thexxsaiiraxx
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Hi, from September I will be studying AS Biology and Chemistry for the OCR exam board. Can anyone please tell me what the subjects are like and how hard they are. Also, advice me on anything that would help to get good grades at the end of year 12.

Thanks!
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victoria98
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Hi, I just finished year 12 and did OCR biology and chemistry (alongside maths and physics). Chemistry is harder than biology, but biology has A LOT more content to learn. With chemistry there are many reactions to learn etc. but there really isn't that much content. On the other hand, biology is so content rich I wanted to cry several times during the year- you need to memorise most of it. The plus is that with biology it's not usually difficult to UNDERSTAND the content, it's the remembering it in the exam part that is difficult.

When it comes to revision- practicing is incredibly important for both- I actually did every past paper multiple times prior to the exams. You're doing the new specification so won't have past papers for that exact spec, but it isn't changing very drastically so doing papers from the OCR A spec will be good for you (those will probably be the questions your school will use for mocks anyway). With the incredible volume of content to memorise in biology, flashcards work wonders. I would write out a model answer-like paragraph, for anything I wanted to learn, 3 times on paper (to try and learn it off by heart) and then on the flashcard. I also used the flashcards to write model answers for questions I got wrong in past papers. Oh, make sure you keep hold of all your papers so you can see how clearly you've progressed. At the beginning of the course, when you don't yet know enough to complete a whole paper, you can find specific questions for those topics and do them (from past papers usually) or you could do the questions in the book (my textbook had many exam questions, I don't know about the new textbook). For chemistry I made huge mindmaps with all reactions I needed to learn and practiced drawing out reaction mechanisms everyday. I definitely enjoyed chemistry more, but both were really fun (aside from the few weird topics that made me mad) I ended up with As in both so if you have any other questions do ask! Good luck
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maddie.gardiner
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Hey!I'm going into Year 12 too, doing AS Biology and Chemistry (as well as History and Philosophy) and it would be great to have someone to message about it My friend did Biology and Chemistry too and she's just gone to the University of York with mostly A's at A-Level and she said it wasn't too hard to understand concepts, but to remember every keyword and stage of processes was hard; examiners look for scientific language so a good tip would be to go through past exam mark schemes to see exactly what they want. You can lose easy marks just by forgetting one keyword.Secondly, bear in mind OCR has just changed it's courses. They don't differ hugely from last years but they do have a slightly different exam style and their specification isn't exactly the same. I recommended you check out the specifications for both Biology (http://ocr.org.uk/Images/171736-spec...ogy-a-h420.pdf) and Chemistry (http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/171720-...try-a-h432.pdf) to get an idea of what you need to learn. Also, check out these links (Bio: http://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-...420-from-2015/ and Chem: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications...432-from-2015/) as they give you an example paper and mark scheme so you can kind of see what to expect.I would definitely say flash cards help hugely with keywords like in Biology and for remembering reactions and equations in Chemistry. Lastly, enjoy it! Science, if you like it, is a very interesting subject and I'm so excited to do it. The more you think 'ugh homework ugh studying ugh ugh' the less motivated you'll be and you'll end up hating it. Instead, make it somewhat enjoyable and tell yourself that you're doing it as your interested (that mind-set helped me through GCSE Physics ugh).But yeah, hope I helped
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thexxsaiiraxx
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(Original post by victoria98)
Hi, I just finished year 12 and did OCR biology and chemistry (alongside maths and physics). Chemistry is harder than biology, but biology has A LOT more content to learn. With chemistry there are many reactions to learn etc. but there really isn't that much content. On the other hand, biology is so content rich I wanted to cry several times during the year- you need to memorise most of it. The plus is that with biology it's not usually difficult to UNDERSTAND the content, it's the remembering it in the exam part that is difficult.

When it comes to revision- practicing is incredibly important for both- I actually did every past paper multiple times prior to the exams. You're doing the new specification so won't have past papers for that exact spec, but it isn't changing very drastically so doing papers from the OCR A spec will be good for you (those will probably be the questions your school will use for mocks anyway). With the incredible volume of content to memorise in biology, flashcards work wonders. I would write out a model answer-like paragraph, for anything I wanted to learn, 3 times on paper (to try and learn it off by heart) and then on the flashcard. I also used the flashcards to write model answers for questions I got wrong in past papers. Oh, make sure you keep hold of all your papers so you can see how clearly you've progressed. At the beginning of the course, when you don't yet know enough to complete a whole paper, you can find specific questions for those topics and do them (from past papers usually) or you could do the questions in the book (my textbook had many exam questions, I don't know about the new textbook). For chemistry I made huge mindmaps with all reactions I needed to learn and practiced drawing out reaction mechanisms everyday. I definitely enjoyed chemistry more, but both were really fun (aside from the few weird topics that made me mad) I ended up with As in both so if you have any other questions do ask! Good luck
Thanks you sooo much!! I've literally asked so many people in my school that took bio and chem and they all said the same thing; about how hard it is.

