If you have an inclination to enrol in a Chemistry degree at university, I would recommend the course at Plymouth wholeheartedly. Going through A-levels, I was never brilliant at exams. I didn't like being under pressure and having all of my progress decided on by the final exam, rather than how I did throughout the year.
So, when looking for a university I decided that I wanted the course to be very engaging. I wanted to focus on practical skills for the later workplace, as well as course work which I could do at my own pace. I looked at several courses at several different universities, but Plymouth's Chemistry course really stood out. This was due to the very high focus on practical skills, along with the preparation it gives you for the working world.
Since I started Chemistry at Plymouth, I have learnt more lab etiquette than I did at A-level. I've also learnt the theory of a reaction, which I've then carried it out in a lab setting using the theory knowledge. This theory tells me what should happen and why, which I prefer in comparison to just doing the practical because it is on the syllabus, which is what it felt like during A-levels.
My hope in taking a more practical based course is that I would be able to more definitively decide on which part of Chemistry I wanted to take further and build my career around. I feel like I have a better chance of deciding which path to take if I can do as much practical hands on work as possible, as that’s an aspect you can’t read about online or gain from by being talked at in a lecture theatre.
Another thing which drew me to this particular Chemistry course was the focus on individual work. The work load in terms of coursework is not huge, but the ability to get a large amount of marks is there - you just have to make sure that you put the effort in. Help is there from the lectures’ or the PALS (second years assigned to help out first years) if you need it. It's mostly just trying to complete the lab reports or summarisation, along with the other coursework you are set. This steady all-year work is my preferred method to achieving my degree rather than an emphasis on revision throughout the year, which all builds to a crescendo where your entire grade is decided.
This staggered approach to work also gives me plenty of time for other hobbies, and the focus on course work allows me to feel less guilty for doing said hobbies rather than 24/7 revision that I probably should be doing. It allows for a little less stress incorporated into the university experience!