What should I know before starting A-level chemistry?

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Advanced-08234
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I haven't done GCSE science in almost 10 years. Is there anything I should know before starting the course, or will that required knowledge be covered/ revised when it's needed for a particular topic?

For example, if it's time to start A-level organic chemistry then would I need to know the GCSE organic chemistry stuff or is that stuff gone over anyway when we're being taught A-level organic chemistry? What about other topics?

I understand that if you're doing A-level maths then it's a given that you know basic algebra, but would something similar be the same case for chemistry, if that makes sense?

Thank you.
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thagirlhanna
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I did A level Chem for a couple weeks before I dropped it.
It's hard af if you don't have the basic knowledge you learnt in GCSE ( preferably triple science or did the higher paper)
Wouldn't recommend if you don't have that foundation of knowledge yet
Good luck if you do decide to go through with chem!
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by Advanced-08234)
I haven't done GCSE science in almost 10 years. Is there anything I should know before starting the course, or will that required knowledge be covered/ revised when it's needed for a particular topic?

For example, if it's time to start A-level organic chemistry then would I need to know the GCSE organic chemistry stuff or is that stuff gone over anyway when we're being taught A-level organic chemistry? What about other topics?

I understand that if you're doing A-level maths then it's a given that you know basic algebra, but would something similar be the same case for chemistry, if that makes sense?

Thank you.
Hi!

I do A-Level Chemistry so hopefully I can help.

'I haven't done GCSE science in almost 10 years. Is there anything I should know before starting the course, or will that required knowledge be covered/ revised when it's needed for a particular topic?'
I would recommend going through the GCSE syllabus as the physical chemistry requires GCSE knowledge.

For example, if it's time to start A-level organic chemistry then would I need to know the GCSE organic chemistry stuff or is that stuff gone over anyway when we're being taught A-level organic chemistry? What about other topics?
Not really, you won't need to know anything for organic. Maybe, a few topics such as fractional distillation, cracking etc

I understand that if you're doing A-level maths then it's a given that you know basic algebra, but would something similar be the same case for chemistry, if that makes sense?
I don't take A-Level Math and I'm doing fine so I'm sure you will be too. What grade did you get in GCSE Math?



I made a post explaining A-Level Chemistry in more detail if it helps:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6613212
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Advanced-08234
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
Hi!

I do A-Level Chemistry so hopefully I can help.

'I haven't done GCSE science in almost 10 years. Is there anything I should know before starting the course, or will that required knowledge be covered/ revised when it's needed for a particular topic?'
I would recommend going through the GCSE syllabus as the physical chemistry requires GCSE knowledge.

For example, if it's time to start A-level organic chemistry then would I need to know the GCSE organic chemistry stuff or is that stuff gone over anyway when we're being taught A-level organic chemistry? What about other topics?
Not really, you won't need to know anything for organic. Maybe, a few topics such as fractional distillation, cracking etc

I understand that if you're doing A-level maths then it's a given that you know basic algebra, but would something similar be the same case for chemistry, if that makes sense?
I don't take A-Level Math and I'm doing fine so I'm sure you will be too. What grade did you get in GCSE Math?



I made a post explaining A-Level Chemistry in more detail if it helps:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6613212
I would recommend going through the GCSE syllabus as the physical chemistry requires GCSE knowledge.


Would that just be the physical chemistry part or would that be the entire syllabus? If it is the entire syllabus then how long would that take me to do?

I don't take A-Level Math and I'm doing fine so I'm sure you will be too. What grade did you get in GCSE Math?


It's not necessarily A-level maths that I'm concerned about. What I mean is that if I you do start A-level maths then you're expected to know some topics from GCSE maths. For example, you need to know how to expand brackets when doing A-level maths and you shouldn't do A-level maths without knowing how to do that. Do you see what I mean?

I'm hoping I'm not going to come to a topic in A-level chemistry where I'm expected to know a large amount of GCSE chemistry before I start the A-level topic and therefore I have to spend a lot of time going back to GCSE chemistry. If that's the case then I rather do A-level biology where you don't require any/ very little previous knowledge.

Thank you
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by Advanced-08234)
I would recommend going through the GCSE syllabus as the physical chemistry requires GCSE knowledge.


Would that just be the physical chemistry part or would that be the entire syllabus? If it is the entire syllabus then how long would that take me to do?

I don't take A-Level Math and I'm doing fine so I'm sure you will be too. What grade did you get in GCSE Math?


It's not necessarily A-level maths that I'm concerned about. What I mean is that if I you do start A-level maths then you're expected to know some topics from GCSE maths. For example, you need to know how to expand brackets when doing A-level maths and you shouldn't do A-level maths without knowing how to do that. Do you see what I mean?

I'm hoping I'm not going to come to a topic in A-level chemistry where I'm expected to know a large amount of GCSE chemistry before I start the A-level topic and therefore I have to spend a lot of time going back to GCSE chemistry. If that's the case then I rather do A-level biology where you don't require any/ very little previous knowledge.

