Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

How are Science GCSEs different to Science A Levels? Watch

Announcements
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I'm considering doing Bio at A Level, and possibly Chem to keep my options open for medicine and then I'll probably take Geography and English Lit.

    I was wondering, is it a REALLY big step up? I debating doing medicine or nursing when I leave school so I'm not sure if I should choose Chemistry or not... I definitely want to work in a hospital and do something health care related.

    Can you get into any unis for medicine/become a doctor in some way without Chemistry A Level? Is there maybe a longer route? I'm just not sure if I have the academic ability for medicine.

    GCSE Mock Results
    Bio - A*
    Chem - A
    Geography - A
    Eng Lit - B (disappointed with this one..)
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    I'm considering doing Bio at A Level, and possibly Chem to keep my options open for medicine and then I'll probably take Geography and English Lit.

    I was wondering, is it a REALLY big step up? I debating doing medicine or nursing when I leave school so I'm not sure if I should choose Chemistry or not... I definitely want to work in a hospital and do something health care related.

    Can you get into any unis for medicine/become a doctor in some way without Chemistry A Level? Is there maybe a longer route? I'm just not sure if I have the academic ability for medicine.

    GCSE Mock Results
    Bio - A*
    Chem - A
    Geography - A
    Eng Lit - B (disappointed with this one..)
    Yes it is a big step. The difference is that you'll learn from topics you've covered at GCSE but into far more details e.g. at GCSE you've learn that ribosome is the site of protein synthesis, well at A-level you must describe the whole process ( translation and splicing, transcription).

    Most of the question you'll be given in the exams are how science works questions, so you must have a good knowledge in all your topics before the exams (especially at A2, where the jump is big after AS).

    As long as you put in the work and do lots of practice, you'll be fine :P
    Offline

    18
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    I'm considering doing Bio at A Level, and possibly Chem to keep my options open for medicine
    To keep your options open for medicine, you should be prioritising chemistry, not biology (although it's best to take both). There are a handful of medical schools that don't require biology at AS; practically every medical school requires chemistry at AS.

    I was wondering, is it a REALLY big step up? I debating doing medicine or nursing when I leave school so I'm not sure if I should choose Chemistry or not... I definitely want to work in a hospital and do something health care related.
    You should get work experience to find out whether you really want to work in a hospital or do something healthcare-related, or whether it's just something you like the idea of doing.

    A Levels can be a big step-up, yes. As long as you keep on top of work and revise properly and in good time, you'll be fine.

    As above, you'll definitely need chemistry for medicine.

    Can you get into any unis for medicine/become a doctor in some way without Chemistry A Level?
    Not in the UK, no.

    Is there maybe a longer route? I'm just not sure if I have the academic ability for medicine.
    There is graduate entry medicine and a few pre-clinical/foundation year courses, but they're best avoided if you can get in through the standard route, for various reasons.

    GCSE Mock Results
    Bio - A*
    Chem - A
    Geography - A
    Eng Lit - B (disappointed with this one..)
    These don't mean anything but, if these were your real results, there would be nothing about them that would preclude getting a medicine offer (assuming that you get good grades in four or five other subjects, at least) if you apply strategically. Medical schools don't care all that much about English literature.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    I'm considering doing Bio at A Level, and possibly Chem to keep my options open for medicine and then I'll probably take Geography and English Lit.

    I was wondering, is it a REALLY big step up? I debating doing medicine or nursing when I leave school so I'm not sure if I should choose Chemistry or not... I definitely want to work in a hospital and do something health care related.

    Can you get into any unis for medicine/become a doctor in some way without Chemistry A Level? Is there maybe a longer route? I'm just not sure if I have the academic ability for medicine.

    GCSE Mock Results
    Bio - A*
    Chem - A
    Geography - A
    Eng Lit - B (disappointed with this one..)
    Its a huge step, you really never know how well you are going to cope with A levels until you do them.
    My advice would be to definitely to take chemistry, universities also would like you to have at least AS maths as well and perhaps physics also (not many people do this but it will be an advantage if you do) if you want to do medicine. Even if you dont go down the medicine route having A level chemistry will help you go down similar routes like biochemistry etc
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    A levels are, as you'd expect, a lot more advanced. I take Physics, and at GCSE you'd probably learn a simple formula and how to use it. At A level you learn how the formula and theory was devised, what practical applications it has, and generally lots more detail.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    as long as you have a reasonable amount of A*s (including the sciences) you'll be fine. no1 cares about english literature lmao
    Offline

