URGENT: How much organic chemistry is in A Level Chem?

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vvvindecisive
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TL;DR: Struggling with IGCSE Organic Chem content. Probably won’t need Chem A Level for my prospective degree choices, but parents want me to keep my options open. Must maintain merit scholarship. Take Chem A Level? Take only AS? How much Ochem is there at A or AS Level?

Hi everyone! First question I’m posting on TSR so I don’t know if there’s a specific format (: Anyway, here goes. I’m going to start Year 12 next month in a new school (same country in Asia but a different state). I’m worried about the Organic Chem content in CAIE A Level Chemistry and whether I should even take Chem.

For my IGCSEs, I’m predicted 9A*1A1B. I’ve already gotten one of the A*s last year since I took Math a year early. The B is for Additional Mathematics.

I’ve currently settled on Bio, Chem, Math, Socio, and the EPQ for my A-Levels. However, I’m freaking out because although I’ve consistently scored A*s in Chem, none of these exams involved Organic Chem. I absolutely SUCK at Ochem; we haven’t covered a lot of the topics at IGCSE level, and I was horrendous at the topics that we had covered. We had a mini-test which had a couple questions involving Ochem and I left every single one of those blank.

In terms of university plans, I’m still not 100% sure as to what I want to do. I’ve had phases where I wanted to do Architecture/Immunology, but those are gone. One thing that I’ve always maintained is an interest in pursuing Politics, and I’m strongly considering doing a degree in Politics and Journalism. This would hopefully be in the US, but I’m open to the UK too.

I only told my parents about this recently because:
a) they’re obsessed with STEM, Medicine, etc. (the usual lol)
b) it’s insanely difficult to get a job in these fields and I kinda always hoped that I would magically fall in love with tech or medicine or something ahaha

Hence, they think that this is a passing phase too. Frankly, I don’t think it is because I’m genuinely interested in these fields (I’m currently doing 4 political internships and 1 journalism internship voluntarily). The only thing holding me back from fully settling on this degree path is the issue concerning job prospects/pay, especially with the current economy.

My parents think that I should stick with taking Chemistry to keep my options open, and I agree that it’s a smart idea. However, I know my capabilities and my capacity and I honestly don’t think I can cope with the Ochem content.

On top of all that, I’m also attending Sixth Form on a merit scholarship. The new school is meant to be fantastic - but it’s also insanely expensive. I’m worried I’m going to mess up the Chem exams and my grades will drop, and this may mean that they’ll revoke the scholarship and ask my parents to pay the fees back. This would be a disaster - the school fees are 2.5x my old school’s.

If I don’t take Chem, I’ll be taking History. I’ve done extremely well at History for my IGCSEs because I liked it. For perspective: my teacher was expecting me to get a Top in the World, not just an A* (the expectations for me are insane in case you missed it 😭).

My questions are:
1) How much organic chem is in the AS/A Level exam papers?
2) Is it worth doing Chem at just AS Level? How much Ochem is there in AS Level exams alone?
3) What do you think I should do? Drop Chem? Take it at AS Level only? Any other ideas?

I can of course take Chem for a few weeks then swap for History if need be. I’m not too keen on this though since I’d rather decide before school starts and stick with the subject. (Students at my new school have a reputation for being unwelcoming to new students, so I’d like to try and make friends early on. This could of course just be a misrepresentation though.)

Thank you so much and I’m very sorry you had to read this psychotically long essay. Congrats if you made it till the end! I’d really appreciate it if y’all could answer this ASAP because I don’t want to inconvenience the school. Thank you again!
Last edited by vvvindecisive; 4 months ago
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Emily5243
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I did OCR chemistry A level last year so I don't know exactly what it would be like for your course but there was a lot of organic chemistry. We had 3 A level exams:
paper 1 - physical and inorganic chemistry
paper 2 - organic chemistry
paper 3 - everything
So for my specification, organic chemistry made up about half of the entire course. It was taught in both year 12 and year 13 so you would still need to learn a lot of organic chemistry for AS as well.

