How hard are A Levels compared to GCSEs?

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peterdxherty
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#1
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#1
Hi
I haven't got a clue about how hard A Levels are and am close to applying for 4 A Levels (Maths, F. Maths, History, Economics). If you got good grades with 4 A Levels, what grades did you get at GCSE? Thanks
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Drunq
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#2
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I underestimated them.

5As 3Bs for gcse
First year of a levels: DDE
Retake: AAA
Big jump.
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Cubone-r
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#3
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(Original post by theeetimdoherty)
Hi
I haven't got a clue about how hard A Levels are and am close to applying for 4 A Levels (Maths, F. Maths, History, Economics). If you got good grades with 4 A Levels, what grades did you get at GCSE? Thanks
The gap between GCSE and A level is the biggest jump you will make in your education.
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xEmilyxx
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#4
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GCSE: 4 As, 6/7 Bs, 2 Cs
AS: BBBC

As long as you work hard and take notes and keep organised from day 1 it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Heck, I know people with my GCSEs who failed AS levels and others who only just scraped Cs. Your GCSES can only roughly predict A Level grades. At the end of the day it's all possible as long as you want it.
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fancycub
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Personally, I didn't think the jump was that difficult. Yeah the content is much more detailed and there's more to learn for each subject but remember, you're only doing 4. The one thing I really changed in my attitude towards school was the amount of revision I did before exams, which came with maturity for me.

I got 2A*, 3A, 5B and a C at GCSE, then 4A at AS.
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Abby3112
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Everyone seems to respond to the jump differently - I knew people who had higher grades than me at GCSE but lower at both As and A level but I also knew people with significantly lower GCSE grades than me who did pretty well for themselves at A level.

At GCSE I got 3A*'s, 2A's and 1B
At As I got BBBB
At A level I got A*AAB

I think lots of revision methods which are great at GCSE are not so useful at A level due to the vast amount of content, I think this is where the majority of people go wrong - that and being too smug due to GCSE successes. The key to success in A levels is truly understanding the subject content - not just regurgitating it - trust me, the exam boards are capable of twisting course content in unbelievable ways 😉
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S.G.
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#7
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#7
(Original post by theeetimdoherty)
Hi
I haven't got a clue about how hard A Levels are and am close to applying for 4 A Levels (Maths, F. Maths, History, Economics). If you got good grades with 4 A Levels, what grades did you get at GCSE? Thanks
They are far far harder than GCSEs.
I got 4 A* at GCSE and A*A*AA this year but probably with over 200x more work.
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Boredomstrikes
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#8
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A*AA at A2
3A* 4A 3B 1C at GCSE
The jump is from both the detail the content goes into and the sheer amount of content you need to remember like you can't sort of understand a topic and waffle in questions to get the majority of the marks at A level you need to know each topic you learn in a lot more detail at A level. I barely worked for GCSEs but the difficulty of A levels pretty much forced me to do work to get the grades I needed.
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Sopranoxx
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You actually have to do stuff, it sucks, got 2 A*s rest As and Bs, first year AS got 3 D's and a U, then 3 Bs the next year, if you show up and do the work it's fine, it's not as deep as schools make it out to be though. I wouldn't take 4 unless you're a hard worker, even if you're intelligent.
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2025
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#10
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#10
(Original post by theeetimdoherty)
Hi
I haven't got a clue about how hard A Levels are and am close to applying for 4 A Levels (Maths, F. Maths, History, Economics). If you got good grades with 4 A Levels, what grades did you get at GCSE? Thanks
depends on many factors. I revised the day before each exam and got CCC at AS and BCC at A2, but I was lazy like I was for GCSE with 3 A's 5 B's, 1 C
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♥Samantha♥
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#11
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#11
In my experience the jump from GCSEs to A Levels wasn't big it was the jump from A Level 1st year to 2nd year that was
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y.u.mad.bro?
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#12
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#12
Most people underestimate the amount of hard work required for A-levels. My sister got 14A* and 2A at GCSE. Beast it out. However, in AS, she got BCC because she took it casual. Upon retaking, she managed to get A*A*A but she worked hard day and night and I never really saw her enjoy free time apart from a couple of night out with friends. So as you can guess, A-levels are really hard and probably the hardest thing you will do. Even university life isn't as hard from what she tells me.
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rekanem
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#13
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#13
GCSE: 6 A*, 4 A, 1 B
AS: BBCC
A2: A*A*A

