ElMoro
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I've been told time and time again that the Pre-U is so much more rigorous and difficult than A-Levels and 've decided to put it to the test.

For people who take A-Levels: Papers for the Pre-U can be found here and here. How do these compare to your A-levels?

I had a brief glance at the maths ones and to be honest the pure maths don't seem particularly harder to me although I noticed they include complex numbers. I can't comment on the mechanics and probability as I haven't done M2 or S2.
In my opinion, the maths Pre-U sucks as there's no choice of applied modules like you get with A-level and no decision maths.

Obviously, we probably won't be able to do all of the questions as the syllabuses and topics covered will most likely be different but how do these papers seem to you?

Thanks for your time
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boo7788
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(Original post by ElMoro)
I've been told time and time again that the Pre-U is so much more rigorous and difficult than A-Levels and 've decided to put it to the test.

Papers for the Pre-U can be found here and here. How do these compare to your A-levels?

I had a brief glance at the maths ones and to be honest the pure maths don't seem particularly harder to me although I noticed they include complex numbers. I can't comment on the mechanics and probability as I haven't done M2 or S2.
In my opinion, the maths Pre-U sucks as there's no choice of applied modules like you get with A-level and no decision maths.

Obviously, we probably won't be able to do all of the questions as the syllabuses and topics covered will most likely be different but how do these papers seem to you?

Thanks for your time
At my school the majority of subjects have now switched to Pre-U but Biology is still A-Level and some people, including myself, still do Maths A-Level while others do Pre-U. I have found that my Biology, Maths, and Further Maths A-Levels are perhaps easier than my Chemistry and Physics Pre-Us (but by no means a walk in the park) in terms of the content of the syllabus and the questions in the papers seem to demand more than just regurgitating, which you see sometimes in A-Levels. Then again, I have heard that some of the boundaries for the high grades in Pre-U are a little lower than you would expect, which might balance things out a bit. In any case, the Pre-U would seem to come across as more rigorous, though Physics has always been the worst of the lot for me so that may influence my view.
I think the idea of the Maths Pre-U was to give a qualification with standardised content without any messing around with modules, so it includes both mechanics and statistics. I've never done decision maths so I can't comment on how relevant it is, but the maths department here don't have many positive things to say about it, so the exam board may have the same opinion of the area and decided not to include it, but I'm just speculating. I hope this helps!
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Part A
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I'm doing Pre - U Business and Management next year, like 17 people got A*/A but it's graded differently so you get distinctions, merits or passes
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rio9898
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I'm doing Pre-U physics, it is seriously hard

I mean its not hugely different to the A-Level syllabus but it just goes into far more depth and includes far more advanced maths, definitely only go for it if you are going to do at least Maths A-Level (or Pre-U ) and preferably Further Maths as there is a lot of M3 stuff in there.

I'd still recommend doing it if you get the chance, means less exams to take at the end of your first year
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ElMoro
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(Original post by boo7788)
At my school the majority of subjects have now switched to Pre-U but Biology is still A-Level and some people, including myself, still do Maths A-Level while others do Pre-U. I have found that my Biology, Maths, and Further Maths A-Levels are perhaps easier than my Chemistry and Physics Pre-Us (but by no means a walk in the park) in terms of the content of the syllabus and the questions in the papers seem to demand more than just regurgitating, which you see sometimes in A-Levels. Then again, I have heard that some of the boundaries for the high grades in Pre-U are a little lower than you would expect, which might balance things out a bit. In any case, the Pre-U would seem to come across as more rigorous, though Physics has always been the worst of the lot for me so that may influence my view.
I think the idea of the Maths Pre-U was to give a qualification with standardised content without any messing around with modules, so it includes both mechanics and statistics. I've never done decision maths so I can't comment on how relevant it is, but the maths department here don't have many positive things to say about it, so the exam board may have the same opinion of the area and decided not to include it, but I'm just speculating. I hope this helps!
Thanks for your opinion.
Looking at the the biology and maths pre u papers how do they look compared to your A-level papers? Also, would you say chemistry is a lot harder in terms of content (as I believe there are quite a few new topics) or is it ok?
Thanks again.


(Original post by rio9898)
I'm doing Pre-U physics, it is seriously hard

I mean its not hugely different to the A-Level syllabus but it just goes into far more depth and includes far more advanced maths, definitely only go for it if you are going to do at least Maths A-Level (or Pre-U ) and preferably Further Maths as there is a lot of M3 stuff in there.

I'd still recommend doing it if you get the chance, means less exams to take at the end of your first year
The maths is actually one of the reasons I want to do it. :P I'm doing maths a bit early so I should have M3 under my belt by the end of this year (if all goes well but I might only have time for M2) so there's a bit of overlap which is helpful although I think I need to learn some M4 stuff to be able to answer the 3 main maths questions in one of the papers.
And the less exams is another reason. I thought I would hate a linear system but it really gives you time to get everything down so you're definately ready before the exam. Plus GCSE sciences drive me crazy with their constant bombardment of exams :banghead:
When you say it goes far more in depth, is that everywhere or just in a few topics here and there?