Thank you
Would that just be the physical chemistry part or would that be the entire syllabus? If it is the entire syllabus then how long would that take me to do?
It will only be Physical Chemistry largely but it's hard to pick out the exact topics you will need to know. A general understanding of GCSE is necessary as with all A-Levels!

I'm hoping I'm not going to come to a topic in A-level chemistry where I'm expected to know a large amount of GCSE chemistry before I start the A-level topic and therefore I have to spend a lot of time going back to GCSE chemistry.
As I said before, you will need basic knowledge in GCSE Chemistry. I really do recommend going over all the GCSE knowledge at least once and making sure you know all the GCSE topics and how to tackle them. Let me know if there is a topic you don't understand and I will happily help.

If that's the case then I rather do A-level biology where you don't require any/ very little previous knowledge.
Even A-Level Biology needs GCSE knowledge. Many A-Levels are reliant on GCSE knowledge.
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5hyl33n
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Ignore the previous tag Becca216! OP was just giving an example. I thought they were taking A-Level Maths. Sorry! :blushing:
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Becca216
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
Ignore the previous tag Becca216! OP was just giving an example. I thought they were taking A-Level Maths. Sorry! :blushing:
Okay, no worries
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Advanced-08234
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Even A-Level Biology needs GCSE knowledge. Many A-Levels are reliant on GCSE knowledge.

I think I will have to disagree with your there.

I have a family member who's doing A-level biology. He said that you don't need any GCSE biology knowledge. He said it would be helpful because it saves you a lot of time, but the A-level textbooks cover that previous knowledge.

For example, with mitosis (cell reproduction ) you're given a set of stages to learn for GCSE. The set of stages is then expanded upon in A-level biology, but the GCSE stages are still covered in the textbook. This seems to be the case for all topics.

Additionally, A-level chemistry seems to be the same. I looked through a textbook and all the physical chemistry stuff seems to be covered. For example, atomic structure seems to be covered again. I understand what that some parts aren't explained in the A-level chemistry textbook such as what compounds are, but still. If that comes up couldn't I easily look it up?

Thank you.
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by Advanced-08234)
Even A-Level Biology needs GCSE knowledge. Many A-Levels are reliant on GCSE knowledge.

I think I will have to disagree with your there.

I have a family member who's doing A-level biology. He said that you don't need any GCSE biology knowledge. He said it would be helpful because it saves you a lot of time, but the A-level textbooks cover that previous knowledge.

For example, with mitosis (cell reproduction ) you're given a set of stages to learn for GCSE. The set of stages is then expanded upon in A-level biology, but the GCSE stages are still covered in the textbook. This seems to be the case for all topics.

Additionally, A-level chemistry seems to be the same. I looked through a textbook and all the physical chemistry stuff seems to be covered. For example, atomic structure seems to be covered again. I understand what that some parts aren't explained in the A-level chemistry textbook such as what compounds are, but still. If that comes up couldn't I easily look it up?

Thank you.
Everything is explained to you but I don't understand why you don't have that GCSE knowledge. You will be creating a much bigger workload for yourself.

Anyway, I wish you luck with A-Levels!
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
Everything is explained to you but I don't understand why you don't have that GCSE knowledge. You will be creating a much bigger workload for yourself.

Anyway, I wish you luck with A-Levels!
It's been years since I've done my GCSEs so my knowledge is rusty. It's not as if I don't have any knowledge; its just been a while.

Thank you very much and good luck with your A-levels, too.
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by Advanced-08234)
It's been years since I've done my GCSEs so my knowledge is rusty. It's not as if I don't have any knowledge; its just been a while.

Thank you very much and good luck with your A-levels, too.
Ah fair enough!
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Advanced-08234
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(Original post by 6th4mer)
It seems hard at first but then it will just click and make sense
Could I go do well in it without going over the GCSE content? If something does come up in A-level where I need GCSE knowledge then could I easily go over it? I don't care about the difficulty of A-level chemistry. I just need to know if it's doable in my situation.

Are there any particular GCSE topics that you would recommend going over beforehand that I can't quickly cover when I need it in A-level?

Thank you.
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Advanced-08234
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(Original post by 6th4mer)
Yes 100% When I started Alevel Chem it all seemed so foreign to me, the Alevel content actually covers GCSE content and provides alot more explanation, you could do some pre-revision before you start but I dont think it’s necessary, I think if you’re starting with a class you should go along the syllabus with them. Chemistry is all about understanding the theory then applying it, if you only focus on the theory you wont get higher than a D, it’s similar to maths- questions after questions is the only way to improve. If you’re a private candidate you could start by watching videos on all the topics, understanding them then attempting past papers. That’s really all there is to it.
Do you think it's the same case for A-level physics and biology?

Thank you.
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Advanced-08234
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(Original post by 6th4mer)
I didn’t do physics but I do imagine it’s the same. As for Biology - there is ALOT of information to cover but its easy and understandable, you dont need to refer back to GCSE as it’s all covered again. Memorise and understand biology then do pastpapers- the markscheme is very specific in biology so doing alot of papers will help you get the key points.
Are there any specific textbooks, websites etc that you would recommend for biology and chemistry?

Thank you.
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