Advice Regarding Access Courses Watch

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Jiraya Sama
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Hi everyone - much of the information in this thread is now outdated. Please see this thread for more up to date information on Access courses: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=3401311

Sorry that I have already posted this in another thread, however I am sure most people would benefit from this post on a new thread, if they do not get to see it elsewhere.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi,

All the advise I am about to give you, is most likely what you will not want to hear however it is probably the most honest answer.

Access courses are rewarding, and are great, ONLY if you are consistent, work hard and want to achieve. They are not their for a quick short cut to university, if you want to go to university to study anything less academic grades required (Not medicine/dentistry/health), then I would suggest studying a BTEC level 2/3, in which you can have plenty of help from the teachers and trying to get many distinctions to get to university.

If your still reading this post and thinking, I am dedicated, motivated and I am willing to work hard throughout the year, then please read on.

I will give you the example of myself, I am studying an Access course this year and have applied to university for September. I think I read, that you wanted to apply for Law at university, so this will be most relevant to yourself, seeing as I have also applied to study Law at university.

In my college, they're are 27 units that are taught across from September to July (we finish in May, and if you are up to date, in which you should be). They're are 3 credits per unit. 27 units x 3 = 81 credits in total. 23 of them units are taught at level 3, and 4 units at taught at level 2 (maximum grade is level 2).

Some colleges have 6 credits per unit, or even 9, however in them colleges, not every unit will amount to them high amounts of credits, best way to think about it, the more credits, the harder the work (even though you still have to study really hard to get distinctions/merits at 3 credits a piece).

To pass an access course, you will need 45 of them credits at level 3 (15 units, if we are going by my college), and 15 credits at level 2, minimum. Anything less and you will not pass the access course. Units can come in the following grades, : Referral (Fail), Level 2, Level 3 (Pass, Merit, Distinction). To get a level 3 Pass, you just need to attend college and pay attention/understand the work and finish your assignment. To get a level 3 Merit, you need to do all the things for a Pass INCLUDING Extra research, working in depth or breath. To get a level 3 Distinction, you need to do all the things for a Pass & Merit INCLUDING all extra sources of information, working in depth AND breath, knowing all the various types of cases out their and to work beyond the call of duty.

SOME university courses, require you to only have a pass and that is fine. However you can still get an offer for a pass from a university and then aim for Merits & Distinctions to put on your CV, maybe for a bursary at that university.

Law LLB, depending on where you want to study WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE at university just on a pass. Some university's ask for a pass INCLUDING 18 credits at Merit (6 units at Merit). Then you will have the redbrick/ Russell group university's such as University of Birmingham asking for a pass INCLUDING 30 credits at Distinction (10 units at Distinction) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units at Merit).

To put the University of Birmingham offer into context, a typical offer for Law LLB last year with A levels was AAA, and this year it has stayed the same. Last year's Law LLB offer for access courses was, 24 credits at Distinction (8 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units). If we call them grades an equivalency of AAA. This year's offer is, 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units). Then the equivalency of these grades to A level will probably be A*AA?. All this is not even accounting to the LNAT test which is required to receive an offer from 10 redbrick/Russell group universities.

It is very TOUGH. When we started off the year, there was 35+ people in our class and there was a 2nd list of people who were substitutes in case people dropped out. 6 weeksish we have left and we have only 6 people left. Seriously, it is tough.

Many of my friends have applied to University of Birmingham like me, (staying in Birmingham because of family/work commitments as usual mature students), and they have offers like 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and they currently have only 12 credits at Distinction (4 units). Because it is too late towards the end of the year, they have wished they could go back and redo work to the best of their ability.

If you are still going to apply to an Access Course, here are some top tips for you guys.