Your parents can't pick your subjects for you so it's best if you do subjects you will enjoy and subjects you will do well in. It would be better to get an A* in History than a B in chemistry.
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Reality Check
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This is no more 'urgent' than anyone else's query. We don't need the entitlement, thanks.
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5hyl33n
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Hi vvvindecisive, A-Level Chemistry is no walk in the park so if you don't need it or don't have a passion for it, do not take it.

I do not take your exam board but AQA has quite a bit of Organic Chem! It is about a 1/3 or a tiny bit more of the entire course.
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by Emily5243)
I did OCR chemistry A level last year so I don't know exactly what it would be like for your course but there was a lot of organic chemistry. We had 3 A level exams:
paper 1 - physical and inorganic chemistry
paper 2 - organic chemistry
paper 3 - everything
So for my specification, organic chemistry made up about half of the entire course. It was taught in both year 12 and year 13 so you would still need to learn a lot of organic chemistry for AS as well.

Your parents can't pick your subjects for you so it's best if you do subjects you will enjoy and subjects you will do well in. It would be better to get an A* in History than a B in chemistry.
Thank you so much for the detailed reply! For the CAIE course, our papers are based on the question formats (multiple choice/practical/subjective/etc), but it’s definitely helpful to know what the other exam boards offer. (There’s probably a general similarity in the syllabus content?)

Thank you for the advice as well; you’re absolutely right about the grading. Thanks again, and I hope your exams went well!
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by Reality Check)
This is no more 'urgent' than anyone else's query. We don't need the entitlement, thanks.
As I mentioned in the second paragraph of my question, I have no idea if there’s a specific format that should be used when asking questions on TSR since this is my first question. I noticed hundreds of questions with “urgent” noted in the title and thought it was the norm if someone wanted to clear something up quickly. And as explained at the end of my question, I was hoping for a quick reply because I do not want to inconvenience my school by delaying my subject choices, especially since I start sixth form next month. Have a great day.
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
Hi vvvindecisive, A-Level Chemistry is no walk in the park so if you don't need it or don't have a passion for it, do not take it.

I do not take your exam board but AQA has quite a bit of Organic Chem! It is about a 1/3 or a tiny bit more of the entire course.
Hi, thank you so much for your reply. There seems to be a general consensus that there is quite a bit of Organic Chem across the exam boards, so your answer is really helpful! And agreed; I’m absolutely terrified of A Level Chem because of the reputation it has, so thank you for the advice. Thanks for taking the time to reply!
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by vvvindecisive)
Hi, thank you so much for your reply. There seems to be a general consensus that there is quite a bit of Organic Chem across the exam boards, so your answer is really helpful! And agreed; I’m absolutely terrified of A Level Chem because of the reputation it has, so thank you for the advice. Thanks for taking the time to reply!
No problem. Glad I could help! Maybe look at a few past papers? I could send you some screenshots of a few pages of Organic Chemistry? I only have AQA but it will be more or less the same thing...
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EierVonSatan
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Organic chemistry is one of the main branches of chemistry. Any A-level is going to have a significant amount of it. I would estimate between 30-45% depending on the exam board.

Did you do Edexcel IGCSE? That has a good chunk of previously only A-level organic chemistry added into the new spec - it would be no wonder if you found that challenging. It will however, provide you with a strong foundation and you would feel less of a jump with the organic chemistry.
Last edited by EierVonSatan; 4 months ago
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theJoyfulGeek
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(Original post by vvvindecisive)
As I mentioned in the second paragraph of my question, I have no idea if there’s a specific format that should be used when asking questions on TSR since this is my first question. I noticed hundreds of questions with “urgent” noted in the title and thought it was the norm if someone wanted to clear something up quickly. And as explained at the end of my question, I was hoping for a quick reply because I do not want to inconvenience my school by delaying my subject choices, especially since I start sixth form next month. Have a great day.
Don't worry - you're not entitled! It's natural to be stressed about a new school!
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Emily5243
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(Original post by vvvindecisive)
Thank you so much for the detailed reply! For the CAIE course, our papers are based on the question formats (multiple choice/practical/subjective/etc), but it’s definitely helpful to know what the other exam boards offer. (There’s probably a general similarity in the syllabus content?)

