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Xaverian Student success in University of Cambridge National Chemistry Competition

Talented A Level Chemistry students at Xaverian College gained outstanding copper and silver awards in the national Cambridge Chemistry Challenge for lower sixth students, giving them experience at the highest level against tough competition.

The competition, which is organised by the University of Cambridge, aims to stretch and challenge students interested in Chemistry and provides an excellent experience for Chemistry students wishing to take their studies further. The paper is set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists. It is designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourage them to think about science in the way they would at university.

The challenge takes the form of a 90-minute written paper which students completed at the College. They had no prior knowledge of the topics but prepared themselves by looking at past papers. The students tackled questions based on advanced Chemistry theory and the top students were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Certificates. Students who achieved A/A* grades in the end of year exam were invited to take part in the competition, and of these, 14 gained Copper and Silver Awards, with Copper students being in the top 66% and Silver students in the top 32% out of those who competed.

Priyanka Nayar, Chemistry Teacher at the College, said: “We are exceptionally proud of our students as it was a very tricky paper.  The questions would challenge some of the brightest university students, so their Copper and Silver awards are a great achievement. With over 8000 students taking part throughout the country, our students have proved themselves to be amongst the best at this level.”

Taking part in the competition is a great addition to the students’ personal statements and College reference when they apply to university.  Gaining a certificate proves a high level of attainment in chemistry and many previous students have secured places on Degree programmes at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. 

Bradley Williams, a Year 13 student who gained a Bronze award, said: “I found the challenge extremely challenging but rewarding at the same. It really tested my academic ability and improved my problem-solving skills which will help me at university when tackling challenging issues. I’ve applied to study a Degree in Chemistry at university, and in the future, I hope to work in a major pharmaceutical company conducting research into new medicines.”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses. Visit xaverian.ac.uk to find out more.

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