dd was thinking of doing chemistry a level but is being put of by EVERYONE saying how hard it is

(25 Posts)
Cocolepew Sat 10-May-14 09:31:39

She is in a high school atm, she needs to move as it didn't have a 6th form. She is doing double award science and is on AA but I'm concerned about her taking to much on, she is quite an anxious person.

Is it as harddas people are saying?

Cocolepew Sat 10-May-14 09:32:18

Sorry that should have been 2 A stars.

Cookiepants Sat 10-May-14 09:36:41

I did in 6th form (12 years ago shock), its properly hard! I got AA in double award and E in A level chem. It's very maths based which is what undid me. If your DD finds maths easy and has a supportive teacher she will be ok.

EduCated Sat 10-May-14 10:07:17

It's the sort of subject you have to be properly committed to, and be prepared to work at. I found it a big step up (7 years ago) having got double award A*. Not impossible, but it's not the sort of A Level you can pootle through without much extra work, if that makes sense?

I got a B in the end, but that was with much pub and not enough work blush

AnnaBegins Sat 10-May-14 10:11:41

I did chemistry A level 7 years ago and loved it. I had the most wonderful teacher for the 1st year (who told me I had to do the A level after GCSE and trust me you didn't want to argue with him!) but then he retired. We were all very worried as it is a hard A level and you do need a good teacher, but we got a pretty good replacement.

I got an A (A*s didn't exist then). I did triple science GCSE with 3 A stars.

I wouldn't say it is as maths-y as A level Physics, but certainly full of concepts which are tricky to get your head around.

I'd say if she has a good teacher and wants to do it then go for it! Motivation makes up a large part of success at A level I'd say.

You know what, even though I work in a completely non science job, I am so glad I did it as the ability to reel off chemical names in ingredients lists (at work) knowing I'm pronouncing them correctly and have some idea of what they are is very satisfying!

MissMillament Sat 10-May-14 10:17:15

My DD is doing it atm. She got A* at GCSE and is finding it hard but doable. The key to it is absolutely consistently working hard from day one - she is predicted A at AS and seems to be on track to achieve that but she does put a lot of time into learning, memorising, doing practice exam questions - the revision process has been constant all year. Having said that, it is pretty much the same for her other (non-science) subjects as well. I was concerned that it would be harder for her because she opted not to take Maths A-level, but she seems to be coping well with the maths content of it.

Antidote Sat 10-May-14 10:20:48

I think you need to ask if it's hard compared to what? If your other subjects are further maths and physics then chemistry is probably a bit of light relief.

I found it easier than maths conceptually, and less work than biology because it was less volume of learning and had rules that meant it could be worked out from first principles rather than memorizing pages of stuff. I also thought the questions were less ambiguous than biology.

Antidote Sat 10-May-14 10:22:51

*disclaimer: I'm an old gimmer. Did a levels over 20 years ago blush

Eastpoint Sat 10-May-14 10:37:58

Dd1 is about to do her GCSEs. She's planning on taking maths, chemistry, biology & geography; chemistry is her favourite subject. We have been advised you should ideally do maths to at least AS with chemistry as it is quite maths heavy. She's predicted a*s in maths & triple science. Other friends of hers with the same predictions aren't doing chemistry as they don't feel their maths is secure enough.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-May-14 10:47:25

If she is planning on science A-levels why is she not doing triple science?

She will find it very tough if only coming with double science I think (not a science teacher, just what I've heard).

PatTheHammer Sat 10-May-14 10:53:51

With a secure knowledge of maths and good teaching it should be challenging yet enjoyable as other posters have said.

I did it a long time ago now and I had an extremely poor teacher for all the organic chemistry, failed miserably at that and ended up with a D grade. In hindsight I only got a B grade at GCSEs maths and this wasn't really good enough. If your DD is on for an A* then she should be fine when it comes to the quantitative aspects.

As it happens I sometimes teach parts of GCSE chemistry now and I love it, it's certainly the most logical subject and is more fun than most of the Biology I teach (which I have a degree in).

chocoshopoholic Sat 10-May-14 10:55:42

I did science / maths a levels having gained A*s in double award. I found the step up hard. My school didn't have a sixth form, so I transferred. The pupils from the other school had all done separate/triple sciences and the teachers worked at that level, leaving us to catch up. Many dropped out, I stuck with it and went onto a science degree-but it was hard work.

PatTheHammer Sat 10-May-14 10:58:38

Noblegiraffe, on the triple science thing the whole system is set up so that it should no way disadvantage pupils if they have studied double science. IME the last unit of Chemistry (C3) just goes into further detail on 4 subject areas. It's C2 which is the crucial unit for building breadth of understanding of the subject.

