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    Hi,

    I am 21 years old and living in Greater London. From around 2009 to 2011 I undertook my GCSEs: my grades for the most part were Bs, with one or two Cs, and an A in German.

    From 2011 to 2013 I studied for my A levels in Religious Studies (Philosophy & Theology), English Literature and German (took Drama but failed that at AS level). I achieved C grades for both Religious Studies and English Literature at A and, sadly, a D grade for German.

    I have autism and Asperger's syndrome, so found that my struggles during my A level studies were primarily due to my failure to anticipate the leap from GCSE to A level, and were also due, in part, to my disorganised nature (which I attribute to the two conditions mentioned above) and my struggle to process large amounts of information (which can sometimes be a struggle for those on the spectrum). In hindsight, after my GCSEs, perhaps also owing to both conditions, I had relatively little life experience and found it difficult to socialise with others, so it has taken quite a few years for me to come out of my shell, so to speak.

    Anyway, from 2013 to 2015 I studied towards the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production at my local FE college, where I achieved D*D*D*. In school, I was quite the creative individual, so this course helped me expand on my creative abilities.

    Now I am undertaking an apprenticeship in web development, which is supposed to last a year. I am on track to achieve high grades and attain the following diplomas: BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in ICT Systems and Principles, BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals, and the Edexel Functional Skills in ICT Level 2 (as the training provider did not acknowledge my GCSE in ICT).

    I have definitely matured a lot, and although I have experienced many difficulties in adjusting to a working environment - especially when I have been thrown into the "deep end", as my boss likes to put it - I have gotten a much better sense of my strengths and weaknesses.

    However, that being said, I would like to return to my studies after my apprenticeship draws to a close, and have entertained the idea of self-studying towards an A level in Maths and maybe sitting the exams at a local centre. I think I may chosen the wrong A-levels the first time round (my school didn't have a particularly impressive selection of A-level subjects to choose from, in retrospect, with certain A-level subjects such as Law ultimately being scrapped as there was only one teacher delivering the course, and the A-level Law course had poor intake from students), so would like to self study towards an A level in Maths as I have been considering studying CompSci at university, and an A level in Maths seems to be a prerequisite for most.

    Please let me know what you think, whether enrolling as a private candidate and studying from home (I am motivated enough) can be done on the cheap (as I don't want to study in an FE environment again) and, for when I decide to apply for CompSci undergraduate degree courses at some of the top providers, how they will regard attaining an additional A level some years after completing my original A level studies.
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    (Original post by Plaguedbyfoibles)
    Hi,

    I am 21 years old and living in Greater London. From around 2009 to 2011 I undertook my GCSEs: my grades for the most part were Bs, with one or two Cs, and an A in German.

    From 2011 to 2013 I studied for my A levels in Religious Studies (Philosophy & Theology), English Literature and German (took Drama but failed that at AS level). I achieved C grades for both Religious Studies and English Literature at A and, sadly, a D grade for German.

    I have autism and Asperger's syndrome, so found that my struggles during my A level studies were primarily due to my failure to anticipate the leap from GCSE to A level, and were also due, in part, to my disorganised nature (which I attribute to the two conditions mentioned above) and my struggle to process large amounts of information (which can sometimes be a struggle for those on the spectrum). In hindsight, after my GCSEs, perhaps also owing to both conditions, I had relatively little life experience and found it difficult to socialise with others, so it has taken quite a few years for me to come out of my shell, so to speak.

    Anyway, from 2013 to 2015 I studied towards the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production at my local FE college, where I achieved D*D*D*. In school, I was quite the creative individual, so this course helped me expand on my creative abilities.

    Now I am undertaking an apprenticeship in web development, which is supposed to last a year. I am on track to achieve high grades and attain the following diplomas: BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in ICT Systems and Principles, BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals, and the Edexel Functional Skills in ICT Level 2 (as the training provider did not acknowledge my GCSE in ICT).

    I have definitely matured a lot, and although I have experienced many difficulties in adjusting to a working environment - especially when I have been thrown into the "deep end", as my boss likes to put it - I have gotten a much better sense of my strengths and weaknesses.

    However, that being said, I would like to return to my studies after my apprenticeship draws to a close, and have entertained the idea of self-studying towards an A level in Maths and maybe sitting the exams at a local centre. I think I may chosen the wrong A-levels the first time round (my school didn't have a particularly impressive selection of A-level subjects to choose from, in retrospect, with certain A-level subjects such as Law ultimately being scrapped as there was only one teacher delivering the course, and the A-level Law course had poor intake from students), so would like to self study towards an A level in Maths as I have been considering studying CompSci at university, and an A level in Maths seems to be a prerequisite for most.

    Please let me know what you think, whether enrolling as a private candidate and studying from home (I am motivated enough) can be done on the cheap (as I don't want to study in an FE environment again) and, for when I decide to apply for CompSci undergraduate degree courses at some of the top providers, how they will regard attaining an additional A level some years after completing my original A level studies.
    Hey, it's great to hear you want to get back into studying again - and it's definitely not a bad thing to self-teach yourself A-levels. As a private candidate, you will have to contact an exam centre and, being a private candidate, you may have to pay admin fees to them, which will be decided by them. As for the other costs involved, you can learn through distance learning but some of these structured packages can be anywhere in the region of £300-500, although there may be cheaper. If you feel as though you can do it all independently, as you probably could with Maths, then all you would need to do is buy the textbooks/revision guides and get going, which is definitely the cheaper option but difficult if you get stuck and need a tutor or someone to guide you on difficult concepts.

