Why do people find A-level Chemistry so hard? Watch

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iloveconverse
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I'm thinking of taking Chemistry for my A-levels, but many say that they find it hard. What is it that makes it difficult? The topics? Exams?

Also, if you are taking it and you are doing well, can I ask what grade you got at GCSE Chemistry?

Thanks

I want to know if you think its worth me taking it, even tough I'm unsure if I'll be doing a science degree or not?
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Lozza_00
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Dunno because I'm in yr 11 too.
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tuckaa
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Personally i find it really hard because i find the exams hard, i feel you can know the course really well and still do ****e. Plus i got an a* at gcse :\
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niharika.jha
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ive averaging an A/B at A2 atm, and i got an A* at gcse, it is hard, but it is really interesting the topics are okay i think, apart from organic synthesis in unit 4 (you have to remember a million syntheis routes ), but apart from that its alright what do you want to do at uni?
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urji21
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Hi!

I did chemistry at A levels so that I could apply to medical schools. Anyhow, chemistry was my best subject at GCSE but I got a D when I did the unit 1 AS exam =/

Tbh, the subject is quite hard if your basics aren't good. If you have a good foundation in chemistry plus practice loads of past exam questions, I'm sure you'll be fine. I could revise a D to an A in chemistry through lots of practice.

I felt the bigger challenge in A level chemistry was the exam rather than the content we had to learn.
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Freerider101
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Its hard to get your head around why and how things work/happen. Also I'm on OCR and the exam is very pushed for time.

Edit: I'm going to disagree with people who say the exam is hard. If you know all the content then the only questions you won't be able to do will be the 'suggest a mechanism/suggest an equation for the reaction'. I did OCR F325 early in January and the grade boundaries were 65% raw marks for Grade A.
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Kidneyjean
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(I may be a bit biased 'cause I think Chemistry's amazing :P)

- You have to be able to strike a balance between memorising content and understanding/applying concepts. Biology is mostly memory, and Physics is mostly concepts. Chemistry's somewhere in between, and some people find that hard.
- There are a few synoptic elements (not as much as there used to be), so if you didn't understand some of the basic stuff, then the stuff later on will be very difficult.
- A lot of the GCSE content is actually wrong/imprecise, and you have to get out of the habit of using it.
- The exams aren't actually that bad if you really understand all the concepts.

And for your second question, I'm on track for an A in Chemistry, and got an A* at GCSE.
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bashx
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Some people find the transition from GCSE to A LEVELS because its not what you think.. there is alot more of independant study and it requires consistent hard work from the beginning of term right the way through the two years. It can be enojoyable if you allow it to, if you sit back and let the struggles take over you, wou will find it difficult. my advise to you is take it if you are looking to pursue a career in the science fields or if you enjoy it. Even if yo upick it and during the first two weeks you dont like it, most colleges let you change subjects!!
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em_cart
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Hi. I'm doing AS chemistry. Did you do triple or double science? I did triple at GCSE and got A* and I think by doing triple it gives you a slight head start and the first bit of AS is sort of revision. It's very pushed for time and also it's one of those subjects where I understand in the lesson but when you start looking at exam papers it's hard to know which topic it's from and what they're asking for. But it's interesting
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iloveconverse
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(Original post by niharika.jha)
ive averaging an A/B at A2 atm, and i got an A* at gcse, it is hard, but it is really interesting the topics are okay i think, apart from organic synthesis in unit 4 (you have to remember a million syntheis routes ), but apart from that its alright what do you want to do at uni?
Hi, I'm unsure of what I want to do at Uni so I've taken Maths, Chemistry, Bio, and Economics for now. The thing is I'd need Chem to do a science related degree, but if I get a low grade, a Uni wouldn't take me. I'm confused what to do :/

Can I ask what degree you will do? Also, what other A-levels do you take and how hard are they in comparison to chem? Thanks
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chris-catalysed
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I failed it... I don't really find it 'hard', it's simple equations and often simple answers. But it's a knowing it as a 'whole' you can't really 'understand it' knowing only 80% if that makes sense?

