9 March 2022

Four second year Chemistry students have claimed highly honourable places at a prestigious national competition that scrutinises and tests their knowledge in the subject against thousands of other students across the country.

Now in its 54th year, The Royal Society of Chemistry’s UK Chemistry Olympiad is the leading competition in the field for secondary students in the country, and A Level chemists at the College, Bart, Shukrullah, Lorenzo and Alex came home with three silver medals and a bronze medal between them.

The competition spans thousands of schools and even more students, with nearly 8,500 taking part in the contest. More than 30% of entrants failed to make the grade, placing our brilliant scientists well within the top percentiles of performers. Indeed, there were just two or three marks between one silver medal certificate and the coveted gold for one College chemist.

The Royal Society of Chemists say that the three stage competition is ‘designed to challenge, so will not be easy. Students should see it as an opportunity to develop their thinking and problem solving skills, and to test their existing knowledge of chemistry in real-world situations’.

The round one stage that our students took part in was a written test, which ‘often stimulates a lot of debate and conversation around what chemistry is all about, so it’s a great opportunity for students to develop and showcase some of the skills they’ll need at university and beyond’.

Chemistry teacher at the College, Will, said: “This exam is extremely difficult and aimed at high-achieving students, so to score enough marks to be awarded a certificate is a huge achievement for these four. It’s also the first time the College has had students to enter the exam and certificate, so our team this year are blazing a trail for those that follow and have set a very high benchmark.”

Will continued: “Although the students have to achieve a gold certificate to progress to the next round, the level of skill and knowledge that they have displayed is phenomenal, and stands them in great stead to achieve some outstanding grades at A Level. It also lays the groundwork for working in an environment even higher than A Level, whether that’s at university or in employment in the science industry.

“All four students can be exceptionally proud of what they’ve achieved on a national level.” 

For more on studying Chemistry A Level at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, click here.