VCE Chemistry curriculum gets longer, tougher, more interesting in 2016!


VCAA has just released its proposed draft VCE Chemistry study design for 2016-2019.

Major changes are in store for future VCE Chemistry students.

First, the Key Knowledge points have been restructured into subheadings. These subheadings represent 37 enquiry-based “topics” across Years 11 & 12 that each take 1 or 2 weeks to teach. This makes planning the curriculum a little easier, and makes the course structure a little more visible for students.

Second, the school-assessed coursework tasks are more specific and more exciting. units 1-4 include extended investigations (like the EPIs done in Physics). Students produce posters, reports or do presentations at the end of each unit. Some examples are shown below (there are more choices available in the full Study Design):

“the properties of a chemical or material that make it useful with specific reference to its structure and bonding, analyse its life cycle and evaluate the impact of its production and use on resources and the environment.” (Unit 1);

“a quantitative laboratory investigation related to the quality of water.” (Unit 2);

“analysis and evaluation of two or more media articles related to energy options.” (Unit 3);

“response to an issue related to food and diet.” (Unit 4)

Third, history of the atom and history of the periodic table have been taken out of the curriculum and replaced with something far more exciting: the Big Bang and how the universe started. The first three chapters of the text book will have to be re-written! Many other (minor) course changes have also been made.

Finally, the entire Chemistry course is much more detailed. Organic molecules now include alkynes and are studied up to C10, for example. The only problem is that it’ll be more difficult to squeeze all the topics into the same amount of time. Students and teachers will probably be working a little harder as of 2016…

What do you think of the new 2016-2019 study design? Read it and give your feedback on VCAA’s Chemistry page (click here).


Draft Study Design (pdf – 655.45kb)

Summary of proposed changes to the Study Design (doc – 423kb)


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