Six students pick up award from Cambridge competition

Six students studying AS level Chemistry were honoured with silver and copper awards for their success in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge this summer.

Callum Green, Chris Slim and Eloise Stradling achieved a silver award which put them in the top 22% of the 4000 entries across the country. Examiners commented: “This represented a very good achievement on the paper and showed that the students were able to think their way successfully through unfamiliar material.”

The challenge comprised two questions with a total of 60 marks available in the style of a 90 minute written exam. The students took the paper at College, in exam conditions, after their AS level papers in June and received their results in September.

Some of the material in the questions may be familiar to students but other parts may be completely new. The questions are designed to be more challenging than those on typical AS papers and students must use their scientific skills to work through the problems logically.

Jaz Weston, Gina Curwen and Amber West achieved copper awards, putting them in the top 60% of all entries. Jaz, who is hoping to go to Oxford next year to study Biochemistry, said: "I was pleasantly surprised with my result. The experience will be good preparation for Oxbridge interviews because the questions may be presented in a similar way." Gina added: "The paper really made you think outside the box and it was very satisfying to work the problems out through logic rather than remembering what we've already been taught."

This is the first time that students from the College have submitted entries to this competition. The Chemistry staff encouraged the students to enter the competition last term. Fiona Revell, Head of Chemistry, said: ”I am really proud of their achievements; it is great to see students challenging themselves beyond the A level curriculum. This will stand them in good stead for their next move into Higher Education. We are hoping that the current AS cohort will also rise to the challenge next year.”

Photo (left to right): Jaz Weston, Gina Curwen, Callum Green, Amber West and Eloise Stradling.