Access Course and Degree foundation year Watch

DBrown67
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Hi there

I'm just about to apply for an A2HE course in Science. I eventually want to study either Mechanical Engineering or Chemistry at uni, but of course that is well into the future.

I've been told I would need to start on the Access foundation year to get 5x GCSE passes before I actually start the main course. (So it would be 2 years)I do have some old 'O' levels from years ago and it seems these don't count now? I can't prove them anyway LOL.

Also, what is the main Access year like compared to a foundation year at uni? Are they similar? If I complete an Access course do I still need to do a university foundation year?

I'm just a bit confused with the plethora of different courses available.
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SP195
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I am starting Access soon, O levels do count from what I've gathered after going to a few colleges for Access information evenings. I know that Lewes in Hove definitely do. As long as you have certificates for it, you should be alright.

Most places require a GCSE in English (Lang & Lit), Maths (at least C, they'd favour you for anything above) and prefer any in Science. They're not mandatory. If you're capable of proving yourself and your dedication, don't be discouraged. I only have 1 science GCSE in Chemistry. Access is a pretty hectic course, most teachers will just want you to be able to keep up/put in the effort. You do two A-level equivalents in 10 months so you sure have work cut-out.

If the course you're planning to do covers the relevant modules to the course you wish to take at uni, you will be fine. You may think it is well in the future, but it really isn't. They expect you to have an idea of what you want to get into and even do research on which uni's you'd like to attend and if they accept the course for the specific course... so do your research! I want to do Physics & Chemistry but it may not be available since it is a rarer pick. I stated that I wouldn't mind doing Bio & Chem access if I couldn't do physics as it isn't very popular and a teacher won't take it on if there are only 5 people who wish to do it.

Best of luck with applying! Do it early. I got my place mostly based upon the fact that I applied around September and was amongst the first group of people getting interviewed. If you're in England, I can give you a bit of advice about which places I found to be better than others. I visited quite a few & even applied to one last year.
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SP195
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Oh also, some colleges offer for you to take GCSE courses for Maths & English alongside the Access course! look into that, some offer it and others don't. You may end up saving a year.
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Klix88
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(Original post by DBrown67)
I've been told I would need to start on the Access foundation year to get 5x GCSE passes before I actually start the main course.
Firstly, can you confirm that it was uni or college who told you this? Because if they have, then the shortcuts suggested by other posters won't be relevant. What you've been told to do, is what you have to do. They will be requirements for the academic path you want to follow. Now that unis insist on some basic GCSEs and don't accept Access as an equivalent, it's definitely in your interest to do at least Maths and English - employers tend to also look for a minimum grade C in those as well, so they'll come in handy.

(So it would be 2 years)I do have some old 'O' levels from years ago and it seems these don't count now? I can't prove them anyway LOL.
Some unis and colleges are now insisting that your GCSEs (or equivalents) are no more than five years old, so that sounds right. You'd certainly have to show your certificates, so if you don't have them and can't get duplicates (at least one of my O Level exam boards doesn't exist any more) then it would follow that you have to do them again from scratch.

Also, what is the main Access year like compared to a foundation year at uni? Are they similar? If I complete an Access course do I still need to do a university foundation year?
I can't comment on what an Access course is like.

Some unis will allow you onto the Foundation year without an Access course, but it can be a pre-requisite for others. Check with your target uni before committing. Whilst you will still need to get those GCSEs, there's no point doing an Access course if the uni will let you onto the Foundation year without it.
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Schadenfreude65
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Most universities accept O Levels. I took mine in 1981 and had no problems getting university offers (I'm currently in first year of a physics degree). Do check with your target universities what their requirements are, though, as they can vary a good deal. There were people on my Access course last year who are now doing mechanical engineering (year 1) and one guy is doing a foundation year for chemical engineering. It would be a good idea to look for a college that offers some level 3 maths as part of the access course. You will need it for either of the degrees you mentioned. Whether you will need to do a foundation year in addition to access depends on the individual university.

Another thing to consider is that you can't get a maintenance loan for Access, but you can for foundation. Foundation means another year's worth of debt, but may be easier to manage financially in the short term.
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