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

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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?
    Short answer:
    Is it harder?
    Maths. No. But I'm doing Edexcel which I believe is the easiest exam board
    Chemistry. No. I'm doing AQA; modest exam board.

    Longer answer:

    For maths, the jump from GCSE to AS is meh. Nothing extraordinarily difficult. There are a bunch of new topics you'll learn, however, so it's not easy either. It's just remembering all the concepts and the techniques to learning it all. And it's pretty easy to learn it all because when it comes to maths, there's only one way to revise, and that's past papers. I don't think I made that many notes as I did for my other AS subjects. If you look in my AS folder, it's probably 5% notes and 95% exercises, worksheets, past papers.

    For chemistry, the jump to AS is also meh. There's nothing hard, nothing that's frustratingly difficult, you'll eventually get it. However, there's a TON to learn now, especially when you get to the organic side of chemistry. But what's better about the AS subjects (this applies to maths) is that the topics are nearly always interconnected so you will always draw from topics you learn before to understand a new one. With GCSEs they throw in electrolysis, flame tests, heck I had to learn some plate tectonics ffs, but at AS, (at least for AQA) you start with the basics of electrons and molecules and then build that up to periodicity and all of it just follows through.


    As for A2, I agree with other people; it's a much bigger leap, there is more stuff to learn and the topics aren't particularly easy either (esp. with technical specific language). But if you're SOLID at AS and always making the notes, and understanding each topic to the core, and you're pretty confident, you're not gonna need to adjust much at A2
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    (Original post by z_of_8.1)
    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.
    When we were moaning about the content at AS-Level biology our teacher managed to drag out one of her exam papers from 1996 or something, but for GCSE, and we were surprised that there was quite a lot of overlap between the two. Also I remember a lot of the STEM departments at my university basically retaught A-Levels, and certain things that were overlooked, during the first semester to bring student up to scratch.

    Personally I don't think education should just be rote memorisation, with a lot of content but no idea on how to apply it, i.e. a lot of Asian education system, but if we want to better compete we need to push pupils to tackle harder content earlier.
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    (Original post by Swanbow)
    When we were moaning about the content at AS-Level biology our teacher managed to drag out one of her exam papers from 1996 or something, but for GCSE, and we were surprised that there was quite a lot of overlap between the two. Also I remember a lot of the STEM departments at my university basically retaught A-Levels, and certain things that were overlooked, during the first semester to bring student up to scratch.

    Personally I don't think education should just be rote memorisation, with a lot of content but no idea on how to apply it, i.e. a lot of Asian education system, but if we want to better compete we need to push pupils to tackle harder content earlier.
    1996 is very recent in this game. There is a lot of overlap of material obviously - but the way the questions are couched is much easier today. A lot more questions lead you on to the answer with intermediate results - that was less prevalent in the past.

    Look at the old O level maths. It often required calculus - something not within a million miles of todays GCSE. There is some prof. at Cambridge if I recall does a direct comparison of O level, A level back in the day and todays equivalents. The O level questions where they test the same material as an A level today are more difficult questions.
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    Don't get the fuss. Maybe I got smarter or something but at GCSE I had to work quite hard to be exam ready, lots of little facts to memorise and so many subjects. At A level I found remembering things easier, despite a lot of things being harder conceptually.
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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?
    I can only speak for maths, chem, bio and psych......For maths and psychology I think the jump is big from AS to A2, biology I can't say much as I only took it for AS...however I did find the jump from gcse to be big. For chemistry I think the jump from gcse to AS is bigger
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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.
    So true, A2 was totally unexpected and will be the death of me, especially biology and psychology.
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    A-levels are easier than GCSE's by far!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Joke its killing me :sick:
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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!! but the leap between AS and A2 is harder!! just to put it in perspective for you, an A* at GCSE is equivalent to a C/D at A level!!
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    (Original post by A-LJLB)
    So true, A2 was totally unexpected and will be the death of me, especially biology and psychology.
    You can definitely get those grades man, just work! :dumbells:
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    Both really
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    (Original post by thecatwithnohat)
    You can definitely get those grades man, just work! :dumbells:
    It just seems there's so little time! Thank you
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    I don't understand how people here can find the jump from GCSE to AS challenging in the slightest; I got an A in GCSE Biology without trying, hardly revised for my AS Biology units and came out with B's in both of them. They were so easy
 
 
 
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