My triple science students who have then gone onto college to do chemistry have often said to me afterwards that some of AS chem was a bit boring as they had done it before.

SoftSheen Sat 10-May-14 11:00:49

A-level Chemistry is interesting and exciting, but challenging. Many say that along with Physics, Chemistry is the toughest A-level. No one gets a good A-level Chemistry grade without a lot of hard work.

Cocolepew Sat 10-May-14 12:01:49

Thanks everyone. She can't do triple award science at her school, only grammar school's offer it here (NI) .
She had totally gone of maths! She is doing higher tier and hates it.

Her other A levels works be geography, ICT and biology.

We've had chat with the chemistry teacher at the grammar 6th form and he said unless you were A* not to consider it. I would prefer she didn't go to the GS 6th form, but it's up too her.
The other nearby schools of Btech or Applied A level science.

PatTheHammer Sat 10-May-14 12:03:44

I would say she will find it tough then if not taking maths or physics alongside it. Doable certainly......but tough with lots of extra work involved.

AuntieStella Sat 10-May-14 12:21:29

What does she think she wants to go on to do after school?

What does she like about chemistry?

I do think she will maximise her future options if she chooses another facilitating subject as she already has one 'soft' choice. So thinking that a subject might be "hard" is something to debunk if at all possible.

And is there any chance she could meet any staff in the maths department
of her Sixth Form? She might find that, if taught by geeks for A level, the subject seems quite different from the GCSE course.

Cocolepew Sat 10-May-14 12:33:43

She doesnt know what she wants to do, which makes it all the harder.
Unfortunately she doesn't know what 6th form she will be going to. You put a form in stating you're interested and then on results day you have to get in touch and ask for an interview, so she could apply for 3,or more , 6th forms , and has to try to get all the interviews fitted in on results day.

Mindgone Thu 19-Jun-14 23:52:12

If she really wants to do chemistry, loves it, and is willing to work hard, I'd definitely encourage her. My DS got an A at GCSE, and went on to get an A* at A level!

HPparent Wed 25-Jun-14 18:04:39

While I think chemistry is a great subject and goes well with biology I would not recommend taking it unless she needs it for university. This is because this years A2 exams were absolutely vile with the examiners taking the absolute piss. DD's exam board was Edexcel which seems to have been the absolute worst one.

My DD got all A* in her triple science GCSEs and has found it a challenge. However she moved from a predicted B grade at A2 to a predicted A grade. The exams this year were the most horrifying thing ever. They bore no resemblance to previous years questions and missed huge chunks of the syllabus. DD goes to a superselective school where historically girls get around 70% A or A* in Chemistry. Many came out of the exams in tears and some of these hold offers at Oxbridge and Russell Group. DD is predicted A * in her other A levels - believe me think twice before taking chemistry.

What you find hard (or easy) really depends what you're good at. I found maths and physics easy at A level but struggled with spanish and psychology. It all depends how your brain works.

I think she should take subjects that she enjoys. They're most likely to lead to a job she enjoys, and she's probably good at them too. If you enjoy a subject then hard work doesn't feel like hard work. If you hate it then it always feels like hard work!

MagratGarlik Wed 02-Jul-14 17:52:43

I think it is difficult to quantify traditional subjects as "easy" or "hard", for example, all my A'levels were science/maths based and that's all I studied beyond GCSE level (I now have a PhD in chemistry). To me, an MFL A'level would have been my idea of hell on earth, but for others they might find them a breeze, it depends on individual interests/strengths etc.

The exam board taken does make a big difference too. IME some are significantly less demanding than others. If your dd is intending to go on and do anything science-based though, A'level chemistry will help. Chemistry is the sort of "central" science and whilst some parts begin to merge with biology, others have some fairly heavy overlap with physics.

The maths is not too demanding tbh. Most is simple rearranging equations (unlike physics A'level), rather than hard-core maths. If she's interested in the subject and wants to do a well-respected A'level, it's certainly worth considering. If at all possible though, try to check whether the chemistry teacher has an actual degree in chemistry. Not all do (shortage of good chemistry graduates), but a more challenging subject taught by someone who is not confident in the actual subject matter themselves will appear even harder.

ladymariner Sat 04-Oct-14 00:50:12

Chemistry A' level is a million miles away from GCSE Chemistry. Ds got A* at GCSE and absolutely hated and struggled with the A' level....he did pass but not without a LOT of hard work.

PetulaGordino Sat 04-Oct-14 00:54:23

I did it 10 years ago, had A* at gcse and got A at A level, Nuffield syllabus

I loved it. It was hard but great teacher. I also did maths A level if that makes a difference

PetulaGordino Sat 04-Oct-14 00:55:46

Lol magrat - I did chemistry, maths and a MFL for A level!

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