Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hello everyone, first time posting here but I've heard that TSR is a fantastic place for information and advice, so hopefully someone will be able to answer my queries or point me in the right direction for further information. :-)

    I'm not far off turning 24 and I've become increasingly unhappy with what I'm doing over the past 18 months or so. Although IT support was my ideal job when I was at school, I've come to realise that it really is not for me and I want to move on to doing something that I find interesting and challenging. I want to study Computer Science and I find AI fascinating, so my goal is to go to university to study for a degree. However, there is a problem with that.

    When I was at school and college, I didn't really put in any more effort than I had to to get decent grades; I had settled on a particular career and didn't see any reason to push myself at the time. My grades aren't bad at all, but I don't think they are anything special (1 A*, 1 A, 5 Bs and 2 Cs for my GCSEs). I'm certain that had I actually done some proper revision and attended the additional study sessions that my teachers held, I could have improved my grades in most subjects (the exceptions really being Graphic Products, which I only took because my choice of Business Studies was turned down and I didn't want to do Art or Music, and Statistics which I probably should not have taken a year early).

    I understand that I am going to need to get some more qualifications in order to be able to go on to higher education and I am ready to put in the work required for this. I'm just not entirely sure how to go about it. I do know that A Level Maths is pretty much essential and that Further Maths would be of benefit, but from there I'm not sure. Would it be worth doing another two A Levels alongside these (Physics as one, but I don't have a clue what the other could be) or combining them with an Access to HE course in sciences? The latter would have the advantage of getting me back in to a classroom environment, doing coursework and preparing me for that aspect of university, but I'm wondering whether A Levels might prepare me more in terms of the level of material I will need to understand before applying to do a degree. This is an area I could really do with some advice on, especially from those who have already gone through this. :-)

    When it comes to studying A Levels, is it possible to do this as self-learning? Are there appropriate resources available for someone to be able to gain the necessary knowledge and skills for the exams? Would going with one of the various distance-learning providers (Oxford College, ICS, NEC, Further Mathematics Support Programme are some of the ones I've been told to look at as a possibility) be a better option? My initial hope was that there would be some evening classes available at a local college, but that doesn't seem to be the case for any of the ones within travelling distance of where I am.

    Finally, if there's a big difference in the level of achievement between previous qualifications and any that I do now, is this likely to raise questions during the application process? Or will universities mostly be interested in the most recent qualifications I've gained? Apologies if this is a bit of a silly question, but I'm generally unsure of what effect it may have.

    Thanks in advance for any information, it will be greatly appreciated. :-)
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Firstly, unless your plan is to go to Oxbridge or maybe a couple of other elite unis, your GCSEs will not be a problem at all especially if Maths is the A or A*. My GCSEs are almost the same as yours (except with a D for double IT) and I got into Sheffield and Newcastle for CS with no questions asked about them.

    I know almost nothing about Access courses but for A Levels, Maths and Further Maths cover everything you will need. It is definitely possibly to do those as self-learning and as for resources, pretty much all you will need is the course textbooks. Physics and any other A Level with a practical/coursework element (i.e. all of them) will be a more difficult so for that reason, the Access course would be more convenient.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi shyopstv, thank you for the response.

    Although Oxbridge would be amazing (I really love the idea of the college systems in place at both universities), I definitely think I will have to aim lower than that to be anywhere near realistic. My A* is in Business and Communication Systems, the A is in English Lit. and I got a B in Maths, though I should have done better. I'm glad to hear that self-learning the two Maths ones is possible. For the practical and coursework that form part of the other A Levels, I'm guessing that this is is made difficult because a lot of centres aren't always able to provide the necessary facilities for external candidates? If so then yeah, perhaps the Access course would be the better option in that respect. Would Physics be more suitable for CS than anything computing-related at A Level? I don't particularly want to do the latter, but obviously anything that helps my chances would be welcome.

    Does it matter which exam board the A Levels would be taken with? I wouldn't have thought so, but best to check. Also, are there any particular books that are recommended? Just whatever the colleges give to the students to use?

    Cheers.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    it is never to late to pursue your dream, better late than never i say.
    In regards to your qualifications i.e G.c.s.e i think you did really well.. i like the fact that you thought you should have done better it shows massive determination and commitment to your future prospects.
    For computer science, Maths and maybe physics are essential however i don't think most universities look to much into GCSE tbh, but i would advise you to seek a tutor or extra help because it does get difficult along the way.
    imo an access course would be better as it becomes a bit tricky knowing what exams boards to choose since it the sixth form or colleges that make that decision... I may be wrong so do check.
    Good luck
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    What I would suggest is to look into the Uni's that you want to go to, and see what their requirements are for getting on to the course. Some are more than happy to accept an access course, others may want A-levels. When you know then you can start looking into where to study to achieve the right kind of qualifications for your degree.

    I'm doing an access course but there are other mature students at my college studying A-levels as their choice of uni only accepts them so you are able to do either


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    Do you actually want to physically go to uni, or do you want to get a degree? Because you might want to look into the Open University - they don't require any entry qualifications so, if they offer a programme you're interested in, you'd be able to get started without having to do any A-Levels or access course or anything else first...
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Exotica-xo)
    it is never to late to pursue your dream, better late than never i say.
    In regards to your qualifications i.e G.c.s.e i think you did really well.. i like the fact that you thought you should have done better it shows massive determination and commitment to your future prospects.
    For computer science, Maths and maybe physics are essential however i don't think most universities look to much into GCSE tbh, but i would advise you to seek a tutor or extra help because it does get difficult along the way.
    imo an access course would be better as it becomes a bit tricky knowing what exams boards to choose since it the sixth form or colleges that make that decision... I may be wrong so do check.
    Good luck
    Thank you.

    I have considered seeking a tutor as a possible option, though I imagine it depends on how I find the material when I make a start. It's certainly something I'll be keeping on the table, though.

    (Original post by Annabear)
    What I would suggest is to look into the Uni's that you want to go to, and see what their requirements are for getting on to the course. Some are more than happy to accept an access course, others may want A-levels. When you know then you can start looking into where to study to achieve the right kind of qualifications for your degree.

    I'm doing an access course but there are other mature students at my college studying A-levels as their choice of uni only accepts them so you are able to do either


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    Thanks for the reply! I've taken a look at a few universities that I like the look of, and most of them state A Level or equivalent (I think some list the Open University modules MST121 and MS221 as being an appropriate substitute for A Level Mathematics) as a requirement for CS degrees. I'll make sure to look at a few more to see what their requirements are, too.

    (Original post by Persipan)
    Do you actually want to physically go to uni, or do you want to get a degree? Because you might want to look into the Open University - they don't require any entry qualifications so, if they offer a programme you're interested in, you'd be able to get started without having to do any A-Levels or access course or anything else first...
    I definitely want to go to university, not just get a degree. I'd like to get a fresh start, doing something I enjoy. Although doing an Open University degree may get me the degree I would like (I'm not actually sure they do a 'proper' CS degree as such, mind you...), I think I would do much better in a university environment full-time.

    Thank you all for the posts, they have been very helpful indeed.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.