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Can I pay for my GCSE'S as a mature student without undertaking two years of study?

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    Hey, I'm 20 years old and lack any decent formal qualifications (various GCSEs at around grade E) I'm interested in doing my GCSEs or any other equivalent qualifications. I am however unemployed and therefore lack the funds to do a full course at my local college centre. So I was wondering if anyone had any information on whether you can just pay individually to sit GCSE examinations without having to do a 2 year course or a fast-track course (ie, study independently at home and supplying self with own resources through libraries, revision sites, appendixes, previous specifications). If anyone has any information on how to go about entering exams not through a formal course it would be much appreciated. I'd like to know which examining boards would allow this, fees, how to go about applying to take exams in a centre etc.

    I am also interested in any information anyone may have on open access courses: how much they cost, where they can be done, duration etc.

    I live in N.E Lincs where there are two colleges and a university centre.

    Any information you can supply would be much appreciated, thank you
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    Hello Josh. Does your college not offer a one-year GCSE program? I am currently enrolled onto one of these. Also, have you spoke to the college? I know it differs from one institution to the next but my college does not charge me any fees for my place on the course and I am 24 and work part-time. Most colleges wave fees if you are on JSA or unemployed, I think. Also, GCSE courses such as the one I am on do not run over 2 years; we condense the material down into one academic year as it would take too much funding to run it over 2. Completing GCSEs in one year is also completely manageable.

    Regarding examinations then yes you have to find a local college or school that will take you as a private candidate and then contact the exam board I believe, although you would have to research this as I have never sat an exam as a private candidate.
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    (Original post by eirnjosh)
    Hey, I'm 20 years old and lack any decent formal qualifications (various GCSEs at around grade E) I'm interested in doing my GCSEs or any other equivalent qualifications. I am however unemployed and therefore lack the funds to do a full course at my local college centre. So I was wondering if anyone had any information on whether you can just pay individually to sit GCSE examinations without having to do a 2 year course or a fast-track course (ie, study independently at home and supplying self with own resources through libraries, revision sites, appendixes, previous specifications). If anyone has any information on how to go about entering exams not through a formal course it would be much appreciated. I'd like to know which examining boards would allow this, fees, how to go about applying to take exams in a centre etc.

    I am also interested in any information anyone may have on open access courses: how much they cost, where they can be done, duration etc.

    I live in N.E Lincs where there are two colleges and a university centre.

    Any information you can supply would be much appreciated, thank you
    Hi Josh

    You can take GCSE at any age. To be a private candidate you need to find a centre that will accept you for your examinations. This is easier said than done. Try your old school or college they may help you. AQA and Edexcel have ok lists of schools and colleges that accept private candidates but the lists can be out of date and you would have to phone around till someone says yes.

    You have missed the deadline for entry into June 2012 exams. This means you would have to be a late entry this increases the cost as the examination boards double their charges to the centre. Note on 21st April the charges go up again to the very late fee bracket.

    The other area you may have a problem is with coursework, you may be able to carry grades across from previous years but trying to get new coursework authenticated and marked as a private candidate is a minefield. You may find IGCSE an easier option as they can be done without coursework

    Hope this is helpful
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    Hi, I did an Access to Higher Education course last year and I can't say enough good things about it! It's a one year, part time course, when I enrolled (and as far as I know it's still the same) you don't have to have any previous qualifications and you don't have to pay for it. I don't think all colleges do them so you'd have to phone around to find out, but I'd definitely recommend this route.

    http://www.accesstohe.ac.uk

    Good luck

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Updated: March 19, 2012
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