JoelTheJaffaCake
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So, I really haven't been enjoying A-Levels so far, and I really dislike my 6th form. I like learning in my own way, and I think I'd be doing better and I think I'd be enjoying myself more if I were to teach myself the A-Levels I'm doing at home from the textbooks I already have and from other resources off of the internet (it's full of videos and worksheets nowadays).

I'm currently studying History, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. You can sit them all as an external candidate, but I'd have to go into a school or college (possibly my own) to do practicals for Biology and Chemistry and to sit the actual exam. I was thinking of doing Chemistry and Maths in my school still, and just Biology and History outside of school, but the head of my 6th form won't let me do that - if I want to do any at home, I'll have to do them all at home.

I don't see any problems that would arise from doing this, because all of the material I need to learn is available from the textbooks I have already purchased. However, I don't want to make the wrong decision here. I have been thinking about this for weeks now, and I'm getting really stressed out over it. I want to know if anyone else has done this and succeeded, and whether or not other people think this is a good idea.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

JoelTheJaffaCake
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twisted
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I go to a pretty bad sixth form so I am practically self teaching my a levels, but i'm pretty sure this goes for anyone else doing a levels since it really is independant learning.

if you think you can cope, go for it but be realistic with yourself
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Circa1801
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I felt the same way as you after my first set of A-Level January exams (back when we had them), but I decided to stay on. Even now I am not sure I could have achieved the same results I did if I had studied independently.

It depends on the person you are, if you get easily distracted and often procrastinate, it's not a good idea. Getting up and going to college gives you a sense of purpose and the push from teachers can actually be a good thing.

Besides, the social aspect of a college is a great thing too, I would probably have been a complete introvert without it, and thats no use even if your grades are incredible!

Hope this has been of some help
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Davalla
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(Original post by JoelTheJaffaCake)
So, I really haven't been enjoying A-Levels so far, and I really dislike my 6th form. I like learning in my own way, and I think I'd be doing better and I think I'd be enjoying myself more if I were to teach myself the A-Levels I'm doing at home from the textbooks I already have and from other resources off of the internet (it's full of videos and worksheets nowadays).

I'm currently studying History, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. You can sit them all as an external candidate, but I'd have to go into a school or college (possibly my own) to do practicals for Biology and Chemistry and to sit the actual exam. I was thinking of doing Chemistry and Maths in my school still, and just Biology and History outside of school, but the head of my 6th form won't let me do that - if I want to do any at home, I'll have to do them all at home.

I don't see any problems that would arise from doing this, because all of the material I need to learn is available from the textbooks I have already purchased. However, I don't want to make the wrong decision here. I have been thinking about this for weeks now, and I'm getting really stressed out over it. I want to know if anyone else has done this and succeeded, and whether or not other people think this is a good idea.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

JoelTheJaffaCake

Chemistry, Biology, Maths, and History are pretty time consuming subjects, are you sure you are capable of doing them alone (I'm not assuming that you're not, by the way)?

Science subjects are controversial as to wether they are good choices to study externally. Yes- you may be taught about practical procedures in a revision guide, but you will undoubtedly get more practice at the sixth form. That would be the main thing to consider.

I know how you feel about sixth form being a relative 'waste of time', and I'm guessing the head of sixth told you that it's all or nothing to persuade you to stay on. Is it too late for you to take two subjects at a different college, and self study another two? (Probably is).

To sum up; the subjects that you chose are fairly complex even with support, it's up to you to choose wether you are ready.
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anunoriginaluser
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This is a really personal question, just like "can I get As at A-Level" or "can I _____" or "should I ________" - There's no objective answer and noone on this forum can give you an answer better than you.

Having said that, make sure to take into account how motivated you are. Could you really do the hours of work required alone with no classroom discipline assisting you? Without the pressure of occasional tests & the like? Are you able to mark your own work honestly and objectively?

Ultimately, the biggest thing would be motivation. I know I for one would end up slacking off and then getting into a routine habit of doing very little and then try to cram it a month before the exams; only you can know how you would deal with it.
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Compost
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(Original post by JoelTheJaffaCake)
I'm currently studying History, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. You can sit them all as an external candidate, but I'd have to go into a school or college (possibly my own) to do practicals for Biology and Chemistry and to sit the actual exam. I was thinking of doing Chemistry and Maths in my school still, and just Biology and History outside of school, but the head of my 6th form won't let me do that - if I want to do any at home, I'll have to do them all at home.

I don't see any problems that would arise from doing this, JoelTheJaffaCake
If you enter for the exams as a private candidate then you have to find somewhere willing to accept you and then pay to take them. Don't count on your current centre saying yes - check before you leap.

