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Unregistered
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#1
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Hey all,

I've just finished my GCSE's and now just wondering what to pick next year... But i look at some of the text books (esp maths) and think wtf. Even though i thought i was pretty decent at it.

Did any of you lot think this? And how have you found the A-Levels to be?
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Eru Iluvatar
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#2
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A level maths is Tough. I got A* at GCSE, and im still finding it a bit hard.
Its certainly the hardest, and therefor the most respected subject, but dont even think about it if you got anything less than a B, and even then, you have to have a real good grasp of mathematical abilities
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SzA
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Cheers, What other subjects are you taking?
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Eru Iluvatar
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Business, Computing and Psychology
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And what course/s are you hoping to study at university?
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Guest Rob
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I did maths, further maths, geography, chemistry and physics at AS, dropping geography afterwards.

Maths is alright, it can all be good to understand if you have a decent textbook and keep your notes in shape. I'd say the hardest by far is chemistry.

And as for A-level textbooks looking hard... they're meant to be )
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What textbooks you suggest me to buy? 'cuz i just wanna get these next two years over n done with...

For anyone else who replies:
Could you state your AS/Alevels and relevent GCSE grades and what course your hoping to study... just to help me, thanks...
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Guest Rob
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Originally posted by Unregistered
What textbooks you suggest me to buy? 'cuz i just wanna get these next two years over n done with...

For anyone else who replies:
Could you state your AS/Alevels and relevent GCSE grades and what course your hoping to study... just to help me, thanks...
Actually, I didn't have any decent textbooks, just the cheap (and very very thin) ones my school gave me.

Anyway, GCSE grades were 2 A* 8A 1B 1C, with stars in maths and geography, B in welsh and C in RE. Got A's at AS, going to do physics next year at either oxford or manchester.
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I don't think it's correct to say maths is the most respected subject. Where as it maybe easy for those that have mathematically orientated brains, they may be useless at drama, or geography for example. If you're taking a media course at University, a maths course will not be nearly as well 'respected' as a course in, well, media! Intelligence is far more than just the ability to calculate algebra with a flick of your pen.

My most important piece of advice for anyone thinking about what AS level subjects (or GCSE / degree) to take would be to choose what you enjoy. I can't stress how important this is. So many people at our college chose maths because they thought it would benefit them due to it being a very academic / intellectual subject. 80% dropped it after the first year, myself included. It was a huge waste of time doing something that I got no enjoyment out of and didn't want to develop in the future. Whatever you choose, so long as you are genuinely interested in it you will be successful.

It will pay to have a look at university subjects that you are interested in taking to see what kind of courses they require at A level to take the degree.

I'll say it again!

<b>Choose what you enjoy</b>
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Al:Guest
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Sorry, post above was mine. Really should register one day.

For GCSE I got 9 A's, 1 A* and 1 B.

Now taking (taken) Physics, Economics and Media Studies. Dropped maths after AS.
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I also have just finished my gcse's and i have already made my mind up about taking Chemistry and Biology, however the sixth form i am going to wants me to choose 4 subjects altogether, can anyone suggest any subjects that i can take that is enjoyable at AS/A level?
Thanks
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temerity
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#12
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I am taking maths physics chemistry computing and general studies a levels and i would definitely say maths is the hardest, i got a C at AS despite getting an A at gcse. Getting A in physics and computing B in gen studies and chemistry and C in maths last yr. I got 4 A*s 7As and one B at GSCE. the A*s were in biology, physics, food tech, and RS, the As in maths, chemistry, geography, history, french, english lang and IT and the B in english literature. i am doing physics next yr at liverpool and i would definitely recommend physics AS as i found it very enjoyable and interesting (we did the salters horners course) especially the coursework aspect and learning about the applications of the subject in the real world. the main reason i find maths difficult (mainly pure maths) is because i work a lot better with applied situations.

Good luck in whichever courses you choose!
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GCSEs: 2 A* (French, IT), 5 A (English Lang, English Lit, Double Science, History), 2 B (Maths, RE).

Last year I did Maths, Physics and French AS.. obviously this year, I did all 3 too. Also did AS Further Maths this year. Maths has been quite hard, Physics this year was a lot harder than AS. French was the easiest of the three. AS Further Maths was a mess, we weren't really taught properly.

As someone else said, for AS, pick the subjects you enjoy and are good at. Also helps if you know what you're gonna do at university, if you want to go.

I'm going to do Comp Sci at uni this September.
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Expression
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Originally posted by Unregistered
Hey all,

I've just finished my GCSE's and now just wondering what to pick next year... But i look at some of the text books (esp maths) and think wtf. Even though i thought i was pretty decent at it.

Did any of you lot think this? And how have you found the A-Levels to be?
You will looks at the text books and wonder what the hell they are going on about, particularly the ones involving Pure maths, because very early on in the course you develop the knowledge of Calculus, which is fundamental in future work.

All you will have done at GCSE is find area under graphs using Trapezium Rule and gradient of curves using Tangents.

Statistics isn't too hard, once you get into it, but it is more involved than just mean, median and modes !

