How will the new science a level work?

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Anonymous1502
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#1
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#1
I just finished my GCSE's I am hoping to do biology,chemistry and maths and maybe physics for a level.

For GCSE's the only biology content I can say I enjoyed was medical things like kidney's,heart and blood the plant bits were not that interesting.For chemistry I quite enjoyed it.For physics I did not really find it interesting.

I would like to know people's opinions,thoughts and feelings about the new science a level.I have heard there will no longer be AS if this is true do you think that it is a good thing or a bad thing?
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username2667475
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
I just finished my GCSE's I am hoping to do biology,chemistry and maths and maybe physics for a level.

For GCSE's the only biology content I can say I enjoyed was medical things like kidney's,heart and blood the plant bits were not that interesting.For chemistry I quite enjoyed it.For physics I did not really find it interesting.

I would like to know people's opinions,thoughts and feelings about the new science a level.I have heard there will no longer be AS if this is true do you think that it is a good thing or a bad thing?

Hi I'm currently in year 13 and I'm on the new spec course. They are very tough. Chemistry I dropped after a year and Biology I stuck with, the content isn't too bad for biology but this years exams have been pretty bad so far. Paper 1 was tough, I've got paper 2 on Tuesday and paper 3 the following monday. (I'l let you know how those papers are)

I think if you work hard enough you'll be fine, and you'll have the added bonus of past papers before you take your exams
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Anonymous1502
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#3
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(Original post by Ellie419)
Hi I'm currently in year 13 and I'm on the new spec course. They are very tough. Chemistry I dropped after a year and Biology I stuck with, the content isn't too bad for biology but this years exams have been pretty bad so far. Paper 1 was tough, I've got paper 2 on Tuesday and paper 3 the following monday. (I'l let you know how those papers are)

I think if you work hard enough you'll be fine, and you'll have the added bonus of past papers before you take your exams
Why did you find chemistry hard?Whats the content like for chemistry and biology?Do you still do AS and get the grades and that contributes to your A2 grade?How will university application work,is it still the same?
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artful_lounger
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#4
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The new A-levels are linear, rather than modular. AS levels exist but are a separate qualification; if you take the AS exams in year 12 for example, these results will have no bearing on your final A-level results as you'll be taking a full set of exams at the end of year 13 anyway. It's more similar to the IB style, where you may take mock exams in year 12 but all your actual exams will be at the end of year 13 and will cover the entire course (or significant amounts of it). The benefit of this is there is slightly less emphasis on "learning for the exam" and more on just mastering the complete syllabus. You won't be able to as easily engage in "targeted revision" and skip topics you're not interested in as they only form a part of a single module which averages out; you can't know if it will come up and if it does, how extensively it will be examined.

If you didn't particularly enjoy physics at GCSE I'd probably suggest avoiding it at A-level; it's really "more of the same", fairly unsophisticated mathematically and more of a "survey" type course. You may want to consider Further Mathematics A-level, and taking mechanics option(s) if you would like some physical background and have a good aptitude and enjoyment of maths; the mechanics content of Maths/FM is more mathematically sophisticated and closer to what you may encounter at university, and while less broad is thus more representative and interesting, in my mind. The main topic at A-level physics which isn't covered by the mechanics modules which is not completely developed from scratch at university usually is electricity/magnetism; in particular the basic circuit laws. This isn't universal however so do take that with a pinch of salt.
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Anonymous1502
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The new A-levels are linear, rather than modular. AS levels exist but are a separate qualification; if you take the AS exams in year 12 for example, these results will have no bearing on your final A-level results as you'll be taking a full set of exams at the end of year 13 anyway. It's more similar to the IB style, where you may take mock exams in year 12 but all your actual exams will be at the end of year 13 and will cover the entire course (or significant amounts of it). The benefit of this is there is slightly less emphasis on "learning for the exam" and more on just mastering the complete syllabus. You won't be able to as easily engage in "targeted revision" and skip topics you're not interested in as they only form a part of a single module which averages out; you can't know if it will come up and if it does, how extensively it will be examined.

