scampijack
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I need to study A-Level Biology in order to meet the entry requirements for a uni application, but i'm finding it incredibly difficult to find a centre in Dorset /surrounding areas that accepts private students due to the practical endorsements. Nothing appears to be affordable or anywhere nearby. Has anyone else been in the same situation?
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a.b.a
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How old are you
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scampijack
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(Original post by a.b.a)
How old are you
22
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gdunne42
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(Original post by scampijack)
I need to study A-Level Biology in order to meet the entry requirements for a uni application, but i'm finding it incredibly difficult to find a centre in Dorset /surrounding areas that accepts private students due to the practical endorsements. Nothing appears to be affordable or anywhere nearby. Has anyone else been in the same situation?
What cost are you thinking of when you say "affordable"
I've mostly seen prices in the £900-1200 range for private candidates to complete exams and practical endorsement. Can't suggest anything in Dorset. The closest I know of are 3A tutors in Bristol. www.3at.org.uk

I'm sure you have asked your target uni if they will accept you without the practical endorsement, if you haven't then it's worth a shot explaining your situation and asking if they can waive the requirement. It's unlikely if you are applying for a science degree.

As an alternative, you could consider an access course or a foundation year that might attract student finance support.
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scampijack
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(Original post by gdunne42)
What cost are you thinking of when you say "affordable"
I've mostly seen prices in the £900-1200 range for private candidates to complete exams and practical endorsement. Can't suggest anything in Dorset. The closest I know of are 3A tutors in Bristol. www.3at.org.uk

I'm sure you have asked your target uni if they will accept you without the practical endorsement, if you haven't then it's worth a shot explaining your situation and asking if they can waive the requirement. It's unlikely if you are applying for a science degree.

As an alternative, you could consider an access course or a foundation year that might attract student finance support.
Thank you, I’ll take a look at 3at. I have taken a look at open study college which is £500 for a-level biology ‘study pack’ but they say you have to source your own exam centre but the one in birmingham they are in partnership with for the practical and exams is £4500 from what i can gather! So my idea of affordability is around the £1000 mark like you said. My local college will offers a science access course which is £3000 if not eligable for funding, but regardless the access course would need me to take 2 days a week off work and I dont think i’ll be able to do that. Do you think it is possible to do a biology A-level whilst working full time? My alternative was to do a psychology a level as a private candidate as there is no practical and some of the universities i have looked at also accept this as a relevant ‘science’ qualification.

To put this into context, I’m hoping to study oral hygiene at uni and am currently a dental nurse with 2 yrs experience which universities do accept in leiu of 1 A-level. I Did a biology A-level 4 yrs ago but only achieved a D. Unfortunately!!
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gdunne42
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(Original post by scampijack)
Thank you, I’ll take a look at 3at. I have taken a look at open study college which is £500 for a-level biology ‘study pack’ but they say you have to source your own exam centre but the one in birmingham they are in partnership with for the practical and exams is £4500 from what i can gather! So my idea of affordability is around the £1000 mark like you said. My local college will offers a science access course which is £3000 if not eligable for funding, but regardless the access course would need me to take 2 days a week off work and I dont think i’ll be able to do that. Do you think it is possible to do a biology A-level whilst working full time? My alternative was to do a psychology a level as a private candidate as there is no practical and some of the universities i have looked at also accept this as a relevant ‘science’ qualification.

To put this into context, I’m hoping to study oral hygiene at uni and am currently a dental nurse with 2 yrs experience which universities do accept in leiu of 1 A-level. I Did a biology A-level 4 yrs ago but only achieved a D. Unfortunately!!
Have a look at the National extension college, they also would provide study material and tutor support but could help with practicals and exams at several locations, not sure if they have anywhere close to you.
With your existing D in biology and your new motivation I think one A level in a year is doable while working full time. It will be hard work and will eat into to your social life but will be worth it. If you discover it isn't manageable then take an extra year, university will still be there 12 months later. As someone who has done distance learning programmes in the past I'd advise starting early and going full on at the start to get ahead. There's nothing more dispiriting than realising you've left it too late to have a hope of doing it well. Good luck.
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scampijack
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(Original post by gdunne42)
Have a look at the National extension college, they also would provide study material and tutor support but could help with practicals and exams at several locations, not sure if they have anywhere close to you.
With your existing D in biology and your new motivation I think one A level in a year is doable while working full time. It will be hard work and will eat into to your social life but will be worth it. If you discover it isn't manageable then take an extra year, university will still be there 12 months later. As someone who has done distance learning programmes in the past I'd advise starting early and going full on at the start to get ahead. There's nothing more dispiriting than realising you've left it too late to have a hope of doing it well. Good luck.
Thank you very much for your recommendations, I appreciate it alot!
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scampijack
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Update:

I have contacted NEC (Biology A-Level £650 on their website), the closest centre to me is Fareham (Southampton/Portsmouth area) but unfortunately cannot do practical endorsements there. They offered me Brighouse, Coventry, London or Oxford for the practical. They said it is 'better' to do the practicals at the same centre as the exams, I assume by using the word 'better' it is not essential to do both at the same place. Costs are roughly £350 for the exams (at the Fareham centre). If going to one of the other centres for both practical and exams, costs are in the region of £950-£1500 depending on which centre. Also on their page 'paying for your course', it says that if you want to completein less time than what is recommended it costs an additional £100 per course.

I have also contacted 3A, just waiting for a reply.

Additionally, A2HE courses near me (Weymouth College/Poole & Bournemouth College) Require 2 days a week attendance. I cannot take 2 days a week off work.

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(Original post by scampijack)
U They said it is 'better' to do the practicals at the same centre as the exams, I assume by using the word 'better' it is not essential to do both at the same place.
There is a single entry code that one centre has to make that covers the exams and the practicals so you can't do one at one place and the other elsewhere without (at least) the agreement of both centres as the exam centre will have to submit your practical grade (pass/fail).

Any centre accepting you for the exams has to sign a declaration saying that they gave you the chance to do the practicals. I'm not sure how they get round that (offer it to you at £5K?) so you'd have to ask them. YOu'd also have to ask them how they could be confident on accepting the result from another centre (perhaps declare themselves to be a consortium?) as they will be inspected on their provision of the practical element.

In short, it would be MUCH easier to do it all in one place.
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scampijack
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Ok so 3AT looks very good, prices are good too. The exam board is with AQA and is around £1300 which includes the 3 exams and 5 consecutive days in lab for the practicals and admin etc. They also offer instalment plans interest free so that's also very attractive. I think that is a very good price and Bristol is only just over 2 hours away which is acceptable. Quite surprised the deadline for applications is Feb 2019. I dont think i need to look any further. Thank you gdunne42 for suggesting them.

Hope this helps anyone else in a similar situation!
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(Original post by scampijack)
Quite surprised the deadline for applications is Feb 2019.
The centre has to make the entries with the exam board by 21 Feb but I'd recommend getting it all sorted out a fair bit earlier - i.e. before Christmas if you can - as most centres shut their books a bit before the exam board deadline for their own admin and others stop taking private candidates if they get too full.

3A Tutors have been doing this as a business for years so certainly should know what they're doing.
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