What is the transition like from GCSE to A-Levels? Watch

Imsophie
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Some of my teachers keep on mentioning how different they are and what a huge transition it is. My physics teacher even said he thought that it was harder transitioning from GCSE to A-Level than from A-Level to Degree. What exactly is so different? Are the lessons taught differently or do you not receive as much help as at GCSE level?
A first hand experience would be nice
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Chlorophile
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(Original post by Imsophie)
Some of my teachers keep on mentioning how different they are and what a huge transition it is. My physics teacher even said he thought that it was harder transitioning from GCSE to A-Level than from A-Level to Degree. What exactly is so different? Are the lessons taught differently or do you not receive as much help as at GCSE level?
A first hand experience would be nice
It really depends on the subject. Personally, I thought the Physics transition was fine, the Maths transition was slightly difficult and the Chemistry transition was absolutely massive. To be honest, I think the AS to A2 transition is bigger in most subjects (especially in Maths).
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German123
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(Original post by Imsophie)
Some of my teachers keep on mentioning how different they are and what a huge transition it is. My physics teacher even said he thought that it was harder transitioning from GCSE to A-Level than from A-Level to Degree. What exactly is so different? Are the lessons taught differently or do you not receive as much help as at GCSE level?
A first hand experience would be nice
A level is all about independence as you are expected to read around your subjects whereas at GCSE our teachers will actually be there to guide you etc. GCSE to A level is a quiet a big jump but i do feel like some people exaggerate that the jump is so huge. Once you get used to A levels you will forget about the whole jump thing.
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Ciranore
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Personally I didn't find it an issue at all, I played to my strengths which were essay based subjects and I did fine. Had it been say sciences I did I would have found the transition very difficult. But it's all down to you and the subjects I guess.
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C0balt
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Personally I saw no drops in grades or saw as big of a step up. Or rather, my grades have gone up. However this is probably because I have been good at independent studies for quite a long time. I know to sort my problems out on my own as much as possible.
On the other hand, A grade students at GCSE have been getting 25%, 50% etc in the tests we've done past two months, so you could say that it is entirely up to your time management and study efficiency.
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anonwinner
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
It really depends on the subject. Personally, I thought the Physics transition was fine, the Maths transition was slightly difficult and the Chemistry transition was absolutely massive. To be honest, I think the AS to A2 transition is bigger in most subjects (especially in Maths).
In my opinion the transition from GCSE to AS maths is much more abrupt than from AS to A2. C3 feels to me like just an extension to C2, and yes C4 is quite difficult but not as difficult as I felt C2 was when I first started it in year 12.
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Chlorophile
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(Original post by anonwinner)
In my opinion the transition from GCSE to AS maths is much more abrupt than from AS to A2. C3 feels to me like just an extension to C2, and yes C4 is quite difficult but not as difficult as I felt C2 was when I first started it in year 12.
What exam board are you doing? Because on Edexcel, C3 feels like a completely other world to C2, and I found C4 a lot easier than C3.
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anonwinner
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
What exam board are you doing? Because on Edexcel, C3 feels like a completely other world to C2, and I found C4 a lot easier than C3.
I'm doing Edexcel too. C3 is just slightly harder differentiation, graph transformations, trig, and logs. It's just an extension to what we learned in C2
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hhattiecc
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I think it's a combination of the subjects you choose and the person you are. From experience, I think people doing mainly essay based subjects found it more difficult than people doing mainly science based because of the workload, but again, it all depends on what kind of person you are. Some people thrive on work, some don't.

I guess you kind of decide how much of a jump it's going to be with your attitude too. If you get the work-play balance right and get your work done on time, go over stuff you're not sure on, work when you're meant to work, but don't drown yourself in pressure and non-stop study, then it'll be a lot easier to manage.

In year 12 I didn't do this and I found the transition really hard, but I've found the transition from year 12 to 13 so much better, I'm finding year 13 significantly easier in general to be honest. You're probably going to feel like you're struggling at some point, most do, but it's all about how you manage yourself and deal with it
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kingdoo
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I find the questions more straight forward at A2 than they were at AS. AS especially for smaller based questions are very specific. The questions at A2 are more like tell me what you know questions and add a few debates and link to how your points can link back to the question.

Economics really easy at AS however it is a massive step up at A2 however and I find it so boring and therefore really hard this year.

Geography is the hardest for exam technique at A2 but the content is much easier compared to the AS content. At A2 we haven't started 40 markers and I am not looking forward to them. I think we get an hour to spend on them in the exam so I will have to spend like 2 hours doing homework for them because you try and perfect them at home.

Psychology is easier at A2 than at AS as long as you understand the theory and then the study because the evaluation points haven't changed at all and the 10 markers are easy as long as you have learned the lesson work.

People who do science normally find the transition from both GCSE to AS and AS to A2 much easier than those doing humanities. This is because you can get away with not understanding everything as long as you read the mark schemes and examiners reports, similar types of questions come up each year it is all about practicing them (This was the case for me in chemistry although I did terribly but that was more because I hated the subject and shouldn't have taken it but it was still formulaic and the majority of people who needed it for their degree did well). Plus if you do Physics and maths then a lot of maths overlaps with physics so you don't necessarily learn that much that is new (my friends tell me this and if they are bad at maths then they find physics harder or vice versa.)
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loperdoper
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I really struggled with the transition for all my subjects (except Media). For Physics and Maths, I found the content to be much harder, and Biology was a higher workload.

In A-level Physics, there is a lot of maths. I remember hearing this in GCSE and not really believing this, as whilst GCSE had some maths, it was still very much science. But when you get to A-level, it's basically maths with more words.

In A-level Maths, not only is the content harder, but the exams will catch you out. The thing with GCSE is that everything you learn is really only an extension of everything you ever learnt in secondary school, and so by the time you hit GCSE it's all familiar concepts with new applications. In A-level, a lot of it felt almost entirely new, and so you're learning from scratch again. The exams are also quite vague about what exactly you should do unless you're used to them, which can come as a shock to the system.

The AS-A2 jump hasn't felt like a jump at all, just more of the same
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TillyP
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(Original post by Imsophie)
Some of my teachers keep on mentioning how different they are and what a huge transition it is. My physics teacher even said he thought that it was harder transitioning from GCSE to A-Level than from A-Level to Degree. What exactly is so different? Are the lessons taught differently or do you not receive as much help as at GCSE level?
A first hand experience would be nice
Well I only started my ALevels this september and although there is so much more homework (for most people anyway) I find that there is much more freedom. For starters I'm only doing subjects that I really enjoy (Maths, Further Maths, Computing and Physics) so I don't have to live through RS and German anymore!! Of course the lack of uniform makes it all more exciting and the ability to casually walk of campus is cool. Teachers are also much friendlier when you're doing ALevels. I'm at a Sixth Form but my mates who are at college all call their teachers by their first name! :O

But work wise, as long as you pick subjects that you really enjoy and care about, you shouldn't have a problem. Teachers will always make a big deal of trying to scare you so you do tons of revision and stuff but don't panic, after the first week or two, my teachers started giving considerably less homework! I also find that it's easier to catch up on bits of work you struggle with as I've got small classes and can easily get a teacher to go over stuff with me in or out of class time, but that is probably different at large colleges.

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