Is university harder than A Levels? Watch

gjd800
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#21
Report 4 weeks ago
#21
I found it easier in one sense just because I was actually interested, but it was more difficult to do well (not that I did that well at A Level!).
0
reply
mnot
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#22
Report 4 weeks ago
#22
(Original post by gjd800)
I found it easier in one sense just because I was actually interested, but it was more difficult to do well (not that I did that well at A Level!).
This is a good point, in general i would say both the workload and content of a degree is much harder, I found a degree much more rewarding & enjoyable, this lead to much more motivation for the work and exams (although having just completed my 8th exam window at Uni, I am very relieved I wont be going through any more)
0
reply
gjd800
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#23
Report 4 weeks ago
#23
(Original post by mnot)
This is a good point, in general i would say both the workload and content of a degree is much harder, I found a degree much more rewarding & enjoyable, this lead to much more motivation for the work and exams (although having just completed my 8th exam window at Uni, I am very relieved I wont be going through any more)
Haha, I remember the feeling well. Good luck for the results!
1
reply
kkboyk
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#24
Report 4 weeks ago
#24
(Original post by Quick-use)
Ah, for those STEM courses, it's mostly lab work, right? As opposed to sitting down with a class and working. That's what I meant. I feel like tutes / lab work is a little different from classroom work. You get more things done and progress in the former whereas with classroom it's a little more chaotic. Not sure if I'm conveying myself well...
Depends but lab is a small part mostly for biosciences, chemistry, physics and some engineering. I get example classes rather than labs or seminars (which humanities students have), where we learn to apply the methods we learnt to solve problems related to assignments given (though it doesn't make doing them easier). It sort of felt like a classroom, but much more tedious as its a lecture with over 100 people. You will still have lectures (I know for engineering, maths and some biosciences is often more than 20hrs at some unis), weekly problem sheets as assignments per module (I do Maths and some of these often take 3hrs or more). We only get more things done and progress faster because we have a significant amount to learn, and the pace is very fast. I've found it extremely difficult to catch up with materials covered in lectures, and it took me a very long time to do so (mostly the end of semester where we have breaks for exams). I remember first year we had around 23hrs of lectures per week (from 9am till 4pm of straight, with a 1hr free) and 5-6 assignments per week. It was HELL.

So in a way its very similar to A-levels, but more difficult, far chaotic and insanely fast paced.
0
reply
Jin3011
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#25
Report 4 weeks ago
#25
For me personally, my degree wasn't particularly challenging, but it was only the breadth of information we had to learn that far surpassed my A-levels, not to mention the constant annoying assignments. I did MPharm which is a vocational degree; so I couldn't just rote-learn the material for the sake of passing exams (as I did with A-levels), I had to try to retain all information for the benefit of my future healthcare practice - and this was challenging.

Nevertheless, a lot of what I used to learn for my A-levels I did not enjoy, such as ecology for A-Levels biology. My degree focussed heavily on disease states, and human physiology and these were areas that interested me, which made learning them less of a challenge - but by no means easier. Our 3rd year was anticipated to be the hardest of them all given the heavy topics - cancer, immunology, and renal/endocrine as well as our dissertation. However I thoroughly enjoyed the modules (aside from parasitic infections ugh) and was fortunate to have been given a dissertation project that I was really passionate about - so it was a relatively nice year for me.

4th year was mainly about consolidating everything we had learnt and applying it to an advanced level, and being examined through presentations, lengthy written exams, clinical VIVAS and multiple OSCE exams. And it was mostly self-directed learning that year with little lectures, so although I had a lot of free time, I had to use that time wisely.
Last edited by Jin3011; 4 weeks ago
0
reply
joe goldberg
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#26
Report 4 weeks ago
#26
Group coursework is the biggest effery in the uni. It doesn’t depend on you but your teammates as well and your future is in their hands
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
Snewt88
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#27
Report 4 weeks ago
#27
I'm 31 and didn't so any A levels, I have just finished my foundation year at university though and I found it ok! bare in mind I haven't been in education since school, and even then I only scraped maths and English GCSE's. I think you'll be fine!
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
stabilo20619
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#28
Report 4 weeks ago
#28
Yes, for me university was harder than A levels.
(Original post by Quick-use)
Ah, for those STEM courses, it's mostly lab work, right? As opposed to sitting down with a class and working. That's what I meant. I feel like tutes / lab work is a little different from classroom work. You get more things done and progress in the former whereas with classroom it's a little more chaotic. Not sure if I'm conveying myself well...
Bioscience students spend very little time in labs. Mostly 3-6 hours of lecturers per day.
0
reply
mlloyd1997
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#29
Report 3 weeks ago
#29
(Original post by Ratchet Hoe)
And if it is, how much harder is it?
Hi Ratchet Ho, university is not harder than A levels,it's different.
whatever you do at Uni is interesting because you chose it and didn't have it plonked on your desk after the GCSE's. but you chose it and are now on your own. No washing done for you, no one to say finish this before dinner, or even get up you have a lecture. You are free to be you. And that is hard, because you have never met you before. (If you had you would not have finished your A levels)
Good luck and don't forget to write once a week back home to say how much you really appreciate and now value the free telephone and hot water and fridge full of food and clean toilets and ask them how do you empty the vacuum cleaner? Mike
1
reply
Ratchet Hoe
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#30
Report Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#30
(Original post by mlloyd1997)
Hi Ratchet Ho, university is not harder than A levels,it's different.
whatever you do at Uni is interesting because you chose it and didn't have it plonked on your desk after the GCSE's. but you chose it and are now on your own. No washing done for you, no one to say finish this before dinner, or even get up you have a lecture. You are free to be you. And that is hard, because you have never met you before. (If you had you would not have finished your A levels)
Good luck and don't forget to write once a week back home to say how much you really appreciate and now value the free telephone and hot water and fridge full of food and clean toilets and ask them how do you empty the vacuum cleaner? Mike
This seems to be a very balanced answer so thank you! I have realised how there is a lack of power and independence in comparison to before GCSE and A Levels. It’s scary but possible
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
kingmaitland
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#31
Report 3 weeks ago
#31
University is definitly more difficult, mostly as you become more autonomous; I'm with the OU so this is especially the case.

