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Fast track A levels

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    Hi there, I'm new to this forum. Im 29 years old currently serving in army. I planning to do fast track A levels in Math, Further Maths and Physics. That means i have to finish my AS levels in Jan and A2 in June 2013. I want to study Engineering in Cambridge. So need good grades in my A levels(A*AA). My question is has anyone had past experience of doing A levels as a private student?
    How hard did they find it?
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    (Original post by Amit1207)
    Hi there, I'm new to this forum. Im 29 years old currently serving in army. I planning to do fast track A levels in Math, Further Maths and Physics. That means i have to finish my AS levels in Jan and A2 in June 2013. I want to study Engineering in Cambridge. So need good grades in my A levels(A*AA). My question is has anyone had past experience of doing A levels as a private student?
    How hard did they find it?
    A friend of mine did them privately and got on far better than when he was at school. He did have a brilliant tutor at the time though.

    I think you should probably be fine, looking back at them I think I over exaggerated the difficulty of them, which is definitely to do with age. If you don't have too many distractions and have good focus (don't procrastinate consistently) and good motivation I believe those skills are more useful then if they are difficult to do or not. I reckon anyone could pass an A level with a decent mark so long as they worked well for them and learnt the material.

    If you struggle, look for a decent tutor to help you through them. Once you've got the A levels then that's where the hard bit starts as Cambridge is the best for engineering in the country
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    (Original post by PatrickC)
    Once you've got the A levels then that's where the hard bit starts as Cambridge is the best for engineering in the country
    Cheers for your reply mate. I know getting into Cambridge is not easy at all. But if i will consider leaving my current job which is paying me decent wages, i would not settle for anything less than Cambridge. Even if that means i have to wait for an extra year to sort out my GCSE and get extra A levels.
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    I'm on the same track as you, but I'm 17 and have failed my AS year; so I have decided to fast track A levels as well. I also want to apply to Cambridge at some point. (I will also be doing Further Maths and Physics, as well as Computing)
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    (Original post by Amit1207)
    Cheers for your reply mate. I know getting into Cambridge is not easy at all. But if i will consider leaving my current job which is paying me decent wages, i would not settle for anything less than Cambridge. Even if that means i have to wait for an extra year to sort out my GCSE and get extra A levels.
    I'm only 19 and I won't pretend to have the maturity or the life experiences of someone your age, but I will say that I think you should think more about what the right choice for you is...
    Firstly if you like your job and it's giving you decent money then why quit? If you don't like your job then I don't think you should simply say 'Cambridge or nowhere'. Engineering is a hugely tough course and any of the top universities for engineering are incredible places to come out with a degree from. I'm at Nottingham studying mechanical engineering at the moment and I could've applied to Cambridge or Oxford or those places but I didn't like them, and at the end of the day, is a degree from those institutions better?

    Academic wise, maybe marginally although at the end of the day how good you are in engineering is down to yourself because you get very little help and are expected to be able to learn independently. In terms of getting a good job after, engineering companies know where the best places are so you won't have to worry about the "oxbridge" being so incredible hype that some people have. Secondly if you decide not to go into engineering then when you apply to a different job they will see you have done it and it will make you highly employable, wherever you got the degree from.

    If you think getting a degree from Cambridge is the be all and end all then go for it. However I would suggest you look around other top engineering universities, see which ones you like the most and go for it. University is about far more than just a degree, for mature students too.
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    (Original post by PatrickC)
    I'm only 19 and I won't pretend to have the maturity or the life experiences of someone your age, but I will say that I think you should think more about what the right choice for you is...
    Firstly if you like your job and it's giving you decent money then why quit? If you don't like your job then I don't think you should simply say 'Cambridge or nowhere'. Engineering is a hugely tough course and any of the top universities for engineering are incredible places to come out with a degree from. I'm at Nottingham studying mechanical engineering at the moment and I could've applied to Cambridge or Oxford or those places but I didn't like them, and at the end of the day, is a degree from those institutions better?