Mechanics IS NOT as much of a routine as Stats, but the Mechanics 1 unit should not cause many problems.

The difference with GCSE and A Level is that you cannot just turn up to an exam and expect to pass it with zero revision. At GCSE you can get away with not doing much of many exercises, and still getting the general gist.

At A-Level, you very often need to have understood what came previously to be able to understand what follows, otherwise it becomes a nonsense.

Maths text books are normally provided, as the exam boards produce a standard text.


Referring to other subjects, Geography I could see similarities to GCSE, especially in the material at AS, but when it gets to A2 becomes more involved.

I would not buy any books over the summer, but instead wait until you are in the courses to see what is required. Always be prepared to have to do research on the internet, and get updated materials - Geography particularly, and often any new ideas/concepts in "-ology" subjects, or major events in PE, or even things like Economics.
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lou p lou
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i got 2 A*s (maths + rs-full course), 6 As + a B (eng lit)
i do maths- i really like it + i don't think it's as hard as everyone makes out- but it does depend on whether your a maths person
psychology- really interesting, improves in second year
philosophy- really hard, but very rewarding; some of it just seems to go over my head, but it keeps you concentrating
economics- common sense quite often but very very boring
i was pretty brave doing 2 new subjects + philosophy is very different to gcse rs- so basically maths was the only thing i knew
i want to do maths + psychology at uni
good luck!
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I'm doing Maths at Uni, and even got an offer from Trinity College, Cambridge, but after todays Step III, I won't be going there.
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Smoke and Ashes
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Don't let the maths texts scare you! Most are incredibly dry and dull. Great for getting practice questions and worked examples, but only after you've had it explained in class. (I got AA in maths, so it isn't a sign that you're bad at maths.)

If you think you would like to try maths, then go for it! (Although you'd probably want an A or A* at GCSE to really give it a fair shot). It is a fun course and very useful.

Chemistry is another fun course... interesting, and with quite a bit of practical. The textbooks there will give you a fair idea of what is in the course. I found the organic chemistry mechanisms (the way reactions take place) and the colours of different ions in solution the most fun bits.

Biology is very interesting, and the textbooks are often quite interesting to read. You also get to do some fun practical stuff in that. I found some bits more interesting than others... biochemistry and genetics more interesting than ecology for example, but other people found other areas more fun.

Physics is fairly maths based - duplicates a lot of maths-mechanics at A2. It's probably best paired with maths I think. I particularly enjoyed the particle physics section here.

That's what I did, so can't help with much else.
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Grapefruit Lady
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#18
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It's entirely true that you should enjoy the subjects you pick for A-Level, and also that you should have a real interest in them, not just a vague interest that is a result of being good at a subject. A genuine interest is important because you may find that the subject is very different at A-level than at GCSE, either in teaching method, or the approach your course takes to the subject. Consequently, you may not enjoy that subject at first, but a genuine interest will keep you going whilst you learn to adapt to the new method of teaching/whatever.
I did Maths at AS because I was good at it at GCSE (got an A*), and didn't really do any work for it. But I hated it at A-level because it was a lot harder (obviously), required you to do loads of work just to keep up and was taught at a very fast pace that didn't really allow for people who were struggling a little, like me. I discovered that I had absolutely no interest in Maths at all, that I had chosen it because I thought it went well with my other subjects, and consequently dropped it after AS.

Don't choose a subject just because you think it will be respected by universities - that may well be true, but the university course, if any, that you have in mind now may not be the same one you end up applying for. It generally happens that you are good at what you are interested in, and so the subjects you pick should have some relevance to the uni course you end up applying for.

Biology is easy - just facts, facts and more facts. It's interesting too, especially because all the bits that you didn't really understand at GCSE but didn't ask about for fear of looking stupid are explained to you, and you feel huuuuuuugely superior to the GCSE minions.

Chemistry I found the most interesting subject, as well as the hardest. It is essential that you understand the AS stuff before going on to A2 - I didn't, and was terrible at Chemistry until a few months ago, when I started revising (read: cramming) fir resits, then everything else kind of fell into place. But once you get it, it's fantastic, and the exams can be quite fun too (coughcough*stressed person talking*cough cough).

French is a doss subject, which requires no revision, other than a bit for the orals. It's good even if you're not the world's best linguist. But if you get the choice, do the coursework at A2, not the Literature, because Lit is utter pants and a waste of a year.

Good Luck in whatever you decide to do!
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I've also just finished my GCSEs and am unsure about what subjects to take at college. I am much better at maths and science subjects than anything else and I've decided I'm taking A Level Maths, Chemistry and Biology, but I don't know what else to take and whether I should take 4 or 5 subjects! I got 4 A*s 5 As and 1 B at GCSE.
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Lucy
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As for deciding which subject you should take, have you thought about what you want to do at uni as that could influence your choice. What other subjects do you enjoy? I took Chem, Bio, Physics, Maths & French for AS and I really enjoyed them (apart from French).

As for choosing 4 or 5 subjects, I say if you want to do 4 but can't decide which other subject to take, you can always start with 5 and then drop your least favourite subject (that's what students at my school did).
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