TOP TIPS

1)Make a list of all the courses you wish to do
2)Ring all the universities you wish to attend and inquire about their courses
A)Ask them, If I am studying an Access course in .... (Combined Studies?), then how many credits, grades will I require to study my chosen degree?
B)Ask them, Will I be required to take any external exams, which will not be supplied on my Access course, (For Law, LNAT Exam, which has nothing to do with Access course)? and what grade will I need for that? If so, what deadline will I have to achieve this by?
C)Ask them, Will I need GCSE's alongside my Access course? Science? English? Maths? Will I need 5 GCSE's above C? (For teachers, you will need C in Maths & English, if you want to do an Education degree I believe)
D)Ask them, Do I have to study a specific Access course? or can I study a generic Access course? (For health related studies, you need to study a health related Access course due to the information related degree, however for Law, there is Access to Law, but you do not need any Law information to study a Law degree (just like A level students)
3)Ring your college and ask them, if they tailor your access course to any degree subjects?

4)Make a monthly routine, NOW before you start college in September, to see how it feels like when you are a student. Monday-Friday 9.00am-3.00pm, are you free? or are you always doing something, which when September comes up, you can't be doing because you will be in college. Can you sort out school runs, because you have children to pick up and drop off and your college does not cater to start after 9.15am and finish before 3pm.
5)Read up, write a report yourself on anything, anything your interested in, so when you start in September, you aren't boggled in which way a PC starts.
6)If you are not computer literate, get your family members to show you a few tips and tricks on how to make a Word document, Excel document, Powerpoint document. People on my course depending on getting Distinction grades in ICT modules and they have never used a PC before/struggling to login with their details.

Access course's DONT DO GCSE's, they do equivalents, they are like half GCSE's. However, if you find this information out prior, then you could maybe do a night class, to get the grades you require.

Everyone loves Access courses because you can complete the course in a year and then get to university, without the ALTERNATIVE ROUTE of studying 3/4 A levels across 2 years. But do you realise, that means you will be studying and handing in 5 to 6 assignments in 1 go EVERY 5-6 weeks.

E.g, I am towards the end of my assignment and this is how my current week went.

Monday AM - English Report (4000 Words)
Monday PM - English Literature (Powerpoint Assignment)
Tuesday AM - Psychology Report x2 (3500 Words)
Tuesday PM - Maths Report x4
Thursday AM - Biology Exam
Thursday PM - ICT Reports x2

You will have an average of 4/5 weeks to slowly get work done, and then you will have a headache/stressful week of handing things in. IF YOU ARE LAZY/NOT STUDYING and prefer to do "All nighters/night before" then you will have a stressful year. Believe Me.

Sorry for scaring you all away, off an Access course. I have read all the comments on this thread, and all the other threads related to an Access course over the course of the year and have not found "real" information, that I have stated and if it is said, it is not emphasized.

To get all my Good karma back;

If you need help related to an Access Course, Feel free to message me,
If you need help related to an application to study Law at university, Feel free to message me,
Anything about what ever I messaged above, good or bad feedback, I welcome them.

P.S, if someone disagrees, or wants to neg, please quote and post anything I have said, which is wrong.

Thanks, Peace. Hopefully I have informed you with the correct information to make a correct decision which will affect your future.
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Bunnyjo
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Good post Jiraya.

I am currently studying a HEFC Access to Combined Studies course that is accredited by Northumbria University. Our course is structured differently; we choose 3 subjects and they are worth 18 credits each, with the final 6 credits being Toolbox (a portfolio reflecting what kind of learner you are, how you have done throughout the course and proof of your ability to present on a variety of formats/subjects, self edit work etc - the whole portfolio is in excess of 200 pages!). The subjects are, as said previously, worth 18 credits each and these are divided into Unit 1 and Unit 2 - both worth 9 credits each.

All our units are at level 3 and the requirements for each unit/subject vary - some are an essay/project and end of unit exam, whereas some are all essay/project/portfolio based.

The work is indeed intense. I have studied A Levels, albeit in 1995-97, and I do have to admit the breadth of the Access syllabus is smaller... BUT the depth/level of work required is the same as A Levels and the intensity of work/study is greater than A Level study. The syllabus is smaller because the course is 1yr as opposed to 2yr - it would be impossible to condense the breadth and depth of A Level study into 1yr.

I have firmed an offer from Newcastle for Biomed (Medical Studies, deferred option to be precise) and I require ALL 60 credits at distinction. Whilst I'd have loved some of the offer to be credits at merit level, it goes to show that Access does rank alongside more traditional qualifications and are considered as such by Russell Group universities.