If you didn't particularly enjoy physics at GCSE I'd probably suggest avoiding it at A-level; it's really "more of the same", fairly unsophisticated mathematically and more of a "survey" type course. You may want to consider Further Mathematics A-level, and taking mechanics option(s) if you would like some physical background and have a good aptitude and enjoyment of maths; the mechanics content of Maths/FM is more mathematically sophisticated and closer to what you may encounter at university, and while less broad is thus more representative and interesting, in my mind. The main topic at A-level physics which isn't covered by the mechanics modules which is not completely developed from scratch at university usually is electricity/magnetism; in particular the basic circuit laws. This isn't universal however so do take that with a pinch of salt.
So the exams that are meant to be for AS do you only sit them as your mocks or do you have to do them again at A2 with the A2 exams for the real grade?If you know what I mean?
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artful_lounger
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#6
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
So the exams that are meant to be for AS do you only sit them as your mocks or do you have to do them again at A2 with the A2 exams for the real grade?If you know what I mean?
As I understand, the AS exams are separate to the A-level exams entirely; as well as having no bearing on the final grade awarded, they aren't the same as the final exams you'll take in year 13 (i.e. they aren't taken by the previous years cohort alongside any taking them in year 12).

I am not 100% certain of this however. With regards to mock exams, this would depend on your school. Some schools may have all students sit the AS exams as "mocks", which will also result in the award of the AS level and an associated grade, which may be used by universities in what level they set their offer for you (or if they set one), but others might just have students take past papers as mocks in an exam conditions, but not actually sent away to be marked etc externally and just used to internally assess your performance and inform their predicted grade.
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username2667475
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#7
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
Why did you find chemistry hard?Whats the content like for chemistry and biology?Do you still do AS and get the grades and that contributes to your A2 grade?How will university application work,is it still the same?
You don't do AS exams, all the exams are in year 13.

Uni application is based on predicted grades from teacher.

Chemistry is alright for the first few topics and then it is a lot harder and I was doing 4 subjects so I had no time to do chemistry.

Biology content is quite good, There is a bit on human biology such as homeostasis, coordination and control, cardiac cycle, etc. But also a lot on plants like in energy and ecosystems, mendel and his peas, photosynthesis, mass flow, translocation, etc. Its a good balance but I hate studying plants because its not relevant to the degree i want to do.
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Anonymous1502
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#8
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(Original post by Ellie419)
You don't do AS exams, all the exams are in year 13.

Uni application is based on predicted grades from teacher.

Chemistry is alright for the first few topics and then it is a lot harder and I was doing 4 subjects so I had no time to do chemistry.

Biology content is quite good, There is a bit on human biology such as homeostasis, coordination and control, cardiac cycle, etc. But also a lot on plants like in energy and ecosystems, mendel and his peas, photosynthesis, mass flow, translocation, etc. Its a good balance but I hate studying plants because its not relevant to the degree i want to do.
What exam board did you do for chemistry and biology?So all the as content you would sit the exam for it in year 13 and sit the a2 content in year 13 a well?
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artful_lounger
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#9
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
the plant bits were not that interesting
(Original post by Ellie419)
But also a lot on plants like in energy and ecosystems, mendel and his peas, photosynthesis, mass flow, translocation, etc
It's worth pointing out that Mendelian genetics only uses plants as a model, in the original case peas. It can (and will be, most likely) applied to many other examples such as coat colour in cats, eye colour in humans, certain genetic diseases etc. Also the ecology elements aren't really plant science; it makes reference to plants but in the view of the entire ecosystem as noted and plants are just one building block of that. Insects are what you'll learn to hate (or love ) in ecology.

The other stuff in the quote IS plant science, similar to and building on the photosynthesis-y stuff you did at GCSE. However as you can see when you get down to it, this is just one set of topics among many that even just vaguely involve plants, and when considered in the scope of the whole A-level, not a huge part.
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username2667475
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#10
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
What exam board did you do for chemistry and biology?So all the as content you would sit the exam for it in year 13 and sit the a2 content in year 13 a well?
AQA for both. You have a paper on year 1 content, a paper on year 2 and a paper on any content with an essay
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