John10000
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I would like to take the following subjects for AS-level in September :

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Mathematics

And I would like to drop either Maths or Physics at AS depending on how I do,

Can you please advise me on which the 'easiest' and most user friendly boards are for these subjects? Because i've heard AQA are overly specific on short precise sentences etc, whereas I've had a look at an OCR exam paper and I like it's format..

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Tappouni
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I do OCR Salters Chemistry...exam papers are laid out well, but there's a hell of a lot of content to learn! AQA Biology on the other hand, not quite so much to learn content-wise...but the exams are annoying. Lots of data analysis (if you love graph reading you'll be fine) and very picky mark schemes :L


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John10000
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(Original post by Tappouni)
I do OCR Salters Chemistry...exam papers are laid out well, but there's a hell of a lot of content to learn! AQA Biology on the other hand, not quite so much to learn content-wise...but the exams are annoying. Lots of data analysis (if you love graph reading you'll be fine) and very picky mark schemes :L


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I hate the picky answers/graph analysis questions lol. What do you know about OCR? Not the salters one
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Tappouni
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(Original post by John10000)
I hate the picky answers/graph analysis questions lol. What do you know about OCR? Not the salters one
You'll definitely hate AQA then haha. Not much really - I don't know anyone who does the normal OCR course, but I'd guess the content is similar in most Chemistry courses really...though if between AQA and OCR, OCR would probably go into more depth with explaining things
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John10000
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(Original post by Tappouni)
You'll definitely hate AQA then haha. Not much really - I don't know anyone who does the normal OCR course, but I'd guess the content is similar in most Chemistry courses really...though if between AQA and OCR, OCR would probably go into more depth with explaining things
I dont mind the depth, but AQA are looking for specific answers rather than explaining your knowledge, a great deal of exam technique is required in AQA.

What would you outline the pros and cons of OCR as?
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Tappouni
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(Original post by John10000)
I dont mind the depth, but AQA are looking for specific answers rather than explaining your knowledge, a great deal of exam technique is required in AQA.

What would you outline the pros and cons of OCR as?
As I've done Salters, I'll say for that...Pros being that you cover a lot of material in depth, exam paper questions are generally logically laid out, and you can actually explain things, and aren't having to be as tightly tied to the mark scheme as with AQA.

I suppose you could also view the workload as a negative thing, because it's quite a lot, and some concepts take a little while to understand. But putting the difficult stuff aside, it's a good course
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John10000
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(Original post by Tappouni)
As I've done Salters, I'll say for that...Pros being that you cover a lot of material in depth, exam paper questions are generally logically laid out, and you can actually explain things, and aren't having to be as tightly tied to the mark scheme as with AQA.

I suppose you could also view the workload as a negative thing, because it's quite a lot, and some concepts take a little while to understand. But putting the difficult stuff aside, it's a good course
Is it possible to do your ISA/EMPA externally not in your school?
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Tappouni
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(Original post by John10000)
Is it possible to do your ISA/EMPA externally not in your school?
I don't think so - it's likely you'll be able to get hold of what you need, unless you're in school.

Also one other thing I like about OCR...they link what you're taught with real world uses, which makes it more interesting, seeing how it all ties in
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Tappouni
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*unlikely
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Tappouni
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(Original post by John10000)
Is it possible to do your ISA/EMPA externally not in your school?
*unlikely

I meant, in my previous post
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John10000
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(Original post by Tappouni)
*unlikely
No i know a centre where they do ISAs, but if my college are doing the EMPA I would rather do the ISA, would I be able to do it externally?
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Tappouni
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(Original post by John10000)
No i know a centre where they do ISAs, but if my college are doing the EMPA I would rather do the ISA, would I be able to do it externally?
I suppose you potentially could, but the ISAs and EMPAs are quite similar to be honest
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Scott.M
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(Original post by John10000)
I would like to take the following subjects for AS-level in September :

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Mathematics

And I would like to drop either Maths or Physics at AS depending on how I do,

Can you please advise me on which the 'easiest' and most user friendly boards are for these subjects? Because i've heard AQA are overly specific on short precise sentences etc, whereas I've had a look at an OCR exam paper and I like it's format..

?
I did AQA for chemistry and biology and it was fine.

The markschemes are generally very lenient as long as you have got the concept correct you will get the marks. An example:

Question: there is an equilibrium A <--> B + C. More of B is added, explain what changes would occur (2 marks)

Markscheme:
•Shift to left (1) (also accept: 'B and C will react together' and/or 'more of A will be made')
•To oppose the change (1)

Note: you don't have to word it exactly like the markscheme, e.g. 'this will oppose the change' would get the second mark just like 'to oppose the change' would.

Obviously there are some questions that require specific key words to be mentioned, but all exam boards will have those. But as you can see it isn't exactly stringent where you have to word it exactly as the markscheme requires.

Also the AQA textbooks are very very good. I bought them all from WHSmith and used them at home rather than making notes in class.