    18
    (Original post by Laurenafenete)
    Its a huge step, you really never know how well you are going to cope with A levels until you do them.
    My advice would be to definitely to take chemistry, universities also would like you to have at least AS maths as well and perhaps physics also (not many people do this but it will be an advantage if you do) if you want to do medicine. Even if you dont go down the medicine route having A level chemistry will help you go down similar routes like biochemistry etc
    The text in bold is false. Cambridge is the only medical school that requires three science/maths subjects; the requirements for every other UK medical school would be met with chemistry, biology, and one other academic subject. There's no 'advantage' to be had by taking maths or physics, either.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hydeman)
    The text in bold is false. Cambridge is the only medical school that requires three science/maths subjects; the requirements for every other UK medical school would be met with chemistry, biology, and one other academic subject. There's no 'advantage' to be had by taking maths or physics, either.
    Well I didn't apply for medicine but talking to friends who did they comment on how many people in other countries are forced to do physics at A level (or their equiv to A level). Physics is used extensively in medicine e.g. CT scans, open heart surgeries etc so having a foundation in physics would be useful but yes not essential.
    However you must remember that medicine is incredibly competitive, you are not only competing with people in this country but also people from all over the world. Maths AS will be extremely useful for both biology and chemistry A level, giving you that advantage that you will need when applying for medicine.

    If you are wondering I am talking from experience as I do both chemistry and maths for A level (as well as physics and history)
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    I'm considering doing Bio at A Level, and possibly Chem to keep my options open for medicine and then I'll probably take Geography and English Lit.

    I was wondering, is it a REALLY big step up? I debating doing medicine or nursing when I leave school so I'm not sure if I should choose Chemistry or not... I definitely want to work in a hospital and do something health care related.

    Can you get into any unis for medicine/become a doctor in some way without Chemistry A Level? Is there maybe a longer route? I'm just not sure if I have the academic ability for medicine.

    GCSE Mock Results
    Bio - A*
    Chem - A
    Geography - A
    Eng Lit - B (disappointed with this one..)
    It is good that you are planning ahead.
    Most A levels will be a lot harder than GCSEs
    Offline

    18
    (Original post by Laurenafenete)
    Well I didn't apply for medicine but talking to friends who did they comment on how many people in other countries are forced to do physics at A level (or their equiv to A level). Physics is used extensively in medicine e.g. CT scans, open heart surgeries etc so having a foundation in physics would be useful but yes not essential.
    However you must remember that medicine is incredibly competitive, you are not only competing with people in this country but also people from all over the world. Maths AS will be extremely useful for both biology and chemistry A level, giving you that advantage that you will need when applying for medicine.

    If you are wondering I am talking from experience as I do both chemistry and maths for A level (as well as physics and history)
    To be clear, though: it won't give you any advantage in admissions, although it may help your understanding in certain areas. Sure, it might have an overlap with other science subjects (physics being the only contender that I can think of -- chemistry and biology contain almost no maths beyond GCSE-level) and therefore help you do better in those subjects, but there's no requirement or preference for maths or physics in medical admissions unless you're applying to Cambridge.

    Medicine is very competitive, yes. But medical schools have tried and tested admissions procedures for selecting applicants that work despite the competition and they're open about what these are. Some of them use GCSEs to shortlist for interview; others use GCSEs alongside admissions tests like the UKCAT/BMAT; still others take a holistic approach. None of them (with the minor exception of Magdalene College, Cambridge) whittle down the applicant field by giving preference to those doing more sciences than required. It's a very common myth about medicine and the first one that any credible application help website will take pains to debunk.

    Other countries do have education systems that retain maths for much longer, yes. But you have to remember that the admissions process remains the same (i.e. a UKCAT-heavy school isn't arbitrarily going to start using A Level-standard maths as a way to differentiate between applicants; they will still use the UKCAT). And no, you're not competing with people from all over the world. Student numbers are capped and there is usually a reserved number of places for international students -- international applicants compete for them quite separately from Home/EU applicants.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    It just be me but science A levels are a huge step up I ended A2 with CDD (I am resitting) whereas in GCSE I got an A* in Chemistry, A in my other sciences and a B in Maths. But if you are the type that worked hard in GCSE then you should be fine for A Levels, I didn't really work hard in GCSE and although I worked harder in A level it was evidently not enough. Not to say that it is all tough though, some modules are easier than others and can 'boost' your overall grade if you ace them.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hydeman)
    The text in bold is false. Cambridge is the only medical school that requires three science/maths subjects; the requirements for every other UK medical school would be met with chemistry, biology, and one other academic subject. There's no 'advantage' to be had by taking maths or physics, either.
    Would Geography or English Lit be considered an "academic subject"? So could I take Bio, Chem, and then Eng Lit or Geography?
    Offline

