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    Hi everyone, i'm a GCSE student currently studying OCR double award science. I've applied to do chemistry AS level (as well as biology, maths, f maths and french).
    Out of all the sciences I find chemistry the easiest (although I didn't at the start of the course) and can understand how everything interelates. It is enjoyable. With Biology I find it fact learning and as for physics that's one thing I parrot learn with no understanding but I guess that's ok as i'm not planning to take it next year.
    However everyones attitude on here is starting to worry me. Chemistry is constantly labelled here as being hard and notoriously difficult. May I ask any A level chemists why is this? Is it the amount of it? Or is it the difficulty in understanding the subject? Is it the exam papers? Or is it anything else?
    I'm starting to feel a bit put off this subject??
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    Hmm good question, but one thats quite hard to answer.

    In my opinion at A level (well AS for me) there is a huge amount of knowledge that you do have to memorise, however as theres so much you actually have to have alot of knowlegde about it. The easiest way of tackling A level chemistry (again in my opinon) is to actually understand it, however teachers want results so we're left to memorise endless reactions..

    Argh i really dont know!
    Well done on your choices btw, i did the same this year, apart from history instead of french.
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    Chemistry perhaps is one of the harder A level subjects. When you are studying it, it seems quite daunting, but the exams are relatively easy (OCR Salters).
    I've just about finished my A level and have found that the best method of learning chemistry is revising exam papers and their answers. Understanding the theory is useful, however, sometimes you might not conform with the mark scheme, which causes you to drop marks.
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    The people I know who find it 'hard' generally dont have an interest in the subject, take it because it looks good, its respected, or they want to do medicine or something related to health related and believe its a must.

    I like the subject and it is for sure the easiest out of all my subects (sciences + maths). I put in about 1/4 of the workload in say comparison to Biology, which i find the hardest to achieve top marks in (lots of memorising and great exam technique required).

    Dont be put off by other people's perception of the subject. They dont have the same ability as you, everybody's different. Its your choice and you may find it a breeze.
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    I'm currently taking AS Chemistry, well just finished actually.
    Out of my subjects, Maths, Computing and Biology, I've found Chemistry the hardest. I found that it was a big step from GCSE Chemistry, just a lot more demanding. Understanding Chemistry is a must, rather than just churning out sentences in exams. Nevertheless, all subjects are hard in their rightful way. Chemistry is much respected by universities, and by seeing your choices above, I don't think you'll have much difficulty. Good luck with your decision.
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    If you are able to see how everything interrelates then it should mainly become a case of brute force memorisation of reactions etc.
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    It will depend a lot on your teacher - if you have a teacher that can plan lessons (ours didn't bother most of the time), break them up well (ours would often stand and talk for 2hrs and I switched off after about 15 minutes) and make it interesting (hahaha) then it'll be quite easy.

    A lot of the stuff just didn't make sense for me. If I can understand an underlying concept I can just memorise that and build it out in my head from there (like with maths). However, there is so many exceptions to the rule in chemistry it's utterly pointless to do that, so you end up memorising lots of facts which only 10-25% of them get utilised, but if you don't have them you could easily lose 10 marks for one simple fact in the exam.

    I'd place biology at the side with the most memorisation and least concepts and working out, and physics with much less memorisation but many more concepts and equations. Chemistry is stuck right in the middle which means you can't go into fact reciting mode nor maths-like working which I found difficult.
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    This year i took As level Chemistry and we had a really crap teacher he couldnt teach to save his life, (however he thinks he can :nn: ) He taught some A2 in AS the SN1 and SN2 types of mechanisms. I didnt understand anything really by the end of the course only unit 1 to some extent. However once i revised the subject or should i say learned it in a short space of time from factsheets it became easy. This is becuase i was understanding subject and not just memorising therefore it became easier to apply knowledge and not just memorise answers. When the was a harder concept i tried to understand to the fullest.

    In response to your question chemistry isnt really that hard just understanding the subject can really help you. I think Physics in my opinion is harder and much more interesting, though there is much less to revise it is much more heavy on understanding the laws and formulas.
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    Hey, i'm probably just reiterating what other people have already said. I take the same subjects you have chosen but with history instead of French. Personally I find chemistry my easiest and most enjoyable subject. Fortunately I really get on with my teachers who are great but as there is such a spectrum of results in my class i think it really is up to your ability to understand the concepts involved. One of the things that really helped me after covering the syllabus is doing loads of practise papers- you will notice there is only so much you can be asked! I would say definitely don't be put off Chemistry, if you get on well with the course it is fantastic and is well recognised by universities. Good Luck!
    Rachel x
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    Contraversially, its a very male orientated subject. A lot of girls just hate doing practicals, whereas lads seem to thrive at that part of it.
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    Out of all the subjects I do I find chemistry the easiest and by far the most interesting. I like you heard that it was a hard subject and I was considering not doing it but I can firmly say that I am glad I did. If as you say you prefer and are good at understanding the underlying concepts then you shouldn't have too much trouble. There are certain things that you just have to learn and aren't explained, but these are the exception. Also if you keep pushing then the teachers will generally try their best to explain anything but sometimes it is impossible without further knowledge. Also although you do quite a bit of practical it probably only takes up about a quarter of lesson time. I have to agree with what someone said earlier that at my school results are very much polarised, a good deal of people will get A/B but alot will get U with not a great deal in between those groups.

