The Student Room Group

Is chemistry a level hard?

Hi - I’m currently down to take chemistry a level next year. I’m doing well in chemistry at the moment - I’m predicted a 9. However I sometimes struggle with the maths element as maths has never come naturally to me. Lots of people have told me chemistry a level will be too hard. Does anyone know what the step up between GCSE and A level chemistry is like? And realistically how difficult is it? 😂 thanks !!
Not me personally but my close friends experiences with chemistry...
Their main takeaway is that GCSE chemistry is nothing like A-level chemistry, not just on the difficulty level. Some concepts you learn at GCSE arent even used at A-level and some things you learn at GCSE level arent even correct. From what I've heard, A-level Chemistry is an extremely large step up from GCSE, probably the largest jump compared to other subjects you might take- including maths. However, if you're aiming for a course at uni that requires Chem, which many do, you may just have to persevere, If not, then I wouldn't recommend going through the stress of one of the hardest A-levels. Considering that A-level exams have already started, I have heard from multiple friends that Chem is one of the subjects who have still not finished with their content, and their exam is in 2-3 weeks which is not a lot of time if you have other exams to take. Its definitely something to seriously consider. Also, please don't base A-level choices based off GCSEs. Just because you were good at them in GCSEs doesn't mean you'll be a good at A-levels. Theres a reason why A-levels are considered so much harder then GCSEs despite only focussing on 3 subjects.
I also guarantee that A-level chem will have way more maths than you imagine, just like every other science A-level. Have a look at the Alevel specification and maybe watch some youtube videos, it'll give a greater insight to what Ive said above.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi - I’m currently down to take chemistry a level next year. I’m doing well in chemistry at the moment - I’m predicted a 9. However I sometimes struggle with the maths element as maths has never come naturally to me. Lots of people have told me chemistry a level will be too hard. Does anyone know what the step up between GCSE and A level chemistry is like? And realistically how difficult is it? 😂 thanks !!


The maths portion of chemistry is mainly just knowing the equations and how to use them, remembering them is fairly easy especially with the basic ones as they appear quite a lot. Eventhough there is quite a big difference between a level and gcse you get retaught everything you need to know because a lot of the gcse content is either not correct or didn’t go into enough detail.

If you’re predicted a 9 you are clearly good at chemistry and I don’t think other peoples perceptions should put you off so you could choose it and if you don’t like it maybe switch.
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi - I’m currently down to take chemistry a level next year. I’m doing well in chemistry at the moment - I’m predicted a 9. However I sometimes struggle with the maths element as maths has never come naturally to me. Lots of people have told me chemistry a level will be too hard. Does anyone know what the step up between GCSE and A level chemistry is like? And realistically how difficult is it? 😂 thanks !!


Heya I got a 7 at gcse and took chem for alevel, biggest regret of my alevels the jump is definitely bigger than physics for example (I also take physics alevel) I would say take chem if you are willing to do aload of revision and extra work outside of lessons!!!
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi - I’m currently down to take chemistry a level next year. I’m doing well in chemistry at the moment - I’m predicted a 9. However I sometimes struggle with the maths element as maths has never come naturally to me. Lots of people have told me chemistry a level will be too hard. Does anyone know what the step up between GCSE and A level chemistry is like? And realistically how difficult is it? 😂 thanks !!

Hi,

I'm currently a second-year chemistry student at Lancaster University so I have had experience doing the GCSE, A-Level and degree!
A bit like you, the maths portion of chemistry is not part of my natural abilities at all. However, if you are predicted a 9, it is more than likely you are capable of handling the maths element of the A-Level. It is all taught to you anyway. With some practice and time taken to understand the concept, there is no reason for that to stop you doing well.
Chemistry A-Level is hard, so I would suggest taking it if you enjoy the subject (at least somewhat) because you will be spending a lot of time on it. With that being said, chemistry is a core science so many STEM courses at university have it as a required subject so it's a good one to take if that is an option you'd like to pursue in the future.
Personally, I found the A-Level doable. It is particularly rewarding when you finally understand things you've been struggling with for ages.There are some harder and some more easy elements, just like in all A-Levels so don't let other people's opinions scare you too much.

Hope this helps
-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
My son did very well in his IGCSE chemistry subject. he is currenlty taking his AS exams. he said the A level Chemistry is a lot more complicated than IGCSE, a lot more content to memorise.

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