    18
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    Would Geography or English Lit be considered an "academic subject"? So could I take Bio, Chem, and then Eng Lit or Geography?
    Yes, both geography and English literature are considered good, academic subjects. Either would do, although you may want to take four subjects at AS. I'm not really sure how it's going to work with the reformed A Levels, but that's what universities required in the old system.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Yes, both geography and English literature are considered good, academic subjects. Either would do, although you may want to take four subjects at AS. I'm not really sure how it's going to work with the reformed A Levels, but that's what universities required in the old system.
    The new A Level system is confusing me. At my school's sixth form, they recommend we take three subjects and that's it (unless we are guaranteed to get straight As at GCSE, then we can take four) so this limits us quite a bit. Because we aren't doing AS anymore, we can't take one subject and then drop it at the end of the first year, and I'm really not sure if I'm cut out for Chemistry tbh.
    Offline

    18
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    The new A Level system is confusing me. At my school's sixth form, they recommend we take three subjects and that's it (unless we are guaranteed to get straight As at GCSE, then we can take four) so this limits us quite a bit. Because we aren't doing AS anymore, we can't take one subject and then drop it at the end of the first year, and I'm really not sure if I'm cut out for Chemistry tbh.
    It's possible with hard work. Chances are that universities won't make a huge deal of ASs now that not all schools are doing it, but just do the best that you can.

    Chemistry is compulsory for medicine, though. You'll need to make a judgement call about that because you can't go to medical school without a Level 3 qualification in chemistry, at the very least.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hydeman)
    It's possible with hard work. Chances are that universities won't make a huge deal of ASs now that not all schools are doing it, but just do the best that you can.

    Chemistry is compulsory for medicine, though. You'll need to make a judgement call about that because you can't go to medical school without a Level 3 qualification in chemistry, at the very least.
    Thank you for all your responses, I really appreciate it.

    Do you know of any other careers I could go into where I could work in a hospital (with good pay), and any career that is between Nursing and becoming a Doctor..?
    Offline

    18
    (Original post by romansholiday)
    Thank you for all your responses, I really appreciate it.

    Do you know of any other careers I could go into where I could work in a hospital (with good pay), and any career that is between Nursing and becoming a Doctor..?
    It depends on what you mean by good pay. Neither medicine nor nursing pay particularly well if you consider the number of years spent training and the hours worked. Other than those two, you could look at being a healthcare assistant (HCA) or a diagnostic radiographer, although I'm unsure what the hourly pay is like in those professions.

    Definitely don't go for pharmacy right now -- there's a significant oversupply of pharmacy graduates so there aren't that many hospital jobs to go around. ForestCat can tell you more about nursing.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    GCSE CHEMISTRY IS LIES

    Especially with atomic structure
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hydeman)
    It depends on what you mean by good pay. Neither medicine nor nursing pay particularly well if you consider the number of years spent training and the hours worked. Other than those two, you could look at being a healthcare assistant (HCA) or a diagnostic radiographer, although I'm unsure what the hourly pay is like in those professions.

    Definitely don't go for pharmacy right now -- there's a significant oversupply of pharmacy graduates so there aren't that many hospital jobs to go around. ForestCat can tell you more about nursing.
    Nursing certainly isn't well paid. And now the bursaries are stopping you'll end up even worse off.

    (Original post by romansholiday)
    Thank you for all your responses, I really appreciate it.

    Do you know of any other careers I could go into where I could work in a hospital (with good pay), and any career that is between Nursing and becoming a Doctor..?
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    oh honey... you DON'T EVEN KNOW

    I got AA*A in triple science, chem was my favourite and strongest subject
    ***** slapped me back so hard in A levels I'm now getting Es X'D
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Break up or unrequited love?
    Help with your A-levels

    All the essentials

    The adventure begins mug

    Student life: what to expect

    What it's really like going to uni

    Rosette

    Essay expert

    Learn to write like a pro with our ultimate essay guide.

    Uni match

    Uni match

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course for you

    Study planner

    Create a study plan

    Get your head around what you need to do and when with the study planner tool.

    Study planner

    Resources by subject

    Everything from mind maps to class notes.

    Hands typing

    Degrees without fees

    Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

    A student doing homework

    Study tips from A* students

    Students who got top grades in their A-levels share their secrets

    Study help links and info

    Can you help? Study help unanswered threadsRules and posting guidelines

    Sponsored content:

    HEAR

    HEAR

    Find out how a Higher Education Achievement Report can help you prove your achievements.

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.