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Access to HE

Hey, I am looking to study Radiography at uni, but don't have the qualifications to go straight there. I have found a course with USP College that is completely online, and will be completed in 6 months. Do you think this is possible to do a science access course with no scientific experience? How difficult will it be to do this?
Original post by Misssmith99
Hey, I am looking to study Radiography at uni, but don't have the qualifications to go straight there. I have found a course with USP College that is completely online, and will be completed in 6 months. Do you think this is possible to do a science access course with no scientific experience? How difficult will it be to do this?


I have done an Access course in Science (suitable for radiography degrees) and the last time I have studied science was in GCSE (did mechanics in maths A Level, but that doesn't really count). I finished with 45 distinctions, which more or less meets the grade requirements for any science based course that accept Access courses.

My classmates at the time also came from very different backgrounds. Granted, not all of them got straight distinctions, but they all managed to get through the course.

The thing that threw me a bit during the course is the practicals. The practicals are usually unguided, so you will need to figure out how to do certain things. I spent a good amount of time on YouTube to cover the methods and approaches they use to carry out the practicals before I went into the actual practicals. Often the instructions for the practicals can be a bit cryptic and you don't know how to carry out specific methods, so videos and visuals can often be a bigger help.

What you would probably also need to look into is how to wirte academically. Whiilst we were provided adequate resources, the lack of academic writing experience had thrown off a number of my classmates at the time (one managed to get through fine, and I didn't had the problem). I would recommend reading How to Write Great Essays by Peter Levin to get yourself up to speed, if this applies to you.
Original post by MindMax2000
I have done an Access course in Science (suitable for radiography degrees) and the last time I have studied science was in GCSE (did mechanics in maths A Level, but that doesn't really count). I finished with 45 distinctions, which more or less meets the grade requirements for any science based course that accept Access courses.

My classmates at the time also came from very different backgrounds. Granted, not all of them got straight distinctions, but they all managed to get through the course.

The thing that threw me a bit during the course is the practicals. The practicals are usually unguided, so you will need to figure out how to do certain things. I spent a good amount of time on YouTube to cover the methods and approaches they use to carry out the practicals before I went into the actual practicals. Often the instructions for the practicals can be a bit cryptic and you don't know how to carry out specific methods, so videos and visuals can often be a bigger help.

What you would probably also need to look into is how to wirte academically. Whiilst we were provided adequate resources, the lack of academic writing experience had thrown off a number of my classmates at the time (one managed to get through fine, and I didn't had the problem). I would recommend reading How to Write Great Essays by Peter Levin to get yourself up to speed, if this applies to you.

I took A levels, so have done things since GCSE, but that was over 4 years ago and I guess I’m worried about the unknown, especially with it being only across 6 months. I will definitely give that a read, thank you so much for your recommendation! The course says 15 hours study a week is recommended for it to be completed, but I would put in more hours than this. I’m hoping this will be achievable?!
Reply 3
Original post by Misssmith99
Hey, I am looking to study Radiography at uni, but don't have the qualifications to go straight there. I have found a course with USP College that is completely online, and will be completed in 6 months. Do you think this is possible to do a science access course with no scientific experience? How difficult will it be to do this?


Are you able to study an access course at a local FE college? If so, I would highly recommened that pathway rather than online :smile:
Original post by Misssmith99
I took A levels, so have done things since GCSE, but that was over 4 years ago and I guess I’m worried about the unknown, especially with it being only across 6 months. I will definitely give that a read, thank you so much for your recommendation! The course says 15 hours study a week is recommended for it to be completed, but I would put in more hours than this. I’m hoping this will be achievable?!


When I did my course (it was classroom based), I spent 15 hours in class and another 15 hours outside of class reading, revising, studying, researching, etc. Strictly speaking, I could have gone through the same material in 5 hours a week in class + 15 hours outside of class.

So yeah, it's possible to complete everything in 6 months with intensive study, especially if you have done A Levels before.

