Is the gap between GCSE and A-level really that huge?

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justlearning1469
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So I've noticed that the vast majority think that the gap between GCSE and A-level is very huge. While I do admit the gap between GCSE and A-level is large, we need to put this into context.

GCSE and AS has a decent gap, yes, but:
A2 to uni from school-based stuff to uni-based stuff is much wider, the gap between school physics and uni physics is pretty large.
You can skip a masters degree on the way to a PhD, this is actually possible. From just finishing your bachelors all the way to attempting to significantly push the boundaries of our knowledge is an exponentially wider gap than just GCSE to A-level.

So for those who are making the transition from GCSE to A-level, remember that this is just the start of a much harsher journey that you'd be going through anyway.
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AstonMed99
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My friend, do you actually have appropriate experience in these areas to be knocking the gaps between certain study levels? I find it extremely unlikely that you hold a PhD directly from a Bachelor’s yet spend your time posting on TSR. If you do not (as expected), then please do not bash these gaps so gratuitously. The gap between GCSE and A-Level will be large just as the jump between A-Level and Undergrad will be large. If you continue to assume that the gap between stages is marginal you won’t make it very far.
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Reality Check
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Oh not this again.

(Original post by justlearning1469)
You can skip a masters degree on the way to a PhD, this is actually possible. From just finishing foundations of uni stuff all the way to attempting to significantly push the boundaries of our knowledge is an exponentially wider gap than just GCSE to A-level.
You really have no idea about how higher degrees and research works, do you?
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Vapordave
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Who says I'm going to do a PhD? :lol:
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Student5cience
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It depends what a-levels you take in my opinion. Some a-levels have a much bigger jump than others.
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Vapordave
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(Original post by AstonMed99)
My friend, do you actually have appropriate experience in these areas to be knocking the gaps between certain study levels? I find it extremely unlikely that you hold a PhD directly from a Bachelor’s yet spend your time posting on TSR. If you do not (as expected), then please do not bash these gaps so gratuitously. The gap between GCSE and A-Level will be large just as the jump between A-Level and Undergrad will be large. If you continue to assume that the gap between stages is marginal you won’t make it very far.
They're a pre-A-level student.
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EierVonSatan
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(Original post by justlearning1469)
So I've noticed that the vast majority think that the gap between GCSE and A-level is very huge. While I do admit the gap between GCSE and A-level is large, we need to put this into context.
I don't think that the vast majority would say the gap is huge. I've just been putting together comments from my year 12 students about how they felt about the transition and their views are mixed. Some describe it more like a change of style, from regurgitation to developing understanding. The second is slower, but much more advantageous once attained.

GCSE and AS has a decent gap, yes, but:
A2 to uni from school-based stuff to uni-based stuff is much wider, the gap between school physics and uni physics is pretty large.
Pretty subjective stuff - but I found the switch between A-level and first year undergraduate study to be seamless. You will often hear people say they found their degrees easier compared to their A-levels, but I'm not one of them.

You can skip a masters degree on the way to a PhD
While technically feasible, it is increasingly uncommon and I wouldn't recommend it even if you can.
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SB1234567890
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(Original post by justlearning1469)
So I've noticed that the vast majority think that the gap between GCSE and A-level is very huge. While I do admit the gap between GCSE and A-level is large, we need to put this into context.

GCSE and AS has a decent gap, yes, but:
A2 to uni from school-based stuff to uni-based stuff is much wider, the gap between school physics and uni physics is pretty large.
You can skip a masters degree on the way to a PhD, this is actually possible. From just finishing foundations of uni stuff all the way to attempting to significantly push the boundaries of our knowledge is an exponentially wider gap than just GCSE to A-level.

