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Chemistry A Level - how much harder than GCSE?

(28 Posts)
frace Wed 05-Apr-17 15:07:59

My daughter's teacher has put her off continuing with Chemistry to A Level - saying it's a huge step up, and you'd have to have an A* equivalent at GCSE to even think about it. Any experience of this? Thanks!

Tobolsk Wed 05-Apr-17 15:13:17

Much, DH got a B at GCSE, at ALevel he got a E.

However he works in a chemistry related job in the nuclear industry so hasn't limited him

teta Wed 05-Apr-17 15:28:56

Definitely.Dd got all a*'s at Science gcse's.Chemistry A level is harder than Maths and is much tougher than Biology.I really wouldn't do it unless you have an A* at gcse.

titchy Wed 05-Apr-17 15:48:56

Agreed. Dd had Astar at GCSE and got C at AS.

PoundlandUK Wed 05-Apr-17 15:50:50

Still have recurring nightmares about Chemistry A-level!

catslife Wed 05-Apr-17 16:07:24

Which year is your dd in OP, Y11 or Y10?
I would say that the new 9-1 GCSE is better preparation for the new linear A level than the old A*-C specification.
It also depends on whether the student has taken separate Science GCSEs i.e.Chemistry, biology and Physics (Triple award) or Double award (or equivalent in new GCSE system). I would say A* for Double award (or equivalent) and A for Chemistry/Triple Science (or equivalent) would be suitable grades to progress to A level study.

inspiredbutohsotired Wed 05-Apr-17 16:09:08

Sister is currently at college. She got straight A's at high school. Took biology, chemistry and maths at college - got ABE at AS level. The E was chemistry. It's a huge step up and takes a LOT of work.

frace Wed 05-Apr-17 16:26:33

Thanks, all of you - that's very useful. She's in Year 10, BTW. This has really helped her start to make her decision.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Wed 05-Apr-17 16:38:23

DD got an A* at chemistry GCSE and is sitting the A level in a few weeks. She is finding it a challenge, particularly the organic side. She also does maths, further maths and physics and they are a walk in the park compared to the chemistry.

CottonSock Wed 05-Apr-17 16:39:56

Its hard!

dingit Wed 05-Apr-17 16:47:14

Another vote for hard. Dd is struggling, even though she got an A for her AS, she got a D in her A2 mock.
She wants to do engineering, and needs maths and physics, if she could choose again, she would have done economics, and given chemistry a wide berth. So unless she needs it, tell her to choose carefully!

PollytheDolly Wed 05-Apr-17 16:47:42

It's harder than GSCE and degree chemistry according to my DS. And if she's finding further maths ok then that's a big part of degree chemistry. My DS now got his Doctorate placement for it and he struggled with the A levels maths part. So if that's where your DD wants to go....give it a shot.

Latenightreader Wed 05-Apr-17 16:50:44

I found the practical side easy but the theory was a real struggle. Rules I thought were fixed at GCSE were thrown out of the window at A-Level and I was very confused. However, even though I got a D, I got into an excellent university and my course (archaeology) accepted me partly because of the chem A-level and I found it useful later on.

Maths on the other hand - even though I got a higher grade, that's the one I still have nightmares about.

TheLegendOfBeans Wed 05-Apr-17 16:56:31

It's hard.

The teacher is being unfair saying that. I think a B at GCSE equiv in my day was the "entry level".

I got a B at GCSE equiv and scraped....really scraped the C grade at A level equiv.

Physics felt like a doddle in comparison shock

swingofthings Wed 05-Apr-17 18:03:19

DD got an A at GCSE, is expected an A at A levels, although she is borderline between B and A currently.

She is not finding it that much harder, just that she has to do a lot more work for it.

What are her reasons for already considering studying it at A levels?

swingofthings Wed 05-Apr-17 18:05:21

It does sound like it very depends on the child too. DD is finding Maths and Further Maths easy, even though she was told that it was a big jump at A levels. She finds Chemistry harder than Maths.

TranquilityofSolitude Wed 05-Apr-17 18:07:53

DD is finding it very hard and she did well at GCSE. There's a lot of maths in it. She is the only one who continued to A2 at her school who is not also doing Maths and that is adding to her misery at the moment. It's a shame because it's the one A level she was desperate to do.

hellsbells99 Thu 06-Apr-17 08:28:38

DD1 got an A at GCSE and a B at A level.
DD2 got an A* at GCSE and an A at A level (messed up the practical).
Both found it a big step up but said you just needed to work hard and keep on top of it.

BastardBernie Thu 06-Apr-17 08:33:10

It's much harder, but so much more interesting. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway grin ) you have to really really want to understand and embrace it otherwise it's no fun. At. All.

BarbarianMum Fri 07-Apr-17 01:56:41

It's hard. Which isn't to say she shouldn't attempt it if she enjoys it - far easier to motivate yourself to work at the things you love.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Fri 07-Apr-17 04:31:33

DD did chemistry A level as she thought it would be interesting, and it is. It also kept open the option of a degree in chemical engineering which she was wondering about in Y11. However she will do maths and physics at uni and her offer doesn't require a chemistry grade but she is persevering. Her pride/competitive side will ensure she aims for a top grade.

user1484040234 Fri 07-Apr-17 08:48:14

I would suggest to do it at A level she would need an A or grade 7 at GCSE, same with Maths or Physics.

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Fri 07-Apr-17 08:58:02

I did chemistry A levels many years ago. I still remember panicking before the exams as it was so bloody hard.

Rosieposy4 Fri 07-Apr-17 20:58:44

It really doesn't depend on the child.
Look at the attached pic, this is national data so based on an entire cohort of gcse kids, basically if you do A level chem with a b, more than half of students will end up with a D or less, and this is data based on old spec so does not take into account the students who drop it after AS.

ShootingQuadrantids Fri 07-Apr-17 21:02:44

DS got an A* at GCSE but an E at AS. Decided to drop it for A level and also his dream of doing medicine. From what my son tells me all the A2 students don't hold out much hope of good results this summer.

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