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Is Chemistry better at A-level than at GCSE?

For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.


Hi there :hello:
I think it really depends on the area of chemistry that is your strength.
I would advise to check out the A-level syllabus in more detail to see whether or not the topics you liked at GCSE are covered.
Overall I'd say most people find the A-level very difficult and I wouldn't advise doing it unless you were really into the subject or required it for a future Uni course or career :smile:
Original post by CheeseIsVeg
Hi there :hello:
I think it really depends on the area of chemistry that is your strength.
I would advise to check out the A-level syllabus in more detail to see whether or not the topics you liked at GCSE are covered.
Overall I'd say most people find the A-level very difficult and I wouldn't advise doing it unless you were really into the subject or required it for a future Uni course or career :smile:


oh dear doesnt sound too great haha but i'll check out the syllabus :smile: thanks
Reply 3
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.


I chose biology, maths, chemistry and I'm doing an EPQ. I'm my option, chemistry is amazing and much better than the other subjects I take. I didn't even like chemistry at gcse! I don't know if it's only because I have great chemistry teachers but in my option chemistry is great and pretty easy compared to maths.
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.


varies from person to person. imo better , you go into more detail at a level which i find makes the course easier to understand than gcse although it is pretty content heavy
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.


I did chemistry at A level and it ended up being my favourite of my three subjects! You go into a lot more detail at A level, which I found made it so much more interesting, and it didn't just feel like rote memorisation like it did at GCSE.
It was pretty content heavy, and a lot of people found it to be a challenging A level. But if you are consistent with making sure you understand the key concepts and memorising the most important information, you should be fine. I'd be open to answering any questions you have about it :smile:
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.


If it's the Edexcel syllabus you will be following then it definitely gets better. A level content actually make more sense than GCSE which tends to explain concepts such as bonding vaguely. Notes are really easy to find online and are sufficient for revision/to be used in your learning. One of the more straightforward A level sciences in my opinion and not hard to score well in the final thing.
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.

I’d say it gets much more interesting at A level than at GCSE, so naturally I loved chemistry at A level. Obviously it is more work at A level, but the same is true of any subject you can continue from GCSE at A level.

Original post by Tulipbloom
If it's the Edexcel syllabus you will be following then it definitely gets better. A level content actually make more sense than GCSE which tends to explain concepts such as bonding vaguely. Notes are really easy to find online and are sufficient for revision/to be used in your learning. One of the more straightforward A level sciences in my opinion and not hard to score well in the final thing.

Fully agreed. Imo Edexcel is the best course for A level chemistry at present.
Original post by laundrybasket
For my fourth a level I'm choosing a science. Wondering if Chemistry gets worse/better at A level.

It depends if you love Chemistry a lot.

I did Chemistry at A level and my specification was OCR. I did Chemistry at GCSE and my specification was AQA.

I can only say for OCR, I don’t know the specification of A level chemistry at your school.

Basics: I don’t know how good you are at Maths but there was a level of calculations you had to do. You needed to be very comfortable with the idea of mole in chemistry and doing mole calculations. And that is because the hard calculations still focus on moles. Titration also makes up quite a portion in A level chemistry so make sure you feel confident about titration as well.

When I did A level Chemistry, my course was split into physical chemistry and organic chemistry.

Physical chemistry: Equilibrium constant was something introduced in year 1 and it was harder in year 2 so you needed to be comfortable with equilibrium and reactions. I definitely find that physical chemistry was a lot harder in year 2 because there were a lot of new ideas introduced. E.g. acid dissociation constant, lattice enthalpy, entropy, ligand substitutions etc.

Organic chemistry: IUPAC was something completely new so that took a while to get used to. Reaction mechanisms were also heavily focused on because students often lost marks in this area. We also learned new reactions and you’ll realise that there are a lot of them. They would ask for the synthesis of different organic products so you would have to know the synthetic routes pretty well. Spectroscopy was ok in year 1 but it was so much harder in year 2.

Practicals: Titrations and enthalpy changes were what we spent time doing in physical chemistry (especially titrations). I preferred the practicals in organic chemistry. We got the chance to make organic products and it was really fun (for me) to do the entire process yourself, e.g. we made aspirin from salicylic acid.

What I wished I knew: You needed to be very comfortable with the content in year 1 before you start year 2 because the content in year 2 builds upon the content you learn in year 1 and it’s going to get a lot harder before you know it.

Besides Chemistry, I also did Biology and Maths at A level. Doing Chemistry was like doing a mixture of Maths and Biology. There’s some things you need to remember, there’s some calculations you need to do.

Even though I did enjoy Chemistry at GCSE, I would not recommend studying it at A level. It is a heavy course and you can easily fall behind. I had to remember a lot in Biology (and I hated that at times) but I found that it was easier than Chemistry. So I would much rather you do Biology than Chemistry.

Thank you

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