I did edexcel for maths and that was very good too - most people do edexcel for maths so I would advise this as past papers and markschemes and edexcel-specific help is readily available on the internet.

My final A-level results were Maths: A*, Chemistry: A, Biology: A (just so you know that I know what I am talking about)
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newusername96
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edexcel for maths, ocr for the sciences, aqa is rubbish I have it for physics
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Valyrian
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Pls don't ever do ocr b physics
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John10000
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(Original post by Scott.M)
I did AQA for chemistry and biology and it was fine.

The markschemes are generally very lenient as long as you have got the concept correct you will get the marks. An example:

Question: there is an equilibrium A <--> B + C. More of B is added, explain what changes would occur (2 marks)

Markscheme:
•Shift to left (1) (also accept: 'B and C will react together' and/or 'more of A will be made')
•To oppose the change (1)

Note: you don't have to word it exactly like the markscheme, e.g. 'this will oppose the change' would get the second mark just like 'to oppose the change' would.

Obviously there are some questions that require specific key words to be mentioned, but all exam boards will have those. But as you can see it isn't exactly stringent where you have to word it exactly as the markscheme requires.

Also the AQA textbooks are very very good. I bought them all from WHSmith and used them at home rather than making notes in class.

I did edexcel for maths and that was very good too - most people do edexcel for maths so I would advise this as past papers and markschemes and edexcel-specific help is readily available on the internet.

My final A-level results were Maths: A*, Chemistry: A, Biology: A (just so you know that I know what I am talking about)

Ok great, thanks for your advice! Would you recommend physics at AS though? Everyone says it is difficult, however I have an interest in it and I think that everything is difficult if you don't work for it, and I can see myself potentially taking another 'easier' subject and not working for it due to my lack of interest. What's your opinion on 'easy' A-levels?

For the course I want to do, Biology and Chemistry are a MUST, I will need 2 more subjects and I can drop one of those after AS.

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John10000
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(Original post by lilypear)
Pls don't ever do ocr b physics
Why not? What's wrong with it?
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Valyrian
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(Original post by John10000)
Why not? What's wrong with it?
It's just terrible you don't even want to go there, even OCR A but never B, it's just so stupid and the exam was like not even relevant to the course specifics and like thousands of people complained and ugh just don't please
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John10000
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(Original post by lilypear)
It's just terrible you don't even want to go there, even OCR A but never B, it's just so stupid and the exam was like not even relevant to the course specifics and like thousands of people complained and ugh just don't please
Are you serious lol? Ok that's B out then, what about OCR A?

When you say irrelevant questions, please give me examples

And have you got the link to the exam paper you're talking about ??

Thanks
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Scott.M
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(Original post by John10000)
Ok great, thanks for your advice! Would you recommend physics at AS though? Everyone says it is difficult, however I have an interest in it and I think that everything is difficult if you don't work for it, and I can see myself potentially taking another 'easier' subject and not working for it due to my lack of interest. What's your opinion on 'easy' A-levels?

For the course I want to do, Biology and Chemistry are a MUST, I will need 2 more subjects and I can drop one of those after AS.

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Np.

I would strongly suggest not taking physics if you don't require it for your university degree.

I know people who had offers for cambridge who were excelling in everything else and yet only ended up getting a B in physics. The physics class in my cohort went from like 30 people in first year, to 5 people by the end, and my friends at uni tell me their physics class was the same.

That said, my cousin did it and she got an A* so it is do-able. So I suppose if you enjoy it you could give it a go! But I'd hate to think you'd miss your offer because of it

If you are aiming to get into medicine or dentistry like I was I would suggest doing an easy essay-based subject as I know my dental school seems to like you to do that to prove you can cope with different exam styles and structure essays. Personally I did ASpsychology... I didn't like it, but it was a lot easier than maths/bio/chem - my psychology exam was like 2 weeks after my chem/bio/maths exams, and I literally hadn't done any psychology work all year (I got a U in a past paper we done prior to those 2 weeks off). I literally spent those 2 weeks learning the textbook inside out and came out with an A. There's no way I could have done that in maths/chem/bio. But I bet there are other easy essay-based A-levels out there too.

Personally I'd keep maths/chem/bio at A2 (assuming you take maths) as you will find they are very similar subjects and exam styles so you can kinda stay in the 'zone' rather than think 'I have just finished my learn-the-textbook, scientific, short-answer-exam chemistry revision, now I must get into read-around-the-subject, non-scientific, essay-based-exam history revision mode'.

Also you will tend to find that the same people take all 3 of maths/chem/bio so you will be with the same people all the time, and also you can mark these exam papers yourself whereas it is very hard to mark an essay-based exam paper yourself and you will usually have to hand it in to your teacher to mark (and thus you can't sit at home, do one, and find out your result immediately).

Sorry for the essay, just thought all of this is info I'd have found useful when I was starting out

What subject you hoping to do at uni?
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