The Student Room Group

Private Candidate - Ancient History

Sorry if this is a silly question. I don't use things like TSR and just wondering if anyone on here could make my life a bit easier and provide some information (Been struggling to find it online)

I want to take Ancient History, but can't find anywhere that teaches it. Would it seem normal to find a school/college that accepts private candidates, but ask to sit an exam that they do not teach? As in, have them order an exam paper to be sent to the school/college, and let me sit it?

I am wondering this because most of the places online are asking for prices over £400, which I view as a sort of unnecassary scam. I had seen on the OCR website that It would be roughly less than £200.

Many Thanks,


Clifford
Original post by Cliff12
Sorry if this is a silly question. I don't use things like TSR and just wondering if anyone on here could make my life a bit easier and provide some information (Been struggling to find it online)

I want to take Ancient History, but can't find anywhere that teaches it. Would it seem normal to find a school/college that accepts private candidates, but ask to sit an exam that they do not teach? As in, have them order an exam paper to be sent to the school/college, and let me sit it?

I am wondering this because most of the places online are asking for prices over £400, which I view as a sort of unnecassary scam. I had seen on the OCR website that It would be roughly less than £200.

Many Thanks,


Clifford


Right, I think you're confused about the prices.

What you are asking for is to sit the exams as a private candidate.

To be a private candidate means you take the exam outside of your school or college by yourself.
The prices on the OCR website (https://www.ocr.org.uk/administration/fees/) is for the exam and admissions, not for the course.

How you study the course as a private candidate is up to you. You can either go on a course held by an online college, or studying yourself. In either case, you will be studying by yourself (with or without guidance depending if you enrolled on a course or not).
If you want to study by yourself with no course, then you will need to buy the textbook for OCR Ancient History and go through everything yourself.
If you want to study with an online college, they will provide all the material + assignments. The tutor can provide predicited grades for this should you wish. However, these online courses will typically not include exam fees or arrange the bookings for the exams for you unless they specifically say where they list the price.
Whether you think online courses are worth the money is up to you. You are under no obligation to go on a course should you choose not to.

To find a place to sit your exams (i.e. book everything yourself), you would do the following:

1.

Go to the exam board that you take your A Level with (in your case OCR, since they are the only ones doing Ancient History), and go to the private candidate section: https://www.ocr.org.uk/students/private-candidates/

2.

In the private candidate section, go and find an exam centre approved by the exam board (see: https://www.ocr.org.uk/students/private-candidates/ , which will lead you to the following website: https://www.jcq.org.uk/private-candidates)

3.

After you have selected an approved exam centre that you want to take your exams at, you need to liaise with the exam officer of the exam centre to arrange the booking.

4.

After you have submitted the required information to your exam officer, they will charge you the appropriate exam and admin fees for the exams that you want to take. These prices are set by OCR.


The deadline to enroll for exams are usually around February (if you want to sit the exam in 2023, do this ASAP), but it can drag on until April whilst incurring late fees of course (see: https://www.ocr.org.uk/administration/general-qualifications/preparation/key-dates-and-timetables/). The best time to enroll is usually in November of the academic year that you want to sit the exam in e.g. Nov 2022 for May/June 2023 exams.

I don't know what your situation is. Particularly if you're under 18 or not. If you're still under 18, I would recommend you find a local college or 6th form that does Ancient History and enroll on their course whilst you do your other 2 A Levels (or equivalent) at your current college. That way, you should be able to avoid the fees for the exams and courses.

If not, you would need to book the exams as a private candidate, and how you choose to study is up to you.
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
Right, I think you're confused about the prices.

What you are asking for is to sit the exams as a private candidate.

To be a private candidate means you take the exam outside of your school or college by yourself.
The prices on the OCR website (https://www.ocr.org.uk/administration/fees/) is for the exam and admissions, not for the course.

