Distance learning without a distance learning company Watch

jckhrrsn
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I need to sit a GCSE Maths exam this summer. I have been studying for it at home for about a month using a textbook but haven't yet enrolled on a GCSE Maths course. This is because I have read about a lot of bad experiences that people have had with 'distance learning' companies; to say the least their courses seem very unorganised and overpriced.

On an old TSR thread i read that "it is quite possible to go completely alone and choose your exam board, use their syllabus, buy any relevant books and use online support such as TSR.". Bypassing these distance learning companies seems like a far better option, but I am unsure of how to do so. I assume that I need a school to organise the exam for me, but is it that simple?

Sorry if I've posted this in the wrong section - I'm new...

Thanks
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Data
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(Original post by jckhrrsn)
I need to sit a GCSE Maths exam this summer. I have been studying for it at home for about a month using a textbook but haven't yet enrolled on a GCSE Maths course. This is because I have read about a lot of bad experiences that people have had with 'distance learning' companies; to say the least their courses seem very unorganised and overpriced.

On an old TSR thread i read that "it is quite possible to go completely alone and choose your exam board, use their syllabus, buy any relevant books and use online support such as TSR.". Bypassing these distance learning companies seems like a far better option, but I am unsure of how to do so. I assume that I need a school to organise the exam for me, but is it that simple?
There is no need to use a distance learning organisation - and even if you do most of them don't help you find an exam centre. If you have taught yourself you need to have been following a specification having picked an exam board (I'd recommend AQA or Edexcel for Maths) and chosen a specification they offer (the current ones will probably be called 'GCSE from 2010' and I'd go for Linear (i.e. 2 exams in the same exam season) if you are a private candidate. There is very little difference between specifications so you may want to find an exam centre (=any secondary school or college) willing to accept you as a private candidate and use the spec they use. All exam board provide advice on their websites to private candidates.

If you want t take exams this summer then the entry deadline is 21 February so you need to get looking for a centre. The actual exam dates are at: http://www.education.gov.uk/comptimetable/ IF you aren't ready for the summer then there is a November option (entry deadline 4 October).
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jamesbell
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Hey Data,

Do you know if the same applies for courses requiring practicals? I'm looking to do AS Biology which has a practical. Not concerned about learning the material on my own but not sure how to arrange practical.

Cheers for an advice,

James


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Data
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(Original post by jamesbell)
Hey Data,

Do you know if the same applies for courses requiring practicals? I'm looking to do AS Biology which has a practical. Not concerned about learning the material on my own but not sure how to arrange practical.
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Again, most of the distance learning courses don't help you find a centre for the practical so doing one is little help for this. Finding a practical centre is difficult and generally expensive - if you look on forum people are quoting £1000 to take both the AS and A2 practical units for an A level by the time they've had to pay for accommodation because they've had to travel. Don't sign up to a course unless you are confident you have a workable plan for the practicals.
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jamesbell
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(Original post by Data)
Again, most of the distance learning courses don't help you find a centre for the practical so doing one is little help for this. Finding a practical centre is difficult and generally expensive - if you look on forum people are quoting £1000 to take both the AS and A2 practical units for an A level by the time they've had to pay for accommodation because they've had to travel. Don't sign up to a course unless you are confident you have a workable plan for the practicals.
Ah right I was under the impression that you had to sign up for a distance course in order to do practical. I do have a number for a test centre that I got from the edexcel website. Ill give them a call on Monday to see what they do. Distance learning course seems like a big waste of money!


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jckhrrsn
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(Original post by Data)
There is no need to use a distance learning organisation - and even if you do most of them don't help you find an exam centre. If you have taught yourself you need to have been following a specification having picked an exam board (I'd recommend AQA or Edexcel for Maths) and chosen a specification they offer (the current ones will probably be called 'GCSE from 2010' and I'd go for Linear (i.e. 2 exams in the same exam season) if you are a private candidate. There is very little difference between specifications so you may want to find an exam centre (=any secondary school or college) willing to accept you as a private candidate and use the spec they use. All exam board provide advice on their websites to private candidates.

If you want t take exams this summer then the entry deadline is 21 February so you need to get looking for a centre. The actual exam dates are at: http://www.education.gov.uk/comptimetable/ IF you aren't ready for the summer then there is a November option (entry deadline 4 October).
Thanks so much! I've arranged a meeting at my old school, they seem very willing to let me take the exam - but only because I'm an ex-student.
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jckhrrsn
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(Original post by jamesbell)
Ah right I was under the impression that you had to sign up for a distance course in order to do practical. I do have a number for a test centre that I got from the edexcel website. Ill give them a call on Monday to see what they do. Distance learning course seems like a big waste of money!
It really does seem like a waste of money. I had to do quite a bit of digging around before I found that you can get a qualification without a distance learning company; they keep this secret well.
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