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    Hi,

    I have recently decided to register for the bachelors in social sciences at the OU. I am planning to graduate within 3.5 years and would like to ask all those with experience the following question… Would it be advisable to take one level 1 and one level 2 course (120 pts.) in both first two years, or rather to do two level one courses in the first year and then two level 2 courses in the second year? By the way I am going to be a fulltime student without a part-time job…

    I hope to hear from you all, thanks in advance.

    Oliver
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    Personally i would just stick to just one course so you can give it your full attention but at the end of the day its how much work you think you can handle.
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    I'm currently doing two level 1 courses and one level 2, 90 points altogether. Bit different for me though since the majority of the level 1 courses is stuff I already have some knowledge of and I haven't had to put much work into it at all.

    In your case though it would probably make more sense to do two level 1s followed by the two level 2s, if that's what you're going to end up taking in the next 2 years anyway (assuming that'll be similar amounts of points each year?), although I guess it depends somewhat on the courses & what your current level of knowledge is.
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    Hi,

    This is exactly what I'm doing

    I've set things up so that when I'm doing the courses that matter the most towards the classification, I only have either simple level 1 courses alongside it, or those compulsories and residentials that only take up a week. This way, I will never have a full year of non stop level 3's or level 2's.

    Taking it further and offsetting the courses between the February and October starts also means no more than 60 points at a time (even though they have to be completed in half the time to prevent overlaps). This way, even if something were to go wrong and an overlap was required, the first starts are so ahead that it isn't a problem.

    This approach also gives time to decide to not take an additional course in an absolute emergency, rather than having to drop it if 120 points all start at the same time and become too much.

    No choice here though as I work 40-50 hours a week and study full time too >.< so this was right at the front of my mind when I created the (evil) plan.

    Short answer, I'd highly recommend shaping your calendar that way if you want to achieve the most in the shortest time in the least stressful and most adaptable manner.

    Just be careful not to jump on a level 3 right off the bat if you're going to do something at level 2 that will help with it.
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    Thx to you all for the quick responses...

    @Moggs: I believed to have understood the OU system yet i am now in a state of slight confusion... I thought there was a specific, preset schedule for each course concearning tma deadlines and the exam date. Are you saying that for e.g d101 (no exam) can be completed within a shorter period of time than that stated in the course description...? If so please elaborate... Sorry dont mean to steal your time, just wish to have as much clarity as possible prior to starting.

    My plan was to begin with d101 in oct. 2010 and then follow up with dd205 (4+ months overlap) in feb. 2011... Better/Alternate solution??

    Peace
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    As a full time student you should be able to manage the workload of 120pts. However, the level of study is more down to your abilities.

    Check out the course prerequisites for the level 2 course, if it doesn't specifically mention having done a level 1 course then you might as well.

    Personally I'm kicking off this degree (Life Sciences) with a level 3 and a level 2 course (90 points) and I work full time
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    (Original post by Oliver P)
    Thx to you all for the quick responses...

    @Moggs: I believed to have understood the OU system yet i am now in a state of slight confusion... I thought there was a specific, preset schedule for each course concearning tma deadlines and the exam date. Are you saying that for e.g d101 (no exam) can be completed within a shorter period of time than that stated in the course description...? If so please elaborate... Sorry dont mean to steal your time, just wish to have as much clarity as possible prior to starting.

    My plan was to begin with d101 in oct. 2010 and then follow up with dd205 (4+ months overlap) in feb. 2011... Better/Alternate solution??

    Peace
    Jumping in here to answer your question: yes, there is a schedule of submission dates for TMAs and the exam (or ECA). I think what Moggs is suggesting is that you can complete the work early if you choose to. However, the problem with that is that you won't get as much benefit from the tutor feedback on your assignments. Maybe I'm misinterpreting Moggs' post though, in which case apologies to Moggs :p:

    In answer to your original question, yes I think it's perfectly possible to do a level 2 in your first year. Also remember that it is not compulsory to do 120 points at level 1. I'm graduating next year with a social science degree and I only did 60 points at level 1 (DD101's precursor, DD100). I don't know what path you're thinking of taking for your Soc Sci degree, but you normally end up with 60 points 'free choice' on top of your 300 compulsory social science points. You could use this 'free choice' to do another level 1 60 point course (the arts one, say) alongside one of your level 3s in your 2nd or 3rd year.

    I think what you do depends on your reasons for wanting the degree and your future plans. If you are doing the degree primarily for its own sake, or if you want to go on to postgrad study afterwards, you might decide another level 3 course is a more attractive option rather than a second level 1 course. The good thing is that OU study is flexible so you can leave such decisions until later.
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    (Original post by Oliver P)
    @Moggs: I believed to have understood the OU system yet i am now in a state of slight confusion... I thought there was a specific, preset schedule for each course concearning tma deadlines and the exam date. Are you saying that for e.g d101 (no exam) can be completed within a shorter period of time than that stated in the course description...? If so please elaborate... Sorry dont mean to steal your time, just wish to have as much clarity as possible prior to starting.

    My plan was to begin with d101 in oct. 2010 and then follow up with dd205 (4+ months overlap) in feb. 2011... Better/Alternate solution??

    Peace
    No worries

    The overlap is whatever you wish it to be, especially if there is no exam. The TMA's are available in most cases right from the start of the course. The deadlines are the latest you can submit them, and there are earlist submit dates in some cases, however there is no earliest that you can complete them. For example, I finished a TMA two weeks ago for a course I started in October. Cut off date for that TMA is June this year. It'll just sit here until it's time to submit.

