username1015193
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Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how hard they found a physics degree, because im quite worried about it, as im going to take a foundation year (only recently have i started AS maths and im year 13). I know i will read around the subject as i love it, its brilliant, is that enough though, or do you need to be a genius?

Also does the difficulty of the degree increase as the entry grades into a uni increase?
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heyimbored
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It's hard, but you don't need to be a genius; you can do well with hard work. Different people do better than others of course though, it depends on your learning styles and strengths.

The difficulty doesn't necessarily increase with entry grades; entry grades reflect how competitive a course is more than how hard it is, having said that, I haven't taken exams/modules from all the unis in the country. I did my first year at York, then moved to Liverpool and the standards seem to be the same in terms of difficulty, but they have very similar entry requirements, and aren't exactly that different in league tabling etc...(not that they mean anything anyway). However, when revising for my second year astro exam (which is an optional module for third year straight physics students), I came across a previous exam paper from Oxford's equivalent third year optional module, and it was basically the same in terms of content and difficulty. I know that Liverpool/York to Oxford again isn't exactly the biggest jump in the world, but if there's no change there, why would there be a change a bit lower down? Generally physics degrees have at least ABB or AAB requirements, just because it is difficult though, so you don't get so much of a range of offers as some other courses may get (although some are more lenient than the others).
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username1015193
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(Original post by heyimbored)
It's hard, but you don't need to be a genius; you can do well with hard work. Different people do better than others of course though, it depends on your learning styles and strengths.

The difficulty doesn't necessarily increase with entry grades; entry grades reflect how competitive a course is more than how hard it is, having said that, I haven't taken exams/modules from all the unis in the country. I did my first year at York, then moved to Liverpool and the standards seem to be the same in terms of difficulty, but they have very similar entry requirements, and aren't exactly that different in league tabling etc...(not that they mean anything anyway). However, when revising for my second year astro exam (which is an optional module for third year straight physics students), I came across a previous exam paper from Oxford's equivalent third year optional module, and it was basically the same in terms of content and difficulty. I know that Liverpool/York to Oxford again isn't exactly the biggest jump in the world, but if there's no change there, why would there be a change a bit lower down? Generally physics degrees have at least ABB or AAB requirements, just because it is difficult though, so you don't get so much of a range of offers as some other courses may get (although some are more lenient than the others).
i'm guessing that the maths in degree level physics goes far beyond that of Further Maths or maths A-level?
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harreeeee
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Some people I know used to love Physics, and then they did it for a level and everything changed
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RyanT
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harder then a pencil lead, but softer then a diamond.

Comes down to the structure of your brain.
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username1015193
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(Original post by Nichrome)
The difficulty of a Physics degree will vary depending on where you go. When I transferred unis (from Cambridge to UCL) the difficulty plummeted through the floor.

Most Physics courses are not too difficult, especially if you're not taking a theoretical route, so you should be fine with a bit of hard work.
I hope to be taking Physics with Astro or just straight physics, but i dont really like electrical circuits etc... i want to try and avoid that sort of thing, I like quantum mechanics, fields, and most other stuff

I'm hoping to go to Nottingham, has anyone studied there?
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Nichrome
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(Original post by SALENTRAT)
I hope to be taking Physics with Astro or just straight physics, but i dont really like electrical circuits etc... i want to try and avoid that sort of thing, I like quantum mechanics, fields, and most other stuff

I'm hoping to go to Nottingham, has anyone studied there?
Unfortunately you won't really be able to avoid electrical - you'll probably have to take a bit of it. Thankfully it's only a very small part of electromagnetism, which turns out to be mostly about fields anyway, which you like, so all's good.

Nottingham is a great university with a very good syllabus.
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username1015193
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(Original post by Nichrome)
Unfortunately you won't really be able to avoid electrical - you'll probably have to take a bit of it. Thankfully it's only a very small part of electromagnetism, which turns out to be mostly about fields anyway, which you like, so all's good.

Nottingham is a great university with a very good syllabus.
Nice to hear, im hoping it wont get too complicated with the old electrical circuits because i really hate it, haha.

I will definately put the work in, is it work reading around the subject i.e. books while i am at university?

How much free time (roughly) do you get, and how much work out of lectures should you be doing?
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heyimbored
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(Original post by SALENTRAT)
I hope to be taking Physics with Astro or just straight physics, but i dont really like electrical circuits etc... i want to try and avoid that sort of thing, I like quantum mechanics, fields, and most other stuff

I'm hoping to go to Nottingham, has anyone studied there?
Doing astro will cut out at least almost all practical electronics, you may have an introductory course depending on the uni You can't miss out on electromagnetism, at most you'd miss out on the most advanced module in 3rd/4th year, but circuits are a very small part of that really.

The argument about it being harder at other unis will always go on, the case mentioned above may be a case of it getting easier, but could just as easily be down to other factors; I personally find it hard to believe that there would be such a monumental gap between Cambridge and UCL. Like I've said before, I've taken an Oxford paper in an equivalent module to one I did for revision, and there was no difference to me in difficulty compared to Liverpool (or York), and having more recently seen Warwick and Durham material, I only come to the same conclusion again. The only thing that I can really see changing is term lengths, which are shorter at Oxbridge and some others, which may increase the workload during term time, but that's just a time management obstacle.
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heyimbored
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(Original post by SALENTRAT)
i'm guessing that the maths in degree level physics goes far beyond that of Further Maths or maths A-level?
Yes it does, although not necessarily as far beyond further maths as you might think (if you do the top further pure modules), it also depends on the module, some go much further mathematically than others.
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imiss-school
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On the argument of difference in difficulty at different unis, if the course in IoP accredited would they not have to all have a similar level of difficulty.