Good luck to anyone considering an Access course. Whilst the work is intense, I would highly recommend them - if you are committed to studying to a high level, and are willing to put in the hours required to self study and complete assignment work, then an Access course is ideal. If you assume that it is an easy way to get to university that takes half the time of A Levels/BTec, then an Access course is not the course for you.
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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by Bunnyjo)
I have firmed an offer from Newcastle for Biomed (Medical Studies, deferred option to be precise) and I require ALL 60 credits at distinction. Whilst I'd have loved some of the offer to be credits at merit level, it goes to show that Access does rank alongside more traditional qualifications and are considered as such by Russell Group universities.

Good luck to anyone considering an Access course. Whilst the work is intense, I would highly recommend them - if you are committed to studying to a high level, and are willing to put in the hours required to self study and complete assignment work, then an Access course is ideal. If you assume that it is an easy way to get to university that takes half the time of A Levels/BTec, then an Access course is not the course for you.
Thank you for posting.

Yeah I agree, Access courses are not for the faint hearted or for the Lazy to have a short cut into university. Usually short cuts are easier and simpler, an access course is actually harder than A levels in terms of revision/deadlines and amount of work which needs to be done. Typically you have an exam in January & July & maybe 1 or 2 assignments per A level, however in Access you have 6 pieces of work, every 6 weeks.

I have received an offer from University of Birmingham, for 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units) to study Law. Hopefully going to be firming them.

I have already got 18 credits at Distinction (6 units) and 9 credits at Merit (3 units). Working my ass off trying to get the rest of the grades (4 units at Distinction & 2 units at Merit).

Good luck to both of us.

Biomed :cool:
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jami74
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(Original post by Jiraya Sama)

I have received an offer from University of Birmingham, for 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units) to study Law. Hopefully going to be firming them.
Congratulations on your offer. I have to agree that the access course was pretty intense. Offers from universities (for pharmacy) were between 30 and 60 distinctions with some stating nothing below a merit. The access course I did also had exams, I'm just mentioning this because time and time again I see people posting here that access courses don't have exams.

The other benefit to working hard on the access course is that it really does help when you get to university. I'm realising now that some of the stuff I covered on access was close to university level and because I worked hard to understand it last year it has made things easier this year.

Although the level and quantity of work is greater at university there is far less intensity in semester 1 as there isn't the constant assignment deadlines. Also, without the need to aim for distinctions all the time it is very easy to become lazy.
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she-theFaceICan'tForget
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(Original post by Jiraya Sama)
Sorry that I have already posted this in another thread, however I am sure most people would benefit from this post on a new thread, if they do not get to see it elsewhere.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi,

All the advise I am about to give you, is most likely what you will not want to hear however it is probably the most honest answer.

Access courses are rewarding, and are great, ONLY if you are consistent, work hard and want to achieve. They are not their for a quick short cut to university, if you want to go to university to study anything less academic grades required (Not medicine/dentistry/health), then I would suggest studying a BTEC level 2/3, in which you can have plenty of help from the teachers and trying to get many distinctions to get to university.

If your still reading this post and thinking, I am dedicated, motivated and I am willing to work hard throughout the year, then please read on.

I will give you the example of myself, I am studying an Access course this year and have applied to university for September. I think I read, that you wanted to apply for Law at university, so this will be most relevant to yourself, seeing as I have also applied to study Law at university.

In my college, they're are 27 units that are taught across from September to July (we finish in May, and if you are up to date, in which you should be). They're are 3 credits per unit. 27 units x 3 = 81 credits in total. 23 of them units are taught at level 3, and 4 units at taught at level 2 (maximum grade is level 2).

Some colleges have 6 credits per unit, or even 9, however in them colleges, not every unit will amount to them high amounts of credits, best way to think about it, the more credits, the harder the work (even though you still have to study really hard to get distinctions/merits at 3 credits a piece).

