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Any mature students on here who have gone back to study A-levels?? Watch

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    (Original post by flojenkins)
    Hi guys,

    I'm 19 and currently doing a BSc Animal Science but am looking at doing a veterinary degree after this one. However, for this I need Chemistry A-level.
    Just wondering if anyone had done Chemistry A-level (or any a-level for that matter!!) through an online distance learning company and could give me any reviews?? There are so many out there and they all vary in price hugely so just need some advice on which ones are actually any good
    I hear NEC are pretty decent. They have many tutors who are always willing to help.
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    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    Don't be too harsh on yourself!! I left my accountancy job to do 2 AS-levels whilst working part time as a delivery driver. Never worked so hard up until this year of my life!!
    Hi there...what are studying for?
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    (Original post by flojenkins)
    Hi guys,

    I'm 19 and currently doing a BSc Animal Science but am looking at doing a veterinary degree after this one. However, for this I need Chemistry A-level.
    Just wondering if anyone had done Chemistry A-level (or any a-level for that matter!!) through an online distance learning company and could give me any reviews?? There are so many out there and they all vary in price hugely so just need some advice on which ones are actually any good
    dont u need access to a laboratory for A level chem?
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    (Original post by thumus81)
    Hi there...what are studying for?
    Maths and Bio
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    I've got my last AS bio exam this afternoon :eek: I think I've revised more for this exam than the last but you never know with biology!
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    (Original post by thumus81)
    dont u need access to a laboratory for A level chem?
    For the reformed A level specifications, there are twelve 'required practicals'. Your teacher has to confirm that you have taken and reached the required standard in these practicals, and you are then examined on them in the terminal examinations at the end of the course.

    There is an option to not do the practicals, but to just learn the content of them for the examination. However, importantly, this would lead to you not receiving the practical endorsement for your qualification which, for most universities, is mandatory. Thus, you'd essentially be left with a worthless A level.

    So it's very important to check that any distance learning course in Chemistry you consider makes adequate provision to take and be assessed in all twelve practicals.
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    (Original post by thumus81)
    dont u need access to a laboratory for A level chem?
    You do not have to have the practical endorsements.
    I've checked with each university I'm reapplying to and as I will already have a degree they are willing to accept my application without the practical endorsement.
    If you're in a similar position, just email them as the practical endorsements cost so much time and money.
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    I'm 55 and teaching myself A level maths. No reason, just because I've always wanted a maths A level.I'm finding teaching myself quite challenging, especially as I only started in Feb this year. I tried to find a FE college to go to in September but was told they only enrol 6th formers on their A level courses which I think is discriminatory. I'm a 55 year old woman, it's not like I'd be any trouble! And I expected to pay a fee!
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    (Original post by flojenkins)
    You do not have to have the practical endorsements.
    I've checked with each university I'm reapplying to and as I will already have a degree they are willing to accept my application without the practical endorsement.
    That's obviously rather a different scenario - most students on this forum will not have a degree, so the practical endorsement is going to be important for them.
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    (Original post by thumus81)
    dont u need access to a laboratory for A level chem?
    (Original post by Reality Check)
    For the reformed A level specifications, there are twelve 'required practicals'. Your teacher has to confirm that you have taken and reached the required standard in these practicals, and you are then examined on them in the terminal examinations at the end of the course.

    There is an option to not do the practicals, but to just learn the content of them for the examination. However, importantly, this would lead to you not receiving the practical endorsement for your qualification which, for most universities, is mandatory. Thus, you'd essentially be left with a worthless A level.

    So it's very important to check that any distance learning course in Chemistry you consider makes adequate provision to take and be assessed in all twelve practicals.
    I believe the NEC gives students taking their distance learning A levels the opportunity to take the practical endorsement, although according to their website the only test centres are in Oxford and Coventry. https://www.nec.ac.uk/content/non-ex...u-need-to-know
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I believe the NEC gives students taking their distance learning A levels the opportunity to take the practical endorsement, although according to their website the only test centres are in Oxford and Coventry. https://www.nec.ac.uk/content/non-ex...u-need-to-know
    Yes - it's a shame the NEC hasn't added more centres where students can take the practical component. They're rather inconvenient if you live in Falmouth or Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
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    Couldn't agree more! That's one of the main reasons which held me back from doing the practicals for Biology, there were no test centres within a reasonable distance to me so the cost of travelling as well as the practical fees just wasn't financially feasible!

    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I believe the NEC gives students taking their distance learning A levels the opportunity to take the practical endorsement, although according to their website the only test centres are in Oxford and Coventry. https://www.nec.ac.uk/content/non-ex...u-need-to-know
    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Yes - it's a shame the NEC hasn't added more centres where students can take the practical component. They're rather inconvenient if you live in Falmouth or Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
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    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    Couldn't agree more! That's one of the main reasons which held me back from doing the practicals for Biology, there were no test centres within a reasonable distance to me so the cost of travelling as well as the practical fees just wasn't financially feasible!
    It's just silly - the practical components are now, for 99.9% of people, essentially mandatory so to have two assessment centres is woefully inadequate.

