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    I'm sure it's been done quite a lot before but I really wanted to add my perspective.

    Most people say a degree is harder. But if that is the case, then why do most the population taking A-Levels fail to get AAA and above while at university, there is a far higher % that get a 2.1/1st.

    If you were to consider A-Levels looking back, they would obviously seem easier as you've already done them and they should therefore look relatively easier. So I think it's important to consider the difficulty of both while you are/were actually taking them.

    For me, I honestly think A-Levels were probably harder (I did get AAA so it's not because I was **** at my A-Levels)
    Why? Because in my opinion, they required a higher level of critical thinking. At university, it's all about rote learning problem sheets and praying for the best as learning 10 different 300-400 page books for each module is just silly.
    A-Level exams covered less content but it felt like the work was covered in greater depth. There was loads of variations that would arise in exams, along with variations that had not shown up in the past. I think it's key to note here I still remember most my A-Level Econ/Maths while I cannot remember much of some of my modules in uni last year so A-Levels clearly taught content better.


    In terms of workload, I guess a degree could be harder but it's a non-issue for me as I never attended classes at school nor do I attend lectures/seminars at uni. My workload in both scenarios pretty much consists of no work all year then turtle mode 2-3 weeks prior to my exams.

    I think it's also important to consider university. I'm pretty sure a degree from Warwick is not the same as a degree from Coventry in terms of difficulty. Otherwise, How would students who were getting BBB- at A-Levels suddenly be acing university exams and getting firsts?
    I think the issue of varying difficulty of degrees probably makes it hard to come to any solid conclusion.
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    I'm not sure how you can argue that A-Levels involve a 'higher degree of critical thinking' than a degree, especially with regard to Arts subjects. You often have to choose your research areas yourself and, when working on your dissertation, consider how your work is advancing scholarship in the field. My experience of A-Levels was very much shaped around learning pieces of information and writing essays that satisfied certain marking criteria.
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    For me it was the opposite (as I'm sure many others will agree)

    Uni was a lot harder than A-levels.

    Just one comparison: revision period before exams. At A-levels it was basically a few hours each day, with copious amounts of xbox, exercising and TV in between. For uni, it was full-blown hermit mode (with a bit of procrastination of course). But the litmus test is whether I played xbox or not. No xbox for uni exams. Therefore that **** was serious
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    Because the people who don't put the work in at A-level carry on through and take the exams anyway and A-levels have a very low threshold of entry, whereas degrees have a much higher entry threshold, and people that don't put the work in drop out.


    Besides which, comparing rates of people getting a given rate is an abysmal way to compare qualification difficulty. For example: the average grade on Warwick's MMath course is significantly higher than the average grade for the BSc. version of the course. Does that mean it's easier? Absolutely not: the MMath includes literally everything that the BSc. includes, with a whole bunch of extra stuff too. It means that the threshold for getting into the MMath is much higher than that for the BSc. (specifically, if you're not on a high 2:1 or better, you're dropping down to the BSc. whether you like it or not).

    Why? Because in my opinion, they required a higher level of critical thinking. At university, it's all about rote learning problem sheets and praying for the best as learning 10 different 300-400 page books for each module is just silly.
    What kind of ****ty degree did you do?
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    (Original post by uxa595)
    I'm sure it's been done quite a lot before but I really wanted to add my perspective.

    Most people say a degree is harder. But if that is the case, then why do most the population taking A-Levels fail to get AAA and above while at university, there is a far higher % that get a 2.1/1st.
    First, consider that those a levels are THREE subjects, each with SIX grades (or seven if you separate A and A*). At university you will come out with ONE qualification with only FIVE tiers, but that's really only three because we can't let people feel stupid, everybody hss to have a 2.2 or better.

    If you were to consider A-Levels looking back, they would obviously seem easier as you've already done them and they should therefore look relatively easier. So I think it's important to consider the difficulty of both while you are/were actually taking them.