However, if you have no experience in academic writing, I would recommend you look into this first.
You will likely need basic Excel and Word skills. I don't know how good your skills are, but you can often find the answers on YouTube.
Original post by TMedi
Are you able to study an access course at a local FE college? If so, I would highly recommened that pathway rather than online :smile:

My only worry is I need to work due to financial issues, preferably full time. I would rather spread it across the year, but with all the breaks it would only be 9/10 months classroom learning I guess
Hi, :h:

I’m currently doing an access science course and love it. Everyone on the course has come from a different background and are doing well with minimal experience. The course I am doing is one academic year and is classed as full-time, as you are expected to do ~40 hours of study over the course of a week, with 15 of these hours in lessons.

I think it’s a case of you get out what you put into it - if you are willing to do the hard work and research outside of the classroom, then consistent high grades are very achievable with little prior knowledge.

IMO it’s advisable to do the course at a college rather than online if possible, for a number of reasons:

- Some universities specifically ask for practical modules to be passed (which isn’t usually offered as part of an online course). Make sure to read university entry requirements just in case.

- Colleges will help with the UCAS application process, personal statement and provide references etc.

- The experience will generally prepare you for the university environment and ease you back into the classroom setting. (Which can be daunting after time out!)

If online is the way you want to go, I’d recommend to check that the course is fully validated/accredited. Additionally, some radiography degrees may ask for specific entry requirements e.g., 15 Distinctions in Biology modules, so check that the access course is going to provide those requirements.

Hope this helps - Any questions please ask!
Nikki. :smile:
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Misssmith99
Hey, I am looking to study Radiography at uni, but don't have the qualifications to go straight there. I have found a course with USP College that is completely online, and will be completed in 6 months. Do you think this is possible to do a science access course with no scientific experience? How difficult will it be to do this?

A really, really bad idea. Having taught on Access courses for more years than I care to remember, I can tell you that they are full-on and more difficult than many student anticipate. I would never recommend that you take a course like this online, and certainly not one which (they claim) could be completed within six months. If it's been a long time since you did any science, and particularly if your last academic work in science was GCSE, then it will take more time, commitment and work to get a good result in your Access course: remember that it is notionally equivalent to A level study. I find that students are often very weak in practical skills, and this is something which can hobble you a bit at university - so it's best to get the basics done properly during your Access course.

I understand that you have work/financial commitments, but the academic work does need to come front and centre if you want to do well: and that's even more relevant to a degree. Students who attempt to fit their academic work around other things like paid work, childcare etc often struggle and don't do very well. This isn't to say that it's impossible to do a degree alongside some paid work, childcare and 'adulting' generally - thousands of students are successful every year. However, the academic work has to assume a much greater importance, and that start with the Access course: trying to do one in six months, online is not the way to begin your journey :smile:
Have you thought about doing uni with a foundation year if you have some UCAS points.
Reply 9
Original post by Reality Check
A really, really bad idea. Having taught on Access courses for more years than I care to remember, I can tell you that they are full-on and more difficult than many student anticipate. I would never recommend that you take a course like this online, and certainly not one which (they claim) could be completed within six months. If it's been a long time since you did any science, and particularly if your last academic work in science was GCSE, then it will take more time, commitment and work to get a good result in your Access course: remember that it is notionally equivalent to A level study. I find that students are often very weak in practical skills, and this is something which can hobble you a bit at university - so it's best to get the basics done properly during your Access course.

I understand that you have work/financial commitments, but the academic work does need to come front and centre if you want to do well: and that's even more relevant to a degree. Students who attempt to fit their academic work around other things like paid work, childcare etc often struggle and don't do very well. This isn't to say that it's impossible to do a degree alongside some paid work, childcare and 'adulting' generally - thousands of students are successful every year. However, the academic work has to assume a much greater importance, and that start with the Access course: trying to do one in six months, online is not the way to begin your journey :smile:


100% Agree. As a current student, I have 2 exams and one piece of coursework every 7/8weeks currently (+ Doing ungraded units inbetween). I am working part time over the weekend and it's tough. I have got all distinctions so far, but this is with consistent studying every day.
Thank you all for your amazing advice. I know it might be tough being out of work full time but for my end goal I think I am right to go through a proper college. I have an option of a year course, or 18 months online and classroom, which may work better. I just have to keep thinking about the end result and having a career at uni

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