So for those who are making the transition from GCSE to A-level, remember that this is just the start of a much harsher journey that you'd be going through anyway.
Aren't you the one who was deluded enough to think that something ridiculous like 6 A levels and and EPQ is manageable on another thread so why are you giving advice when you haven't even strated year 12 yet

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=7067042
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artful_lounger
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It's pretty unusual to go straight from bachelors to PhD. The only person I knew who did it, managed it because he did a funded summer research project with an academic between 2nd and 3rd years, then did his BEng project with the same academic in third year, then continued that project in a PhD after being encouraged to apply by that academic. I think the funding came from a fellowship that particular academic had been awarded that year as well so, it was really up to her how she spent that and she was obviously happy with that particular student as she already had an established supervisor-student relationship with them and was familiar with his research work.

Without some kind of extended connection with the would-be supervisor (who ideally also has funding for you already), or just being an outstanding student working well beyond bachelors level already anyway, I don't think that's a reasonable goal. This is for BA/BEng/BSc type courses; for MEng/MSci etc integrated undergraduate masters courses it's more common. I gather there are also integrated doctoral programes where you earn an MRes in the first year then continue to the PhD, for which "just" a bachelors may be acceptable.

In any case I don't really think it's that great a leap between GCSE and A-level/equivalent generally. Maybe in languages the gap is bigger (I didn't continue from GCSE language to IB, I did an ab initio language)? The only subject I did where I felt there was a notable gap was art, and I think that was more because the style of the course and expectations from the students were quite different (where we were expected to be working much more independently on self-driven projects rather than creating potted works for preset projects given to us by the teacher).

In a similar vein to that particular example I think the main leap between 6th form level study and uni level study is more about how you're expected to study and learn (much more independently than in A-levels/equivalent) than in the content being necessarily significantly conceptually harder (I mean it will be a step up but not a huge leap I think at first...but there is a big leap in how you're expected to learn that content). The other exceptions are for courses which are very dissimilar to the associated A-level subject (e.g. maths degrees, which are totally different in style than A-level Maths).
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by SB1234567890)
Aren't you the one who was deluded enough to think that something ridiculous like 6 A levels and and EPQ is manageable on another thread so why are you giving advice when you haven't even strated year 12 yet

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=7067042
I changed my view after some replies. I did express flexibility for 4 A-levels, y'know.
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by Reality Check)
Oh not this again.



You really have no idea about how higher degrees and research works, do you?
I don't have that much of an idea, you're right to some extent, but I was just trying to make my point, the gap between GCSE and A-level isn't that huge.
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by AstonMed99)
My friend, do you actually have appropriate experience in these areas to be knocking the gaps between certain study levels? I find it extremely unlikely that you hold a PhD directly from a Bachelor’s yet spend your time posting on TSR. If you do not (as expected), then please do not bash these gaps so gratuitously. The gap between GCSE and A-Level will be large just as the jump between A-Level and Undergrad will be large. If you continue to assume that the gap between stages is marginal you won’t make it very far.
I never assumed 'the gap between stages is marginal'. First look at what I said, 'I do admit the gap between GCSE and A-level is large'. Not marginal. Both of them are large, but GCSE to A-level is a smaller gap than the latter gap.

'I find it extremely unlikely that you hold a PhD directly from a Bachelor’s yet spend your time posting on TSR' I never claimed that. And I don't.

'then please do not bash these gaps so gratuitously' I already admitted that GCSE to A-level gap was large. Bashing? Well relatively to quite a few who rant about how the gap is overwhelming, yes.
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
It's pretty unusual to go straight from bachelors to PhD. The only person I knew who did it, managed it because he did a funded summer research project with an academic between 2nd and 3rd years, then did his BEng project with the same academic in third year, then continued that project in a PhD after being encouraged to apply by that academic. I think the funding came from a fellowship that particular academic had been awarded that year as well so, it was really up to her how she spent that and she was obviously happy with that particular student as she already had an established supervisor-student relationship with them and was familiar with his research work.

Without some kind of extended connection with the would-be supervisor (who ideally also has funding for you already), or just being an outstanding student working well beyond bachelors level already anyway, I don't think that's a reasonable goal. This is for BA/BEng/BSc type courses; for MEng/MSci etc integrated undergraduate masters courses it's more common. I gather there are also integrated doctoral programes where you earn an MRes in the first year then continue to the PhD, for which "just" a bachelors may be acceptable.