However it is important to remember that if you've done it right, and you've prepared yourself, you become the person that can handle the workload and the complexity as you go along, that's kind of the point of learning.

Attitude is 90%, if you know you can do it before you can, you'll do great.
(Original post by Ratchet Hoe)
And if it is, how much harder is it?
0
reply
jaffacakes101
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#32
Report 3 weeks ago
#32
(Original post by Ratchet Hoe)
And if it is, how much harder is it?
I personally found A levels harder.
0
reply
The RAR
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#33
Report 3 weeks ago
#33
A lot of people say they find University easier than A levels because there is less stress, no exam boards etc..just have to keep up with your assignments, you have LOADS of free time compared to what you had at A level and you are doing only one subject
0
reply
Zarek
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#34
Report 3 weeks ago
#34
In my experience not, although I guess with some courses where you get in to much deeper waters or intensity of workload it may be. I found as it focused on something I really enjoyed learning about it was more motivating and as the exams were set by the people teaching you they were easier to anticipate and more straightforward.
0
reply
mlloyd1997
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#35
Report 3 weeks ago
#35
One tip for you freshers: watch out for the bibliography overload game
Each course gives you a reading list 12 pages long and you run scared what to buy what to read what to leave out and that is your first step into management
Answer: make friends with the librarian for your subject. Tell them how much you value the work they do and how the university could not operate with out them. which is true because universities are centres of research not teaching.
Then listen to what they say and thank them for their efforts - a box of chocolates at Christmas.
You know it makes sense
Mike
0
reply
mnot
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#36
Report 3 weeks ago
#36
(Original post by mlloyd1997)
One tip for you freshers: watch out for the bibliography overload game
Each course gives you a reading list 12 pages long and you run scared what to buy what to read what to leave out and that is your first step into management
Answer: make friends with the librarian for your subject. Tell them how much you value the work they do and how the university could not operate with out them. which is true because universities are centres of research not teaching.
Then listen to what they say and thank them for their efforts - a box of chocolates at Christmas.
You know it makes sense
Mike
a box of chocolate at christmas, im sorry but this just isn't necessary. Libraries are vital to universities but the reality is speaking to librarians and going through reading lists mostly isn't required for freshers (there are some degrees where reading is part of the teaching such as law degrees) but i think your mis-selling what is necessary.

I can honestly say i never once bothered going through a reading list and i have only spoken to librarians about 3 times combined between my undergrad & masters degree, i dont think most students even know the librarians name let alone befriend them, they will have no impact on your actual work either.

Nobody uses libraries to find literature anymore, most universities have excellent in house academic search engines and then websites such as web of knowledge, science direct, Research gate, google scholar you can find almost every relevant paper & journal in pdf form.

If your approaching first year, i wouldn't go in with any preconceptions about how much library time/who you need to know, yes familiarise yourself with the facilities on arrival but how much you need the library and what resources you require you'll figure out by yourself depending on your specific course, and the individual assignments you get. And definitely dont waste money buying support staff boxes of chocolates (if you are going to do this, you might as well wait till final year and give the chocolates to whoever is marking your dissertation)
Last edited by mnot; 3 weeks ago
0
reply
username4851058
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#37
Report 3 weeks ago
#37
The two experiences are different, but it is not necessarily hard.

Caveat: I do humanities, so very different from STEM, etc.

I didn't notice a change in workload. At A-Level i did history, geography and maths. At uni, history. It was what I'd always wanted to do, and I am how a postgrad at Oxford. The major change for me was (1) knowing what / how much to read on reading lists, and (2) motivating myself to do it. Humanities is a very personal subject, so it is easy just to say 'I'll do that tomorrow'. I did that a lot, but at the end I was placed 5th out of 400 in my department.

What I really would have benefitted from during my degree would have been somebody telling me that it would be ok in the end, even when I wasn;t feeling motivated and felt like everybody else was doing more work and doing better than me.