    For me, I honestly think A-Levels were probably harder (I did get AAA so it's not because I was **** at my A-Levels)
    Why? Because in my opinion, they required a higher level of critical thinking. At university, it's all about rote learning problem sheets and praying for the best as learning 10 different 300-400 page books for each module is just silly.
    Uh, what? Have you been drinking, or did you do a silly degree at a silly university?

    A-Level exams covered less content but it felt like the work was covered in greater depth. There was loads of variations that would arise in exams, along with variations that had not shown up in the past. I think it's key to note here I still remember most my A-Level Econ/Maths while I cannot remember much of some of my modules in uni last year so A-Levels clearly taught content better.
    Or perhaps continued use of the information makes it stick more?


    In terms of workload, I guess a degree could be harder but it's a non-issue for me as I never attended classes at school nor do I attend lectures/seminars at uni. My workload in both scenarios pretty much consists of no work all year then turtle mode 2-3 weeks prior to my exams.

    I think it's also important to consider university. I'm pretty sure a degree from Warwick is not the same as a degree from Coventry in terms of difficulty. Otherwise, How would students who were getting BBB- at A-Levels suddenly be acing university exams and getting firsts?
    I think the issue of varying difficulty of degrees probably makes it hard to come to any solid conclusion.
    The exact same analysis can be made of A levels. Business studies, Accounting and General studies will be a lot easier than Maths (with further), and two physical sciences from an academic standpoint.


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    If you do a simple degree then perhaps, but most people take degrees to advance their knowledge.
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    I found A-Levels harder tbh.
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    (Original post by uxa595)
    I'm sure it's been done quite a lot before but I really wanted to add my perspective.

    Most people say a degree is harder. But if that is the case, then why do most the population taking A-Levels fail to get AAA and above while at university, there is a far higher % that get a 2.1/1st.

    If you were to consider A-Levels looking back, they would obviously seem easier as you've already done them and they should therefore look relatively easier. So I think it's important to consider the difficulty of both while you are/were actually taking them.

    For me, I honestly think A-Levels were probably harder (I did get AAA so it's not because I was **** at my A-Levels)
    Why? Because in my opinion, they required a higher level of critical thinking. At university, it's all about rote learning problem sheets and praying for the best as learning 10 different 300-400 page books for each module is just silly.
    A-Level exams covered less content but it felt like the work was covered in greater depth. There was loads of variations that would arise in exams, along with variations that had not shown up in the past. I think it's key to note here I still remember most my A-Level Econ/Maths while I cannot remember much of some of my modules in uni last year so A-Levels clearly taught content better.


    In terms of workload, I guess a degree could be harder but it's a non-issue for me as I never attended classes at school nor do I attend lectures/seminars at uni. My workload in both scenarios pretty much consists of no work all year then turtle mode 2-3 weeks prior to my exams.

    I think it's also important to consider university. I'm pretty sure a degree from Warwick is not the same as a degree from Coventry in terms of difficulty. Otherwise, How would students who were getting BBB- at A-Levels suddenly be acing university exams and getting firsts?
    I think the issue of varying difficulty of degrees probably makes it hard to come to any solid conclusion.
    First of all, the population that does A-level include everyone(i.e. those that work, and those that doesn't), so not everyone is getting good result.
    But for Uni, you have already wiped out those that get bellow a acceptable a level results. Thus more people would get a 2.1.
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    My degree is definitely harder than A-levels. In the A-levels I did (Maths/Bio/Econ +Chemistry AS) there's obvious patterns as to what questions come up and you can learn maybe 6 or 7 bullet points for each topic (in bio) and ace the paper. Maths is just practice at A-level because the questions are all the same but with different numbers. Econ is diagrams and a few sentences of explanation.

