Harryallo
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I’ve heard before that alevels are tones harder than degrees. Does anyone agree?
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Sinnoh
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A-levels in general? definitely disagree. Chemistry specifically? still doubt it
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CallumMorris
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As someone who has done both A Level Chemistry and an MChem, the actual stuff you’re learning is harder at degree level... Obviously 😅😅😅. What you might mean is that the jump from GCSE to A Level is bigger than the jump from A Level to degree. On that point, A Level is definitely hard when compared to the previous level. Degrees in chemistry tend to work on a spiral system, where you revisit a lot of stuff each year but go into far more detail so you never feel overwhelmed... unless you do something completely new like Statistical Mechanics.... if they say Stat Mech, run!!! 😅😅😅 A Level, by comparison, is much more of a jump and you learn a lot of new stuff straight off the bat, and it is assumed that you can keep up. Uni courses still assume you can keep up, but with the I creased complexity, not with learning a completely new area of chemistry.
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Harryallo
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(Original post by CallumMorris)
As someone who has done both A Level Chemistry and an MChem, the actual stuff you’re learning is harder at degree level... Obviously 😅😅😅. What you might mean is that the jump from GCSE to A Level is bigger than the jump from A Level to degree. On that point, A Level is definitely hard when compared to the previous level. Degrees in chemistry tend to work on a spiral system, where you revisit a lot of stuff each year but go into far more detail so you never feel overwhelmed... unless you do something completely new like Statistical Mechanics.... if they say Stat Mech, run!!! 😅😅😅 A Level, by comparison, is much more of a jump and you learn a lot of new stuff straight off the bat, and it is assumed that you can keep up. Uni courses still assume you can keep up, but with the I creased complexity, not with learning a completely new area of chemistry.
Is it possible to do applied science Without chemistry or is it best to do alevel chemistry
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Em.-.
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A degree is the next level after A-level so the content will be much more easily learned if you have done A-level. Unless you are comparing an A-level of one subject and a degree in another subject area, then I suppose it depends on the individual person and what they themselves are best at.
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CallumMorris
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(Original post by Harryallo)
Is it possible to do applied science Without chemistry or is it best to do alevel chemistry
If you’d want to do that as a uni or HE course, best to check the entry requirements for that course on the institutions website, be that a uni or college. It might depend on what other A Levels you’d offer. If chemistry were to be your only science A Level, then do chemistry I think, as they might ask for at least 1/2 science A Levels. It would also depend on what they count as a science A Level, as maths is sometime included. That would depend on the uni/college though.

Best to check a few courses just to be sure! 🙂
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artful_lounger
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CheeseIsVeg is doing chemistry at uni and can hopefully give some insight into the matter

Generally speaking degree level will necessarily go into much more depth than A-level, and often more breadth, so almost inevitably will end up being harder. However the assessment priorities of the two are somewhat different sometimes. One of the chemistry admissions tutors at Southampton was telling me (about ten years ago) that compared to A-level, they are somewhat more forgiving in marking at degree level provided it's clear from the context you understand the underlying concepts. A particular example he used was for curly arrows in organic chemistry, where in A-level if the curly arrow is not precisely pointing at the exact spot the electrons should end up the examiners will not give the mark, whereas for the degree level exams as long as it's clear it is generally in the right location it's ok if your arrow is a little loosely drawn provided it's obvious you understand where the electrons are moving.

So while the content may be more in depth you may also be given the benefit of the doubt a little bit more, so the notion of difficult may be a bit different between A-level and degree level. Of course things may have changed since I was told this
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CheeseIsVeg
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
CheeseIsVeg is doing chemistry at uni and can hopefully give some insight into the matter

Generally speaking degree level will necessarily go into much more depth than A-level, and often more breadth, so almost inevitably will end up being harder. However the assessment priorities of the two are somewhat different sometimes. One of the chemistry admissions tutors at Southampton was telling me (about ten years ago) that compared to A-level, they are somewhat more forgiving in marking at degree level provided it's clear from the context you understand the underlying concepts. A particular example he used was for curly arrows in organic chemistry, where in A-level if the curly arrow is not precisely pointing at the exact spot the electrons should end up the examiners will not give the mark, whereas for the degree level exams as long as it's clear it is generally in the right location it's ok if your arrow is a little loosely drawn provided it's obvious you understand where the electrons are moving.