    Academic wise, maybe marginally although at the end of the day how good you are in engineering is down to yourself because you get very little help and are expected to be able to learn independently. In terms of getting a good job after, engineering companies know where the best places are so you won't have to worry about the "oxbridge" being so incredible hype that some people have. Secondly if you decide not to go into engineering then when you apply to a different job they will see you have done it and it will make you highly employable, wherever you got the degree from.

    If you think getting a degree from Cambridge is the be all and end all then go for it. However I would suggest you look around other top engineering universities, see which ones you like the most and go for it. University is about far more than just a degree, for mature students too.
    I know what you are saying mate. I like my job, but there is a harsh reality, which is it gives me sense of security, it make me look smart (purely cause I'm doing it for a while) in front of others but also it keeps me in my comfort zone. I want to get educated and for me its now or never kind of thing. So im gone roll the dice and take my chance.

    Im trying for Cambridge cause its the best out there and in the end goal is something to aim at.
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    Hi, not meaning to sound funny or anything but cambridge is incredibly hard to get in to. They dont just look at your grades people who have had eight a star gcses and six a star alevels have been rejected from their and other top universitys as they dont make offers on grades alone, im not saying that your not clever or anything but it would be a good idea to aply to a few more unis other than cambridge
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    (Original post by Frazeled)
    Hi, not meaning to sound funny or anything but cambridge is incredibly hard to get in to. They dont just look at your grades people who have had eight a star gcses and six a star alevels have been rejected from their and other top universitys as they dont make offers on grades alone, im not saying that your not clever or anything but it would be a good idea to aply to a few more unis other than cambridge
    Being 29 year old with previous jobs I hardly think GCSEs are going to matter with a mature student.


    (Original post by Amit1207)
    I know what you are saying mate. I like my job, but there is a harsh reality, which is it gives me sense of security, it make me look smart (purely cause I'm doing it for a while) in front of others but also it keeps me in my comfort zone. I want to get educated and for me its now or never kind of thing. So im gone roll the dice and take my chance.

    Im trying for Cambridge cause its the best out there and in the end goal is something to aim at.
    Well fair enough but if I were you I'd aim at being the best engineer out there, not the best educated engineer out there (which will still be marginally better than other places like Imperial college, Southampton etc). At the end of the day the career at the end of the degree is more important isn't it?
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    (Original post by Frazeled)
    Hi, not meaning to sound funny or anything but cambridge is incredibly hard to get in to. They dont just look at your grades people who have had eight a star gcses and six a star alevels have been rejected from their and other top universitys as they dont make offers on grades alone, im not saying that your not clever or anything but it would be a good idea to aply to a few more unis other than cambridge
    I will apply to Oxford, Imperial and LSE. Im under no illusion that even after my best effort Cambridge can reject me or there are smarter people out there. But i want to try and i want to try my best. If that means i have to study hard and make sacrifices, I'm willing to do that.

    But you made a valid point, cheers.
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    (Original post by PatrickC)
    At the end of the day the career at the end of the degree is more important isn't it?
    True. If you read my previous post you will understand i will be applying to other universities.
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    (Original post by Amit1207)
    True. If you read my previous post you will understand i will be applying to other universities.
    Sorry mate but the post about Oxford Imperial and LSE was after mine so didn't see it..

    It's good that you're applying to other uni's, I wasn't aware the LSE or Oxford were any good for engineering (although I did see they were top on one league table. In contrast here's another league table. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...ng-mechanical-

    Rather than using one website to see which is the best (as your applied universities are all the top ones from that particular league table) I'd suggest shopping around a bit more, looking on the internet etc and asking anyone you know who is an engineer. Also Unistats is a great website for comparing courses from different universities.

    Good luck with your applications mate
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    (Original post by el pollo diablo)
    You cannot apply to both Oxford and Cambridge as a first time undergrad.
    Good point! forgot that!!