In any case I don't really think it's that great a leap between GCSE and A-level/equivalent generally. Maybe in languages the gap is bigger (I didn't continue from GCSE language to IB, I did an ab initio language)? The only subject I did where I felt there was a notable gap was art, and I think that was more because the style of the course and expectations from the students were quite different (where we were expected to be working much more independently on self-driven projects rather than creating potted works for preset projects given to us by the teacher).

In a similar vein to that particular example I think the main leap between 6th form level study and uni level study is more about how you're expected to study and learn (much more independently than in A-levels/equivalent) than in the content being necessarily significantly conceptually harder (I mean it will be a step up but not a huge leap I think at first...but there is a big leap in how you're expected to learn that content). The other exceptions are for courses which are very dissimilar to the associated A-level subject (e.g. maths degrees, which are totally different in style than A-level Maths).
'In any case I don't really think it's that great a leap between GCSE and A-level/equivalent generally.' I agree with you, that's why I made this post, questioning why people think the GCSE to A-level gap is huge.

Bachelor to PhD is just an exaggeration to make my point, I never claimed it would be easy. Though I should've worded myself better.

Thanks for advising me about the qualitative differences between leaps.
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SB1234567890
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(Original post by justlearning1469)
I changed my view after some replies. I did express flexibility for 4 A-levels, y'know.
But the fact that you clearly haven’t even started year 12, and someone suggested that you may not be in year 11 yet, shows you don’t really know what you’re talking about and can’t talk from experience
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by SB1234567890)
But the fact that you clearly haven’t even started year 12, and someone suggested that you may not be in year 11 yet, shows you don’t really know what you’re talking about and can’t talk from experience
I know, but still 4 A-levels isn't that tough, you can find numerous people who've aced them. Same with 5 A-levels for instance Tessa Moltres, who actually gave me tips on how to tackle them. 200 people have taken 5 A-levels in 2019. Not all linear but still that's something.
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EierVonSatan
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(Original post by justlearning1469)
I know, but still 4 A-levels isn't that tough, you can find numerous people who've aced them. Same with 5 A-levels for instance Tessa Moltres, who actually gave me tips on how to tackle them. 200 people have taken 5 A-levels in 2019. Not all linear but still that's something.
There are around 25,000 people who get a PhD every year in the uk - so by that logic, I guess they're not that tough either?
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GreenCub
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I find that for science A-levels, the gap is exaggerated. There will be some things you need to understand rather than simply memorise, but the starts of the science A levels are a fairly natural continuation from GCSE. So you won't need to be working all the time, but just bear in mind a little more is required of you.
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SB1234567890
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(Original post by justlearning1469)
I know, but still 4 A-levels isn't that tough, you can find numerous people who've aced them. Same with 5 A-levels for instance Tessa Moltres, who actually gave me tips on how to tackle them. 200 people have taken 5 A-levels in 2019. Not all linear but still that's something.
If you’re going to try and use statistics a higher proportion of students would probably agree that 3 A levels are hard than the proportion who think that 4 A levels aren’t that tough and those 200 people probably either did modular a levels or didn’t have a social life
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
There are around 25,000 people who get a PhD every year in the uk - so by that logic, I guess they're not that tough either?
When I meant 'that's something' I meant there are some people who have actually experienced it, who you can ask for experiences.
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justlearning1469
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(Original post by GreenCub)
I find that for science A-levels, the gap is exaggerated. There will be some things you need to understand rather than simply memorise, but the starts of the science A levels are a fairly natural continuation from GCSE. So you won't need to be working all the time, but just bear in mind a little more is required of you.
That's what I was thinking too, that's why I made this post. The gap between GCSE and a-level is actually exaggerated. Wait until it's from A2 to uni and it's much larger. Masters to PhD is much larger. Bachelors to PhD, yes this is actually possible, it'll be exponentially wider.

I do agree some more is required, but come on it's not that bad to the point of not recommending 4 A levels, or 5.
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