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    I wonder if anyone could help me with advice please . Due to illness i left school with hardly no GCSE grades but this is where i need some help. I left with A* English Literature, C English Language Predicted A*(do I retake?) D History (Predicted A*, do i retake?) and Maths & Science U due to not taking (illness)
    My dilemma is I am enrolling to take my Maths & Science at College in 2017 but am unsure whether to try and improve my grade for English Language as well at College as well as I have been looking into taking an online IGCSE now in History as I know I can do very well in this subject.
    I was recently advised by my local college to take an Access Course (equates to three A levels (distinction required) which covers my interests that being History, English and Government & Politics. My ultimate goal is to get into one of the top Uni's that being Oxford to study either a PPE course or History & Politics . My only concern is due you think it would be more advisable/beneficial to take A Levels than an access course are these considered as good as? (i get the Access course free as i will be 24 by the time it is studied) . If A levels are recommended where could I studying online or are there any colleges that except a mature student i would be 22 when starting A Levels or the Access course. Any advice would be appreciated, if it helps I live in Norwich, many thanks
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    (Original post by sunnydee69)
    I wonder if anyone could help me with advice please . Due to illness i left school with hardly no GCSE grades but this is where i need some help. I left with A* English Literature, C English Language Predicted A*(do I retake?) D History (Predicted A*, do i retake?) and Maths & Science U due to not taking (illness)
    My dilemma is I am enrolling to take my Maths & Science at College in 2017 but am unsure whether to try and improve my grade for English Language as well at College as well as I have been looking into taking an online IGCSE now in History as I know I can do very well in this subject.
    I was recently advised by my local college to take an Access Course (equates to three A levels (distinction required) which covers my interests that being History, English and Government & Politics. My ultimate goal is to get into one of the top Uni's that being Oxford to study either a PPE course or History & Politics . My only concern is due you think it would be more advisable/beneficial to take A Levels than an access course are these considered as good as? (i get the Access course free as i will be 24 by the time it is studied) . If A levels are recommended where could I studying online or are there any colleges that except a mature student i would be 22 when starting A Levels or the Access course. Any advice would be appreciated, if it helps I live in Norwich, many thanks
    I would suggest you retake English language. For any uni course in PPE, History or Politics you are going to need excellent essay writing skills and so any opportunity to improve your written English will be valuable.
    See how your GCSE study goes before you decide a strategy for getting to university. Until you show you have the potential to succeed it's impossible to say what could be realistic. Oxford will be a very challenging goal from where you are. An access course is a more direct route to uni for mature candidates. However, if you were able to achieve excellent A levels that would certainly open up more flexibility in what you can apply for and where.


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    (Original post by gdunne42)
    I would suggest you retake English language. For any uni course in PPE, History or Politics you are going to need excellent essay writing skills and so any opportunity to improve your written English will be valuable.
    See how your GCSE study goes before you decide a strategy for getting to university. Until you show you have the potential to succeed it's impossible to say what could be realistic. Oxford will be a very challenging goal from where you are. An access course is a more direct route to uni for mature candidates. However, if you were able to achieve excellent A levels that would certainly open up more flexibility in what you can apply for and where.


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    Thank you very much for your help. I hear what you are saying and have just enrolled to resit my English Language . One thing I would also like to ask is I am wanting very much to resit my History GCSE but am undecided whether to use NEC online or I have read about cheaper routes but am unsure how this works (i.e. doing it by yourself then sitting exams as a private candiate) could you explain how this works please? I m currently 20 and would like to have found somewhere where I could take the GCSE not IGCSE but this has not been successful (unless you could help) .As mentioned before I then have the option of doing an access course for a year which would be free for me under the age of 24, but as you mentioned A levels would be better but would you recommend by distance learning or would you again think of doing them by yourself to save on costs? Sorry for all the questions and thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer.
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    (Original post by sunnydee69)
    Thank you very much for your help. I hear what you are saying and have just enrolled to resit my English Language . One thing I would also like to ask is I am wanting very much to resit my History GCSE but am undecided whether to use NEC online or I have read about cheaper routes but am unsure how this works (i.e. doing it by yourself then sitting exams as a private candiate) could you explain how this works please? I m currently 20 and would like to have found somewhere where I could take the GCSE not IGCSE but this has not been successful (unless you could help) .As mentioned before I then have the option of doing an access course for a year which would be free for me under the age of 24, but as you mentioned A levels would be better but would you recommend by distance learning or would you again think of doing them by yourself to save on costs? Sorry for all the questions and thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer.
    You will not know until you try whether you have the aptitude or the self motivation/work ethic for self study. The cheapest option will always be text books/free internet resources and chat forums/past papers. However, there is no guarantee you can succeed this way. You might find you need some one to one guidance - expect to pay £30+ for an hour with a private tutor, if you can find a good one. A distance learning programme from a reputable supplier like NEC should give you the structure and enough tutor support to improve your chances significantly.

    However you learn the material, to be a private candidate you need to find a centre to take the exams. There is some guidance on every examiner web site but at the end of the the day you will end up phoning schools and colleges to ask them. Independent schools and private colleges often accept private candidates, some colleges do, schools are less likely to. The fees they charge vary enormously so start your search early and shop around. In London there are many centres that do it as a well organised business but they can be expensive. If you are enrolled to study other subjects it can be worth asking the school/college exams office if they will enter you as a private candidate for other subjects.

    Any subject that includes assessed coursework or practical work is always difficult to complete as a private candidate. The centre has to verify it is your work and may have to mark it, something they are not always keen to do. For this reason many private candidates study for IGCSE instead of GCSE as they only assess through examination. However, there are fewer exam centres that offer IGCSE. If you study through NEC I think they can help with coursework assessments but you need to talk to them about it.

    It is possible to study A levels independently but I'd say again, see how you get on with GCSE level study before you worry too much about the next steps. I'd hoped that I carefully didn't say A levels were better, I tried to be neutral, they would offer you more options but self study of 3 Alevels will be very challenging and an access course may suit you better.


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    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for such a detailed and helpful response.
 
 
 
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