Medicine: bird in the hand worth two in the bush?

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Anonymous #1
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I basically have a choice. Study medicine with a foundation year or take a chance on taking an A level as a private candidate with the exam in autumn, assuming it goes ahead. My university have given me this choice in sympathy to the fact that the system in place for private candidates is far from ideal.

I’m a bit torn. If I take the foundation year, I’m basically in but it’s another £9K in fees. There’s a lot less uncertainty attached to a foundation year but at the same time it’s a lot more rigid a structure and the teaching isn’t really at the university so it will feel a lot like going back to school. I’m a mature candidate in my thirties and I was hoping to work for a year to save and build up my potential to work as a locum AHP during the five years of medical school.

I just don’t know what to do. I don’t have a very high tolerance for uncertainty but at the same time I’ve waited ten years for this opportunity and I turned down an earlier offer to do medicine...
I just don’t know.

I’d welcome some opinions.
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carrotstar
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I basically have a choice. Study medicine with a foundation year or take a chance on taking an A level as a private candidate with the exam in autumn, assuming it goes ahead. My university have given me this choice in sympathy to the fact that the system in place for private candidates is far from ideal.

I’m a bit torn. If I take the foundation year, I’m basically in but it’s another £9K in fees. There’s a lot less uncertainty attached to a foundation year but at the same time it’s a lot more rigid a structure and the teaching isn’t really at the university so it will feel a lot like going back to school. I’m a mature candidate in my thirties and I was hoping to work for a year to save and build up my potential to work as a locum AHP during the five years of medical school.

I just don’t know what to do. I don’t have a very high tolerance for uncertainty but at the same time I’ve waited ten years for this opportunity and I turned down an earlier offer to do medicine...
I just don’t know.

I’d welcome some opinions.
Is the A-level a resit? If so, what did you get the first time around?
Is there any way you can save your place on the foundation course and the medicine course and choose later once you have your result? Would the university accept you onto the foundation course as a backup if you didn’t get the grade you needed in the A-level? If you haven’t already, it’s definitely worth asking the question!
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Anonymous #1
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No it’s my first time at the A level. With the time to sit it in Autumn rather than having to get a centre calculated grade? I probably stand a better chance but in terms of the offer I need to make a decision fairly soon. Cant have it both ways, essentially.
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Anonymous #2
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Which university is this for?

If it was me I’d rather do the foundation year with medicine than doing your a levels.
But it all depends on your financial situation. I understand why you may be reluctant due to the cost of tuition fees. I’d say if it was for any other subject beside medicine or dentistry to not do a foundation year, but for your subject I think you should consider it. It’ll also help familiarise you with how university will be for first year, such as knowing how to structure essays and so on.
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Trinculo
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“Two in the bush” means you have two chances. You only have one.

Is the issue that you think you won’t pass the exams, or that you don’t think they will go ahead?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Which university is this for?

If it was me I’d rather do the foundation year with medicine than doing your a levels.
But it all depends on your financial situation. I understand why you may be reluctant due to the cost of tuition fees. I’d say if it was for any other subject beside medicine or dentistry to not do a foundation year, but for your subject I think you should consider it. It’ll also help familiarise you with how university will be for first year, such as knowing how to structure essays and so on.
I’m a graduate so it’s not really a factor in my decision making.

I think one of the reasons I’m struggling with this is that I’m just so tired of studying right this second and I just question whether I can meet the terms of the offer if I stick with standard entry. The foundation year pass threshold is lower than the terms of the A level offer I’ve been made. There’s a temptation to take the easy way out, intellectually speaking. But there’s a lifestyle and financial penalty to doing so.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Trinculo)
“Two in the bush” means you have two chances. You only have one.

Is the issue that you think you won’t pass the exams, or that you don’t think they will go ahead?
Not exactly. The bird in the hand worth two in the bush is basically the idea that a safe option with less is more valuable than a riskier option with more. My bird in the hand is the foundation year with the lower threshold. My two in the bush is having an option to sit an exam later than I thought I would and get all the benefits of that extra year to prepare financially but with the obvious extra risks of sitting an exam in a subject I’m having to self teach at least 50% of.
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Jpw1097
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a graduate so it’s not really a factor in my decision making.

I think one of the reasons I’m struggling with this is that I’m just so tired of studying right this second and I just question whether I can meet the terms of the offer if I stick with standard entry. The foundation year pass threshold is lower than the terms of the A level offer I’ve been made. There’s a temptation to take the easy way out, intellectually speaking. But there’s a lifestyle and financial penalty to doing so.
As you’re probably aware, as a graduate, although you are not entitled to a tuition fee loan, you are entitled to a maintenance loan. Do you know how much you will receive from SFE? How are you planning on funding the degree?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Jpw1097)
As you’re probably aware, as a graduate, although you are not entitled to a tuition fee loan, you are entitled to a maintenance loan. Do you know how much you will receive from SFE? How are you planning on funding the degree?
Combination of maintenance loan, savings (I currently have about 10% of the total cost and a payment plan agreed with the university. I am leaning towards just doing the A level though. I’m not sure i can justify an extra £9k. It’s going to compromise my family’s income too much if I do it now. Unless I hit a lottery win of course!
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nexttime
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I basically have a choice. Study medicine with a foundation year or take a chance on taking an A level as a private candidate with the exam in autumn, assuming it goes ahead. My university have given me this choice in sympathy to the fact that the system in place for private candidates is far from ideal.
I'm confused.

So currently you have a guaranteed place on a medical course, but its got an extra year.
The alternative is to sit "an a-level" - so just one, and this will be sat in Autumn, and if you get an A (?) then you have a guaranteed offer for the year after, is that right?
Sounds very unusual.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by nexttime)
I'm confused.

So currently you have a guaranteed place on a medical course, but its got an extra year.
The alternative is to sit "an a-level" - so just one, and this will be sat in Autumn, and if you get an A (?) then you have a guaranteed offer for the year after, is that right?
Sounds very unusual.
More or less. I meet the requirements for the foundation degree and I have a conditional offer for the normal degree. Because of the situation affecting private candidates I’ve been offered this choice as my original offer was for deferred entry so this would not affect the timeline of my entry.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Anonymous)
More or less. I meet the requirements for the foundation degree and I have a conditional offer for the normal degree. Because of the situation affecting private candidates I’ve been offered this choice as my original offer was for deferred entry so this would not affect the timeline of my entry.
Ok. So the only 'risk' is if you don't get an A in this single A-level in Autumn?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by nexttime)
Ok. So the only 'risk' is if you don't get an A in this single A-level in Autumn?
Yes.
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