Thank you for the advice as well; you’re absolutely right about the grading. Thanks again, and I hope your exams went well!
Happy I could help! Yes, OCR also had many question formats as well - application questions, multiple choice, practical questions. I would imagine that there is similarity in the content for each exam board.
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
No problem. Glad I could help! Maybe look at a few past papers? I could send you some screenshots of a few pages of Organic Chemistry? I only have AQA but it will be more or less the same thing...
That would be amazing! I’ve been skimming through past papers nonstop but it would be great to see more. Please don’t worry about it if you’re too busy, I really don’t want to inconvenience you! Thank you so much for all your help.
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
Organic chemistry is one of the main branches of chemistry. Any A-level is going to have a significant amount of it. I would estimate between 30-45% depending on the exam board.

Did you do Edexcel IGCSE? That has a good chunk of previously only A-level organic chemistry added into the new spec - it would be no wonder if you found that challenging. It will however, provide you with a strong foundation and you would feel less of a jump with the organic chemistry.
Thank you very much for the estimation! It’s really helpful since I’ve been trying to figure out how much Organic chem content there is within the exam papers.

I did Cambridge IGCSEs (fortunately/unfortunately depending on how you look at it). Most organic chem topics were never properly covered, since we had a COVID-19-caused lockdown and distance learning was honestly a total flop. I was terrible at the few topics that we did cover, though, so I’m worried that my foundation in organic chem is too weak to cope.
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by theJoyfulGeek)
Don't worry - you're not entitled! It's natural to be stressed about a new school!
Thank you so so much for this! Was stressing out about the reply like crazy because I didn’t want to come across as entitled at all. Much appreciated!
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by vvvindecisive)
That would be amazing! I’ve been skimming through past papers nonstop but it would be great to see more. Please don’t worry about it if you’re too busy, I really don’t want to inconvenience you! Thank you so much for all your help.
No problem!

This is the contents page for AS Chemistry OCR
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This is the contents page for A2 Chemistry OCR
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This is the contents page for AS Chemistry AQA
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This is the contents page for A2 Chemistry AQA
Spoiler:
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Name:  Contents_AQA_A2.png
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Size:  349.8 KB

As you can see, the content is very similar even if you are just looking at the contents page.


Also attached is the sneak peek to Organic Chemistry. Hopefully, I haven't broken TSR with all the attachments! Don't be intimidated by the content. It is easier than what it looks like. :woo:
Spoiler:
Show
Name:  Isomerism.png
Views: 16
Size:  304.1 KBName:  Nucleophilic substitution.png
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Please let me know if you want to know more about A-Level Chemistry. I also take A-Level Physics and A-Level Psychology if you are taking either of those.

(Original post by vvvindecisive)
Thank you so so much for this! Was stressing out about the reply like crazy because I didn’t want to come across as entitled at all. Much appreciated!
Don't worry about it. It is quite common to see 'urgent' written on threads. Usually, those are ridiculous threads asking silly questions unlike yours x
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
No problem!

This is the contents page for AS Chemistry OCR
Spoiler:
Show
Name:  Contents.png
Views: 16
Size:  324.3 KB

This is the contents page for A2 Chemistry OCR
Spoiler:
Show
Name:  Contents_OCR_A2.png
Views: 16
Size:  328.4 KB



This is the contents page for AS Chemistry AQA
Spoiler:
Show
Name:  Contents_AQA.png
Views: 15
Size:  400.6 KB

This is the contents page for A2 Chemistry AQA
Spoiler:
Show
Name:  Contents_AQA_A2.png
Views: 16
Size:  349.8 KB

As you can see, the content is very similar even if you are just looking at the contents page.