    As for uni - do you have any universities in mind? I would recommend asking them in the A-Z of unis on TSR (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/a-z-of-universities.php) about how they would view your qualifications. It may be the case that they still look at you previous college A-levels (which I think they will) but they may also look at the self-taught maths positively, as well as the experience you've had with tthe apprenticeship. It may also be the case that they do not bother too much with your A-levels because you have gone on to achieve better in a different, and more recent qualification (BTEC) so they will take that into account more, There's a chance they will look at you more highly wih the self-taught Maths as it shows you have a passion for your subject.

    Also, as you will be a mature student, they will look at your case much differently to a college leaver and try to see what you have done as a rounded individual whilst also showing a passion for your subjects.

    I hope this helps
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    Hi, thanks for that, I took the liberty of borrowing the C1 textbook from my local library earlier this morning. Have been going through that so far, and since my father studied Maths and Physics at university (although he wasn't able to help me much when I was younger), he seems to be a remarkably proficient tutor.

    As for universities that I am interested in considering for my studies, preferably an RG uni - I am willing (and have the time) to take further A-levels if needed, through the self-study route, and even so, I have a friend studying at the University of Sheffield who knows of a mature student on his course who didn't have any A-levels but had the relevant work experience, so they accepted him onto the course - my friend is studying Electrical Engineering and the mature student, whom he knows, spent four years working as a lab technician, so when he graduates, he will be a lab technician with a degree from a top RG uni.
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    (Original post by Plaguedbyfoibles)
    Hi, thanks for that, I took the liberty of borrowing the C1 textbook from my local library earlier this morning. Have been going through that so far, and since my father studied Maths and Physics at university (although he wasn't able to help me much when I was younger), he seems to be a remarkably proficient tutor.

    As for universities that I am interested in considering for my studies, preferably an RG uni - I am willing (and have the time) to take further A-levels if needed, through the self-study route, and even so, I have a friend studying at the University of Sheffield who knows of a mature student on his course who didn't have any A-levels but had the relevant work experience, so they accepted him onto the course - my friend is studying Electrical Engineering and the mature student, whom he knows, spent four years working as a lab technician, so when he graduates, he will be a lab technician with a degree from a top RG uni.
    That's good and even better that your father can offer you help.

    I think that with your motivation and drive, you'll be able to get into a RG uni. Having said that, if you return to studies, would that be full time, or alongside part time/full time work? As I feel that gaining some experience is invaluable, as it proved for the mature lab technician. Let me know what you think.
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    I think I would prefer full time, to be honest. Only if for the 'conventional' university experience. Otherwise, I would try and see if I can fit any work within my schedule if I need to cater for my living expenses.

    It is my intention, though, to remain in work for another year before applying to university.

    Oh, also, what would you recommend in terms of examination centres? My friend said that our local civic centre could be used as an exam centre, and perhaps also some of the local schools. Also wondering if all examination boards will charge the same in admin fees, or whether, for instance, OCR is cheaper than Edexcel, or AQA is cheaper than Edexcel, etc.

    Also, as I am technically a disabled student, would it be worth my while looking into looking for stipends for which I may be eligible, in order to help me pay for my tuition fees (for when I ultimately attend university)?

    EDIT: I think I misread your question. I presume instead that you're asking whether I will be working while studying towards the A level in Maths? If so, the answer is yes.
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    (Original post by Plaguedbyfoibles)
    I think I would prefer full time, to be honest. Only if for the 'conventional' university experience. Otherwise, I would try and see if I can fit any work within my schedule if I need to cater for my living expenses.

    It is my intention, though, to remain in work for another year before applying to university.

    Oh, also, what would you recommend in terms of examination centres? My friend said that our local civic centre could be used as an exam centre, and perhaps also some of the local schools. Also wondering if all examination boards will charge the same in admin fees, or whether, for instance, OCR is cheaper than Edexcel, or AQA is cheaper than Edexcel, etc.

    Also, as I am technically a disabled student, would it be worth my while looking into looking for stipends for which I may be eligible, in order to help me pay for my tuition fees (for when I ultimately attend university)?

    EDIT: I think I misread your question. I presume instead that you're asking whether I will be working while studying towards the A level in Maths? If so, the answer is yes.
    Yes I can see where you are coming from, although sometimes, as you may be a mature student in the eyes of the university anyway, the unis may look at you in a better light if you study alongside working, as it shows how well you can manage time, but if full time would suit you better (and mean you get better grades) then definitely go full time.

    For examination centres, this one can be tricky to sort out, depending on your area and exam board. When I've been looking through, I've found AQA has the most organised section for private candidates with the admin fees and exam costs. They also have a search by area for an exam centre that accepts AQA on their website.

    I think it is definitely worth looking into stipends as early as possible, because some might have deadlines for applications. And it may also help you choose your uni if one offers more than others.
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    I live in NW London, if that helps in terms of tracking down examination centres that won't charge exorbitant sums.
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    (Original post by Plaguedbyfoibles)
    I live in NW London, if that helps in terms of tracking down examination centres that won't charge exorbitant sums.
    The centres don't appear to advertise the costs they charge, so it would worthwhile looking on here http://www.aqa.org.uk/student-suppor...ool-or-college and contacting them directly stating that you want to be a private candidate and would like to know if they are accepting private entries.
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    I was talking to a local independent college the other day, a Pearson approved centre, and apparently they charge £88 per module.

    Blimey!

    I am guessing all of the independent schools will be charging over the odds.
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    (Original post by Plaguedbyfoibles)
    I was talking to a local independent college the other day, a Pearson approved centre, and apparently they charge £88 per module.

    Blimey!

    I am guessing all of the independent schools will be charging over the odds.
    That is a bit excessive, but I doubt the other centres will be much cheaper. Keep looking though
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    Have you been to your local adult education centre, sometimes the run an A level maths course. Im doing one in my area, they charge for the A level though. I think having a teacher and a class would be beneficial with A level.
 
 
 
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