Thanks for your help
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mathew551
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Biology does look harder.
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rio9898
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(Original post by ElMoro)



The maths is actually one of the reasons I want to do it. :P I'm doing maths a bit early so I should have M3 under my belt by the end of this year (if all goes well but I might only have time for M2) so there's a bit of overlap which is helpful although I think I need to learn some M4 stuff to be able to answer the 3 main maths questions in one of the papers.
And the less exams is another reason. I thought I would hate a modular system but it really gives you time to get everything down so you're definately ready before the exam. Plus GCSE sciences drive me crazy with their constant bombardment of exams :banghead:
When you say it goes far more in depth, is that everywhere or just in a few topics here and there?

Thanks for your help
Whoah well if youve already done m2 before you even start the course then you'll clearly be fine with all the maths stuff!! Tbh its basically SHM and rotational dynamics but applied to physical situations, so its not massively challenging. I guess there is a bit on logs and stuff but nothing beyond c3 or 4. Its just helpful having the overlap, so that you essential cover the same topic twice in maths and physics.

Well i can only really say as compared to the OCR advancing physics course, and i suppose depth wasn't really the right word, the main difference is that in the OCR course you are expected to KNOW and USE certain formulas, whereas for Pre-U a large majority you have to DERIVE, which requires far more understanding of the whole topic, which is where the added depth comes in. For example using integration to derive the formula for the moment of inertia of certain objects. Other than this and the maths topics (SHM and Rotational dyn) there isn't much of a difference in topics covered, i guess there is a bit more on relativity but that's about it.

But yeh its not too much more difficult than an A-level course but definitely worth it if you are even remotely considering a physics based course at uni. I'm doing the exams in the summer and we have one more topic and an investigation to do, so pretty much getting a term of revision, which i dont imagine you'd get if you had to do 3 modules each year like some people :rolleyes:
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ElMoro
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(Original post by mathew551)
Biology does look harder.
How much so? Is it all the questions or just a few here and there?
Thanks for the help

(Original post by rio9898)
Whoah well if youve already done m2 before you even start the course then you'll clearly be fine with all the maths stuff!! Tbh its basically SHM and rotational dynamics but applied to physical situations, so its not massively challenging. I guess there is a bit on logs and stuff but nothing beyond c3 or 4. Its just helpful having the overlap, so that you essential cover the same topic twice in maths and physics.

Well i can only really say as compared to the OCR advancing physics course, and i suppose depth wasn't really the right word, the main difference is that in the OCR course you are expected to KNOW and USE certain formulas, whereas for Pre-U a large majority you have to DERIVE, which requires far more understanding of the whole topic, which is where the added depth comes in. For example using integration to derive the formula for the moment of inertia of certain objects. Other than this and the maths topics (SHM and Rotational dyn) there isn't much of a difference in topics covered, i guess there is a bit more on relativity but that's about it.

But yeh its not too much more difficult than an A-level course but definitely worth it if you are even remotely considering a physics based course at uni. I'm doing the exams in the summer and we have one more topic and an investigation to do, so pretty much getting a term of revision, which i dont imagine you'd get if you had to do 3 modules each year like some people :rolleyes:
Thanks.
One last question before I eat your brain out: how is the personal investigation? As in is it hard/easy and how does it really work?
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rio9898
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(Original post by ElMoro)
One last question before I eat your brain out: how is the personal investigation? As in is it hard/easy and how does it really work?
Ah sorry dont really know too much about it, we are doing them just before half term next term

I really dont think its that hard though, its essentially just a big-ish experiment that you have to do yourself with limited assistance. Write up the data, plot a few graphs, come to a conclusion, stuff thats pretty standard since gcse. So hopefully it'll be ok, not that i even know what im going to do yet :rolleyes:
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mathew551
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(Original post by ElMoro)
How much so? Is it all the questions or just a few here and there?
Thanks for the help
A LOT of the questions in the specimen papers, if not practically all of them, test you on A2 knowledge, with some questions asking you about things that seem even more complicated. This isn't like A-level, where you're tested on simpler AS concepts in the first year, and then the more complicated stuff in the A2 year.

They've also categorised the papers by the type of questions rather than the material covered. The Long Answer paper looks challenging as more depth is required in the answers, and 30 marks for answering one of three discussion questions at the end seems very difficult. You would really need to know the material inside out to score highly on those questions.
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ilickbatteries
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Psych isn't harder.
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ElMoro
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(Original post by mathew551)
A LOT of the questions in the specimen papers, if not practically all of them, test you on A2 knowledge, with some questions asking you about things that seem even more complicated. This isn't like A-level, where you're tested on simpler AS concepts in the first year, and then the more complicated stuff in the A2 year.

