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Are A-Levels actually "harder" or do they just require more work? Watch

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    Perhaps so these answers can be specific to me, here are the A-Levels I'm doing next year: Maths, Chemistry, Physics.

    Now I understand that A-Levels obviously will be more challenging than GCSEs simply due to their nature of being the next level qualification.

    But are they actually very difficult or do they require more work?

    My point is: GCSEs are very easy if you do lots of work for them. Are A-Levels only difficult in that they require lots of work, or are some so challenging that hard work doesn't guarantee success?
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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    Perhaps so these answers can be specific to me, here are the A-Levels I'm doing next year: Maths, Chemistry, Physics.

    Now I understand that A-Levels obviously will be more challenging than GCSEs simply due to their nature of being the next level qualification.

    But are they actually very difficult or do they require more work?

    My point is: GCSEs are very easy if you do lots of work for them. Are A-Levels only difficult in that they require lots of work, or are some so challenging that hard work doesn't guarantee success?
    Both. Much more content to absorb and harder spec. GCSEs don't compare and lots of work for GCSEs... whut...
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    Depends on your ability. They are not difficult at all if:

    a) you are just talented
    b) you are a reasonable student and you work at it.

    There is no material that is pushing any boundaries whatsoever.
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    (Original post by Imperion)
    Both. Much more content to absorb and harder spec. GCSEs don't compare and lots of work for GCSEs... whut...
    My point was that at GCSEs hard work guarantees success, and obviously some can succeed with little effort at GCSE. I was just wondering if hard work pretty much equates to doing well at A-Level.
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    More content and more harder, it's harder to pick up marks.

    But trust me, the jump between AS to A2 is faaaaaar greater than the jump between GCSE and AS.
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    (Original post by thecatwithnohat)
    More content and more harder, it's harder to pick up marks.

    But trust me, the jump between AS to A2 is faaaaaar greater than the jump between GCSE and AS.
    what subjects do you think the jump is bigger from AS to A2


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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    My point was that at GCSEs hard work guarantees success, and obviously some can succeed with little effort at GCSE. I was just wondering if hard work pretty much equates to doing well at A-Level.
    Smart work does

    (Original post by thecatwithnohat)
    More content and more harder, it's harder to pick up marks.

    But trust me, the jump between AS to A2 is faaaaaar greater than the jump between GCSE and AS.
    I'd like to sleep at night, thank you
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    In my opinion I haven't found A levels to be hugely more difficult than GCSE's, more of a natural progression onto the next level. Now don't get me wrong - they are certainly harder - but that's what you'd expect for a higher level of qualification. I find that the overall workload isn't much higher than previously, because although you go into each subject in much more depth you only have 3-4 subjects to actually do. My subjects are mostly mathematical though and 100% exam-assessed, so this may be why (I know some people who do coursework-based subjects who are constantly complaining about the workload for example).

    Certainly for the exams though you do have do have a decent understanding of the subject, rather than just the memorisation that's required at GCSE, although to some degree there is still a lot of memorisation with definitions, equations, dates, quotes etc. depending on your subject. Generally, if you're prepared to put in the work for GCSE and come out with decent grades then you should be fine at A level.
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    (Original post by bubblegumcat)
    what subjects do you think the jump is bigger from AS to A2


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    From what I know of and have heard: Biology, English Lit and Chemistry

    I haven't much knowledge on the difficulty on other subjects. Do you not think there is a quite a big jump in your subjects?
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    With little to no work, I managed As and A*s in GCSE. With far more work in A level, I scrapped Cs and Ds.

    Back in GCSE time, good revision for me was skimming through the revision guide the morning of the exam for like an hour, or for GCSE English I didn't even finish reading To Kill a Mockingbird, or GCSE RE required literally 0 work at all. If I did any of that for my A Levels, I would probably get a U.
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    Personally I found the gap from GCSE to A-Levels to be harder than the gap from A-Levels to undergraduate.

    The content is more complex, and you'll need to work a lot more to achieve top grades. However I probably struggled more than others as I put very little work into my GCSEs so was simply unprepared for the workload of A-Levels. All that said, I do think that GCSEs aren't hard enough, there is a lot more content and concepts they could've introduced that would've made the transition to A-Level less difficult.
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    (Original post by Swanbow)
    Personally I found the gap from GCSE to A-Levels to be harder than the gap from A-Levels to undergraduate.