How you study the course as a private candidate is up to you. You can either go on a course held by an online college, or studying yourself. In either case, you will be studying by yourself (with or without guidance depending if you enrolled on a course or not).
If you want to study by yourself with no course, then you will need to buy the textbook for OCR Ancient History and go through everything yourself.
If you want to study with an online college, they will provide all the material + assignments. The tutor can provide predicited grades for this should you wish. However, these online courses will typically not include exam fees or arrange the bookings for the exams for you unless they specifically say where they list the price.
Whether you think online courses are worth the money is up to you. You are under no obligation to go on a course should you choose not to.

To find a place to sit your exams (i.e. book everything yourself), you would do the following:

1.

Go to the exam board that you take your A Level with (in your case OCR, since they are the only ones doing Ancient History), and go to the private candidate section: https://www.ocr.org.uk/students/private-candidates/

2.

In the private candidate section, go and find an exam centre approved by the exam board (see: https://www.ocr.org.uk/students/private-candidates/ , which will lead you to the following website: https://www.jcq.org.uk/private-candidates)

3.

After you have selected an approved exam centre that you want to take your exams at, you need to liaise with the exam officer of the exam centre to arrange the booking.

4.

After you have submitted the required information to your exam officer, they will charge you the appropriate exam and admin fees for the exams that you want to take. These prices are set by OCR.


The deadline to enroll for exams are usually around February (if you want to sit the exam in 2023, do this ASAP), but it can drag on until April whilst incurring late fees of course (see: https://www.ocr.org.uk/administration/general-qualifications/preparation/key-dates-and-timetables/). The best time to enroll is usually in November of the academic year that you want to sit the exam in e.g. Nov 2022 for May/June 2023 exams.

I don't know what your situation is. Particularly if you're under 18 or not. If you're still under 18, I would recommend you find a local college or 6th form that does Ancient History and enroll on their course whilst you do your other 2 A Levels (or equivalent) at your current college. That way, you should be able to avoid the fees for the exams and courses.

If not, you would need to book the exams as a private candidate, and how you choose to study is up to you.

Many thanks for the information mate! This is gold!

I am 24, and already have a degree in Civil Engineering. I am just looking to take the exam only, I study Antiquity-era history for fun as a hobby, for many years, and realised this was a good opportunity to grab an A-level that I could confidently get A/A*. This information you have provided is perfect for me, as well as being perfectly clear. Thank you very much. You could not realise how much I appreciate this!

Thankyou for your step-by-step pathway that you have provided.

Many thanks my friend.

Clifford
Reply 3
Original post by Cliff12
Many thanks for the information mate! This is gold!

I am 24, and already have a degree in Civil Engineering. I am just looking to take the exam only, I study Antiquity-era history for fun as a hobby, for many years, and realised this was a good opportunity to grab an A-level that I could confidently get A/A*. This information you have provided is perfect for me, as well as being perfectly clear. Thank you very much. You could not realise how much I appreciate this!

Thankyou for your step-by-step pathway that you have provided.

Many thanks my friend.

Clifford


If anyone is wondering why I have posts regarding A levels, I have A-level maths at A, but Physics and Chemistry at E grade. I had an unconditional so I didn't do anything (as I knew I was already going to that University). However I want to study a science at Exeter (Nuerology?) now, later on in life, and need two other A levels at A grade.

With the information you have provided me tonight, I can actually crack on with all of this first thing tomorrow morning. You are a star mate, thank you so much for taking the time out of your own personal life to provide such clear and well written information for me. Many thanks mate!!

Clifford
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Cliff12
If anyone is wondering why I have posts regarding A levels, I have A-level maths at A, but Physics and Chemistry at E grade. I had an unconditional so I didn't do anything (as I knew I was already going to that University). However I want to study a science at Exeter (Nuerology?) now, later on in life, and need two other A levels at A grade.

With the information you have provided me tonight, I can actually crack on with all of this first thing tomorrow morning. You are a star mate, thank you so much for taking the time out of your own personal life to provide such clear and well written information for me. Many thanks mate!!

Clifford

You're welcome Clifford.