I totally underestimated the jump in difficulty from GCSE to AS. It is considerable. However, if you put in the work (like I did in my second year because I absolutely slogged), then you should be fine.
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NotKidding
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(Original post by ♥Samantha♥)
In my experience the jump from GCSEs to A Levels wasn't big it was the jump from A Level 1st year to 2nd year that was
+1

AS Maths & Econ was a joke (IMO) yet I found A2 very interesting and thought-provoking.
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♥Samantha♥
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(Original post by NotKidding)
+1

AS Maths & Econ was a joke (IMO) yet I found A2 very interesting and thought-provoking.
Yeah the 1st year of A Level is basically learning all the basics, so that in the 2nd year you can understand all the more nitty gritty stuff. This was very perceptible in chemistry where most of the topics are split into a Part I and a Part II where Part I is basic and overlaps with GCSE which you do in 1st year, e.g. Redox I, and part II is much more complex and done in 2nd year, e.g. Redox II. Lots of the Part I topics goes over stuff that is looked at in triple science GCSE, bc some people only do double science. AS Maths was very similar to GCSE. C1 had a lot of overlap with GCSE Maths, and FP1 has a lot of overlap with GCSE Further Maths. And economics 1st year is basic, looking at introductory topics like supply and demand bc obviously the majority of people haven't studied econ at GCSE so you need to lay the foundations before you go into stuff like the financial sector, like with chemistry (and the other sciences) where they go over the basics again for people who haven't studied it yet.

So I always find it strange when people talk of the 'gap/jump' between A Level and GCSE as imo there isn't really a jump, there is a lot of overlap, so in fact for most of the 1st year you may find it easy. It's only 2nd year where I felt like I was learning the actual important stuff and gaining some specialist knowledge.
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WhiteScythe
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#16
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#16
I did a lot of work for my GCSEs and ended up with 12A*s on the other hand I lost motivation for my A levels and worked much less hard but still ended up with A*A*A*A so in my opinion A levels were actually probably easier given your advanced intellectual maturity and the breadth required at GCSE level.
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username2355189
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#17
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#17
(Original post by theeetimdoherty)
Hi
I haven't got a clue about how hard A Levels are and am close to applying for 4 A Levels (Maths, F. Maths, History, Economics). If you got good grades with 4 A Levels, what grades did you get at GCSE? Thanks
Hahahahaha.

A-Levels are infinitely worse than GCSE's. You'll be run through the dirt and have **** thrown at you from every corner. You will struggle, a lot. Got an A* in GCSE? Expect to be pushed down to a B at most (even C is possible). You can't get away with studying for A-Levels last minute, because you WILL fail and get *****y grades (D-U)
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MichaelChan16
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#18
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#18
GCSE- 1 A, 4Bs 2Cs 1 D

A level- AAC
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♥Samantha♥
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(Original post by Writer_Refresh)
Hahahahaha.

A-Levels are infinitely worse than GCSE's. You'll be run through the dirt and have **** thrown at you from every corner. You will struggle, a lot. Got an A* in GCSE? Expect to be pushed down to a B at most (even C is possible). You can't get away with studying for A-Levels last minute, because you WILL fail and get *****y grades (D-U)
If you find A Levels infinitely harder than GCSE you've probably made bad subject choices.
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♥Samantha♥
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#20
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#20
GCSEs: 11 A*s & 2 As
A Levels: A*A*A*A*aaa
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