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A level choice dilema!!!

Hi, I’m starting sixth form in September and I’m currently down to do A level History, Economics and Chemistry. Lots of people have told me that chemistry is really hard and the uni course that I like requires 3 A grades. I’m fairly confident that I’ll find economics and history rather straight forward but I’m worried about chemistry. Don’t get me wrong - I‘m really passionate about chemistry and I’m predicted to get a top grade at gcse. But at the moment, I’m thinking about changing chemistry to psychology because apparently it would be easier to achieve a higher grade. I’m not really keen on the subject but do you think it is worth the sacrifice in hopes of achieving a better grade? Thanks!
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi, I’m starting sixth form in September and I’m currently down to do A level History, Economics and Chemistry. Lots of people have told me that chemistry is really hard and the uni course that I like requires 3 A grades. I’m fairly confident that I’ll find economics and history rather straight forward but I’m worried about chemistry. Don’t get me wrong - I‘m really passionate about chemistry and I’m predicted to get a top grade at gcse. But at the moment, I’m thinking about changing chemistry to psychology because apparently it would be easier to achieve a higher grade. I’m not really keen on the subject but do you think it is worth the sacrifice in hopes of achieving a better grade? Thanks!

At A level, there is no such thing as an easy subject.

Take the three subjects you enjoy the most - if one of those happens to be chemistry, then take chemistry.

As long as you are motivated enough to put in the work, three grade A’s is achievable irrespective of what your three subjects are.

See here for some study advice: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7253201&page=2#post97549790
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi, I’m starting sixth form in September and I’m currently down to do A level History, Economics and Chemistry. Lots of people have told me that chemistry is really hard and the uni course that I like requires 3 A grades. I’m fairly confident that I’ll find economics and history rather straight forward but I’m worried about chemistry. Don’t get me wrong - I‘m really passionate about chemistry and I’m predicted to get a top grade at gcse. But at the moment, I’m thinking about changing chemistry to psychology because apparently it would be easier to achieve a higher grade. I’m not really keen on the subject but do you think it is worth the sacrifice in hopes of achieving a better grade? Thanks!


Just do what you enjoy I can’t stress this enough. I picked subjects I didn’t enjoy as parents were telling me to pick them. Just don’t listen to other people on what to pick. I got my results yesterday and got a UUE. It makes a difference, if you enjoy it, u are more likely to put the effort in. A levels require you putting a lot more effort in then GCSEs.
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 3
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi, I’m starting sixth form in September and I’m currently down to do A level History, Economics and Chemistry. Lots of people have told me that chemistry is really hard and the uni course that I like requires 3 A grades. I’m fairly confident that I’ll find economics and history rather straight forward but I’m worried about chemistry. Don’t get me wrong - I‘m really passionate about chemistry and I’m predicted to get a top grade at gcse. But at the moment, I’m thinking about changing chemistry to psychology because apparently it would be easier to achieve a higher grade. I’m not really keen on the subject but do you think it is worth the sacrifice in hopes of achieving a better grade? Thanks!


A Level is hard. Only 1 A was achieved in my whole class.
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi, I’m starting sixth form in September and I’m currently down to do A level History, Economics and Chemistry. Lots of people have told me that chemistry is really hard and the uni course that I like requires 3 A grades. I’m fairly confident that I’ll find economics and history rather straight forward but I’m worried about chemistry. Don’t get me wrong - I‘m really passionate about chemistry and I’m predicted to get a top grade at gcse. But at the moment, I’m thinking about changing chemistry to psychology because apparently it would be easier to achieve a higher grade. I’m not really keen on the subject but do you think it is worth the sacrifice in hopes of achieving a better grade? Thanks!

Don’t do a subject you don’t want to study. If you enjoy chemistry then go for that. You’re more likely to do well if you like it, in my opinion. I did A Level Chemistry and didn’t find it really hard, I actually really enjoyed it.
Reply 5
Original post by lucy_smith__
Hi, I’m starting sixth form in September and I’m currently down to do A level History, Economics and Chemistry. Lots of people have told me that chemistry is really hard and the uni course that I like requires 3 A grades. I’m fairly confident that I’ll find economics and history rather straight forward but I’m worried about chemistry. Don’t get me wrong - I‘m really passionate about chemistry and I’m predicted to get a top grade at gcse. But at the moment, I’m thinking about changing chemistry to psychology because apparently it would be easier to achieve a higher grade. I’m not really keen on the subject but do you think it is worth the sacrifice in hopes of achieving a better grade? Thanks!

A levels are definitely much harder than gases, idk how I did so well in chemistry at gcse but it's definitely not so straight forward at A level. That's not in any ways supposed to discourage you, I just mean, I only chose to do chemistry because it was one of the subjects I got the best grades in at gcse (I got a 7) and ended up with an E at A level (not saying the same will happen for you). What I'm trying to say follow what you have genuine interest in, because A levels are much harder and there's more independent study, which you're more likely to do if its in a subject you have interest/passion for. But since you're worried how well you would do I suggest doing 1 of 2 things. Maybe start the year doing 4 A levels, if your sixth form allows it take all 4 A levels, get a little taster for what psychology and chemistry is like, then drop whichever you don't like (for whatever reason that may be). Or take chemistry to begin with then decide how you feel the subject will be for you and whether its something you want to continue, if not usually you should be allowed to drop a subject for another one by a certain date (for me that was October). I will say my time doing chemistry for A levels was me hating it the entire time wishing I dropped it (I just had no interest and it was hard af) so whatever you do if you end up hating a subject you're doing and think there's a different one you would be better off doing ask your sixth form to let you change subjects. at my sixth form we had until October (we were told) to change subjects (I didn't then bc the first month was easy like gcse stuff) but after that is when I decided I wanted to change but I never asked thinking I missed the deadline. But then a few ppl in my class dropped the subject for another one after the deadline we were given, one person I think even dropped it for another subject after a half term.