Are you going to uni this Sept/Oct? If not, I would recommend doing an EPQ. It very much acts as a bridge between school work and uni work.


(Original post by Ratchet Hoe)
And if it is, how much harder is it?
0
reply
TajwarC
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#38
Report 3 weeks ago
#38
Content is 100% conceptually more difficult, as is time management, although weirdly I found that I had more "free" time. Typical contact hours range from 18-24 hours per week (e.g. lectures, workshops/seminars, tutorials) compared to ~30 that you would usually have at 6th form (we were made to come in during free periods).
0
reply
lawlietxtt
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#39
Report 3 weeks ago
#39
(Original post by kingmaitland)
University is definitly more difficult, mostly as you become more autonomous; I'm with the OU so this is especially the case.

However it is important to remember that if you've done it right, and you've prepared yourself, you become the person that can handle the workload and the complexity as you go along, that's kind of the point of learning.

Attitude is 90%, if you know you can do it before you can, you'll do great.
(Original post by CoolCavy)
Yes
(Original post by KiwiBanana22)
Yes. Just as there is a jump up from GCSE to A level, there is another quantum leap to being an undergraduate. The more advanced the study, the more you are expected to do for yourself. The highly self motivated thrive on this and others flounder.
(Original post by Pepsey)
In my opinion a lot harder
(Original post by IrrationalRoot)
Yes and I would be surprised if there were any exceptions. I can't imagine anyone finding it easier to get a first in a degree than do well at A Level, regardless of how 'easy' the course is.
I did Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology at A Level. I'm currently at a top University studying Civil Engineering.

For me, University is SO MUCH EASIER than A levels. To get a First Class you just need 70%+. I'm comfortably above this despite relationships and regular socialising + multiple societies. The papers are at least 2hrs long which gives you more time to check over errors. No exam board politics. At A Levels there were maths papers where you needed 90%+ For an A*. One silly mistake and that's your grade gone. Don't even get me started on controlled assessments. So many schools cheated which raised boundaries. I'll never forget one year where 40/50 in a science ISA was a D.

I'm in 3rd year now. Still putting 5x less effort than I had to at A Level. Still on a First Class. If there's anything whatsoever I've found harder than A Levels, it's group work. But even then despite all the arguing and crappy group mates, we still got above 70 in those too lol.

edit:

The engineering content looks harder. But actually do tutorial questions and you'll be fine. If you mess up something on a test, as I said there's still a 30% safety net. Also, First year even content-wise was easier than A Level. The content in Further Maths is more advanced than any maths you'll touch in first year lol.

The only people I could understand saying Uni is harder are those on Law courses where it's notoriously difficult to get a good grade. Actually, Idk about humanity courses in general. A lot have lecturers who are very strict with their grading.
Last edited by lawlietxtt; 3 weeks ago
0
reply
CoolCavy
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#40
Report 3 weeks ago
#40
(Original post by lawlietxtt)
I did Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology at A Level. I'm currently at a top University studying Civil Engineering.

For me, University is SO MUCH EASIER than A levels. To get a First Class you just need 70%+. I'm comfortably above this despite relationships and regular socialising + multiple societies. The papers are at least 2hrs long which gives you more time to check over errors. No exam board politics. At A Levels there were maths papers where you needed 90%+ For an A*. One silly mistake and that's your grade gone. Don't even get me started on controlled assessments. So many schools cheated which raised boundaries. I'll never forget one year where 40/50 in a science ISA was a D.

I'm in 3rd year now. Still putting 5x less effort than I had to at A Level. Still on a First Class. If there's anything whatsoever I've found harder than A Levels, it's group work. But even then despite all the arguing and crappy group mates, we still got above 70 in those too lol.

The only people I could understand saying Uni is harder are those on Law courses where it's notoriously difficult to get a good grade
That's your perspective and that's fine but for me i have found it the opposite.
The portfolios that we submit the marking is so subjective. It's not like maths or engineering where one way is the right way and that's it, if the marker is more towards the BSC side or the BA side of design it makes a massive difference.
A-levels were much more spec and controlled as such as although there is moderation at uni you dont have the whole exam board system that makes sure everyone is following a similar course.
You have experienced the stem side of things but for the humanities and arts it is very different.
Not to mention that the actual work is not the only thing that makes university hard. At a-level all you have to worry about outside of school is doing your homework for the most part. At university you have to fit in your work, your washing, your hoovering, doctors appointments etc etc.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • Bournemouth University
    Clearing Open Day Undergraduate
    Wed, 31 Jul '19
  • Staffordshire University
    Postgraduate open event - Stoke-on-Trent campus Postgraduate
    Wed, 7 Aug '19
  • University of Derby
    Foundation Open Event Further education
    Wed, 7 Aug '19

Are you tempted to change your firm university choice on A-level results day?

Yes, I'll try and go to a uni higher up the league tables (137)
17.7%
Yes, there is a uni that I prefer and I'll fit in better (74)
9.56%
No I am happy with my course choice (456)
58.91%
I'm using Clearing when I have my exam results (107)
13.82%

Watched Threads

View All