I'm really disappointed in a level chemistry so far - it's not what i expected at all. I'm about 5 weeks into the course...
I thought it'd be focused on the application of theories learnt and focused on a more thorough understanding than GCSE. Atomic structure did this in a way, but the focus was massively on rewriting an answer exactly as we'd already been taught to, and exactly as it was written by the teacher. I know you have to do this to get the marks according to the mark schemes, but I'm finding it really boring. It's getting to the point where I can't remember what I thought I liked about the subject in the first place. The repetitive maths is killing me (pV=nRT and amount of substance generally).
Any A2s, does it get any better after amount of substance? In terms of being more interesting/applied to more varied contexts? I'm wishing I could drop it, but I still love biology and need to do the a level, and attempt to get a bloody A grade, in order to get onto my course...
Did anyone dislike the start of the course but go on to enjoy it?
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- Thread Starter
- 12-10-2017 20:03
- 12-10-2017 20:08
I really hated AS chemistry. Idk what board you're doing, but I did edexcel. Anyway, I found it horribly boring and didn't get along with it at all, something my grades reflected. I found it difficult and boring. During the second year though, not sure if it was the content or what, but it all seemed to click and I actually started to enjoy it. AS content is incredibly boring for the most part, and a fair bit of A2 is a repetition of some of the AS then building on it, but I actually quite enjoyed the second year content. It's very boring for the first year, and not at all like GCSE, but I do feel you start to apply the stuff you learnt from the first year more into the second year, and the second year topics tend to be a bit more interesting.
- 12-10-2017 20:21
The first few topics for AS chemistry (I'm talking about AQA btw) like amount of substance are definitely the most boring (albeit the easiest...). It's kind of just building a foundation since you'll apply what you learn in later topics. It definitely gets more interesting later in the year, I really liked the topics on kinetics, and organic chemistry is also really good, it's a lot less theoretical than some of the other topics which is pretty cool since there's a lot of context (e.g making substances for specific uses). It's also kind of similar to biology.
Amount of substance has more maths in it than any of the other topics but you should practice it a lot as it's a really easy way to gain - or lose - marks in the exam!
- Community Assistant
- 12-10-2017 22:16
It definitely got more interesting for me. The organic chemistry stuff is a lot more understanding-based rather than just regurgitating definitions, so you actually use your brain a lot more haha, it does get better!
- 12-10-2017 22:32
The actual interesting parts of Chemistry only really come at Undergraduate Degree level.
. Partially because that the Quantum Physics that describes Chemistry can only be taught once people have enough maths under their belt. So it's all watered down ideas.
. Also, Organic Chemistry is like learning another language, like Maths. You won't understand it properly until you learn the fundamentals behind Carbon and why certain groups of atoms in a molecule are deemed to be "Functional".
It's like the Scientific equivalent of trying to play Chopin on the Piano when you have just learned the notes on the treble clef!
It's a shame more people don't continue it into degree level because that's where the real problem solving and interesting stuff starts to be revealed. Our "Symphonies" are revealed in the form of beautiful Synthetic routes to target molecules like for instance, the total synthesis of Vitamin B12 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitami...otal_synthesis
Part of the problem as well is that people tend to associate Chemistry with 'Memorisation'. In truth, it's a problem solving subject.
For example: I like to think of LiAlH4 (Lithium aluminium hydride) as our equivalent to the Logarithmic function that Mathematicians use. A log can be used to linearize or change an equation. LiAlH4 can be used to reduce or change a carbonyl functional group (such as an aldehyde) to an Alcohol.
So if you want to change a molecule with an aldehyde functional group to make the same molecule but with an alcohol group. I know I can use a 'reducing agent' or 'LiAlH4' to perform my desired operation.
That is where real Chemistry starts to reveal itself in my opinion. When you gain the fundamental understanding of Chemistry as a Logical "toolbox".
I think Science and Maths education needs fundamentally reformed with much more emphasis on understanding why rather than memorising things.Last edited by _NMcC_; 12-10-2017 at 22:39.
- 12-10-2017 22:34
I find A2 boringer than AS ..OCR A spec...I mean OCR organic is boring.