My very long point is don't stress, do what you think will be best for you. But I really do advise following your interests and I think picking 4 A levels then dropping one after a few weeks or a month would be good. And if you end up in a position where a month has passed and you absolutely hate one of your subjects please do what's best for you and try changing subjects. Advocate for what's best for you.
(edited 7 months ago)
Hey as someone who had just done A level Chemistry (edexcel) I could say that it was actually one of my favourite subjects (I also did biology, maths and EPQ). If it's grades you are worried about then have no fear as resources on chemistry are readily available online (chemrevise was the site I used for all my notes) and full revision videos are at your disposal on YT (used Allery chemistry). As long as you have a good understanding and can make sense of the content taught you should be fine! Honestly A level Chemistry is a lot easier than GCSE as all the concepts are explained more clearly and you will see that as you go through the topics, that they all intertwine and make sense as a whole (they tend to explain concepts like bonding vaguely). Revision is straightforward and as long as you do enough past papers (including IAL edexcel ones too as they are good for practice), securing an A should be no problem. I like you, was predicted a top grade in GCSE and managed to finish A levels, with very little stress, with 3 marks off of an A*. If you clearly have a passion for chemistry I say go for it!
Reply 7
Original post by aaryas0803
A levels are definitely much harder than gases, idk how I did so well in chemistry at gcse but it's definitely not so straight forward at A level. That's not in any ways supposed to discourage you, I just mean, I only chose to do chemistry because it was one of the subjects I got the best grades in at gcse (I got a 7) and ended up with an E at A level (not saying the same will happen for you). What I'm trying to say follow what you have genuine interest in, because A levels are much harder and there's more independent study, which you're more likely to do if its in a subject you have interest/passion for. But since you're worried how well you would do I suggest doing 1 of 2 things. Maybe start the year doing 4 A levels, if your sixth form allows it take all 4 A levels, get a little taster for what psychology and chemistry is like, then drop whichever you don't like (for whatever reason that may be). Or take chemistry to begin with then decide how you feel the subject will be for you and whether its something you want to continue, if not usually you should be allowed to drop a subject for another one by a certain date (for me that was October). I will say my time doing chemistry for A levels was me hating it the entire time wishing I dropped it (I just had no interest and it was hard af) so whatever you do if you end up hating a subject you're doing and think there's a different one you would be better off doing ask your sixth form to let you change subjects. at my sixth form we had until October (we were told) to change subjects (I didn't then bc the first month was easy like gcse stuff) but after that is when I decided I wanted to change but I never asked thinking I missed the deadline. But then a few ppl in my class dropped the subject for another one after the deadline we were given, one person I think even dropped it for another subject after a half term.

My very long point is don't stress, do what you think will be best for you. But I really do advise following your interests and I think picking 4 A levels then dropping one after a few weeks or a month would be good. And if you end up in a position where a month has passed and you absolutely hate one of your subjects please do what's best for you and try changing subjects. Advocate for what's best for you.

I was like 3 weeks in and I was thinking about changing maths but I thought to myself it was too late. Biggest regret
Yeah, Chemistry is a hard subject but so is everything else at A-Level. I used to hate with a passion Chemistry on my GCSE-equivalent years. I took it at A-Level only out of necessity to apply to Medicine and I actually enjoyed Chemistry so much! Yes, it was a challenge. I'm not ashamed to say that me and my friends on Chemistry left a lesson or two thinking that we did a terrible, unforgivable mistake by taking it at A-Level and then there was that one time where someone's experiment went horribly wrong and released a ton of toxic fumes into the lab and everyone on the lab nearly died*... but at the end of the day all my frustrations with Chemistry got resolved and all near-death experiences brushed under the carpet. I did struggle a bit because my previous Chemistry teaching was absolutely useless (probably worse than useless, actually), but when everything clicked, it was great and I think it's a beautiful subject. I... I did get a B but that's my fault for sidelining Chemistry revision in favour of my other subjects on my last few revision weeks and then having an attack of insomnia the day before paper 1. My point with all of this is that since you enjoy Chemistry at GCSE, you'll enjoy it even more at A-Level and there's no reason why you shouldn't do it because everything will be hard at A-Level! You might as well choose the subjects you want to do rather than the ones you perceive to be easier, because they won't be easier and you'll be a million times more motivated to do well on the subjects that you truly want to do.

Good luck with sixth form! It's a step up but you just need to persevere a little bit more to get what you want, plus it's great fun with the right set of friends :smile:

*: I'm exaggerating by saying that we nearly died but this did happen for real! So do your prep on PAGs and for the love of life, do as your teacher says and always carry the right protection for your labs.

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