Finding a centre. Very few centres accept private candidates and far, far fewer accept them for Science practical units. You may have to travel a considerable distance (50-100 miles or more) to find a centre that let's you take the practical units.

Paying for the exams. The actual exam fees are £35-£45 per AS, but almost all centres add on an amount for their admin - £50 per standard exam unit seems about standard, but look around at threads on there and you will see that students pay £100s to take the Science practical units.
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JoelTheJaffaCake
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I think I'd be motivated enough to do the work - I'd just get stressed if I didn't, so I'd force myself to. I'd probably need something to follow though, like a schedule of what to learn each day. I was thinking of making a timetable of work including a small test each day. I'd do the work for the day and then I'd do all of the practice questions in the textbook and mark them. Would this work? As for the practicals, that's the only thing that's really bugging me. I could ask if I could go in and practice them at my school or a college when it gets closer to the time I need to do them. Both my Biology teachers and my Chemistry teachers were planning on doing them at the end of the year - so I've got time to practice. Also, I was wondering if there was any way I'd be able to send work off and have it marked - would a private tutor be willing to mark essays for history if I paid them?

Thanks for all the advice so far,

JoelTheJaffaCake
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Davalla
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(Original post by JoelTheJaffaCake)
I think I'd be motivated enough to do the work - I'd just get stressed if I didn't, so I'd force myself to. I'd probably need something to follow though, like a schedule of what to learn each day. I was thinking of making a timetable of work including a small test each day. I'd do the work for the day and then I'd do all of the practice questions in the textbook and mark them. Would this work? As for the practicals, that's the only thing that's really bugging me. I could ask if I could go in and practice them at my school or a college when it gets closer to the time I need to do them. Both my Biology teachers and my Chemistry teachers were planning on doing them at the end of the year - so I've got time to practice. Also, I was wondering if there was any way I'd be able to send work off and have it marked - would a private tutor be willing to mark essays for history if I paid them?

Thanks for all the advice so far,

JoelTheJaffaCake
I'm pretty sure that a sixth form isn't going to allow you to practice practicals after you have left them! Private tutors would usually mark your essay, etc, - if you can afford it.
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andyf95
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I Retook my exams externally last year, went from CCD to BBB (maths, chem and bio), best decision I made, you have to be very determined to work however.
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MouseyBrown
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I have just finished studying four AS levels at home, as well as a bunch of IGCSEs.

Firstly, it is definitely possible to learn everything to just as good a standard as you would as school. Some people don't seem to realise the wealth of help and support out there. Find a syllabus and recommended books and you will be fine, and past papers, examiners reports and mark schemes are all available. Basically, all the things that schools have, you can have to.

BUT - I have also been lucky enough to have some personal tutors. As I get to the end of each mini section of a course I write an essay and go through it with them. They will also be invaluable for marking past papers.

So, I like home study. It can drive you a bit nuts sometimes, but it's fine. But if I didn't have a teacher to bounce ideas of and make sure I am on the right track, I probably wouldn't feel as confident about things.
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JoelTheJaffaCake
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(Original post by MouseyBrown)
I have just finished studying four AS levels at home, as well as a bunch of IGCSEs.

Firstly, it is definitely possible to learn everything to just as good a standard as you would as school. Some people don't seem to realise the wealth of help and support out there. Find a syllabus and recommended books and you will be fine, and past papers, examiners reports and mark schemes are all available. Basically, all the things that schools have, you can have to.

BUT - I have also been lucky enough to have some personal tutors. As I get to the end of each mini section of a course I write an essay and go through it with them. They will also be invaluable for marking past papers.

So, I like home study. It can drive you a bit nuts sometimes, but it's fine. But if I didn't have a teacher to bounce ideas of and make sure I am on the right track, I probably wouldn't feel as confident about things.
How did you go about getting a personal tutor and how did you communicate with them - face-to-face or via email? As well as that, did you have to do any practicals for your A-Levels, and if so, how did you find them?

Thanks for your reply.
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grassntai
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(Original post by Compost)
If you enter for the exams as a private candidate then you have to find somewhere willing to accept you and then pay to take them. Don't count on your current centre saying yes - check before you leap.

Finding a centre. Very few centres accept private candidates and far, far fewer accept them for Science practical units. You may have to travel a considerable distance (50-100 miles or more) to find a centre that let's you take the practical units.

Paying for the exams. The actual exam fees are £35-£45 per AS, but almost all centres add on an amount for their admin - £50 per standard exam unit seems about standard, but look around at threads on there and you will see that students pay £100s to take the Science practical units.
For AS Maths it'd be £150 to sit externally? (C1,C2 and S1)
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MouseyBrown
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I spent ages looking into it and in the end used Keystone Tutors, who have been really good. All my AS levels have been humanities, so no practicals to worry about. I actually did History, too (I think I saw you are taking History?).

