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    Is there a lot of memorisation? What are the exams and course content like?
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    Very.
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    Very.
    In what way?
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    1. It's a lot more involved. At A Level most of the problems you get will involve using an equation or two to get the answer you need and you usually get lead through the solution if it's slightly more complicated than that. At university you don't really get that: you just get given the information you need and then you have to work your way through the problem which is often quite long (takes a couple of pages as opposed to A Level where a solution is a few lines).

    2. It's a lot more abstract. At A Level you can usually draw a diagram and and solve the problem in some way. You can forget about imagining what's actually happening - yes, I'm talking about quantum mechanics.

    3. It's very mathematical. This links in with my previous point - physical objects are defined by their mathematical properties and that's usually the best way of thinking about things. Also be aware of the misconception that physicists just 'use maths'. What I mean here is physicists actually come up with the maths they use a lot of the time (as opposed to just going and asking mathematicians how to solve things) which means you will have to derive and prove a lot of things which are really purely mathematical. You'll have a much easier time getting through first year maths (in a physics degree) if you just accept that. Otherwise just keep resisting in first year untill you see it for yourself in 2nd year.

    4. You won't go into anything in too much detail. So, at A Level a lot of time (comparatively) is spent on one topic so you actually end up analysing it in a lot of detail. So, for example I did FP2 at A Level. When I got to university, the topics in FP2 were covered in the first 2 weeks of 1st year very quickly so not all of the details or 'tricks' I learned at A level were really covered. What I'm basically getting at is physics is vast and your degree won't cover everything in too much detail. So, in a way, I guess this is similar to A Level physics....

    5. It's a lot denser. This really depends on what university you go to and the pace at which they do things there. In my experience though, studying physics at university has been so so so so so so much more hectic than it was at A level. So my advice is: learn to be efficient and disciplined.

    There are probably a million other differences but those are the main ones I can think of right now.

    Best wishes
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    (Original post by sandy95)
    1. It's a lot more involved. At A Level most of the problems you get will involve using an equation or two to get the answer you need and you usually get lead through the solution if it's slightly more complicated than that. At university you don't really get that: you just get given the information you need and then you have to work your way through the problem which is often quite long (takes a couple of pages as opposed to A Level where a solution is a few lines).

    2. It's a lot more abstract. At A Level you can usually draw a diagram and and solve the problem in some way. You can forget about imagining what's actually happening - yes, I'm talking about quantum mechanics.

    3. It's very mathematical. This links in with my previous point - physical objects are defined by their mathematical properties and that's usually the best way of thinking about things. Also be aware of the misconception that physicists just 'use maths'. What I mean here is physicists actually come up with the maths they use a lot of the time (as opposed to just going and asking mathematicians how to solve things) which means you will have to derive and prove a lot of things which are really purely mathematical. You'll have a much easier time getting through first year maths (in a physics degree) if you just accept that. Otherwise just keep resisting in first year untill you see it for yourself in 2nd year.

    4. You won't go into anything in too much detail. So, at A Level a lot of time (comparatively) is spent on one topic so you actually end up analysing it in a lot of detail. So, for example I did FP2 at A Level. When I got to university, the topics in FP2 were covered in the first 2 weeks of 1st year very quickly so not all of the details or 'tricks' I learned at A level were really covered. What I'm basically getting at is physics is vast and your degree won't cover everything in too much detail. So, in a way, I guess this is similar to A Level physics....

    5. It's a lot denser. This really depends on what university you go to and the pace at which they do things there. In my experience though, studying physics at university has been so so so so so so much more hectic than it was at A level. So my advice is: learn to be efficient and disciplined.

    There are probably a million other differences but those are the main ones I can think of right now.

