Access to Science - Should I revisit GCSE?

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iDeano
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I will be starting an Access course to Science in September. The course covers biology, chemistry and physics. I will also have the option to retake my GCSE maths alongside my studies.

Ideally I would like to prepare myself for the course so that I am more likely to achieve higher grades. I managed to get hold of some CGP GCSE science books. Would it be worth revisiting lv2 before starting the course?

I am 25 and haven't studied a STEM subject for 7 years.
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MindMax2000
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Just completed the Access Science course. I am expecting 45 Distinctions, so I can point things out to you if you like.

Maths - the level of maths required won't be higher than Level 8 at GCSE - possibly A grade? The material we covered include algebra (manipulate equations for Ohm's law, moments, etc.), indicies, standard form, geometry, and surds. If you're rusty on these, I strongly recommend you look through them. In essense, the maths covered would be necessary for the maths in the modules later in the year.

Biology - the level of biological knowledge you will need will hit you on another level. A lot of it will be about remembering facts and conducting thorough analysis. GCSE Biology will not help you here.
Chemistry - this was relatively easy going for me. Looking at GCSE higher tier Chemistry will help.
Physics - there was not a lot of physics in my version of the course, but it wasn't difficult per se. My course was designed around applications to medical practice i.e. very little. Looking at GCSE higher tier Physics will help

Other skills I recommend you to look into:
Word, Excel, PowerPoint - if you're proficient to the point where you could do an EDCL course, you're more than fine
Presentation - you would ideally know how to present your material in an academic manner
Academic writing - other than using Harvard Referencing, you would need to write formally in third person. I recommend reading How to Write Great Essays by Peter Levin
Touch typing - I cannot stress how much time you will end up saving by learning this life skill in 10 hours (probably over the weekend)
Learn about open book exams - as you're not likely come across these in A Level, BTEC, GCSEs, etc. you would want to learn how to look up and use your material effeciently under timed conditions
Posters - learn to put together good academic posters; it will be hard if you're not the creative type

As the course is based on meeting Assessment Criterias and Grade Descriptors, they will be marked completely different to A Levels and GCSEs.

Hope this helps.
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iDeano
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(Original post by MindMax2000)
Just completed the Access Science course. I am expecting 45 Distinctions, so I can point things out to you if you like.

Maths - the level of maths required won't be higher than Level 8 at GCSE - possibly A grade? The material we covered include algebra (manipulate equations for Ohm's law, moments, etc.), indicies, standard form, geometry, and surds. If you're rusty on these, I strongly recommend you look through them. In essense, the maths covered would be necessary for the maths in the modules later in the year.

Biology - the level of biological knowledge you will need will hit you on another level. A lot of it will be about remembering facts and conducting thorough analysis. GCSE Biology will not help you here.
Chemistry - this was relatively easy going for me. Looking at GCSE higher tier Chemistry will help.
Physics - there was not a lot of physics in my version of the course, but it wasn't difficult per se. My course was designed around applications to medical practice i.e. very little. Looking at GCSE higher tier Physics will help

Other skills I recommend you to look into:
Word, Excel, PowerPoint - if you're proficient to the point where you could do an EDCL course, you're more than fine
Presentation - you would ideally know how to present your material in an academic manner
Academic writing - other than using Harvard Referencing, you would need to write formally in third person. I recommend reading How to Write Great Essays by Peter Levin
Touch typing - I cannot stress how much time you will end up saving by learning this life skill in 10 hours (probably over the weekend)
Learn about open book exams - as you're not likely come across these in A Level, BTEC, GCSEs, etc. you would want to learn how to look up and use your material effeciently under timed conditions
Posters - learn to put together good academic posters; it will be hard if you're not the creative type

As the course is based on meeting Assessment Criterias and Grade Descriptors, they will be marked completely different to A Levels and GCSEs.

Hope this helps.
Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Would you bother relearning level 2 biology / chemistry / physics or would you move straight to learning the level 3 content?
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MindMax2000
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I didn't need to revise the science myself, but it depends on how much you remembered from GCSE - I had good science teachers and I did well in them, so I didn't need to.

The tutors will be taking you through the basic material. If you want to, you can revisit some of the physics and chemistry, but not necessary. I'd be careful about looking at Level 3 content without knowing what you would be learning.

A Level can go into a lot of depth and detail. Most of the textbooks would be very expensive for your course, as you're not likely to be using even 1/5th of the book.

If you know what modules you're doing, you could look into getting the revision guides if most of the units cover more on a certain discipline. 2 of my units only looked into physics, for example, so I didn't bother looking into getting a revision guide for it.
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iDeano
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(Original post by MindMax2000)
I didn't need to revise the science myself, but it depends on how much you remembered from GCSE - I had good science teachers and I did well in them, so I didn't need to.

The tutors will be taking you through the basic material. If you want to, you can revisit some of the physics and chemistry, but not necessary. I'd be careful about looking at Level 3 content without knowing what you would be learning.

A Level can go into a lot of depth and detail. Most of the textbooks would be very expensive for your course, as you're not likely to be using even 1/5th of the book.

If you know what modules you're doing, you could look into getting the revision guides if most of the units cover more on a certain discipline. 2 of my units only looked into physics, for example, so I didn't bother looking into getting a revision guide for it.

I managed to source level 2 cgp books for all sciences so might have a whizz through those. It has been 7 years.

I know all of the modules I will be taking so might start watching online videos instead of using expensive textbooks ;P
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MindMax2000
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There's usually no set text for the Access course, and a lot of the material is dictated by the tutor concerned. So yeah, watching online videos is cool.

I do recommend looking up Khan Academy and freesciencelessons - we used them a lot
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