To pass an access course, you will need 45 of them credits at level 3 (15 units, if we are going by my college), and 15 credits at level 2, minimum. Anything less and you will not pass the access course. Units can come in the following grades, : Referral (Fail), Level 2, Level 3 (Pass, Merit, Distinction). To get a level 3 Pass, you just need to attend college and pay attention/understand the work and finish your assignment. To get a level 3 Merit, you need to do all the things for a Pass INCLUDING Extra research, working in depth or breath. To get a level 3 Distinction, you need to do all the things for a Pass & Merit INCLUDING all extra sources of information, working in depth AND breath, knowing all the various types of cases out their and to work beyond the call of duty.

SOME university courses, require you to only have a pass and that is fine. However you can still get an offer for a pass from a university and then aim for Merits & Distinctions to put on your CV, maybe for a bursary at that university.

Law LLB, depending on where you want to study WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE at university just on a pass. Some university's ask for a pass INCLUDING 18 credits at Merit (6 units at Merit). Then you will have the redbrick/ Russell group university's such as University of Birmingham asking for a pass INCLUDING 30 credits at Distinction (10 units at Distinction) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units at Merit).

To put the University of Birmingham offer into context, a typical offer for Law LLB last year with A levels was AAA, and this year it has stayed the same. Last year's Law LLB offer for access courses was, 24 credits at Distinction (8 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units). If we call them grades an equivalency of AAA. This year's offer is, 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units). Then the equivalency of these grades to A level will probably be A*AA?. All this is not even accounting to the LNAT test which is required to receive an offer from 10 redbrick/Russell group universities.

It is very TOUGH. When we started off the year, there was 35+ people in our class and there was a 2nd list of people who were substitutes in case people dropped out. 6 weeksish we have left and we have only 6 people left. Seriously, it is tough.

Many of my friends have applied to University of Birmingham like me, (staying in Birmingham because of family/work commitments as usual mature students), and they have offers like 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and they currently have only 12 credits at Distinction (4 units). Because it is too late towards the end of the year, they have wished they could go back and redo work to the best of their ability.

If you are still going to apply to an Access Course, here are some top tips for you guys.

TOP TIPS

1)Make a list of all the courses you wish to do
2)Ring all the universities you wish to attend and inquire about their courses
A)Ask them, If I am studying an Access course in .... (Combined Studies?), then how many credits, grades will I require to study my chosen degree?
B)Ask them, Will I be required to take any external exams, which will not be supplied on my Access course, (For Law, LNAT Exam, which has nothing to do with Access course)? and what grade will I need for that? If so, what deadline will I have to achieve this by?
C)Ask them, Will I need GCSE's alongside my Access course? Science? English? Maths? Will I need 5 GCSE's above C? (For teachers, you will need C in Maths & English, if you want to do an Education degree I believe)
D)Ask them, Do I have to study a specific Access course? or can I study a generic Access course? (For health related studies, you need to study a health related Access course due to the information related degree, however for Law, there is Access to Law, but you do not need any Law information to study a Law degree (just like A level students)
3)Ring your college and ask them, if they tailor your access course to any degree subjects?

4)Make a monthly routine, NOW before you start college in September, to see how it feels like when you are a student. Monday-Friday 9.00am-3.00pm, are you free? or are you always doing something, which when September comes up, you can't be doing because you will be in college. Can you sort out school runs, because you have children to pick up and drop off and your college does not cater to start after 9.15am and finish before 3pm.
5)Read up, write a report yourself on anything, anything your interested in, so when you start in September, you aren't boggled in which way a PC starts.
6)If you are not computer literate, get your family members to show you a few tips and tricks on how to make a Word document, Excel document, Powerpoint document. People on my course depending on getting Distinction grades in ICT modules and they have never used a PC before/struggling to login with their details.

Access course's DONT DO GCSE's, they do equivalents, they are like half GCSE's. However, if you find this information out prior, then you could maybe do a night class, to get the grades you require.

Everyone loves Access courses because you can complete the course in a year and then get to university, without the ALTERNATIVE ROUTE of studying 3/4 A levels across 2 years. But do you realise, that means you will be studying and handing in 5 to 6 assignments in 1 go EVERY 5-6 weeks.