    Best wishes
    ugh that sounds really difficult
    But thanks
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    (Original post by abimoon)
    In what way?
    It's so different. The mathematical demand of A Level physics is laughable and you can be successful at school/college physics without really understanding important concepts. You will be in a much better position if you have a good grade in A Level further maths.
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    It's so different. The mathematical demand of A Level physics is laughable and you can be successful at school/college physics without really understanding important concepts. You will be in a much better position if you have a good grade in A Level further maths.
    Im not doing further maths (or chemistry), do they teach all the maths you need to know at uni or will i have to look over the further maths stuff before i go?
    Thanks
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    (Original post by abimoon)
    Im not doing further maths (or chemistry), do they teach all the maths you need to know at uni or will i have to look over the further maths stuff before i go?
    Thanks
    FM will be dealt with in a few lectures in the first year. Learn as much as you possibly can in the summer holidays before you go. Not knowing chemistry won't be a big deal - I didn't do A Level chemistry and I wasn't disadvantaged in any substantial way.
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    (Original post by abimoon)
    Im not doing further maths (or chemistry), do they teach all the maths you need to know at uni or will i have to look over the further maths stuff before i go?
    Thanks
    As someone who didn't do further maths and is now in her third year, performing well at Durham University I can say not doing further maths isn't actually a massive problem. You'll have a steeper learning curve to begin with, particularly depending which maths modules you studied (I didn't do any mechanics in maths at A level, so all of that was a bit of a shock!), but it's certainly doable. You have to be prepared to work hard, and actually enjoy maths (if you don't like maths you'll really hate physics). However all the maths content you need should be covered, even if some of it seems much more alien to you than it does to your class mates! I got an A level further maths book for during the summer and flicked through it - had I done a bit more it would have possibly made my first year slightly easier but only marginally. Assuming you do a well taught course you'll be fine

    However I would also agree with the other posters - Physics at degree level is really nothing like at A level. The biggest difference is the maths - at A level you get used to learning about concepts with a few key equations thrown in, at degree level you start with the maths and work through, proving the key equations and thus the concepts. You'll also actually get an appreciation for different parts of Physics (which I thought was wildly exciting when I started!) - you finally actually find out about all of the really cool bits like relativity and quantum mechanics - I can tell you now that your ideas about what particle/ theoretical/ quantum/ almost any other branch of Physics actually are whilst you're at school are probably fairly limited. I found this really exciting, some people get a little frustrated when they realise the book they read for an interview on quantum mechanics (as they said that was what they really liked) didn't actually really cover anything about the real Physics :P

    Edit: With regards to Chemistry, don't worry. Until you're in your final couple of years anything you do need to know you may even remember from GCSE, or is easily available in textbooks/ online (mainly stuff to do with bonding or orbitals in my experience), and should be covered in lectures anyway! Don't worry you'll be fine! I am and I did Physics, Maths, Music and English Lit. at A level - not exactly the recommended set of subjects for Physics
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    (Original post by pianofluteftw)
    As someone who didn't do further maths and is now in her third year, performing well at Durham University I can say not doing further maths isn't actually a massive problem. You'll have a steeper learning curve to begin with, particularly depending which maths modules you studied (I didn't do any mechanics in maths at A level, so all of that was a bit of a shock!), but it's certainly doable. You have to be prepared to work hard, and actually enjoy maths (if you don't like maths you'll really hate physics). However all the maths content you need should be covered, even if some of it seems much more alien to you than it does to your class mates! I got an A level further maths book for during the summer and flicked through it - had I done a bit more it would have possibly made my first year slightly easier but only marginally. Assuming you do a well taught course you'll be fine


    However I would also agree with the other posters - Physics at degree level is really nothing like at A level. The biggest difference is the maths - at A level you get used to learning about concepts with a few key equations thrown in, at degree level you start with the maths and work through, proving the key equations and thus the concepts. You'll also actually get an appreciation for different parts of Physics (which I thought was wildly exciting when I started!) - you finally actually find out about all of the really cool bits like relativity and quantum mechanics - I can tell you now that your ideas about what particle/ theoretical/ quantum/ almost any other branch of Physics actually are whilst you're at school are probably fairly limited. I found this really exciting, some people get a little frustrated when they realise the book they read for an interview on quantum mechanics (as they said that was what they really liked) didn't actually really cover anything about the real Physics :P

    Edit: With regards to Chemistry, don't worry. Until you're in your final couple of years anything you do need to know you may even remember from GCSE, or is easily available in textbooks/ online (mainly stuff to do with bonding or orbitals in my experience), and should be covered in lectures anyway! Don't worry you'll be fine! I am and I did Physics, Maths, Music and English Lit. at A level - not exactly the recommended set of subjects for Physics
    Thanks that a relief because most of the people i met on open days are doing further maths or chemistry so i thought id be at a disadvantage doing geography.
 
 
 
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