I mean, I have told you all this, but I haven't actually sat my exams yet! If I get all Cs then ignore everything I have said.

To be honest, the tutors are not cheap - about £70 an hour. But I would say one session at the end of each topic is enough, and I have found them more than worth the money. My History teacher has been brilliant. For example, Stalin is divided into four mini sections, so I would do an essay on the 'Stalin's rise to power' bit, and go through that. You may not even feel the need to do that. Most important, I would say, is to have somebody to mark past papers for you when the time comes. Having said that, having a tutor has helped me improve as I go, and stamp out bad habits early.

Teachers are helpful, but the materials themselves are ALL available outside school. There are tonnes of good books etc.
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radicalboujie
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Hey I was in your position mid September and quit college to self teach myself biology chemistry and RS alevels
It was mostly because I have crappy teachers who speak to us like we're in gcses and also my college is 2 hours away and I feel like I waste my time in college for 5 hours learning absolutely nothing, then to come home knackered too tired to study. A cycle.
But 2 months self teaching and im already ahead with my work and it's going great for me.
I'll be done with all my units by December Nd have 4 Months of preparation for exams and retouch topics I don't understand.
All I'm saying is you won't regret it

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(Original post by grassntai)
For AS Maths it'd be £150 to sit externally? (C1,C2 and S1)
The prices vary enormously between centres (there are various threads on here about it) so it depends what you can find - £30 or less a unit will be a bargain. As an example, David Game College in London charges £80 a unit but is already full for Maths and Further Maths for next summer so they clearly haven't priced themselves out of the market.

p.s. The exam board prices will double after 21 February (and then treble later) so make sure you et anything sorted well in advance of that.
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JoelTheJaffaCake
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(Original post by radicalboujie)
Hey I was in your position mid September and quit college to self teach myself biology chemistry and RS alevels
It was mostly because I have crappy teachers who speak to us like we're in gcses and also my college is 2 hours away and I feel like I waste my time in college for 5 hours learning absolutely nothing, then to come home knackered too tired to study. A cycle.
But 2 months self teaching and im already ahead with my work and it's going great for me.
I'll be done with all my units by December Nd have 4 Months of preparation for exams and retouch topics I don't understand.
All I'm saying is you won't regret it

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Great! Thanks for the reply! As you're taking Biology and Chemistry, you're in a similar boat to me. What are you planning on doing with regards to your practicals?
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JoelTheJaffaCake
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(Original post by MouseyBrown)
I spent ages looking into it and in the end used Keystone Tutors, who have been really good. All my AS levels have been humanities, so no practicals to worry about. I actually did History, too (I think I saw you are taking History?).

I mean, I have told you all this, but I haven't actually sat my exams yet! If I get all Cs then ignore everything I have said.

To be honest, the tutors are not cheap - about £70 an hour. But I would say one session at the end of each topic is enough, and I have found them more than worth the money. My History teacher has been brilliant. For example, Stalin is divided into four mini sections, so I would do an essay on the 'Stalin's rise to power' bit, and go through that. You may not even feel the need to do that. Most important, I would say, is to have somebody to mark past papers for you when the time comes. Having said that, having a tutor has helped me improve as I go, and stamp out bad habits early.

Teachers are helpful, but the materials themselves are ALL available outside school. There are tonnes of good books etc.
Thanks for the info. I'll speak to my careers advisor tomorrow about private tutors and what my options are regarding them etc. I'll mention Keystone Tutors to her and see what she has to say! Thanks again for all you've had to say.
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emilyjaaayne
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I actually had to self teach each unit one of 3 out of 4 of my A-levels and I did not achieve as well as I would have if I had the teaching, and I did as much as I possible could. Your exams will be a good couple of hundred pounds if you sit them externally (exam boards have their charges and centres may charge you extra, I'm paying £100 in resits alone) and I personally don't think it is worth it. For the sake of 2 years is worth going into sixth form and putting in your own extra efforts to be able to do what you want in the future, I don't see it as worth the risk. I was also ahead with my self teaching but you can not teach yourself exam structure, skills and interpretation and that is such an important aspect of your studies.
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radicalboujie
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(Original post by JoelTheJaffaCake)
Great! Thanks for the reply! As you're taking Biology and Chemistry, you're in a similar boat to me. What are you planning on doing with regards to your practicals?
Well 20 mins away there's a private school that took me on for practicals and all my exams. But they charged £1,300 added extra for admin work. I think you're best bet is finding private colleges as they don't have any restrictions but must have deadline for the end of may to pay fees. Btw practicals are £250 each one

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