E.g, I am towards the end of my assignment and this is how my current week went.

Monday AM - English Report (4000 Words)
Monday PM - English Literature (Powerpoint Assignment)
Tuesday AM - Psychology Report x2 (3500 Words)
Tuesday PM - Maths Report x4
Thursday AM - Biology Exam
Thursday PM - ICT Reports x2

You will have an average of 4/5 weeks to slowly get work done, and then you will have a headache/stressful week of handing things in. IF YOU ARE LAZY/NOT STUDYING and prefer to do "All nighters/night before" then you will have a stressful year. Believe Me.

Sorry for scaring you all away, off an Access course. I have read all the comments on this thread, and all the other threads related to an Access course over the course of the year and have not found "real" information, that I have stated and if it is said, it is not emphasized.

To get all my Good karma back;

If you need help related to an Access Course, Feel free to message me,
If you need help related to an application to study Law at university, Feel free to message me,
Anything about what ever I messaged above, good or bad feedback, I welcome them.

P.S, if someone disagrees, or wants to neg, please quote and post anything I have said, which is wrong.

Thanks, Peace. Hopefully I have informed you with the correct information to make a correct decision which will affect your future.

Thanks for the post! I think many people, myself included, have some idea how hard it will be but obviously it's always far more intense when you actually start.

I've heard that there's quite a high drop out rate from Access courses, do you find this to be true?
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TheMagicRat
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(Original post by she-theFaceICan'tForget)
Thanks for the post! I think many people, myself included, have some idea how hard it will be but obviously it's always far more intense when you actually start.

I've heard that there's quite a high drop out rate from Access courses, do you find this to be true?
I think my class started with about 30 people in it and around 5 or 6 have officially dropped out, while another 7 or 8 are rarely seen and hand in hardly any assignments.
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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by jami74)
Congratulations on your offer. I have to agree that the access course was pretty intense. Offers from universities (for pharmacy) were between 30 and 60 distinctions with some stating nothing below a merit. The access course I did also had exams, I'm just mentioning this because time and time again I see people posting here that access courses don't have exams.

The other benefit to working hard on the access course is that it really does help when you get to university. I'm realising now that some of the stuff I covered on access was close to university level and because I worked hard to understand it last year it has made things easier this year.

Although the level and quantity of work is greater at university there is far less intensity in semester 1 as there isn't the constant assignment deadlines. Also, without the need to aim for distinctions all the time it is very easy to become lazy.
Thanks.
I know someone in my class with an offer from Psychology, from Uni of Birmingham, she is required to get 30 credits at Distinction (10 units), so there is quite a few subjects which do require quite a few Distinctions/Majority or all of them.

Yeah, I think I am better off doing an Access course to prepare me for university for a non-related subject at degree level than A levels, pressure wise.

Thanks for posting.
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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by she-theFaceICan'tForget)
Thanks for the post! I think many people, myself included, have some idea how hard it will be but obviously it's always far more intense when you actually start.

I've heard that there's quite a high drop out rate from Access courses, do you find this to be true?
Yeah, it is quite intense when you start. The thing people also do not realize is that, the teachers do not HELP you with the assignment, they will explain the assignment brief on what you need to cover, but all of the work is done yourself. One chance to get your Distinction/Merits.

I can only speak on my own experience;

30+ Started the course, and there was a 2nd list of prospective students to join if anyone dropped out.
A few people dropped out after the first few modules.
A few more dropped out after Christmas holidays.
A few more dropped out after half term holidays.
Then there was 8 students left.
4 of them, never come to class and hand in the work.
3 of them, never worked hard from the beginning and will not be going to their FIRM chosen university due to not getting the grades.
1 of the students, is trying to get the few remaining credits to get into their FIRM choice of university/course.

Pretty much that's whats happened throughout the year.

You have got to be focused from the beginning, and if you want to go to your chosen university and succeed, you can't start focusing half way through the course when half the assignments are done/finished.

