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How did you find the transition from GCSE to Alevel? watch

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    Workload, revision, spare time? Is it as hard as everyone says it is? Particularly interested in sciences?
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    Well i know theres a massive difference between them but the jump from Standard Grades to Highers was just unbelievably ridiculous. We had literally no spare time.
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    You will get to your January exams for AS look at the test and laugh at how easy GCSEs were. I was lazy when at sixth form and came out with an EEC. (The C was in the only subject I did any work in).

    Since sixth form I have done another qualification and found that If I work hard I do really well, practically top of my class.


    To summarise
    - You get out what you put in (You don't need to spend every hour revising but just a few hours a do will do)
    - It is a big step up but not unmanageable.
    - You will have plenty of spare time (You will likely have frees in which to revise)
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    I didn't think it was too bad actually. It is a step up but it's more of a natural progression than a big shock. For my subjects, chemistry was the biggest jump in difficulty but that was still manageable.
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    Horrendous.
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    Easy. I love change so I adapt to it pretty quickly and thankfully this was the case when I started A Levels.

    You'll have more time than ever so at least attempt to use it wisely.

    It's only hard if you're not smart about the decisions you make. E.g. when it comes to revision, you really do have to start revising weeks before the exam and not the day before.

    The main difference I found was how difficult it is to get a freaking A grade. Only the elite few who actually go above and beyond what's expected of them (even if some of them don't realise they're doing it) get the As, unlike GCSEs where students are just ****ting them out everywhere. Even getting a B grade is pretty difficult unless you put a hell of a lot of work in.

    Unless you're a bloody brilliant student, only do subjects you enjoy. When it comes to A Levels you'll excel in the subjects you enjoy compared to subjects you don't. Example: In English my target grade at the beginning of year 12 was a D/E, but now my more realistic target is B because I've really enjoyed the subject. However, with Psychology I'll be lucky if I get a B/C because I just found it so boring because it was so simple so I didn't take it seriously.

    I don't know much about the sciences, but what I do know is that they are as hard as everyone says. Some of my friends who were expected A/B grades averaged on D and E grades earlier this year and had to do all their exams again.
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    It'll be quite a shock to you at first, it just takes some time to settle into.

    The workload depends on the subject, and your teacher. For some subjects, it can be easy and manageable, but for others, it can be pretty big and if you don't learn how to manage your time effectively, you'll fall back. This happened to me with Chemistry and I had the shock horror when I got a U grade in my January exam.

    Revision - start earlier. Don't make drastic changes to your revision tactics, stick with what you like best. I started in-class Economics revision in February (we finished the course early) and then general revision for all of my other subjects in the Easter holidays.

    I feel like I've got more spare time than I used to, largely due to the free lessons that I get. Since I dropped Chemistry, I've had 12 free lessons per week, which gives me a lot more time to 'study' in and a greater amount of time at weekends to enjoy.

    The marking changes too. 50% on a GCSE paper would get you a decent B grade, possibly an A grade if you're lucky, but 50% on an A Level exam (depending on the subject, but this definitely applies to most) would get you a D/E grade.
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    It might be just me, but i thought the jump between GCSE and Alevel was less defined than i'd previously thought. Now, the jump between AS and A2, that's the motherducker that caught me out :eek: I felt the jump going into A2 Maths, and far less so going into A2 physics.
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    Jump from GCSE maths to AS maths cannot be even compared to that of AS maths to A2 maths.
    Going from GCSE to AS is smooth...at least for the sciences but.I have to admit there were some things that took me by surprise.....
    AS is just the smell of AL . Wait till you get to A2...AS to A2 is a really big transition.
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    (Original post by ChoccyWoccy)
    I didn't think it was too bad actually. It is a step up but it's more of a natural progression than a big shock. For my subjects, chemistry was the biggest jump in difficulty but that was still manageable.
    (Original post by Orthrus)
    It might be just me, but i thought the jump between GCSE and Alevel was less defined than i'd previously thought. Now, the jump between AS and A2, that's the motherducker that caught me out :eek: I felt the jump going into A2 Maths, and far less so going into A2 physics.
    These. I didn't really notice any abrupt jump, just a natural progression. But then I worked really hard for my GCSEs and did the same amount of work for my A levels and it worked fine.
    Definitely the jump from AS to A2 was much harder and noticeable.
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    The jump from GCSE through to as level wasn't much difference, I think because you've picked out what you want to do and what you'd enjoy doing; it would help, whereas if you'd stick me in as level Maths (for example) I'd really struggle and find it difficult.
    So it's just about how you manage the workload and picking out something you enjoy