    Degree level? There is some element of rote learning in some classes (eg our lens/frame materials class) but then there's also havibg to apply that knowledge to different situations and come to a conclusion. And the physics-based class? You need to know why you're doing the calculations and make changes to the calculations as needed. The biology based class is mostly just learning it all, but there's so much content to cover that it takes forever. And then there's the practical classes and those are easy if you go to the lessons and dedicated practice sessions tbh.
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    I've always been told that A Levels are harder than a degree.
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    At A level you have past papers to practice and give you an idea of what questions could possibly come up and mark schemes to revise answers off by heart like an imbecile. At university you don't get past papers (at least not on my course, i'm not sure about other courses or universities) so you have to work out for yourself what could possibly come up, and there's no mark schemes to remember to get full marks. University level requires you carrying out your own research and reading in your own time whereas at A level this is not necessary and even on A levels such as English literature which presumably you would be expected to do a lot of reading, you can just look up summary and analyses online.
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    I definitely found my A-levels harder, mostly because I took a wide range of subjects with little interplay. At degree I was able to learn with much more synergism. I also found the type of assessment generally easier as the exams were more free-ranging and I had the experience of submitting essays first.
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    Hmm... Maybe the first year of university it could be seen as on par but I did 12 exams a year at University and my third year was easily the hardest thing I've ever done in terms of academia..
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    At A levels (specifically biology) all I had to do was memorise one textbook and learn how to answer the questions, which I did by looking at past papers. At uni this isn't the case, you're expected to learn stuff for yourself and there isn't one specific textbook which contains all the answers to the exams. On my course we only get about one past paper per module, and it's usually the case that the answers to a lot of the questions aren't necessarily in the powerpoints/lectures. My tutor informed us that for year 2, even if we memorise everything in the lectures we can still only get about 40% - so much independent learning is required. So yes, I personally find uni harder.
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    I did a Physics Degree, found the degree easier than A -levels. I just got better at maths and learning new stuff intimidated me less. I also prefer being able to focus on one subject.
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    I think for maths and science based subjects A levels are easier than university degrees; I'm no expert on this but it's the feedback I've been getting back from friends studying maths/science based stuff at uni, and also my personal experience of Maths A-level (if university level maths wasn't much harder I'd be gobsmacked).

    But for humanities and arts based subjects I've always held the impression that there's no set level at which A-level standard stops and university standard starts; I think it's much more up to the individual standard and progress rate of each person. For example, I remember getting really confident at essay writing between years 10 and 11, but didn't seem to progress much between years 12 and 13 (only doing 1 essay based subject by year 13 so that's probably why)-having said this I found it didn't bring my grades down, I just felt less confident writing essays and it took me longer. The only difference between university and A level study when it comes to humanities is, I think, that for A-levels you have textbooks to help you and at uni you don't. But the conceptual material you're handling in a History degree can't really get harder in the same way it can with e.g. a physics degree. Not to say that physics is more difficult than History they're just different disciplines.
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    I can't speak for others but I got average A-Level results and have just graduated with a high 2:1.

    The difference between me now and three years ago? Time and effort spent on revising.

    When you get to your final year of university you're older, more mature and knowledgeable that it's 2:1 or bust for some career paths (not all).
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    (Original post by frith27)
    I can't speak for others but I got average A-Level results and have just graduated with a high 2:1.

    The difference between me now and three years ago? Time and effort spent on revising.

    When you get to your final year of university you're older, more mature and knowledgeable that it's 2:1 or bust for some career paths (not all).
    Oh dear...I spent a long time and a lot of effort (like, crazy amounts) working on my GCSEs and A levels-although I'm happy with my grades so far, if it's a massive step up at uni and I start struggling a lot I don't think I could put in more time than I already do. But oh well, maybe this just means I'm slow .
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    My experience is that A Levels were very easy and that uni offers a significantly greater level of challenge than A Levels could ever hope to provide. It is also interesting that you say A Levels encouraged more critical thinking and uni is rote learning when my experience is the exact opposite.
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    (Original post by R+G are dead)
    Oh dear...I spent a long time and a lot of effort (like, crazy amounts) working on my GCSEs and A levels-although I'm happy with my grades so far, if it's a massive step up at uni and I start struggling a lot I don't think I could put in more time than I already do. But oh well, maybe this just means I'm slow .
    If you've put in loads of effort in your A-Levels and get good results then there's no reason why you can't put in similar effort at university and get a good classification.

    I was just stating that I didn't try my hardest at A-Level and got average grades, at uni I put a lot more effort in and got a good final classification.
 
 
 
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