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Courses I'm really struggling

  1. Jan 3, 2017 #1
    I've just started my AS levels at a new school in a different area. My previous school was a pretty average state school and my new school is incredibly competitive which is a massive shock to the system (I've gone from being one of the top students to a little fish in a big pond ahaha). I was originally planning on studying physics or a joint physics and politics or philosophy at uni but I'm finding the AS physics course really difficult. I've not got on too well with my teacher and i find the atmosphere in the class in a bit unfriendly and competitive. I understand the concepts well but I'm struggling to apply them in questions and I'm struggling with some of the maths of the course (even though I'm doing well in my maths class). I'm beginning to think that I'm going to fail the subject at worst and at best do considerably worse in physics than in my other subjects. Should I drop physics and just focus on my other courses?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2017 #2
    No. Dont drop A level physics, it will cut you out of engineering, most science and even some math courses for university.

    I was like you, I went from an even worse school with these gcses:

    A* AAA BBB C
    and got this at AS LEVEL
    A* BBCC - Economics maths physics english and chemistry. respectively
    and got this at A2 level:
    A*BC - Economics maths physics. School wasn't to interested in me doing chemistry and english after getting a C!

    What were your gcses? Do you feel like you learned something in gcses? I sturggled because I never learned anything during gcses and found it hard, like you, to apply the concepts. Mathematical thinking requires flexibility and awareness of how the concepts relate to each other. I will try to write up a list of skills I wish I had before entering a levels, but heres the current advice for you:

    1. Download the syllabus for your a levels, for CIE they called it the learner guide. They list the content you need to know. KNOW THIS inside out.
    2. Start doing more and more questions and thinking more about what you dont understand throughout the day, very important in math IMO.
    3. Start doing past papers as early as possible, go through them at least for now.
    4. GCSES don't really prepare you if you dont do well in them. and if you do badly in them usually you do badly in as and a levels too. people with all A*s in gcses got All A*s in a levels too. But no one with a record like mine got more than one A* FOR THE MOST part.

    The competitive atmosphere is a good thing, because even though my grades were pathetic the school I went to and lot of personal issues I had, would have meant I wouldve barely passed if not for competitive atmoshpere.

    Also note a levels are a standard across which everyone is measured, so doing well in them ensures you go to a good school, and doing badly in them means you might not go to the school you want, and university gets even harder and the content is less organised for you. Better prepare yourself to work hard and stay on top of things mentally, university is 10x harder.

    edit: Number 4 wont apply if you work harder, smarter, longer etc.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  4. Jan 3, 2017 #3
    Thanks :)
    At GCSE I got A* AAAAAAABB I think and I did AS level Philosophy and Ethics alongside this and got a B. GCSEs were alright, I found my science-y classes interesting but humanities was so basic and formulaic that they drained my will to live. I think at GCSE I only revised the stuff I wasn't so good which was a bit of a mistake (the two B's were actually my best subjects - Comp sci and further additional science)

    My revision style for GCSE was basically making a big poster with everything i needed to know for a test the night before and if I didn't do well on the test I would take it home and analyse exactly where I went wrong and then make sure I didn't make the same mistake twice. At my new school, we're not allowed to take our tests home or to take pictures of the paper so this technique is obviously not going to work any more!

    I'll take your strategy on board - thanks for the help :)
  5. Jan 3, 2017 #4
    You could find that as you study these things your desire changes and you want to do something else, maybe due to new interest, or evem employability!:-)

    Physics and maths are essential for most degrees in science. That's why we dont recommend it, and with such stellar grades in gcses you will be fine if and only if you work harder. these math websites may help as they helped me for a level:

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