Thanks for posting, as long as you follow a few of the tips I have posted, you should be fine.
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taniacr
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Can you re- sit units in an access course? I would like to do law at university but I'm worried that this may not work for me because I do a lot better in exams than course work, I'm even considering doing 2 A-levels i 1 year as I am already doing 1 this year so maybe that could work better for me i don't know this is such a hard decision :s


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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by taniacr)
Can you re- sit units in an access course? I would like to do law at university but I'm worried that this may not work for me because I do a lot better in exams than course work, I'm even considering doing 2 A-levels i 1 year as I am already doing 1 this year so maybe that could work better for me i don't know this is such a hard decision :s


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Hiho,

I have already posted the advice, your question on another thread, however because I am trying to give as much advise as I can on this thread regarding Access courses, I will post it again here.

---------------------------------------------------------------

I will give an example, to hopefully give a better understanding. You receive an offer from a University which requires you to have 45 credits at Distinction/Merit (15 units) and 15 credits at level 2.

Resits
If you get a level 3 the first time round. A Pass, then you can not resit again to get a Merit or Distinction. Whatever grade you get on the first time above Level 3, Pass/Merit/Distinction can not be retaken to get a better grade.

If you get a Pass, you are stuck with a Pass. If you get a Merit, you are stuck with the Merit. Etc.

If you get a Referral, then you only have one chance of resitting the unit, however you will only get a maximum of a Level 3 Pass, if you complete the work. Even if its Merit/Distinction level, you will be capped at a Level 3 Pass. This rule is also the same, if you get a Level 2, the first time round.

If there is a deadline, say Monday 9am and you have gone past that deadline, you are capped at a Level 3 Pass, even if its Distinction/Merit Level.

Resits are capped at one other try. MAXIMUM. If you get a referral first time round and you still do not research/evaluate/etc and get a referral the second time. That's the permanent mark for that unit.

It is pretty much, work your ass off the first time around.

Thanks for posting, hope that clears things up.
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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by taniacr)
Can you re- sit units in an access course? I would like to do law at university but I'm worried that this may not work for me because I do a lot better in exams than course work, I'm even considering doing 2 A-levels i 1 year as I am already doing 1 this year so maybe that could work better for me i don't know this is such a hard decision :s


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Advice in regards to Law is that, it is entirely your choice. I can pick a few pointers which give benefits to Access courses as well as negative points.

If you do an Access course (feeling ambitious to apply to Oxford/Cambridge), all universities do accept Access courses now, so you don't need to fret that you will not have a chance. Just need to work hard.

There are exams in Access courses but are not relied upon like A levels. In A levels, you study your ass off all year and then you do 2 exams per year, and you depend on them exams to be AAA over the 2 years to gain entry into a university to study Law, average offer.

However with assignments, you will get an assignment brief, telling you what your essay/report needs to include, take it home and write the report up over a few weeks. With essays you are relying on your brain to remember all the information, so if you have an eidetic memory and you can remember everything, then that's great.

If you are studying an Access course, you will be showing skills on your personal statement, like time keeping, deadlines and working on pressure to keep to deadlines which maybe are not emphasized as much during A levels. I can be wrong, but I have done A levels in the past, and I found A levels to be less stressful than the Access Course.

With Access course, you can count all your units and devise a plan in the subjects which are your strengths and work out which units you can achieve Distinctions/Merits which are required.

At the end of the day, its all up to you. Personally, I would find it easier for me to get the 30 credits at Distinction (10 units) and 15 credits at Merit (5 units) with an access course, than try my luck at getting AAA at A levels.

But that's me.

Thanks for posting, hopefully I have helped. If you need anymore help, don't be afraid to ask.
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taniacr
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Thanks that was really useful ive been thinking for months and researching everything to get some more information. So can you re-sit units or not?


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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by taniacr)
Thanks that was really useful ive been thinking for months and researching everything to get some more information. So can you re-sit units or not?