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    Sort of natural. I understood things were going to get trickier and so expected it. On the other hand, it was not as hard as I assumed it would have been.
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    Just use your time wisely. Go to the library in free periods and get some work done, don't just think 'oh I'll do it home' cos it will stack up.

    Tutors don't carry people like they do at GCSE so you will get out what you put in. They are of course very supportive and help wherever needed, but don't expect them to be on at you all the time to do work. It takes a while to settle in to what you will have to do when and managing your time, but you shouldn't find it too bad if choose subjects that interest you.
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    Do your work in the college library! There will likely be breaks when none of your friends/people you like are around, so use those moments to do any homework! It saves doing work at home, which means you can revise!

    For the new AS students, it will be slightly different, since there are no January exams. I would assume that means you'll have a bit more time to settle in. You'll probably have mocks though, so treat those as your real exams - it will help teach you how to prepare properly for exams.

    Given that you only really have one opportunity, it would be best to revise early. I would guess that you'll finish Module 1 of your subject before January (since, they would've previously been catered for examination in January), so it would be a good idea to start revising it after you start Module 2 - to keep the content fresh and in your mind, ready for recollection later. Also, it would mean you won't have to relearn everything later!

    If you're on OCR - the OCR Heinemann Biology/Chemistry/Physics AS book is a must. Each topic is covered over a double page, so it's simple to find the relevant information and make notes.

    For Biology: The content is huge. Absolutely enormous (seems to be continuing that trend for A2...). There's a lot you have to learn, so try and learn some of it yourself. Take the Summer off for now, as you may find you're not motivated enough to try and learn the content (I don't blame you!). Try and stay 2 or 3 topics ahead of the class. Exam practice should be done earlier, as you also tend to learn a few things (unmentioned in the books) that may come up in future exams.
    Unit 1 is quite big, but Unit 2 is absolutely enormous. We finished the content a week before the exams! So, I would try and stay ahead to avoid cutting things close. The content is just so much, I would really try and start early - especially considering all your exams will be during the Summer exam period. There's nothing that comes across as uncomprehendingly difficult (unlike Chemistry: Moles at first) - it really is remembering absolutely everything. For Biology, the mark scheme requires you to be very precise, and failure to lose one key word could lose all the marks. Don't worry: you'll kind this easier as you learn the key words, and do some exam practice.

    For Chemistry: Chemistry Unit 1 is must smaller, and more manageable. In my opinion, you could learn everything yourself before December time. Module 3 is on the Periodic table, and is a very small module which repeats much of Module 2. For Chemistry, definitions are very important, and there are quite a few marks available for a simple definition, or using a definition to explain something.
    You'll encounter Molar Equations - which, at first, may seem like the most confusing witchcraft known to man. But it really is quite simple. Most people I knew found moles quite hard, but, as you go further into the course, it becomes nature to do molar equations. It really is just using the equations which are given (Moles=mass/Mr; Moles=vol*conc/1000; Moles=vol/24 - you'll get taught these, so don't worry!). Essentially, for Chemistry you have to learn a few equations, quite a few definitions, and many explanations.

