The Student Room Group

This discussion is no longer active so you won't be able to reply.Check out other Related discussions

How much memorisation needed in these A Level subjects compared to GCSEs?

Poll

Which combination would you, or recommend I, do with Maths and Physics?

How much memorisation is needed in these A Level subjects when compared to GCSEs?
-Chemistry
-Physics
-Maths
-Further Maths
-Biology

I'm asking as I am considering taking 3 or 4 of these subjects at A Level...
(edited 11 years ago)
Reply 1
Speaking for Maths AS Level, there's not much to memorise besides some formulas. You just need to practice plenty of past papers and remember the method to solve various problems.
Reply 2
In Biology there is a MASSIVE amount to remember, it aint too difficult to understand but the volume of knowledge is really annoying
Next is Chemistry which doesn't need as much memorising as biology but is harder to understand.
Physics isn't bad apart from learning definitions but they aren't to bad to memorise. There are concepts though that are difficult.
Maths doesn't take much memory at all as long as you put some effort in :wink:
Further maths I don't know as I didn't take it at A level but I took the others :smile:

Hope that helped :smile:
Original post by bobbricks
How much memorisation is needed in these A Level subjects when compared to GCSEs?
-Chemistry
-Physics
-Maths
-Further Maths
-Biology

I'm asking as I am considering taking 3 or 4 of these subjects at A Level...


I can only tell you about biology and chem as those are the only ones I'm doing in your list...
Biology - this may be just me, or may just be for AQA, but in my opinion you have to memorise LOTS more... the sheer amount of information you must know, even though only some of it shows up in the exam (which really pisses me off!!), is colossal. Not near suicidal, like it is for verb tenses for French, but for me it was very difficult to revise as I only started to a week before the exam... ended up with a C... DO NOT MAKE MY MISTAKES - BE PREPARED MONTHS PRIOR TO THE EXAM!! (You got away with it at GCSE, but at A-Level... not a chance)
Overall, lots of memorisation needed for this. A lot more than you need at GCSE.

Chemistry - very much a mix, this one. Although there are masses of HSW questions in biol, for chemistry I'd say there is even more. So memorisation is less important. Instead you have to gain a genuine understanding of what you are trying to learn, and you can't get away with just rote learning. Half the paper is based on tedious calculations, but they are fairly repetitive so the memorisation method for them is easy. The rest however is hell. I'd say chemistry is twice as hard as biology (at A-Level anyway).
Overall, not much memorisation needed for this, but much more brainpower.

I heard that Physics is mostly composed on maths, and calculations, so again, memorisation is probably less important.

Maths I dropped (thank heavens), because I'm helpless at anything to do with mental maths...

Hope I helped...
Reply 4
A Levels are a lot more about understanding what you're learning rather than being able to memorise a book then spew it back up in the exam and get full marks...

Maths + Further maths there isn't a lot, its (as I said) just understanding what you're doing, you get a formula booklet in the exam with most of what you need.
Physics again isn't too bad just definitions and when to use what equation...
I don't take the others sorry.

Saying that don't take law if you don't like memorising stuff, everyone I see in my school who takes law seems to trying to memorise pages of case studies 24/7 :P
Biology
Pro: not too hard to understand. Low grade boundaries.
Con: sheer volume of memorization can feel overwhelming, exam technique is a big fat bum.

Maths
Pro: virtually no memorization
Con: hard to practise all applications of formula. It's really frustrating when you know all the formula but don't know how to use them to work out a curveball question. High grade boundaries

Chemistry
Pro: only a few definitions and other rules to memorize, whole unit on alcohol in AQA unit 2 :colone:
Con: sometimes difficult to understand, grade boundaries usually quite high.
Reply 6
Okay, so does chemistry require a lot of memorisation then? I've decided that Biology doesn't interest me that much, but I asked the question just out of interest :P

On a side note, does Geography and/ or Economics also require a lot of memorisation? If so how much?
Reply 7
Aside from everything that's been said, for Geography, there is quite a lot of memorisation. This is because in the exam, you are asked about certain processes like river erosion, coastal processes etc and you have to describe them exactly so you have to learn it.