So while the content may be more in depth you may also be given the benefit of the doubt a little bit more, so the notion of difficult may be a bit different between A-level and degree level. Of course things may have changed since I was told this
You point out a great example - I personally find that exams at University are a bit more relaxed. Your papers are usually marked by the Professor who taught you and they want you to do well and they understand what you're trying to write and so give you credit if they can. In A Level it's very much "if you don't get these exact words of a definition or the exact diagram of this then you do not gain the mark".

University is very different because you have everything split into modules, normally in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. In first year you go over the basics and go into more depth with more complicated theory and examples. I think overall I found my first year of University a bit easier than A levels because I found A levels extremely stressful and was experiencing lots of burnout.

It definitely becomes a lot more difficult at the end of first year moving towards the second/third etc. because you learn much more complicated theories such as quantum mechanics. Often this picks up on your maths/physics side of science and so some find this difficult. It's all supported by workshops and tutorials at University but it's a very different environment to school and A level. I think I prefer it though

I hope this helped and if you want to ask me anything about Chemistry at University or anything in general - just quote/tag me I'm in my 3rd year at the University of Southampton doing MChem + a 6 month placement.



(Original post by Harryallo)
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by Harryallo)
I’ve heard before that alevels are tones harder than degrees. Does anyone agree?
Don't know why anyone would say A level chem is harder?? :hmmmm:

I've done chemistry A level, a chemistry MSci and a chemistry PhD, and university is without a doubt tonnes harder. Not only do you cover a much, much wider area of chemistry in a degree, but you go into a huge amount of depth and complexity that would stun A level students into silence.
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Harryallo
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(Original post by CheeseIsVeg)
You point out a great example - I personally find that exams at University are a bit more relaxed. Your papers are usually marked by the Professor who taught you and they want you to do well and they understand what you're trying to write and so give you credit if they can. In A Level it's very much "if you don't get these exact words of a definition or the exact diagram of this then you do not gain the mark".

University is very different because you have everything split into modules, normally in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. In first year you go over the basics and go into more depth with more complicated theory and examples. I think overall I found my first year of University a bit easier than A levels because I found A levels extremely stressful and was experiencing lots of burnout.

It definitely becomes a lot more difficult at the end of first year moving towards the second/third etc. because you learn much more complicated theories such as quantum mechanics. Often this picks up on your maths/physics side of science and so some find this difficult. It's all supported by workshops and tutorials at University but it's a very different environment to school and A level. I think I prefer it though

I hope this helped and if you want to ask me anything about Chemistry at University or anything in general - just quote/tag me I'm in my 3rd year at the University of Southampton doing MChem + a 6 month placement.
Thank you for the reply 🙂
can I ask how hard you found the maths side at alevel? Was it very difficult? Thanks
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CheeseIsVeg
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(Original post by Harryallo)
Thank you for the reply 🙂
can I ask how hard you found the maths side at alevel? Was it very difficult? Thanks
Hey :hi:
I have to say I really disliked maths at A level :rofl:
I did mechanics which I would definitely say is helpful, especially as I did physics too.
At degree level ( Chemistry ) the maths you need is not that advanced but doing the A level definitely helped. I enjoy the maths in chemistry as it is fairly enjoyable and quite straightforward!
Hope this helps,
Cheese
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University of Bath
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(Original post by Harryallo)
I’ve heard before that alevels are tones harder than degrees. Does anyone agree?
Hi there,

I'd have to disagree. Degrees are further education so are more advanced than A-levels, and so they are obviously harder. As another response mentioned, chemistry degrees tend to start by revisiting/reviewing A-level content whilst simultaneously building upon it. It then continues to build and build until you reach an advanced level. This way you are constantly resisting and reviewing the content whilst you learn more on the same topic, which in a way makes it easier to learn than just learning something from scratch (which is what happens at A-level).

A chemistry degree also has computational aspects and lab aspects, which are not, or are only mildly visited at A-level. Overall, the way a chemistry degree is taught is probably easier to learn from than A-level, as you are building on existing knowledge, as opposed to learning something from scratch, but this material is a lot more advanced and difficult than A-level, and there are other components that add to this.

I hope this has helped,
Jessica, a third year Natural Sciences student
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by University of Bath)
Degrees are further education so are more advanced than A-levels,
Small correction, degrees are higher education (HE), A-levels (and equivalent level 3 qualifications) are further education (FE). Just for posterity, to ensure future visitors don't get confused (as the two types of education have different funding models which may affect decisions by someone about their educational plans ).
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