    For Maths: Maths C1 is essentially GCSE Maths! It is non-calculator, but for C2, your 2nd Unit, you are allowed a calculator. Again, do exam practice, but not too early, since you'll run out of questions that you don't know the answer to. I would particularly recommend the Soloman Papers, as they are the most difficult Maths papers you can get, really testing your understanding. They cause you to think in very creative ways to come up with solutions. You'll realise you know more than you think while doing these sorts of questions, and it really helps to link together different parts of the syllabus.
    Now, for Standard Maths (not Further Maths, where you'll have to do both), you'll be given a choice of: S1 or M1. If you do Physics, do M1. If you don't, do S1. S1 is quite difficult - far more so than C1/C2. I've heard that S1 is more difficult than M1, but I did S1 myself - so I can't give my own opinion. On S1, though - it is certainly the most difficult maths unit. You'll encounter Arrangements & Permutations - the sole reason why S1 is difficult. The rest of it is good, but the Permutations part of it are quite difficult. Also, Probabilities come up. The context the exam papers use make them very difficult. You'll be given obscene scenarios, with ridiculous numbers to get ridiculous looking answers. Really, for S1, you have to worry about: Arrangement & Permutations, and Probability - especially more so, since all three topics are often combined together into a monster question!

    If you're thinking of doing Further Maths - I really have no tips. Further Maths students (@ my college) do: C1, C2, D1, (Jan, normally) and FP1, S1, M1 (June, normally). So, for you: you'll have 6 Maths exams in one exam period. You better really love Maths...

    For all subjects: Look at the specification, and see what you need to learn. Use textbooks, and make notes on each of the specification points. Revise these points continuously! It will greatly help in the long run! You'll have a long wait until your first exam. So, make sure you use the mock exams the college may organise as if you were doing the real thing - you need to be prepared for the exam conditions. It really is quite different. At GCSE, you may be used to having perhaps 30 students in a room. But, at AS, you'll see probably 300 people in the same room. The atmosphere is different, and you'll have to get used to this. Do timed exams at home as well, because, again, you won't have January to experience real exams! The stress, pressure, and time factors are completely different to what you'll experience at home.


    I've written quite a spiel, now. It seems like it's a lot, but it's not really! I've just shared a few of my experiences. In reality, it's more simple, yet more difficult, than you may think: Don't switch off in lessons, prepare early, and learn the content. I wouldn't really use my breaks for work - just go and eat, and socialise with friends. When exam periods approach, you'll probably not get any space anyway. So, make sure you prepare at home, and not do it all at college. Doing nothing during your breaks at college is probably better than doing nothing at home. I preferred to do my homework in college, though - just to get it out of the way as soon as possible!
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    You gonna get F'd up the arse if you dont hit the ground running. Simples
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    (Original post by ateeq22)
    You gonna get F'd up the arse if you dont hit the ground running. Simples
    I would have to disagree with that. No January exams mean a little longer adaptation period - there is just a slightly greater room for error in the first few weeks.

    Although, make sure you keep up with ALL work you are set. Don't let yourself fall behind. It will be difficult to catch up later, again since you don't have January exams.
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    (Original post by Vixen47)
    Easy. I love change so I adapt to it pretty quickly and thankfully this was the case when I started A Levels.

    You'll have more time than ever so at least attempt to use it wisely.

    It's only hard if you're not smart about the decisions you make. E.g. when it comes to revision, you really do have to start revising weeks before the exam and not the day before.

    The main difference I found was how difficult it is to get a freaking A grade. Only the elite few who actually go above and beyond what's expected of them (even if some of them don't realise they're doing it) get the As, unlike GCSEs where students are just ****ting them out everywhere. Even getting a B grade is pretty difficult unless you put a hell of a lot of work in.

    Unless you're a bloody brilliant student, only do subjects you enjoy. When it comes to A Levels you'll excel in the subjects you enjoy compared to subjects you don't. Example: In English my target grade at the beginning of year 12 was a D/E, but now my more realistic target is B because I've really enjoyed the subject. However, with Psychology I'll be lucky if I get a B/C because I just found it so boring because it was so simple so I didn't take it seriously.