Also, in unit 1 AQA, half of the marks are for case study questions, so again you have to know all the facts and figures for multiple case studies so you can write them in the exam.

So yeah, there is a lot of memorisation, but the grade boundaries are really, really low (like 60-65% for an A) so it can be done.
Reply 8
So, in your opinion, which 4 subjects would be the "best" combination?
-Subjects: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Geography
Reply 9
Original post by bobbricks
So, in your opinion, which 4 subjects would be the "best" combination?
-Subjects: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Geography


In my opinion, I think you should take three sciences (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) with Geography. Leave out further maths as it is a lot of work, and some unis don't even accept it in addition to a Maths A level. Geography is a contrasting subject which allows you to escape the 'rigidity' of the sciencey a levels.

Depends on what you want to do in the end though...
Reply 10
Original post by coolcric321
In my opinion, I think you should take three sciences (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) with Geography. Leave out further maths as it is a lot of work, and some unis don't even accept it in addition to a Maths A level. Geography is a contrasting subject which allows you to escape the 'rigidity' of the sciencey a levels.

Depends on what you want to do in the end though...

Cool, thanks. :smile: I was considering a career in science (namely physics or chemistry), most likely an engineer or a scientist, but I'll take the subject I'm most interested in to University.
Reply 11
I agree with the above. I am currently doing the three sciences and maths. I was doing further maths but dropped it as it was really hard understand and I found it wouldn't really get me anywhere. My friend takes geography and says although its quite a lot of work finds it really interesting and I a nice break from all the science! :smile:
Reply 12
Original post by bobbricks
How much memorisation is needed in these A Level subjects when compared to GCSEs?
-Chemistry
-Physics
-Maths
-Further Maths
-Biology

I'm asking as I am considering taking 3 or 4 of these subjects at A Level...


Im planning to take the same apart from Further Maths.
Reply 13
Good luck! :smile:
If you want a career in science, then you should definitely consider Chemistry. :smile: But, only do it if it interests you, and not because of the vague notion of 'Scientist/Chemist'.

Original post by bobbricks
Cool, thanks. :smile: I was considering a career in science (namely physics or chemistry), most likely an engineer or a scientist, but I'll take the subject I'm most interested in to University.
Reply 15
Maths, Further Maths and Physics have relatively little memorization, the formulas are given to you in data sheet 30 pages thick in OCR MEI, Chemistry although there is not that much memorization, the little there is is key and if you don't know a tiny bit then it wrecks your result.

I take those four subjects, I wanted to tack Biology as well but my timetable clashed.

My friend who takes biology says that If you took GCSE biology and got 95UMS on most of the exams, then you basically know the core of AS level biology, you then get loads of extra stuff that you have to add on to it, for example they go into lungs etc in far more detail, and from what i heard the practical assessment is relatively straight forward, but i did laugh when I walked past a lab with 30 people doign squats behind a desk.

Also Physics Unit 2 and the Mechanics modules in Maths and FM are basically the same topics, just in more detail in maths and more fussy about rounding in Physics

The little that took a little remembering in physics was the electromagnetic spectrums wavelengths and the different rules for the composition of K and pi mesons, oh and the charge on quarks, but it was relatively easy

They key choice depends on what you want to take at Uni, for Physics I would advise Maths, FM, Chemistry, Physics, For medicine, Maths and 3 sciences, and for biology don't do FM and for maths, Maths, Physics, Further Maths and anything else
Biology - learn word for word in text book + in exam paper answers
Chemistry - practice questions + teacher help
Literally none of them, Just do Chemistry with Computer Science.
wait, why the hell was I recommended an old thread?
Original post by METRIX64
wait, why the hell was I recommended an old thread?

I was recommended too! Hii! :h:

Latest