I use flashcards quite a lot when revising, but I also make mindmaps and stick them on the walls of my bedroom. I think that memorising the content of biology will be quite hard for me as I have experience of that but with GCSE geography. I had to memorise sooo many facts and statistics. I hated it and wanted to shoot myself for taking the subject.

The thing I'm really worried about right now is 'spot tests', my school basically does thing where they test nearly like every week literally on the spot to see if you've learnt the stuff & if u fail more than like 3 times (idek) they kick you out the course. I did double science at GCSE so i was told by my teachers that they won't be expecting much from me as i can fail easily. I really don't want that happening. But the advice that you have given I will deffo use! It will help me a lot, and tbh with you during my GCSE's I hadn't made much use of past papers although I had lots and lots of them (but still came out with good grades) and I think that this time, taking ur advice into account, I will do a lot better hopefully.

Thank you for telling me about the new specification. I didn't know about it until now and I was gonna order the textbooks, would've ordered the old ones if u hadn't told me so thanks for that.
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thexxsaiiraxx
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(Original post by maddie.gardiner)
Hey!I'm going into Year 12 too, doing AS Biology and Chemistry (as well as History and Philosophy) and it would be great to have someone to message about it My friend did Biology and Chemistry too and she's just gone to the University of York with mostly A's at A-Level and she said it wasn't too hard to understand concepts, but to remember every keyword and stage of processes was hard; examiners look for scientific language so a good tip would be to go through past exam mark schemes to see exactly what they want. You can lose easy marks just by forgetting one keyword.Secondly, bear in mind OCR has just changed it's courses. They don't differ hugely from last years but they do have a slightly different exam style and their specification isn't exactly the same. I recommended you check out the specifications for both Biology (http://ocr.org.uk/Images/171736-spec...ogy-a-h420.pdf) and Chemistry (http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/171720-...try-a-h432.pdf) to get an idea of what you need to learn. Also, check out these links (Bio: http://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-...420-from-2015/ and Chem: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications...432-from-2015/) as they give you an example paper and mark scheme so you can kind of see what to expect.I would definitely say flash cards help hugely with keywords like in Biology and for remembering reactions and equations in Chemistry. Lastly, enjoy it! Science, if you like it, is a very interesting subject and I'm so excited to do it. The more you think 'ugh homework ugh studying ugh ugh' the less motivated you'll be and you'll end up hating it. Instead, make it somewhat enjoyable and tell yourself that you're doing it as your interested (that mind-set helped me through GCSE Physics ugh).But yeah, hope I helped
Hi! I'm doing biology, chemistry psychology and maths. Yeah ik, im glad u messaged me, great to talk to someone who picked similar subjects to u. How u feeling about the subjects u picked?

I just found out about how they changed the courses. Lets hope they didn't make it any harder than it already was.

I'm quite excited about science too but im also scared you know as a lot of people told me how hard it is, plus the head of chemistry is a pain in the neck; really don't want her to be my teacher.

Cheers for the links!
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maddie.gardiner
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Hey!I wish I was good enough at Maths to do A-Level but my school sucked so we hardly ever had a teacher and I ended up getting a high C. I'm pretty happy, I'm still torn between Philosophy and Physics but I think I'm sticking with Philosophy.I don't particularly think it's too hard, I think it's more just remembering everything. If you check this thread out http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1296764 and look at her revision guides you'll get a feel of the processes you'll need to learn I've been using them to study over the summer as I didn't do Triple/Further Additional Science, I only did Double so I was scared of being at a disadvantage.If it's any consolation, my friend who got into York (14th best Uni in the UK) didn't do Triple either and came out with A's!Hopefully you don't get that horrible teacher, both my (possible) Chem and Bio teachers are super nice and friendly. Good luck and feel free to message me if you ever want help or anything Maybe we could revise/help each other
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thexxsaiiraxx
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(Original post by maddie.gardiner)
Hey!I wish I was good enough at Maths to do A-Level but my school sucked so we hardly ever had a teacher and I ended up getting a high C. I'm pretty happy, I'm still torn between Philosophy and Physics but I think I'm sticking with Philosophy.I don't particularly think it's too hard, I think it's more just remembering everything. If you check this thread out http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1296764 and look at her revision guides you'll get a feel of the processes you'll need to learn I've been using them to study over the summer as I didn't do Triple/Further Additional Science, I only did Double so I was scared of being at a disadvantage.If it's any consolation, my friend who got into York (14th best Uni in the UK) didn't do Triple either and came out with A's!Hopefully you don't get that horrible teacher, both my (possible) Chem and Bio teachers are super nice and friendly. Good luck and feel free to message me if you ever want help or anything Maybe we could revise/help each other

Hii I got a B in maths and they're letting me do at a level but they've put me in the 'das' group, meaning I have to really work my socks off and show them that I can do a level maths, otherwise they'll kick me out the course and this can influence the decision they make about giving me a place in year 13 next year. But I need maths for what I wanna do in the future so I didn't really have a choice.

