Self Study A level Biology/Chemistry? Exam board help? Watch

Mase123
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Hi,

I am eager to pursue a career in Pharmacy and I currently need A level Biology. I have got my GCSE Science (by self studying) and now I need to self study A level Biology and Chemistry.

So, I was wondering if I should go for AQA or Edexcel (OCR out of question since I heard lots of horror stories about them relating to science subjects). I am contemplating on taking Edexcel Biology and AQA Chemistry. I understand I have to take the practicals for both specification which I will do in a college who are willing to accept me.

However, I was wondering which exam board you would recommend for students attempting to self study without a teacher. I would appreciate those who have experienced using these exam board can guide me. I have heard AQA board has some rigid exam technique that needs to be followed, I wanted to know if this is true and also which will board will be more convenient in terms of the exam and techniques.

Thank you all for your help.
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TSR Learn Together
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Hey there. While you're waiting for a reply to your post, we thought we'd give your thread a timely bump.

But don't twiddle your thumbs in the meantime! Kick off your revision and study time by heading to our Learn Together section.

In Learn Together, you'll find interactive study tools to help make your revision quicker and easier. We've also got thousands of handpicked assignments analysed by great teachers, so you can learn from top-marked work. And there's tons more too: get started on Learn Together now!
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alow
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(Original post by Mase123)
Hi,

I am eager to pursue a career in Pharmacy and I currently need A level Biology. I have got my GCSE Science (by self studying) and now I need to self study A level Biology and Chemistry.

So, I was wondering if I should go for AQA or Edexcel (OCR out of question since I heard lots of horror stories about them relating to science subjects). I am contemplating on taking Edexcel Biology and AQA Chemistry. I understand I have to take the practicals for both specification which I will do in a college who are willing to accept me.

However, I was wondering which exam board you would recommend for students attempting to self study without a teacher. I would appreciate those who have experienced using these exam board can guide me. I have heard AQA board has some rigid exam technique that needs to be followed, I wanted to know if this is true and also which will board will be more convenient in terms of the exam and techniques.

Thank you all for your help.
I sat OCR for both Biology and Chemistry and there was never any outrageous questions in any paper. To be honest, there havent been many difficult questions at all, and when it is a difficult paper the grade boundaries are ridiculously low.
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chelley2
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(Original post by Mase123)
Hi,

I am eager to pursue a career in Pharmacy and I currently need A level Biology. I have got my GCSE Science (by self studying) and now I need to self study A level Biology and Chemistry.

So, I was wondering if I should go for AQA or Edexcel (OCR out of question since I heard lots of horror stories about them relating to science subjects). I am contemplating on taking Edexcel Biology and AQA Chemistry. I understand I have to take the practicals for both specification which I will do in a college who are willing to accept me.

However, I was wondering which exam board you would recommend for students attempting to self study without a teacher. I would appreciate those who have experienced using these exam board can guide me. I have heard AQA board has some rigid exam technique that needs to be followed, I wanted to know if this is true and also which will board will be more convenient in terms of the exam and techniques.

Thank you all for your help.
I'd say go for AQA chemistry .I do AQA i think its pretty straight forward


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Midnight1811
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(Original post by alow)
I sat OCR for both Biology and Chemistry and there was never any outrageous questions in any paper. To be honest, there havent been many difficult questions at all, and when it is a difficult paper the grade boundaries are ridiculously low.
I'm about to do OCR and there courses are amazing, its more practical based biology like cells/the heart etc...
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_amyjane
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I am just sorting out a time table for myself to self study Chemistry, Biology and Maths. I plan on doing them all on AQA as I have found places to do the science practical exams on this board and then Maths I just thought may as well keep them all the same! I am really worried I am not going to be clever enough though to get the AAB I need for my uni course whilst working full time...... Would be interesting to keep in touch and see how each other gets along. Are you going to pay for any tuition at all??
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A-Dog
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(Original post by _amyjane)
I am just sorting out a time table for myself to self study Chemistry, Biology and Maths. I plan on doing them all on AQA as I have found places to do the science practical exams on this board and then Maths I just thought may as well keep them all the same! I am really worried I am not going to be clever enough though to get the AAB I need for my uni course whilst working full time...... Would be interesting to keep in touch and see how each other gets along. Are you going to pay for any tuition at all??
Edexcel is better for maths, because better resources
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_amyjane
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(Original post by A-Dog)
Edexcel is better for maths, because better resources
Thanks for the advice. I have decided to do Edexcel for Maths now as I have been reading that it has better resources quite a bit. With no teacher that'll be a necessasity. Cheers
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daniele1272
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Hello everyone I am self self studying a level biology and chemistry but was wondering were you all have found the places to do the practicals
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radicalboujie
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(Original post by daniele1272)
Hello everyone I am self self studying a level biology and chemistry but was wondering were you all have found the places to do the practicals
I went to a private exam centre and payed 1,300 for both as&a2 biology,chemistry and RS. Plus practicals