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Check 2 posts up or click on

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...9#post42309309

Hope that helps
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taniacr
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Oh sorry i just saw ur other answer haha


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Jiraya Sama
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(Original post by taniacr)
Oh sorry i just saw ur other answer haha


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No problem.
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becs0511
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Hey this is my access story if any one is interested, I have posted on other threads similar content (sorry if I repeat myself) I studied access to combined studies (Humanities) where there were four substantive subjects (sociology, psychology, history and eng literature) each was made up of three modules worth three credits each = 36 credits at level three. I also had to do study skills, two modules at level 2 and one at level three (again the level three worth 3 credits) also as I done my gcse's over 10 years ago I had to do modules at level two in math and Ict, which you could do at level three if you wish. I also had to do an end of tear extended essay (which was much more than an essay, you had to include plans, research, action plans, literature reviews) that is worth 9 credits at level three, and then finally an oral presentation also worth 3 credits at level three. It is not an easy option, there was about 40 pieces of work to do, it was a mixture of exams, orals, discussions, essays and reports. (you will be a pro at Harvard referencing by the time you have finished) Expect the course to take over your life, we had around 10 people drop off the course because they could not keep up. A lot of universities will require an over all pass (this is because the access course never used to b e graded it used to be pass or fail and few universities have yet to realise that it now has different grades...I know this because I done the access course 10 years ago when it was still on the old format and dropped out then because of the intensity) More established and well known uni's or russel group uni's will rewuire higher grades. I applied to five and all but one wanted just a pass, however Cardiff which was my firm wanted 21 distinctions (I got 30, and this was through pure hard work. Good luck to any one finishing or strting, I
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Jiraya Sama
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#17
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#17
Just to update people who are following.

Only a handful of people passed the course. Besides myself, no one else managed to get into their FIRM place of study, due to not having enough credits at Merit/Distinction.

One person, had the same offer as me, for the same course and managed to only get one module at Distinction, in context, she needed another 9 and 5 Merits.

I achieved the Access Course to Combined Studies with;

30 Credits at Distinction (10 Modules),
15 Credits at Merit (5 Modules),
12 Credits at Pass (4 Modules),
12 Credits at Level 2 (4 Modules - Maths grades are capped at level 2).

Thanks for reading.

Hope you guys have a good time on your access course, and those who have finished this year, congratulations.
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Schadenfreude65
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#18
Report 5 years ago
#18
Congratulations Jiraya Sama.
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gogobmn
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#19
Report 5 years ago
#19
Thought I'd post my thoughts on Access to Higher Education.

I did Northumbria Uni's A2HE course, the HEFC, through Newcastle College. Northumbria's version results in two essentially identical qualifications: the HEFC, and the QAA-recognised A2HE Diploma (which is what unis ask for).

HEFC works on the idea of "pathways" (subject selections suitable for a particular type of uni subject choice). I took the Science and Engineering pathway, which was Physics, Maths Studies or Quantitative Methods (simpler maths focused more on statistics), and ICT or Chemistry. Each subject is split into two separately-graded units, both worth 9 Level 3 credits, loosely corresponding to the AS and A2 syllabuses. The first units end around Christmas, and each subject gets four hours a week of class time (you're expected to put another four hours a week in on revision). Each unit has at least one piece of graded coursework, and one exam at the end of the unit, the results of which are combined to give your grade for that unit (either Pass, Merit or Distinction).

The final subject is called Toolbox, worth 6 Level 3 credits. Early in the year Toolbox is focused primarily on the process of applying to uni. Later on it becomes a study skills class revolving around producing a portfolio of work (some of which can be taken from the other subjects), which is then graded.

Each piece of coursework is graded against multiple criteria such as quality, understanding, application of knowledge and other such abstract notions. Typically there are four criteria for coursework, and if there are multiple papers the grades are averaged to give your total set of coursework grades. Exams are worth three grades, but each grade is the same based on your score. All your grades are then put together in order of achievement (e.g. PPMMDDD), and the median, or middle grade, is your final grade. This does mean that technically, as long as you pass your exam, you can secure a Distinction from coursework alone.

Both coursework and exams also have a set of Assessment Criteria, which are things you must do or show knowledge of in order to pass. In an exam, strictly speaking, you can get almost every question correct, but if you fail an AC, you fail the exam. You must have a P/M/D for every grade to pass the unit. If you don't, you get one opportunity to resubmit your coursework or resit the exam.


Okay, now to my experience!