Omg that link u sent; her revision guides are maddd:o:p thanksss!!

I did double science as well and got BB. I was told by my teacher that I wouldn't do so well at a level sciences because of that so im really scared right now.

Good luck to you too and yeah I'd love to revise with u:cool: we can help each other. But im new to TSR though so I don't really know how to start a convo with someone on here
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maddie.gardiner
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(Original post by thexxsaiiraxx)
Hii I got a B in maths and they're letting me do at a level but they've put me in the 'das' group, meaning I have to really work my socks off and show them that I can do a level maths, otherwise they'll kick me out the course and this can influence the decision they make about giving me a place in year 13 next year. But I need maths for what I wanna do in the future so I didn't really have a choice.

Omg that link u sent; her revision guides are maddd:o:p thanksss!!

I did double science as well and got BB. I was told by my teacher that I wouldn't do so well at a level sciences because of that so im really scared right now.

Good luck to you too and yeah I'd love to revise with u:cool: we can help each other. But im new to TSR though so I don't really know how to start a convo with someone on here
I got a C (though I was only six marks off a B) but Maths is just terrifying to me ahh I couldn't do it at A Level Well good luck, you'll do great!

Also I know omg I love them they're like my saviour

And I got BB too, because I got AA in Biology, then AB in Chem and BB in Physics, so it was BB overall

But you'll do fine! Just manage your time, do hard work from day one and you'll do amazing!
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thexxsaiiraxx
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(Original post by maddie.gardiner)
I got a C (though I was only six marks off a B) but Maths is just terrifying to me ahh I couldn't do it at A Level Well good luck, you'll do great!

Also I know omg I love them they're like my saviour

And I got BB too, because I got AA in Biology, then AB in Chem and BB in Physics, so it was BB overall

But you'll do fine! Just manage your time, do hard work from day one and you'll do amazing!
I picked bio chem psycho and maths; one of the hardest combinations so im gonna have a lot of work to do and have to put in a lot of effort in order to get good grades.
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chazlotte132
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(Original post by maddie.gardiner)
Hey!I'm going into Year 12 too, doing AS Biology and Chemistry (as well as History and Philosophy) and it would be great to have someone to message about it My friend did Biology and Chemistry too and she's just gone to the University of York with mostly A's at A-Level and she said it wasn't too hard to understand concepts, but to remember every keyword and stage of processes was hard; examiners look for scientific language so a good tip would be to go through past exam mark schemes to see exactly what they want. You can lose easy marks just by forgetting one keyword.Secondly, bear in mind OCR has just changed it's courses. They don't differ hugely from last years but they do have a slightly different exam style and their specification isn't exactly the same. I recommended you check out the specifications for both Biology (http://ocr.org.uk/Images/171736-spec...ogy-a-h420.pdf) and Chemistry (http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/171720-...try-a-h432.pdf) to get an idea of what you need to learn. Also, check out these links (Bio: http://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-...420-from-2015/ and Chem: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications...432-from-2015/) as they give you an example paper and mark scheme so you can kind of see what to expect.I would definitely say flash cards help hugely with keywords like in Biology and for remembering reactions and equations in Chemistry. Lastly, enjoy it! Science, if you like it, is a very interesting subject and I'm so excited to do it. The more you think 'ugh homework ugh studying ugh ugh' the less motivated you'll be and you'll end up hating it. Instead, make it somewhat enjoyable and tell yourself that you're doing it as your interested (that mind-set helped me through GCSE Physics ugh).But yeah, hope I helped
I am about to do biology chemistry history and Rs (philosophy) too how have you been preparing for them over the summer ?


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maddie.gardiner
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(Original post by chazlotte132)
I am about to do biology chemistry history and Rs (philosophy) too how have you been preparing for them over the summer ?


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Oh wow, twins :P

I haven't really prepped much for Phil and History, I watched a documentary about the Tudors (Anne Boleyn) as suggested by our teacher.

For science I've just been looking at past OCR papers, mark schemes, and the revision guides that I linked :P

Have you prepped at all?
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maddie.gardiner
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(Original post by thexxsaiiraxx)
I picked bio chem psycho and maths; one of the hardest combinations so im gonna have a lot of work to do and have to put in a lot of effort in order to get good grades.
Aha I really respect you for choosing those ugh

And yeah, just think how great it will be when you come out with A's though!
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