    One final note, my girlfriend does biology and to me that looks a hell of a lot harder and more fact learning than chemistry, but don't take my word for it, go ask your teacher for the AS text books and have a read.
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    I think how difficult chemistry is depends a lot on the exam board you do. I say this because I do AQA, which is fairly easy and actually repeats alot of GCSE stuff, but I also have friends doing nuffield, and there course seems alot harder.
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    Contraversially, its a very male orientated subject. A lot of girls just hate doing practicals, whereas lads seem to thrive at that part of it.
    :eek: Practicals are thie best bit though, if not alittle repetitive (i am a girl btw)

    A lot of the stuff just didn't make sense for me. If I can understand an underlying concept I can just memorise that and build it out in my head from there (like with maths). However, there is so many exceptions to the rule in chemistry it's utterly pointless to do that, so you end up memorising lots of facts which only 10-25% of them get utilised, but if you don't have them you could easily lose 10 marks for one simple fact in the exam.

    I'd place biology at the side with the most memorisation and least concepts and working out, and physics with much less memorisation but many more concepts and equations. Chemistry is stuck right in the middle which means you can't go into fact reciting mode nor maths-like working which I found difficult.
    Hit..nail...head
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    Im just finishin A2, but i resited all the AS exams this year. i found last years work really easy 2nd time around. i guess chemistry is something you have to understand to get top marks, rather than something you can just replicate the same answers to different questions. dont worry about the jump- everyone goes through it at the same time so noone has a disadvantage. it does depend on the teacher- like any subject.
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    (Original post by silent_ninja)
    The people I know who find it 'hard' generally dont have an interest in the subject, take it because it looks good, its respected, or they want to do medicine or something related to health related and believe its a must.
    I resent this; I enjoy Chemistry, it's totally irrelevant to my course but I still find it hard.

    As to why it's hard, I agree because you are required to understand as well as memorise, and the syllabus is very specific.
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    I think the reason why Chemistry is hard is not only because you have to understand pretty much everything that is going on, but also remember a lot of finer details, such as how electrons move in mechanisms or the conditions required for a certain reaction. Nevertheless, I realise that what I thought I understood at GCSE was actually me being able to accept things without understanding them properly, which is definitely not the approach for AS level chemistry. At times, it is also just plain dull, for instance, I don't really enjoy the Equilibria, but I do enjoy things like Organic and Periodic chemistry.
    The main reason why you should take Chemistry is that you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy the course, you will probably regret your choice later.
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    (Original post by henryt)
    I think the reason why Chemistry is hard is not only because you have to understand pretty much everything that is going on, but also remember a lot of finer details, such as how electrons move in mechanisms or the conditions required for a certain reaction. Nevertheless, I realise that what I thought I understood at GCSE was actually me being able to accept things without understanding them properly, which is definitely not the approach for AS level chemistry. At times, it is also just plain dull, for instance, I don't really enjoy the Equilibria, but I do enjoy things like Organic and Periodic chemistry.
    The main reason why you should take Chemistry is that you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy the course, you will probably regret your choice later.
    Yeh, learning all the conditions for reactions was by far the worst part of AS chem for me.
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    It isn't hard. Although Salters A2 chemistry investigation is awful, mine was 10,000 words took me ages! In general I think chemistry is a very easy A-level. It doesn't deserve its rep, Maths is very difficult though, it requires a LOT of work.
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    Not everyone finds it hard.

    If you mean its difficult to remember all the information the only solution is to sit down and memorise it. The concepts aren't hard to grasp really.
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    I just sat the AS exams for the three sciences and maths and i have to say that chemistry was the one that i was the least worried about mainly because the chem papers seem relatively easy compared to the other sciences... Having said that ... you should only take chemistry if you have an interest in the subject and it seems from what you have said that you do...
    People seem to find chemistry hard because maybe they dont have an interest or maybe they dont grasp the concepts clearly... with chemistry once you have understood the basic concepts all else seems to become clearer but of course it is hard in the beginning as all subjects are a big jump from GCSEs but once you survive that initial difficulty you will find chemistry quite an enjoyable subject ... (especially the practicals)
    My advice is take the subject and if u need any help you can PM me... LOL
 
 
 
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