    National Extension College - I wonder if you could comment on this. Are there any plans to open further centres for candidates to be assessed?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    It's just silly - the practical components are now, for 99.9% of people, essentially mandatory so to have two assessment centres is woefully inadequate.
    Exactly! I can pretty much say goodbye to any STEM subjects if I hope to study at university as they tend to require the practical endorsement! I'll just have to find other alternatives after I've finished these A-levels I guess! Why is education made so difficult for mature students? Do we really only have one shot when we're teenagers?
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    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    Exactly! I can pretty much say goodbye to any STEM subjects if I hope to study at university as they tend to require the practical endorsement! I'll just have to find other alternatives after I've finished these A-levels I guess! Why is education made so difficult for mature students? Do we really only have one shot when we're teenagers?
    I think the NEC basically becomes a less attractive option (that and other reasons, anyway). There always is the option of enquiring at your local sixth-form college or even school to see if they accept external candidates for the practical component (I know several near us do) but I imagine you'd need to be entered at that centre for the written exams as well as the practical component, which could make any external tuition/packaged course arrangements for A level tricky. Still, it's better than jollying off hundreds of miles to take a practical or two.

    Let's hope they address this issue. Are you still to start your A level choices, or have you made them?
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    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    Couldn't agree more! That's one of the main reasons which held me back from doing the practicals for Biology, there were no test centres within a reasonable distance to me so the cost of travelling as well as the practical fees just wasn't financially feasible!
    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    Exactly! I can pretty much say goodbye to any STEM subjects if I hope to study at university as they tend to require the practical endorsement! I'll just have to find other alternatives after I've finished these A-levels I guess! Why is education made so difficult for mature students? Do we really only have one shot when we're teenagers?
    I thought all schools/exam centres that admit private candidates are obliged to offer the practical component as well? Were there really none near you? That is unfortunate.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    I think the NEC basically becomes a less attractive option (that and other reasons, anyway). There always is the option of enquiring at your local sixth-form college or even school to see if they accept external candidates for the practical component (I know several near us do) but I imagine you'd need to be entered at that centre for the written exams as well as the practical component, which could make any external tuition/packaged course arrangements for A level tricky. Still, it's better than jollying off hundreds of miles to take a practical or two.

    Let's hope they address this issue. Are you still to start your A level choices, or have you made them?
    I already have my A2 Bio exams lined up for this month

    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I thought all schools/exam centres that admit private candidates are obliged to offer the practical component as well? Were there really none near you? That is unfortunate.
    They probably are obliged to! That's why my chosen exam centre asked me to sign a document to declare that they have offered me the opportunity to participate in the practical assessments (which they didn't). But if I didn't sign it then I wouldn't be allowed to sit any exams through them, and I would have wasted all this time studying for them!
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    but I imagine you'd need to be entered at that centre for the written exams as well as the practical component, which could make any external tuition/packaged course arrangements for A level tricky.
    It shouldn't do, most people find their own exam centres. I think the NEC has 12 exam centres in various cities, but it is much more convenient to make private arrangements with your local high school, that's what I did. Of course, a lot of schools/centres won't have the resources to provide private candidates with the practical endorsement so they may just stop taking private candidates altogether.

    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    They probably are obliged to! That's why my chosen exam centre asked me to sign a document to declare that they have offered me the opportunity to participate in the practical assessments (which they didn't). But if I didn't sign it then I wouldn't be allowed to sit any exams through them, and I would have wasted all this time studying for them!
    You should report them! Have you told the exam board?
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    It shouldn't do, most people find their own exam centres. I think the NEC has 12 exam centres in various cities, but it is much more convenient to make private arrangements with your local high school, that's what I did. Of course, a lot of schools/centres won't have the resources to provide private candidates with the practical endorsement so they may just stop taking private candidates altogether.
    That's what I did as well! The high school I'm doing my exams through are the closest and also the cheapest. But again, none of the exam centres "local" to me would even offer the practical assessments so in the end it was merely just a case of finding the cheapest price and considering the distance.


    (Original post by Snufkin)
    You should report them! Have you told the exam board?
    I'm scared to report them in case I'm not allowed to sit my exams. Not only that, it's my word against their's, and it doesn't exactly work in my favour considering the document I signed declaring that they "had" offered me the opportunity.
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    A level practicals are offered by 3A Tutors in Bristol. I took my son there a few years ago for some of his GCSEs, and can definitely recommend them.
    http://www.3atutors.co.uk/
 
 
 
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