It's the tying in that is hard, answering a question is easy, but they are not simple questions, they give you situations and you answer questions about it, sorry that's the best way I can explain it.

I got my exam script and and the last part (worth 18 marks) i only got 2! And hence the fail.. But I'm determined to get A this exam! WOOOOOOOOOOO!
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Stormwhite
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Chemistry is easily the most difficult AS Level I'm doing, out of Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I'm not sure I can really explain why, exactly, it's partially because there's a lot of rote, which my other subjects don't have, but the exams are also just plain hard.
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The Polar Dude
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I did Triple Science and I got an A* in Chemistry but the jump from gcse to a level is quite big IMO. It's challenging but by no means impossible.
The conten is hard to grasp at first but once u understand it, it becomes clearer but the exam itself, is very challenging and you think and apply your Knowledge to new questions ESP. HSW
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LiviD
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You've got to understand it. you can't just learn equations and reactions as that is not what they test you on in exams. I got A* at IGCSE and just received my mock chemistry and got 88%, which is an A, so its not too hard. Do practice papers to understand how they want you to answer questions. As long as you will work on it its fine. i find that i have to look over the material twice before i can actually use it. you'll be fine as long as you get an a*/a at gcse. good luck.
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JayReg
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Same as stormwhite, I like subjects where you don't have to remember lots of information that isn't part of a chain set of rules/methods (makes maths easy if you get it). Chemistry has both methods and random bits of information which is why its so hard as you need to be good at both.
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SophiaKeuning
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(Original post by iloveconverse)
I'm thinking of taking Chemistry for my A-levels, but many say that they find it hard. What is it that makes it difficult? The topics? Exams?

Also, if you are taking it and you are doing well, can I ask what grade you got at GCSE Chemistry?

Thanks
Well the AS wasn't hard, I didn't put much effort in and just revised a few days before and came out with a low B. And I suck at maths. A2 might be a lot harder though. I quite enjoyed it, man I miss practicals. :moon: I had an A at GCSE science.
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niharika.jha
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(Original post by iloveconverse)
Hi, I'm unsure of what I want to do at Uni so I've taken Maths, Chemistry, Bio, and Economics for now. The thing is I'd need Chem to do a science related degree, but if I get a low grade, a Uni wouldn't take me. I'm confused what to do :/

Can I ask what degree you will do? Also, what other A-levels do you take and how hard are they in comparison to chem? Thanks
im going to do pharmacy, and im doing biology and history too. i used to do physics, but i dropped it after january exams. definitely found physics the hardest! but for now, chemistry is harder than biology and history. then again biology and history aren't the easiest of subjects

have you considered getting a tutor for a-level? i got one just for these summer exams (for chem), and its really helpful, my end of unit test grades have gone up. if you're prepared to do the work, you'll be fine also it depends what uni your going for, my friend applied for biology, got an ABB offer from bath and a CD offer from Plymouth
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CherryCherryBoomBoom
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I did it at AS Level, and I just personally found everything about it difficult. Studying for exams was just a lot to learn about make sense of. GCSE was OK cos I got a B, but at AS Level I got an E
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iloveconverse
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(Original post by niharika.jha)
im going to do pharmacy, and im doing biology and history too. i used to do physics, but i dropped it after january exams. definitely found physics the hardest! but for now, chemistry is harder than biology and history. then again biology and history aren't the easiest of subjects

have you considered getting a tutor for a-level? i got one just for these summer exams (for chem), and its really helpful, my end of unit test grades have gone up. if you're prepared to do the work, you'll be fine also it depends what uni your going for, my friend applied for biology, got an ABB offer from bath and a CD offer from Plymouth
Yep, I'll be getting a tutor if i choose to do it. Thanks for your help
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GottaLovePhysics! :)
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Its odd, I found it hard initially, but now its come to revision its all become rather clear!

I think the initial problem I had at the start of the year was to do with chemical equations and my lack of understanding WHY certain things react, and what they form.

Looking forward to the A2 course, looks intresting : )

Edit: Re-read op. I would reccomend Chemistry AS, but it depends what you want to do at degree level. Easy choice for me as I know my degree lies within the spectrum of Science.
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