural formulae and naming of carbon compoundsAlkanes and alkenesAddition polymers
Section 11: Chemistry of carbon compounds An introduction to the chemistry of carbon compoundsIsomerismTypical reactions of selected functional groupsSynthesis of carbon compoundsImportant organic substances
Section 12: Patterns in the Chemical World Periodic trends in elements and their compoundsThe transition metals
S6 (NSS3)Elective Part – Industrial Chemistry An introduction to industrial chemistryFactors affecting the rate of a reactionIndustrial processesGreen chemistry
Elective part – Analytical chemistry Qualitative analysis — detecting the presence of inorganic chemical speciesTests for functional groups; separation and purification of compoundsQuantitative methods of analysisInstrumental analytical methodsContribution of analytical chemistry to our society

(II) Teaching periods per six days cycle

Time for each period:Mon, Tue, Wed & Thurs: 40 minutes/period
Fri.: 35 minutes/period
S32 periodsApproximately 3-5 experiments per year.
NSS16 periods10 -15 experiments per year.
NSS26 periods6 SBA assessments + (10-15) experiments per year.
NSS36 periods2 SBA assessments + (5-8) experiments per year.

School Based Assessment


The assessment objectives of Chemistry are to evaluate the abilities of students to:

  • recall and show understanding of chemical facts, patterns, principles, terminology, and conventions;
  • show an understanding of the use of apparatus and materials in performing experiments;
  • handle materials, manipulate apparatus, carry out experiments safely, and make accurate observations;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the method used in chemical investigation;
  • analyse and interpret data from various sources, and draw relevant conclusions;
  • manipulate and translate chemical data and to perform calculations;
  • apply chemical knowledge to explain observations and to solve problems which may involve unfamiliar situations;
  • select and organise scientific information from appropriate sources and to communicate this information in an appropriate and logical manner;
  • understand and evaluate the social, economic, environmental and technological implications of the applications of chemistry; and
  • make decisions based on the examination of evidence and arguments.


The public assessment of Chemistry consists of a public examination component and a school-based assessment component as outlined in the following table:

  Public Examination  Paper 1
Compulsory part of the curriculum
60%2 hours 30 minutes  
Paper 2
Elective part of the curriculum
20%1 hour  
School-based Assessment (SBA)20%  ——

(III) Implementation schedule of SBA

  • Assessment Requirement for Chemistry

For each student attempting the HKDSE Chemistry examination for the first time, the minimum numbers of assessments and the weightings in subject required in S5 and S6 for the SBA are summarised in the table below:

 Minimum number of assessments*Weighting in subject  
  • Over the two years of S5 and S6, there should be at least one assessment for Volumetric Analysis (VA), one assessment for Qualitative Analysis (QA), and two assessments for Other Experiments (EXPT).
  • Investigative Study (IS) can be done in lieu of Other Experiments (EXPT). In this case, one assessment on ‘proposal’ and one assessment on ‘process and report’ should be performed. These two assessments can satisfy the minimum requirement for Other Experiments (EXPT).


  • Our school will carry out more than the minimum number of assessments for each student. There would be a total of 8 SBA (2QA+ 2VA+ 4 EXPT) marks to be submitted to the HKEAA from S5 to S6.
  • Teachers will submit their assessment marks together with a list of tasks done in S5 and in S6, showing the coverage of the different types of work.
  • These marks contribute to 20% of the final subject mark of Chemistry in HKDSE.
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