    The content is more complex, and you'll need to work a lot more to achieve top grades. However I probably struggled more than others as I put very little work into my GCSEs so was simply unprepared for the workload of A-Levels. All that said, I do think that GCSEs aren't hard enough, there is a lot more content and concepts they could've introduced that would've made the transition to A-Level less difficult.
    I agree that GCSE's don't seem hard enough. But A levels aren't either. That is why certain unis for certain subjects rely on STEP or some such. Go look back at A level papers from 1980 and pick questions where the material is the same. The questions today are noticeably easier and tend to hand hold you along. A lot of the questions back then were do this for 15 marks - now it is do this for 2, do that for 4, do this for 3 etc - yet the question is on the same topic.
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    I did those same AS subjects last year, but including Further Maths, I found Chemistry and Physics hard just because I didn't put in the work needed, with Physics I understood what was going on in lessons, and could answer questions in class easily, but outside of class I didn't put any effort in whatsoever, that meant that even though I could understand a lot of the theory at AS, I didn't know how to word the key definitions to get the marks, or how to properly do the calculations because my work in class was pretty lazy and missed key steps that I then forgot. Chemistry for me was bad as I didn't actually do any work in class or out, the only reason I passed chemistry and didn't pass physics is because of my grades in my coursework (my physics coursework got marked down after moderation along with everyone else's in my year). However Chemistry isn't as difficult as it first looks if you make sure to work hard etc. Currently retaking my AS chemistry and it's easier now that I'm actually trying (I was under the mind set of "why should I try if I'm just gunna drop it")

    Also, Maths is pretty simple with the basic amount of work for me, so I can't really answer there.
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    A levels are obviously harder than GCSEs, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible to do well in them. The emphasis very much shifts from just memorising key phrases like at GCSE, to a more synoptic kind of question where you get tested on your understanding of the subject (obviously you still need a base level of knowledge), and often the questions require you to apply knowledge from multiple parts of the course rather than GCSE where it is normally pretty obvious what each question is testing if you get what I mean. Anyway for a more specific answer for your subjects:

    Maths- gets quite a lot harder than it was at GCSE. Even the AS units are a fair amount harder than GCSE, and they don't count towards A*. The A2 units are quite a big step up from AS, although once you get the hang of them they are relatively easy as the exam questions are very similar each year, hence the extremely high grade boundaries (usually around 68-70/75 for edexcel A*, bear in mind there are usually 7 questions in total). In short, whereas at GCSE a lot of people who were good at maths at my school did little to no revision and got A*, at A level you need to put a lot more work in if you want to get high grades.

    Physics - More mathematical than GCSE (although the lack of calculus is a bit strange), and some of the topics are a little bit odd/confusing at first. If you're taking physics i strongly recommend taking mechanics in maths, it will help you out a lot.

    Chemistry - Big step up from GCSE. Both the depth and breadth of the syllabus is massively increased, and the focus is more on why certain things happen rather than what happens. Chemistry was easily the subject i spent the most time on.

    In summary, yes they are harder, a lot of people who get straight A*at GCSE will do significantly worse at A level, but if you work smartly throughout the 2 years there is no reason why you can't do similarly well at A2.
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    (Original post by samb1234)
    Physics - More mathematical than GCSE (although the lack of calculus is a bit strange), and some of the topics are a little bit odd/confusing at first.
    It used to require calculus.
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    (Original post by z_of_8.1)
    It used to require calculus.
    I know lol, it is a very strange decision to omit it considering how calculus is such an important tool that is used in the modelling of a huge number of physical phenomena.
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    (Original post by samb1234)
    I know lol, it is a very strange decision to omit it considering how calculus is such an important tool that is used in the modelling of a huge number of physical phenomena.
    It was part of an overall lowering of the A level standard. And it was a silly idea. So many concepts in A level physics are easier to understand and fit in a larger picture if you use calculus techniques. Classical mechanics for instance.
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    (Original post by thecatwithnohat)
    More content and more harder, it's harder to pick up marks.

    But trust me, the jump between AS to A2 is faaaaaar greater than the jump between GCSE and AS.
    I SO agree with you on that one!!! Nothing could have prepared me for year 13!
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    (Original post by z_of_8.1)
    It was part of an overall lowering of the A level standard. And it was a silly idea. So many concepts in A level physics are easier to understand and fit in a larger picture if you use calculus techniques. Classical mechanics for instance.
    Yeah I agree, topics like SHM are so much easier to understand if you know where the solutions come from (through solving the 2nd order DE which isn't even a hard one) rather than just being expected to memorise results that appear to have come from thin air.
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    (Original post by thecatwithnohat)
    From what I know of and have heard: Biology, English Lit and Chemistry

    I haven't much knowledge on the difficulty on other subjects. Do you not think there is a quite a big jump in your subjects?
    Yeah, there's a massive jump with chemistry but so far biology doesn't seem like there is too much of a jump.
 
 
 
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