Seems to be a recurring theme that A2HE is oversubscribed - that was also the case for me. We started with around 40 people, which was eventually split up into two groups for Physics and Toolbox (the other subjects, being optional, had one large group), and a handful of others joined after a few weeks, so I'd estimate around 50 total.

In Toolbox, the tutor was... somewhat knowledgeable about the UCAS process, but not particularly. It was clear that the tutors for Toolbox are taken from other subjects (in my case, English). I'd recommend that anyone applying to uni do their own research as well - I got a personal statement guide book out of the library. After the UCAS section, it became the class that no-one could be bothered to go to, and the class itself suffered as a result. There was a whole lot of "do this because we tell you to" content, along with the group presentation project, but in the end the portfolio isn't difficult to put together, and the best thing to do is just get it done. The tutor in my class was surprisingly enthusiastic, though I know another class got someone that really didn't want to know. I think we got the better end of the deal.

To me, the subjects (in my case, Physics, Maths and Chem) began at a very fast pace. The basic idea for each piece of the syllabus is to have a quick GCSE-level refresher, then move on to A-Level content immediately. Maths did this slightly differently by dedicating the first few classes to GCSE-level content, due to the necessity of knowing the fundamentals. In Chem and Maths, the pace was unrelenting at first - a lot of the Chem content I only really understood half a year later, and Maths would often cover more than one section in a single class. The Maths tutor called the schedule "manic" on more than one occasion, and a couple of times an entire section was assigned as homework with no guided hours. With both of those subjects, the primary issue was absolutely lack of time, and the resulting rushing through it. While Chem's pace let up eventually, Maths didn't. At all. If you missed a class, you read that section in your own time or you were in big trouble.

Coursework assignments were up to the tutors' discretion, and all of them handled it differently. Chem was one large assignment with a long deadline, and Physics two medium sized assignments with short deadlines. Maths Unit 1 had three short assignments with short deadlines; Unit 2 was a group assignment. There were a lot of resubmissions, and in the exams a lot of fails. Over half of the Chem class failed the Unit 1 exam first time.

I'd estimate a little over half of the class dropped out over the course of the year. When you consider that these are people that made the conscious choice to go back into education, and not people doing it for the sake of it (such as a lot of A-Level students), that's a hell of a lot. A2HE is tough. It may be a cut-down set of A-Levels, but it's done in less than 36 weeks, and it's aimed at people that finished with their GCSEs sometimes over 10 years ago. You will not be eased into it, and it doesn't get much easier.


Unis are gradually becoming more accepting of A2HE, and most unis now have some knowledge of it. I was told last year that Oxbridge explicitly doesn't accept it, though that may have changed since. My experience was that the unis I applied to knew of it, but didn't know all that much about it. A number of my classmates had to send information about the course, or direct the admissions tutors to their Toolbox tutor. I had to explain the basic structure of the course in one of my interviews.

From a grades perspective, A2HE grades are not as good as A-Level grades (I'd personally put Distinction between A and B), and a uni swamped in AAA predictions will likely bear that in mind. I was predicted DDDDDDD (and got it ) and got rejected from Durham. They may just have not liked my PS though

On the other hand, admissions tutors are specifically instructed by QAA not to give conditional offers of 45 (or more) Distinction credits, due to the fact most A2HE students are going back into education and may not get good grades early on. My typical offer (equivalent to AAB - I'm not in a competitive subject) was 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits, which seems to be the standard for a high offer. If you can get an offer like this, and you have the motivation, it can be quite easy to meet it. Many of the better unis, however, make specific offers such as getting Distinctions in certain subjects, which can be harder to meet.

In my opinion, A2HE is a good route if you are intelligent and motivated, and want to go to uni. You must be willing to put the hours in, though, and responsibilities such as work will get in your way big time. If not, or you want to go to a very competitive uni/subject, you'd probably be better off taking your time with A-Levels or BTECs.
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Mazda323
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#20
Report 5 years ago
#20
Hie guys

I have got 27 credits at Distinction and 12 credits at merit. Do I have any chance at a Russell Uni? Do I have to start my Access Course again to get into a Russell group uni?

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