Anyway I'm thinking of physics for next year but I've been out of education for a couple of years. Is the first year mainly a recap of A Level? And are the first year maths modules especially just a re hash.

I do intend on looking over my A Level maths notes but I'm not sure whether I should just flick through or try to relearn the stuff properly.

Probably not demonstrating the commitment required for a physics degree right now but once I have structure to my learning I know I will really knuckle down.

Oh ad SALENTRAT I also hate electric circuits, don't know why I've just never liked them since primary school.
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Alexandra's Box
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(Original post by SALENTRAT)
Nice to hear, im hoping it wont get too complicated with the old electrical circuits because i really hate it, haha.
(Original post by imiss-school)

Oh ad SALENTRAT I also hate electric circuits, don't know why I've just never liked them since primary school.
Er, not planning on Physics, too mathsy but just wanted to say that I too hated circuits. Always the worst part of physics GCSE
Good luck in the future!
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heyimbored
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(Original post by imiss-school)
On the argument of difference in difficulty at different unis, if the course in IoP accredited would they not have to all have a similar level of difficulty.
As much as I don't really buy the 'harder at x uni' argument, the fact that a course is accredited just means that it meets a minimum standard. That means it's a decent degree, but there's nothing to say that some unis have extra content on top of that, or assess to a higher level etc...
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The_Last_Melon
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It's like everything else, if you put the work in you'll do well. If you cry about the unknown when it comes and say "I can't this, I can't that" then you'll fail.
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heyimbored
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(Original post by Nichrome)
Well, there was a pretty huge gap. Every single paper I've seen pretty much from every other uni was quite a bit easier than the ones I took at Cambridge. Not only were the papers harder, but due to the structure of the course you are effectively forced to study much, much more material than elsewhere in a compressed time frame. The difficulty between other universities do seem reasonably equal though I agree (apart from Hull papers which seemed even easier than the rest). I suspect you're content to believe it's all the same difficulty as you can't stomach the though that you might not be top of your class somewhere else.
I've previously said about the content of natural sciences at Cambridge; take all the physics options, and you do the physics degree that I'm on in terms of syllabus. Obviously I can't say about Cambridge papers, but having actually completed these papers from Oxford etc... as part of revision for my modules, I haven't struggled with them any more than papers from my own uni.

With Cambridge of course they have the standard grading where x% get firsts, y% get 2.1s etc...up to 3rd (?) year which, because of the nature of the people at Cambridge, would make it hard to get the top classification. I don't really know though, everything gets mixed up grade wise during the change up to uni from A level.
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username1015193
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(Original post by heyimbored)
I've previously said about the content of natural sciences at Cambridge; take all the physics options, and you do the physics degree that I'm on in terms of syllabus. Obviously I can't say about Cambridge papers, but having actually completed these papers from Oxford etc... as part of revision for my modules, I haven't struggled with them any more than papers from my own uni.

With Cambridge of course they have the standard grading where x% get firsts, y% get 2.1s etc...up to 3rd (?) year which, because of the nature of the people at Cambridge, would make it hard to get the top classification. I don't really know though, everything gets mixed up grade wise during the change up to uni from A level.
Sorry for this horrible bump but,

i got a C in physics at AS, i really wasn't expecting it because i felt i really understood everything... does this stand me in bad stead for university?
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heyimbored
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(Original post by SALENTRAT)
Sorry for this horrible bump but,

i got a C in physics at AS, i really wasn't expecting it because i felt i really understood everything... does this stand me in bad stead for university?
Some of the very top unis (Oxbridge basically, maybe some others that can be picky, like Durham) may not like it and reject you early on because of it (they have enough people who'll have straight A's at AS applying as it is), but it shouldn't stop you getting an offer from a very decent uni at least.

Physics offers are generally quite high though; at least ABB or AAB, so you will no doubt have to do some resits or work very hard to bump that up to at least a B to actually meet any offers though. If you feel like you could have done better than that C though, that shouldn't be an issue, sometimes you just need another go at getting it. Make sure to talk to your teachers about a predicted grade of an A (or B if you can't), then just focus on getting the best you can.

I wouldn't worry though, I got BBB at AS, but had AAB predictions, and had offers from UCL, Nottingham, Lancaster and Sussex at AAB and an offer from Warwick at AAA. This was a few of years ago of course so it may all be different (and will be because of the tougher entry standards at some places).
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Exactley 8.5
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username1015193
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(Original post by heyimbored)
Some of the very top unis (Oxbridge basically, maybe some others that can be picky, like Durham) may not like it and reject you early on because of it (they have enough people who'll have straight A's at AS applying as it is), but it shouldn't stop you getting an offer from a very decent uni at least.

Physics offers are generally quite high though; at least ABB or AAB, so you will no doubt have to do some resits or work very hard to bump that up to at least a B to actually meet any offers though. If you feel like you could have done better than that C though, that shouldn't be an issue, sometimes you just need another go at getting it. Make sure to talk to your teachers about a predicted grade of an A (or B if you can't), then just focus on getting the best you can.

I wouldn't worry though, I got BBB at AS, but had AAB predictions, and had offers from UCL, Nottingham, Lancaster and Sussex at AAB and an offer from Warwick at AAA. This was a few of years ago of course so it may all be different (and will be because of the tougher entry standards at some places).
This is nice to hear, im just worried that as you said universities wont accept me :/ i'm really eager to go to Nottingham (BBB-BBC)because their syllabus is amazing and i love the uni.

i'll ask my teacher how he thinks i'll cope because he will know my ability and can give me a more accurate opinion.
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