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    Hello chemists,

    If you're doing/have done chemistry at A-Level or above, me and The Learn Ranger want to know why you picked it, and what you love about it.

    You don't have to write loads, but we thought up a few questions to get you going :groovy:

    What does chemistry involve?

    How does A-Level differ from GCSE?

    How are you assessed?

    What skills have you developed?

    What does doing chemistry lead to, either in careers or further education?

    We're thinking about writing a little piece on why people chose particular subjects - if we use any of your answers you will be credited
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    I picked chemistry at A level because I wanted to apply for chemistry at uni.. (which I did )
    I didn't do GCSE because I'm from abroad, so when I arrived in the UK I started with AS chemistry straight away, but looking at GCSE papers/syllabuses A level offers a lot more in both practicals and theory so I think there's a big gap. (Probably GCSES should be made slightly harder?? I've seen so many GCSE A* students struggling with A level chemistry, it was just too difficult compared to GCSEs)
    So I think chemistry is about solving mysteries and answering unanswered questions (like most of the natural sciences). I don't want to have an industrial job or one in a factory, I'd like to stay at a university and do research but I'm aware chemistry opens up loads of opportunities: forensics, pharmaceuticals etc..
    What skills have I developed? At A level I've learnt to memorise mark schemes by heart, really.
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    Hi

    Chemistry is a beautiful subject which looks at looking at elements and why they behave as they do. I did AQA A-Level chemistry and while it was challenging I must say it is also quite rewarding. You look at stuff like calculations for neutralization making stuff like ammonia and other functional groups.

    GCSE and A-Level are miles apart but then again that seems the case for all subjects. Doing triple science chemistry can help however even if you did double I feel you can do well. I think to do well in any subject you have to have some passion, motivation and interest. I think you can do well if you learn concepts instead of memorising however memorising and past papers are really helpful for all sciences or so I heard (only do chemistry).

    I was assessed through the old specification so I had 4 exams and 2 ISA's which is really dependent on how much your teachers help you. The new spec has got rid of that which imo is amazing. The grade boundaries for ISA's is so god damn scewed...

    I developed skills such as understanding complex problems and working through logically especially with the calculations. It teaches you some rigorous content so if you can understand that I am pretty sure you can pick up other stuff really quickly.

    Well it can lead to many things such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Chemical engineering etc however I did it because I was decent at in GCSE and wanted to seem smart lol... I however did develop an interest and started working hard. I would really advise all A-Level students to pick what they enjoy and stay on top of their work. Not doing this only compound your problems (pun intended lol) in what I found a really tough 2 years.

    Sorry for bad grammar but this is just the way I type. If anyone needs any advice I would be gladly willing to help as I have received so much help myself. I am in no way an expert and a average student who is trying to work hard
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    Because I wanted to do Chemical Engineering and now I actually don't but oh well
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    Hi :ciao:

    1) Chemistry involves the study of atoms, elements and compounds and how they shape and give rise to the world around us. It is often described as the central science and so it ranges from studying the kinetics of enzymes and the properties of drugs in the body, to thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. So as long as you enjoy science then there's usually something in it for everyone. Out of the main 3 branches (organic, inorganic, physical) I prefer organic, which deals with the mechanisms of how reactions occur in carbon-based compounds.

    2) For me, the jump was very noticeable. I remember thinking that after 2 weeks of A-level chemistry I had learnt more than I had in the entire 2 years of GCSE. A-level is when they really introduce the concept of reaction mechanisms, skeletal structures, and quite complex mathematics, equations and chemical concepts. It was almost as if GCSE hadn't even scratched the surface. I also got the impression that whereas GCSE was about memorising things, A-level was about really understanding them and being able to apply that knowledge to unfamiliar reactions in an exam or piece of coursework. The practical experiments at A-level were also much more advanced and interesting.

    3) During GCSE I was assessed with ISAs, which were short pieces of coursework, and exams. At A-level, we were assessed on practical work, but it was more advanced. I remember having to design an experiment with a partner at A-level and writing an entire report about how we set it up, the results we got etc. But even at A-level, the main assessment was the standard end of year exams.

    At university, assessment, as you can imagine, really stepped up. We were regularly given written courseworks on the material we had covered, which required us to use the mechanisms, maths, concepts etc we had learnt about and apply them to molecules or reactions that usually weren't in the notes. Practicals also played a huge role at uni, we'd spend hours and hours every week in the lab making crystals, or chemical compounds which would have to be tested for purity and analysed using techniques such as HNMR, IR and UV-VIS. Reports would then have to produced which rigorously explained how you carried out the experiments, all the data that it yielded, and all necessary calculations involved such as error analysis, percent yield etc. Marks would also be awarded on the quality of the compound you had synthesised. Later years included an oral examination of your report too, to make sure you knew and had understood what you had done.

