Cambridge A-Levels as a private student

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sanches26
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I am an international student from Brazil who recently moved to the UK.
Last year I tried to apply for an economics degree through UCAS, but since I did not meet the entry requirements, they offered me a foundation year entry, which I did not accept.
Since then, I have been privately studying to take CIE A-Levels in November. I plan to take Economics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics papers, I chose those last two due to the fact that I took three years of a physics degree in Brazil (It is a four-year course there) already and have a solid mathematical foundation.
It has been pretty hard for me to understand your education system and I would like to know if you have any tips that would help me in this journey. I will leave some questions below that worry me.

1)CIE A-Levels are equivalent to normal A-Levels, right?
2)Do you think that this combination of subjects is adequate?
3)If you know of any private centres I could book my tests in the Midlands or even in London It would help a lot, the best one I found was this one - https://www.tutorsandexams.uk/ - but it is pretty expensive.
4)Since I am considered a mature student (21 yo), are there any differences in the way universities handle my application?
5)I have been studying for all subjects through the Cambridge books for the A-Levels, Am I on the right path?

Thanks in advance
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ohdearstudying
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I am just surprised you would not have taken Physics at A Level.

CIE A Levels are just a different exam board to my knowledge.

I'm not very knowledgeable in this area but I wish you the BEST of luck!

You might be best off ringing the exam board tomorrow and entering yourself, it's cheaper than someone else (you're paying for admin rather than effort or the ACTUAL exam)
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sanches26
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(Original post by ohdearstudying)
I am just surprised you would not have taken Physics at A Level.

CIE A Levels are just a different exam board to my knowledge.

I'm not very knowledgeable in this area but I wish you the BEST of luck!

You might be best off ringing the exam board tomorrow and entering yourself, it's cheaper than someone else (you're paying for admin rather than effort or the ACTUAL exam)
Haha well, I thought about taking physics as one of them, but the practicals are too expensive. What do you mean by ringing the exam board? Does Cambridge apply the exams independently as well?
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ohdearstudying
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(Original post by sanches26)
Haha well, I thought about taking physics as one of them, but the practicals are too expensive. What do you mean by ringing the exam board? Does Cambridge apply the exams independently as well?
The exam board is CIE (Cambridge International Education) I would suggest calling them and asking for their advice. Cambridge are an exam board, you must find a place that will "authorise" your examination and allow you to sit it, send it off for marking and then recieve your results.
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Doones
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(Original post by sanches26)
1)CIE A-Levels are equivalent to normal A-Levels, right
Yes

2)Do you think that this combination of subjects is adequate?
Yes, although LSE (if you were considering applying there) only accepts FM as a 4th A-level for Economics. But that's unusual, for other universities your choices are fine.

3)If you know of any private centres I could book my tests in the Midlands or even in London It would help a lot, the best one I found was this one - https://www.tutorsandexams.uk/ - but it is pretty expensive.
Have you checked here?
http://www.cambridgeinternational.or...bridge-school/
NB. The search tells you all the centres in a particular area, and whether or not they take private candidates.

4)Since I am considered a mature student (21 yo), are there any differences in the way universities handle my application?
Not significantly, no.

5)I have been studying for all subjects through the Cambridge books for the A-Levels, Am I on the right path?
Yes, also TSR has Study Help forums for most subjects.
e.g.
* Maths
* Economics study help


Also, do you have funds to pay for your university tuition? From what you have said you will be treated as an International student and fees are relatively high in the UK...

Here's a list of typical tuition fees for internationals.
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Compost
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(Original post by ohdearstudying)
You might be best off ringing the exam board tomorrow and entering yourself, it's cheaper than someone else (you're paying for admin rather than effort or the ACTUAL exam)
I'm pretty certain that no exam board accepts entries directly. You have to find an exam centre willing to accept you as a private candidate.

OP - I'm afraid finding somewhere to accept you for the Autumn Cambridge exams is going to be difficult in England as they are exams for the international market (the exam board is the international arm of OCR, a domestic exam board) and not generally taken in the UK so you're going to have to be prepared to travel and/or pay a lot.
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Doones
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And just to add, you don't need to have completed your exams in order to apply to university. Any university offer will (usually) be conditional on achieving the requirements by the end of August 2019.

So rushing to do them earlier isn't necessary.

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ohdearstudying
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(Original post by Compost)
I'm pretty certain that no exam board accepts entries directly. You have to find an exam centre willing to accept you as a private candidate.