    This means that if you're studying a 60 pointer but full time, going by the 8 hours per 30 points recommendation from the OU (though some have stated that's often a big overstatement) you'll be able to complete it in about four and quarter months.

    So,

    October -> Begin DD101
    60 points, recommended 16 hours per week for 8.5 months.
    Instead, dedicated 32 hours per week for 4.25 months
    Complete all TMA's before next course start
    It's level 1 and does not affect your classification

    February -> Begin DD205
    60 points, recommended 16 hours per week for 8.5 months.
    Dedicate 16 hours to remainder of DD101 and 16 hours to DD205
    When DD101 is complete, dedicate 32 hours per week to DD205
    Finish late July/early August
    Level 2 so does count towards classification. Prioritize and use substitution rule for remaining DD101 if required.

    August & September
    Light, structured revision for DD205 exam
    Recharge your batteries

    October 2011 -> begin again
    Make use of the level 1's and low time investment residential schools in order to make space for revision.
    Pick up half of your L3 requirement for Feb start post DD205 exam

    October 2012 -> final round
    Make use of the level 1's and low time investment residential schools to go alongside remaining level 3's, again ensuring you begin with the easier remaining courses in October to allow for fast completion and time for revision from your 2011 round.

    If times get tough for whatever reason and this becomes too much, choose to take on 30 points in February instead of 60. Assuming you're studying full time, this will only extend your degree by about 2.5 months every time you do this (subject to start dates)

    ==> Profit

    It's worth paying close attention to course reviews when planning which of your courses to take when to gauge which will be time consuming and which will not as level isn't always a good indicator.

    The above is my plan applied to your courses, though I haven't dug into the details of your choices so it'll probably require tweaking on your part. Nothing a pencil, some paper, getting intimate with the qualification planner in your StudentHome, and lots of scribbles won't sort out though :yep:

    I've seen quite a few people doing the social sciences courses around here too, so it might be useful to get their feedback on which courses are the most time consuming to help prioritise and order your modules.

    :woo:

    Edit - as above, Luninpooter is spot on that you won't be able to rely on feedback from any TMA's but the earliest ones, as you will have finished them too early to take criticism in to account. Bit of a drawback there. It is possible to just store and don't submit, which still leaves you with the option of editing before you submit based on the gradual trickle of feedback. I have found however that once you've mastered one TMA, the basics are the same for the rest. This may not be the case for Social Sciences, but I'm not qualified to comment on that

    Edit 2 - holy tl;dr batman.
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    Just a couple of soc sci specific points to add to your advice there Moggs. There are no longer any soc sci residentials (unless you're studying psychology) and few short courses on offer. Doing B06 - BSc/BA (Hons) Social Science - is normally going to involve doing 6 x 60 points. You could make up the 60 points 'free choice' with short courses or residentials though, I suppose. The start dates on offer are odd too: at the moment there aren't that many October starts on offer (although this might change). So anyway, my advice to the OP would be to have a long, careful look at the courses on offer and make a plan as Moggs has done. Something like:

    Year 1 - DD101 + DD205

    Year 2 - 1 x Level 2 (Oct start if possible) + 1 x Level 3 (Feb start if possible)

    Year 3 - 1 x Level 3 + 60 points free choice at whatever level/discipline you like

    The workload on year 2 will be immense, but it is doable. If you're overlapping I'd avoid any level 3 courses that have a double-length, double-weighted TMA in the middle, nicely coinciding with your level 2 exam ... I made that mistake myself
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    (Original post by lupinpooter)
    Just a couple of soc sci specific points to add to your advice there Moggs[...]
    Ah the strange nuances of social sciences - over my head :p:

    That looks like a nice 3 year plan though :yep:
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    (Original post by Moggs)
    Edit - as above, Luninpooter is spot on that you won't be able to rely on feedback from any TMA's but the earliest ones, as you will have finished them too early to take criticism in to account. Bit of a drawback there. It is possible to just store and don't submit, which still leaves you with the option of editing before you submit based on the gradual trickle of feedback. I have found however that once you've mastered one TMA, the basics are the same for the rest. This may not be the case for Social Sciences, but I'm not qualified to comment on that

    Edit 2 - holy tl;dr batman.
    :yep:

    It is a drawback: I think it's important to get the feedback from at least the first couple of TMAs so that you know you're on the right track, otherwise you could end up having to do the work twice :eek: I certainly wouldn't like to try doing this at level 3, to be honest.

    Having said all this, I'm a crap person to be giving advice because I tried overlapping courses (DD201 and D318) in 2006/2007 and I hated it, ended up dropping D318 because I felt so burned out after the DD201 exam, and realised that doing two courses per year was ruining the whole learning experience for me (I like to have time to do extra reading and I'm totally anal about my TMAs). But I know people who have done 120 points per year, including one person who did two level 3s at once and got a distinction in both. So it's definitely doable!
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    Thx a lot once again, to say the least your responses have been very helpful. Im gonna start another thread in order to find out the least/most time consuming courses for the BA in soc sci. according to those with experience...

    My plan for now is as follows:

    Year 1 - D101 + Level 2
    Year 2 - Level 1 + Level 2
    Year 3 - Level 3 + Level 3 (Non overlapping... gonna take 6 months longer but will obviously be less of a hassle...)
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    Don't take level 2 math courses that require level 1 knowledge unless you have it. It's a bad idea. I've got a TMA sheet on my desk proving it.
 
 
 
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