    Other forms of assessment across the degree also included short presentations about chemical topics. In 4th year, an original research project was required, which was assessed on a 35 page report, an oral examination and a 15 minute presentation on your findings and summary of the work.

    4) Loads. In lectures they don't spoon feed you like at GCSE and A-level, so a lot of independent and extra study was required, which in my opinion really shows if someone is passionate about their subject or not. Those who aren't will usually do the bare minimum and this is usually reflected in their grades. Practical work is great, it allows you to become familiar with operating machinery and advanced apparatus as well as getting a very real feel for what it's like to spend a huge amount of your time in a lab making interesting compounds. This also makes you familiar with a large range of analytical techniques and thus sharpens your ability to problem solve and identify compounds due to their different "signatures" on HNMR, IR etc. Lab work is also split between individual and team, so you develop the abilities of being able to work in a research-like, collaborative environment as well as being able to get on with things individually if need be.

    At my university we also had to do a lot of oral presentations which in my opinion is great because a scientist needs to be able to clearly and concisely explain and present their work. And before uni most people hadn't done a lot of those so it made us get used to them and increased our confidence in public speaking.

    A chemistry degree also gives you the skill of producing scientifically sound reports and projects, with the language and layout expected in top journals and published works. It combines the abilities of writing in good English, with those of employing scientific language and clearly explaining and extrapolating any results obtained, conclusions made and possible ideas for the future.

    5) Chemistry, like many degrees in the UK, can lead to a wide variety of jobs. It is a very well respected degree which offers a lot of transferable skills and can thus lead to careers in teaching, banking, marketing, business, law, programming, journalism, civil servants etc and of course in the field of science as a researcher, lecturer, lab technician, chemical industry etc. Almost any job is open to a chemistry graduate.

    It can of course, also lead to doing a PhD, which is generally a prerequisite for becoming a researcher. I myself am due to start a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry and chemical biology this October because my passion for the subject makes me want to spend my entire life in the field. A PhD can naturally lead to becoming a researcher, but the thesis is an end in and of itself, because it's an amazing opportunity to live and work as a research scientist for 3-4 years and make an original and novel contribution to science at the end of it. This can be an extremely rewarding and is often an invaluable experience, even if the individual doesn't want to go into science at the end of it.
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    Quit chemistry A-level after 2 weeks. Couldn't understand any of it tbh - just completely confused me
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    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Hello chemists,

    If you're doing/have done chemistry at A-Level or above, me and The Learn Ranger want to know why you picked it, and what you love about it.

    You don't have to write loads, but we thought up a few questions to get you going :groovy:

    What does chemistry involve?

    How does A-Level differ from GCSE?

    How are you assessed?

    What skills have you developed?

    What does doing chemistry lead to, either in careers or further education?

    We're thinking about writing a little piece on why people chose particular subjects - if we use any of your answers you will be credited
    Hey there Fox Corner

    I chose to study Chemistry at university level because it was the only real subject that still interested me after a-levels and because doing a softer science at degree would lead to less jobs, the skills you gain in chemistry can be pretty much transferred directly into employment, especially if it's of a lab based nature.

    At university you study a variety of different topics, there are many branches of the chemis-tree! Green chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, organometallics, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and of course analytical chemistry all come to mind.

    A-Level differs from GCSE is that there is more emphasis on mathematical ability than GCSE, a lot more definitions to learn and a lot more equations to use. Don't let that put you off though, it's mostly just re-arranging equations and the like

    We are assessed through a variety of different methods, powerpoint presentation, coursework and exams

    I have definitely developed my skills to work with numbers since a-level and I've learnt a lot about synthesizing compounds themselves and then identifying them from various methods such as H-NMR, IR etc

    Studying chemistry can open a variety of doors for you, for example, most graduate schemes will recruit you if you have a 2:1 or above, that includes becoming a pilot, manager or accountant. More specific job roles include analytical chemist, research scientists and pharmacologist. Then of course there's always teaching you can fall back on if nothing else. Work experience is key here, aswell as strong drive and determination.
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    (Original post by fefssdf)
    Quit chemistry A-level after 2 weeks. Couldn't understand any of it tbh - just completely confused me
    Do you think this was because ti was very different from what you'd experienced at GCSE?
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    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Do you think this was because ti was very different from what you'd experienced at GCSE?
    GCSE you can just remember the facts but alevel you have to understand what's going on, and my teacher wasn't the best so that's another factor but the main issue was just the concepts I really couldn't get my head around lol
 
 
 
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