    And yes too true maths goes out of your head if not practised even in weeks.
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    (Original post by Amit1207)
    I will apply to Oxford, Imperial and LSE. Im under no illusion that even after my best effort Cambridge can reject me or there are smarter people out there. But i want to try and i want to try my best. If that means i have to study hard and make sacrifices, I'm willing to do that.

    But you made a valid point, cheers.
    Just thought id add that if you want to get a feel of what it would be like studying at cambridge and would like to meet some of their tutors and take part in some lectures thencambridge do a mature learners weekend every summer for adult learners who are going to be applying for cambridge i hear there really fun
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    (Original post by Amit1207)
    I will apply to Oxford, Imperial and LSE.
    As above, you can't apply to both Oxford and Cambridge. Also, LSE do not offer engineering or a similar course and given the nature of the top universities you're aiming for it would be near impossible to submit a competitive application to largely differing courses.

    (Original post by Frazeled)
    Just thought id add that if you want to get a feel of what it would be like studying at cambridge and would like to meet some of their tutors and take part in some lectures thencambridge do a mature learners weekend every summer for adult learners who are going to be applying for cambridge i hear there really fun
    Would absolutely recommend this! I had a blast; I met some amazing people and you really do get a good insight into the process If you're going this year hope you have as good a time as I did!
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    (Original post by Amit1207)
    Hi there, I'm new to this forum. Im 29 years old currently serving in army. I planning to do fast track A levels in Math, Further Maths and Physics. That means i have to finish my AS levels in Jan and A2 in June 2013. I want to study Engineering in Cambridge. So need good grades in my A levels(A*AA). My question is has anyone had past experience of doing A levels as a private student?
    How hard did they find it?
    Hey, it's really good to see a fellow service man wanting to furthur his education I'm currently serving aswell and looking to furthur my studies aswell as i'm leaving soon to either do a He access Science course or A levels. Currently studying in my own/spare time on the job, maths, Chemistry and biology to prepare myself.

    Have you consider doing an access course? It's one year long and a really good option for mature students (21+)...

    I'm currently sticking to doing the access course but still thinking of doing A lvls, but the thing is i really don't want to wait the extra year.....sigh
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    (Original post by uninspirational)
    Also, LSE do not offer engineering or a similar course and given the nature of the top universities you're aiming for it would be near impossible to submit a competitive application to largely differing courses
    True, luckily i figure that out early. It is almost impossible to get an offer if you apply in two different discipline. I will concentrate on enginering only and will apply to Aeronautical or Electronics engineering courses only(as my trade is a mixture of both).
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    (Original post by Wild Horses)
    Hey, it's really good to see a fellow service man wanting to furthur his education I'm currently serving aswell and looking to furthur my studies aswell as i'm leaving soon to either do a He access Science course or A levels. Currently studying in my own/spare time on the job, maths, Chemistry and biology to prepare myself.

    Have you consider doing an access course? It's one year long and a really good option for mature students (21+)...

    I'm currently sticking to doing the access course but still thinking of doing A lvls, but the thing is i really don't want to wait the extra year.....sigh
    Hi mate, i haven't looked in to access course yet. Im concentrating on A levels at the moment, and it is hard work at times when you are working.
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    Don't mind me asking but how will you get access to a fast track course?

    Will you be doing it online? Can you let me know as I'm looking for one but cannot find one
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    I'm thinking of doing similar... Leaving a well paid job and aiming for Cambridge (but I will apply to other unis too as it's bloomin' hard to get in!)

    Who are you doing your fast track A levels with?

    How are you managing with work and A levels? I'm planning on staying full time at work and doing these in my spare time. Just wondering how other people are getting on!
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    (Original post by pukka)
    Don't mind me asking but how will you get access to a fast track course?

    Will you be doing it online? Can you let me know as I'm looking for one but cannot find one
    The national extention collage do fast track alevels

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Updated: October 13, 2013
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