OP - I'm afraid finding somewhere to accept you for the Autumn Cambridge exams is going to be difficult in England as they are exams for the international market (the exam board is the international arm of OCR, a domestic exam board) and not generally taken in the UK so you're going to have to be prepared to travel and/or pay a lot.
I don't think I explaned myself clearly. What I meant to say was to contact the exam board and be advised on where to go to be entered. I know that you can be entered at a school (almost acting as a central hub for your exams, that you don't neccesarily attend)>

Thanks for correcting me, though!
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Compost
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(Original post by ohdearstudying)
I don't think I explaned myself clearly. What I meant to say was to contact the exam board and be advised on where to go to be entered. !
What advice they provide is on their websites. There's little point contacting them directly.
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ohdearstudying
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(Original post by Compost)
What advice they provide is on their websites. There's little point contacting them directly.
I don't know myself, I just thought they would be aware where their accredited exam centres were.

Thanks, though
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Doones
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(Original post by ohdearstudying)
I don't know myself, I just thought they would be aware where their accredited exam centres were.

Thanks, though
The info is in my post above:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...60&postcount=5
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ohdearstudying
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
The info is in my post above:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...60&postcount=5
Thanks for providing the help!

Great response by the way!
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Compost
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(Original post by ohdearstudying)
I don't know myself, I just thought they would be aware where their accredited exam centres were
They have lots of accredited centres (even in the UK) but very few accept private candidates - they cause a lot of extra work at the busiest times. However, all the boards get lots of enquiries about being a private candidate and so put the information on their websites: http://www.cambridgeinternational.or...te-candidates/ If you ring they'll just tell you to look at it.
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ohdearstudying
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(Original post by Compost)
They have lots of accredited centres (even in the UK) but very few accept private candidates - they cause a lot of extra work at the busiest times. However, all the boards get lots of enquiries about being a private candidate and so put the information on their websites: http://www.cambridgeinternational.or...te-candidates/ If you ring they'll just tell you to look at it.
Thanks for making this a lot clearer by the way!

I didn't really know, I saw this had no replies and just advised in the way I thought suitable. Glad you could help!
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Compost
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(Original post by ohdearstudying)
Thanks for making this a lot clearer by the way!

I didn't really know, I saw this had no replies and just advised in the way I thought suitable. Glad you could help!
That's fine - none of us knows everything - but after 14 years as an exams officer I'm fairly well informed on this bit.
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ohdearstudying
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(Original post by Compost)
That's fine - none of us knows everything - but after 14 years as an exams officer I'm fairly well informed on this bit.
Now I feel really patronising saying "Glad you could help". Sorry!

I would hope you're "well informed' and your knowledge is a testiment to that!

Are you an exams officer for a school or sixth form etc?
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sanches26
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Yes


Yes, although LSE (if you were considering applying there) only accepts FM as a 4th A-level for Economics. But that's unusual, for other universities your choices are fine.


Have you checked here?
http://www.cambridgeinternational.or...bridge-school/
NB. The search tells you all the centres in a particular area, and whether or not they take private candidates.


Not significantly, no.


Yes, also TSR has Study Help forums for most subjects.
e.g.
* Maths
* Economics study help


Also, do you have funds to pay for your university tuition? From what you have said you will be treated as an International student and fees are relatively high in the UK...

Here's a list of typical tuition fees for internationals.
Thank you so much for the answers, I can afford this fees but I was wondering two things:
1)I know I cannot apply for a government student loan since I must live in the UK for 3 years prior to the course, but is there any kind of private student loaning here?
2)Also, when I complete three years of residence here, can I apply for the govt. student loan? even if it is in the middle of a term?
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sanches26
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
And just to add, you don't need to have completed your exams in order to apply to university. Any university offer will (usually) be conditional on achieving the requirements by the end of August 2019.

So rushing to do them earlier isn't necessary.

Posted from TSR Mobile
But what qualifications I would inform to UCAS? I know there is such a thing as grade predictions here, but since I do not attend a school I do not know how this can be done.
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sanches26
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(Original post by Compost)
I'm pretty certain that no exam board accepts entries directly. You have to find an exam centre willing to accept you as a private candidate.

OP - I'm afraid finding somewhere to accept you for the Autumn Cambridge exams is going to be difficult in England as they are exams for the international market (the exam board is the international arm of OCR, a domestic exam board) and not generally taken in the UK so you're going to have to be prepared to travel and/or pay a lot.
I already emailed this one I posted, they said I can apply for November without any problems, should I be worried they will reject me later on? Should I apply well before the entry deadline?
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sanches26
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Thank you all for the replies, I cannot wait to study again but am really nervous to insert myself in such a new system. You guys are being really helpful.
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