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radicalboujie
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Would love to know where everyone is on their studies. Btw I chose ocr as their specification is more human bio and more straight forward in terms of studying which I find great.
Plus AQA a2 for bio and chem have a loooong synoptic horrible essay in the exam and if u mess that up there's none of those little questions to boost up ur marks

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psid
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(Original post by radicalboujie)
Would love to know where everyone is on their studies. Btw I chose ocr as their specification is more human bio and more straight forward in terms of studying which I find great.
Plus AQA a2 for bio and chem have a loooong synoptic horrible essay in the exam and if u mess that up there's none of those little questions to boost up ur marks

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Hey, Have you done your AS year? What grade did you get studying with OCR? I was going to buy the distance learning subjects; Biology, Chemistry and Psychology but thought if I buy the textbooks and study out of those - ill save money and put it towards private tutoring. Are you self studying?
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JamboGooner
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Where are you at with your revision? I've finished unit 1 chem revision and am about to start unit 4. Have started unit 2 bio as well. I'm self-studying bio, chem and maths this year. I have no idea if i can get AAB wirhout tutors.
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psid
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(Original post by JamboGooner)
Where are you at with your revision? I've finished unit 1 chem revision and am about to start unit 4. Have started unit 2 bio as well. I'm self-studying bio, chem and maths this year. I have no idea if i can get AAB wirhout tutors.
OMG! I haven't even started- I keep delayed my start date! I'm going to try my hardest, worse comes to worse I'll apply for the one year access to medicine in September at a college. What's your study timetable like? I'm literally looking for tutors to teach me chem and bio. What books did you buy for chemistry and biology? Pls help x
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JamboGooner
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(Original post by psid)
OMG! I haven't even started- I keep delayed my start date! I'm going to try my hardest, worse comes to worse I'll apply for the one year access to medicine in September at a college. What's your study timetable like? I'm literally looking for tutors to teach me chem and bio. What books did you buy for chemistry and biology? Pls help x
Well one of my underlying problems at the moment is that I do not actually have a proper timetable. I'm working really hard now though to finish these AS resits as quickly as possible. Well my local library has a couple of books for A-Level subjects, including the actual AQA A2 Chem textbook, plus I have my notes from Bio last year since I'm resitting this year (Ive forgotten a lot already though!). Got 9 exams next year including 1 practical exam.

How many exams are you planning to sit next year and are you doing AS or A2?
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psid
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(Original post by JamboGooner)
Well one of my underlying problems at the moment is that I do not actually have a proper timetable. I'm working really hard now though to finish these AS resits as quickly as possible. Well my local library has a couple of books for A-Level subjects, including the actual AQA A2 Chem textbook, plus I have my notes from Bio last year since I'm resitting this year (Ive forgotten a lot already though!). Got 9 exams next year including 1 practical exam.

How many exams are you planning to sit next year and are you doing AS or A2?
Ahh ok your doing resits? What grades did you get last time? Did you self study then?

Planning on sitting AS Chem,Bio and Psychology in june
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That_Clever_Guy
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avoid edexcel all together did edexcel biology and it was pretty messed up, maybe try OCR, OCR chemistry was straight forward as all the past papers were pretty much identical so yeah avoid edexcel IMO
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psid
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Would you recommend OCR over AQA? Or AQQ? What subjects did you do and what grades did you get? Did you self study?
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That_Clever_Guy
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(Original post by psid)
Would you recommend OCR over AQA? Or AQQ? What subjects did you do and what grades did you get? Did you self study?
Never did AQA but OCR Chemistry wasn't too bad it was straight forward and yeah I did edexcel maths and biology. Heard bad things about other exam boards for maths and edexcel biology was okay but it was a little tricky at times and I got AAA oh and yeah I did AQA AS physics, which actually wasn't so bad but if you do all the past papers you should be okay and no I didn't self study
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ThePhoenixLament
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Hello- I do Edexcel Biology and OCR B Chemistry (oh and I've applied for Pharmacy!). I'll talk about Biology as you seem to be considering the board I do and OCR is out of the question (seriously I find them better than Edexcel in many ways...).

I have really enjoyed Edexcel Biology. I never really found it too tricky and the papers were fine and not totally unpredictable. The only issue I've had is that twice since August they have changed marks around (up and down by up to 3 UMS). This was rather annoying but I generally like the board and being able to see your results online is a big plus! It all links in well with each-other and that majority of it are things you can see its impacts in the real world. They love their data analysis questions so you can get easy marks from that provided you know exactly what to write (e.g. 1 mark for general trend, 2 marks for other (comparative) observations and 1 mark for data manipulation). Coursework was fine and almost enjoyable at AS but got a bit hellish at A2.

OCR B Chemistry has also been fine as it is more of a case of memorising past years' markschemes and knowing the exact wording they want. That can make it a bit of a nightmare in a sense but also means you can pick up easy marks just by saying the right word. Practicals were fine and an easy way to boost your grade. A2 coursework I thought would be awful but its actually fine. Concepts are quite tricky to get your head around at first for any Chemistry board though so be prepared for that!
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