Also attached is the sneak peek to Organic Chemistry. Hopefully, I haven't broken TSR with all the attachments! Don't be intimidated by the content. It is easier than what it looks like. :woo:
Spoiler:
Show
Name:  Isomerism.png
Views: 16
Size:  304.1 KBName:  Nucleophilic substitution.png
Views: 16
Size:  338.0 KBName:  Industrial cracking.png
Views: 16
Size:  422.9 KBName:  Alcohols.png
Views: 14
Size:  319.9 KB


Please let me know if you want to know more about A-Level Chemistry. I also take A-Level Physics and A-Level Psychology if you are taking either of those.


Don't worry about it. It is quite common to see 'urgent' written on threads. Usually, those are ridiculous threads asking silly questions unlike yours x
These resources are wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to send them over - I really appreciate it! They’re very similar to the content for the Cambridge syllabus, which is great to know too.

I’m not taking Physics or Psychology, unfortunately. I hope this doesn’t offend you in any way but I loathe Physics 😭 It’s strange because I love Math, and Physics is semi-similar? But there’re just too many concepts and whatnot ahaha; Bio’s my favourite science for sure. Psychology does sound very interesting though!

Thank you for your comment at the end too by the way; I’m glad I didn’t come across as such.

I’ve said this about half a million times at this point, but thank you so much for all your help! I’ve got a lot to think about and plenty of resources to work with; thank you for taking the time to consistently reply. Have an awesome weekend!
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by vvvindecisive)
These resources are wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to send them over - I really appreciate it! They’re very similar to the content for the Cambridge syllabus, which is great to know too.

I’m not taking Physics or Psychology, unfortunately. I hope this doesn’t offend you in any way but I loathe Physics 😭 It’s strange because I love Math, and Physics is semi-similar? But there’re just too many concepts and whatnot ahaha; Bio’s my favourite science for sure. Psychology does sound very interesting though!

Thank you for your comment at the end too by the way; I’m glad I didn’t come across as such.

I’ve said this about half a million times at this point, but thank you so much for all your help! I’ve got a lot to think about and plenty of resources to work with; thank you for taking the time to consistently reply. Have an awesome weekend!
No problem. I'm happy to help!

Many people say they loathe Physics, it's no problem. :lol: Yeah, I love Physics but hate Maths - it's weird.

You definitely didn't come across as such. No need to thank me. :hugs:

Hope you have an awesome weekend too!

Will you be sticking around on TSR?
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vvvindecisive
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
No problem. I'm happy to help!

Many people say they loathe Physics, it's no problem. :lol: Yeah, I love Physics but hate Maths - it's weird.

You definitely didn't come across as such. No need to thank me. :hugs:

Hope you have an awesome weekend too!

Will you be sticking around on TSR?
Ahaha that’s so interesting! Total opposites lol.

I’m definitely planning on staying here! I originally intended on just sending in my question and leaving it at that because I didn’t expect any replies. But everyone here has been super helpful and I’d like to pay it back by answering questions from other students too! I’ve heard so many stories about how people on TSR have helped other students and I can’t wait to get more involved. (this sounds like a cliché personal statement oh no 😭)
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5hyl33n
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(Original post by vvvindecisive)
Ahaha that’s so interesting! Total opposites lol.

I’m definitely planning on staying here! I originally intended on just sending in my question and leaving it at that because I didn’t expect any replies. But everyone here has been super helpful and I’d like to pay it back by answering questions from other students too! I’ve heard so many stories about how people on TSR have helped other students and I can’t wait to get more involved. (this sounds like a cliché personal statement oh no 😭)
It did sound like an application form. 😂

Great! See you around! Remember, if you see anything you don’t like, just report it
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thegeek888
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Use www.chemguide.co.uk for Organic Chemistry and the AS/A-Level Chemistry Calculations book.
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