    I don't know much about the sciences, but what I do know is that they are as hard as everyone says. Some of my friends who were expected A/B grades averaged on D and E grades earlier this year and had to do all their exams again.
    The papers I got A's in for AS got outweighed by my unit 2s, with the exception of sociology. And I'm sure you'll get at least a B for psychology, you can literally cram for it at AS and get a B. But my God, it is SO boring!
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    It really depends on the person. For me, it wasn't too bad, although for individual subjects like biology and psychology, I think I underestimated them at the beginning, so for me I saw them as a big jump up from GCSE, but looking back now, they weren't actually that bad, I just wasn't prepared.
    Although you will come across people who either over emphasise the jump or don't place enough emphasis on it. There is a jump, I won't deny that, but it does really depend on how you're coping (or have coped) with GCSEs and how you're planning on preparing for the next step.. it doesn't have to be a big struggle if you get go from the get go.

    In terms if free time, I don't really think A-levels change much if you're doing enough (which is different for different people), so don't worry about it too much. In any case, I'm not aware of anybody spending everyday of their year 12 life revising or working. I know plenty who have managed to hold down a job, go abroad (both during term time and holiday time).

    Coming back to sciences, if I'm honest, the sciences are probably the easiest A-levels in the sense that exams aren't too demanding in the sense of essays, extensive knowledge and critical skills which are required for subjects like English and history, however, you'll also find that the content covered in the sciences is much harder, so make what you may of it, but with enough practice and understanding, it won't seem to bad, just make sure you work on application skills, these are what make science exams so hard.


    Hopefully I've helped to put your mind at ease a bit, but don't underestimate A-levels, you'll get out what you put in.
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    Mathematics/ Further Mathematics - Pretty good, C1 is just more advanced GCSE Mathematics, and C2 is introducing new concepts and methods so you can't really go wrong there. M1 however, was quite difficult becuse despite studying AS Physics M1 required a different level of thinking, manipulation of situations and problem solving. FP1 is not that hard provided you practice questions constantly and consistently, the applied modules vary in difficulty depending on your exam board (I was on OCR MEI).

    Biology - Quite difficult in the sense that you are required to understand the concepts and theories as opposed to memorising facts. A-Level Biology also contains a lot of application questions which tests your understanding as opposed to your memory skills! Furthermore your writing skills and organisation of wordier questions must be top notch and this is a skill I lacked on and had to spend the majority of my AS year working on.

    Chemistry - Easiest transition (for me) I really enjoy this subject, so I worked the hardest for it! But my peers found AS-Level Chemistry the hardest because they relied on the GCSE notion of memorising paragraphs and phrases from the textbook as opposed to learning what they mean. AS-Level Chemistry is quite a step up from GCSE but it is do-able provided that you perfect your exam technique. In my opinion 75% of AS-Level Chemistry is down to exam technique and 15% knowledge.

    Physics - Oh my goodness. Physics was a horrendous transition for me because I made the assumption that I was automatically entitled to do well because I got an A* at GCSE. Boy was I wrong! AS-Level Physics requires not only understanding but a relatively high aptitude of problem solving skills as opposed to the notion of memorising facts and recalling them in the exam. AS-Level Physics will test ALL aspects of the syllabus and skills from Quality of Written Communication (QWC) to numerical capabilities and analytical skills. I did not realise this until approximately 3 months before the exam, up until then I had wasted valuable time writing colour coordinated notes and facts when I should have been constantly doing past papers, perfecting my exam execution and QWC!.
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    (Original post by Technetium)
    Physics - Oh my goodness. Physics was a horrendous transition for me because I made the assumption that I was automatically entitled to do well because I got an A* at GCSE. Boy was I wrong! AS-Level Physics requires not only understanding but a relatively high aptitude of problem solving skills as opposed to the notion of memorising facts and recalling them in the exam. AS-Level Physics will test ALL aspects of the syllabus and skills from Quality of Written Communication (QWC) to numerical capabulities and analytical skills. I did not realise this until approximately 3 months before the exam, up until then I had wasted valuable time writing colour coordinated notes and facts when I should have been constantly doing past papers, perfecting my exam execution and QWC!.
    Did you take physics because you were good at it, or because you genuinely liked the subject?
 
 
 
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