They've also categorised the papers by the type of questions rather than the material covered. The Long Answer paper looks challenging as more depth is required in the answers, and 30 marks for answering one of three discussion questions at the end seems very difficult. You would really need to know the material inside out to score highly on those questions.
Ok, thanks for the help mate. I'm glad I'm not doing biology! =P


(Original post by ilickbatteries)
Psych isn't harder.
Ok, cool.

(Original post by rio9898)
Ah sorry dont really know too much about it, we are doing them just before half term next term

I really dont think its that hard though, its essentially just a big-ish experiment that you have to do yourself with limited assistance. Write up the data, plot a few graphs, come to a conclusion, stuff thats pretty standard since gcse. So hopefully it'll be ok, not that i even know what im going to do yet :rolleyes:
I know I said that was the last question but I've got one more: how did your 'matriculation' go? Do you do all the practicals at the beginnening, end or throughout the year? And are they based on what you're doing in class or just isolated? Lastly, how did your presentation go; or have you not done it yet?

I repped you a while ago, btw.
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rio9898
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(Original post by ElMoro)


I know I said that was the last question but I've got one more: how did your 'matriculation' go? Do you do all the practicals at the beginnening, end or throughout the year? And are they based on what you're doing in class or just isolated? Lastly, how did your presentation go; or have you not done it yet?
Um well we've just been doing practicals throughout the year whenever it seems appropriate. I mean they are related to the topics being covered in class but there are obviously topics where you can do none (e.g. relativity), or topics such as electromagnetism where we did about 4.

I'm hoping they aren't considered too big a deal by the exam board in terms of how you write them up as i just have a load of random graphs and tables of results :rolleyes: our teachers make it sound as if the exam board just want to see evidence of practicals so i hope it'll be ok, its not marked so it would be harsh to fail you if you have actually done them

Um not sure what you mean by the presentation, there is a presentation as part of the GPR pre-U course but the only bit of coursework for physics is the investigation i think? :confused:

http://www.cie.org.uk/docs/qualifica...es/Physics.pdf

Thanks for the rep
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ElMoro
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(Original post by rio9898)
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It says on page 31 of here that you give a 15 min presentation.

I'm a bit of a shy person. :ninja:
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rio9898
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(Original post by ElMoro)
It says on page 31 of here that you give a 15 min presentation.
:ninja:

Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. ..............

:eek:

Lol that has not been mentioned yet at any point in the last four terms!!

Hmmmmmm i mean throughout the year we have had to do little group presentations such as presenting one of the interpretations of quantum theory but only 5 minute things

I'll get back to you on that when i go back to check with my teacher because im really not sure. But as it says as evidence all you need is a powerpoint so its not recorded or marked, and im sure your teacher will let you just present it to him not the class if you dont want to. I wouldnt let it put you off
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mathew551
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(Original post by ElMoro)
Ok, thanks for the help mate. I'm glad I'm not doing biology! =P
Are you glad you're not doing Biology just because it seems harder?

A harder syllabus may mean more interesting content to learn about.
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ElMoro
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(Original post by mathew551)
Are you glad you're not doing Biology just because it seems harder?

A harder syllabus may mean more interesting content to learn about.
Nah, I'm just not really I biology person. I prefer physics and chemistry.

(Original post by rio9898)
Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. ..............

:eek:

Lol that has not been mentioned yet at any point in the last four terms!!

Hmmmmmm i mean throughout the year we have had to do little group presentations such as presenting one of the interpretations of quantum theory but only 5 minute things

I'll get back to you on that when i go back to check with my teacher because im really not sure. But as it says as evidence all you need is a powerpoint so its not recorded or marked, and im sure your teacher will let you just present it to him not the class if you dont want to. I wouldnt let it put you off
Ok. Thanks, mate. That was the last question. I swear!



(Original post by boo7788)
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How difficult would you say the chemistry Pre-U is compared to A-Level? Thanks!
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TheatreLovely
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Wow, the French and German papers look so much better/more in-depth/more interesting than the A-Levels. I wish I was doing this now.
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Unkempt_One
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Aside from the fact that all of the material is concentrated into one exam session; Mathematics looks roughly the same, and Chemistry looks harder yet much more fun. Skipping over most of the multiple choice questions, the first question on the first writing paper was a moles calculation much more in-depth than the stuff we do at A level. In spite of increased difficulty of the papers though, the grade boundaries seem very low, which means it's probably not too difficult to get high grades. (Apparently 55 and 48 out of 120 to get D3 in Mathematics papers 1 and 2, that's striking when an A at A-level is almost always 60+/75)
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Tabers
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I was quite shocked that the biology one was all about putting down letters rather than written answers. At least with being able to put down the letters it means that you can make a guess about it.

The geography one doesn't look to hard. Even without studying it I would be able to have a good guess at those questions.

Also on the history one I prefer the questions to what I am studying at A level now.
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