Rd9
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someone who does chemistry at university (particularly bristol uni) please i need your help. i'm currently doing biomed but really not enjoying it. I thought I liked biology but i'm really starting to hate it and im considering switching to chemistry. i did A levels biology chemistry and geography. I did struggle with chemistry at A level, particularly the parts that involved maths, however my mum got me a private tutor and i ended up getting an A grade (bear in mind I never sat the exam, these were teacher predictions) I want to know how different is university chemistry to A level chemistry, is it doable or is it much harder. what kind of topics do you do. is it enjoyable? is it a good degree choice in terms of employability?
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miss-who
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Hey not at bristol but 2nd year chem at Nottingham. I found that the step up from A levels was quite big at least to begin with. There is a lot more maths than I realised having not done A level maths and you will need to learn some new maths topics- we did this in a first year module. You might want to have a quick look at differentiation and integration just to be aware of what you'll need to learn.

At Nottingham in 1st year we have modules in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, maths, las and then 2 optional modules. Physical in 1st year was a lot of A level physics (which I didn't take) so can seem hard at first but you catch up quickly. You do stuff like going over shapes of molecules, transition metal complexes, quantum numbers to describe electrons, electrochemistry, reactions of carbonyls.

It is doable but can seem difficult at times. I would say it's just about putting the work in consistently- if you work hard on lectures/understanding the content you find it much easier. If you are really interested in learning more about chemistry I think that's the most important thing. I almost didn't apply for chemistry because I thought it would too hard but I'm very glad I did now.

Also, I could be wrong but I think when I was applying you had to have taken A level maths to do chem at Bristol?
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Rd9
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(Original post by miss-who)
Also, I could be wrong but I think when I was applying you had to have taken A level maths to do chem at Bristol?
I don't think so, under the required A level subjects it just asks for chemistry.

what A levels did you do?
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artful_lounger
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CheeseIsVeg might be able to give some insight into chemistry at uni generally

I would note that university level chemistry will necessarily involve a moderate amount of maths in at least the physical side of things, and you will probably need to some kind of mathematical methods module ib first year if you haven't previously studied A-level Maths, to cover the core concepts from that you need to approach the physical chemistry. If you struggle with maths you need to consider carefully whether that might make you struggle with a significant chunk (usually at least a third) of the degree course.
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CheeseIsVeg
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(Original post by Rd9)
x
Hey there :hi:
I'm a final year MChem Chemistry student at Southampton
Hope you had a great xmas + :hnn:

There will be maths and I warn you that in year 2 especially it will ramp up from what has been said, integration and differentiation, to things like operators, complex numbers and more in quantum mechanics (physical chemistry most likely year 2). Don't worry, there is usually support such as maths lectures, workshops and resources, especially if the course states it doesn't require A level maths. It will get you up to what you need to know and teach you more. There's also " Maths for Chemists " a textbook that is often recommended.

Whilst I think it is definitely doable with some hard work and attending the maths lectures (most unis do these), just realise that for most uni Chemistry courses you will do 3 modules a semester, one will be inorganic chemistry (main group element chemistry and trends, organometallics, lanthanoid and actinoid chemistry and advanced inorganic chemistry), organic chemistry (bioorganic chemistry, organic reaction mechanisms, retrosynthesis and more) and physical chemistry (like previously said this is lots of A level physics (which I love and I did A level physics so it was quite nice for me) you will do photoelectric effect, electrochemistry, surface chemistry and more.

I hope this helps. If you like chemistry and are genuinely curious and interested by it, you will be fine. Attend lectures, workshops, tutorials and ask questions ( DO NOT BE AFRAID, some concepts such as group theory (inorganic) and conformation of molecules (organic chemistry) are quite visual and take time to understand.

Remember there are also labs as well. They are great fun and often you will make great friendships through it.

If you're worried about anything covid, note that most chemistry depts will be prioritising lab time over any teaching in person. This means that the lab part could be the only thing you do in person at the moment. I am aware years 1-2 do have some in-person workshops/tutorials sometimes etc but I thought you might find that interesting :dontknow:

Let me know if you have any further questions + I hope this helps :yy:
Cheese

(Original post by artful_lounger)
CheeseIsVeg might be able to give some insight into chemistry at uni generally

I would note that university level chemistry will necessarily involve a moderate amount of maths in at least the physical side of things, and you will probably need to some kind of mathematical methods module ib first year if you haven't previously studied A-level Maths, to cover the core concepts from that you need to approach the physical chemistry. If you struggle with maths you need to consider carefully whether that might make you struggle with a significant chunk (usually at least a third) of the degree course.
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miss-who
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(Original post by Rd9)
I don't think so, under the required A level subjects it just asks for chemistry.

what A levels did you do?
I did Biology, Chemistry and Music.
Quite a few people I've met on my course did Physics and/or Maths but again you're taught everything you need to know in the lectures and I haven't found it a problem not doing these at A levels. I've actually really enjoyed the maths we've learnt.
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