The thing I might want to point out regarding the science A Levels is that you are often asked whether you want to do a practical assessment on top of your exams. As you have already done the practicals for Physics and Chemistry, you can try to ask the exam board whether they can transfer your practical assessments over from your old A Levels.
I am not sure which science degree you want to do, but if you need to do a biology A Level and the degree course page specifically says that you need to have a practical assessment on top of the A Level, you will need to find an exam centre that would be willing to take you on to do the practical assessment (costs roughly £1000, and this again goes to the exam centre). Finding a place to do practical assessment in most people's experience is a complete pain.

As far as I know, the science courses at Exeter tend not to specifically require a practical assessment, but then again I haven't looked through all their courses.

Your other options
There are foundation years available for certain science courses at Exeter should you not meet the requirements and they are willing to take you. It's definitely a lot cheaper to resit the A Levels though.
Having said that, the drawback with foundation years is that it's a complete pain if you want to switch to another university. If you are set on Exeter to do your second bachelor's, then you should be fine.

The alternative to the above would be to do an Access to HE course (as far as I know Exeter accept Access diplomas for their courses, but I can't be sure they do for all the courses they offer). I don't know which specific area of science you intend to go into, but with Access courses you need to ensure that you have enough credits in the types of subjects in order to meet the equivalent A Level requirements.
Say you have a chemistry degree for example that requires A Level Biology and so happens to accept Access courses. In the entry requirements for the degree course, it can say something along the lines of 15 credits in Biology and then something along the lines of 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits. The 15 credits in Biology means that you need the biology modules in your Access diploma to be of at least 15 credits in order for the diploma to be applicable for the course; and then you need the grade of the overall diploma to be at a minimum of 30 credits at distinction and 15 at merit.
I am mentioning Access courses because you can easily do one at your local adult college for about £3500 (since you have already done A Levels). If you done an Access diploma online (provided they are genuine, but then again I haven't found one which isn't), they can cost around £1000. Online Access courses can be done in as little as 6 months (3 if you study like crazy) or as long as 18 months (sometimes 24 depending on the specific course provider). The in classroom courses you find in local colleges would do them in 10-12 months.
If the above regarding Access wasn't clear, let me know.

Your other option is to go to an adult college and do a BTEC in Applied Sciences at Level 3, as well as any individual A Level (depending on whatt the requirements of the degree is). If you were to do a BTEC, it would need to be offline, cost £3500 or so, and take 2 years.

The problem with any A Level, BTEC, Access diploma is that universities accept them so long you have achieved the result within a certain timeframe. For example, if you did your A Levels 15 years ago, it's not likely Exeter would accept them. Universities will vary in terms of timeframes (some 2 years, others 5), but they tend to be relatively short. I would contact Exeter's science department's undergrad admissions personnel to double check on this.

ELQ
Since you are looking to do a second bachelor's, I wasn't sure whether you were made aware of the Equivalent Lower Qualitication policy. If you don't, let me know.

Just for my interest, if you don't mind, what made you decide to leave civil engineering if you are?
Reply 5
Original post by MindMax2000
You're welcome Clifford.

The thing I might want to point out regarding the science A Levels is that you are often asked whether you want to do a practical assessment on top of your exams. As you have already done the practicals for Physics and Chemistry, you can try to ask the exam board whether they can transfer your practical assessments over from your old A Levels.
I am not sure which science degree you want to do, but if you need to do a biology A Level and the degree course page specifically says that you need to have a practical assessment on top of the A Level, you will need to find an exam centre that would be willing to take you on to do the practical assessment (costs roughly £1000, and this again goes to the exam centre). Finding a place to do practical assessment in most people's experience is a complete pain.

As far as I know, the science courses at Exeter tend not to specifically require a practical assessment, but then again I haven't looked through all their courses.

Your other options
There are foundation years available for certain science courses at Exeter should you not meet the requirements and they are willing to take you. It's definitely a lot cheaper to resit the A Levels though.
Having said that, the drawback with foundation years is that it's a complete pain if you want to switch to another university. If you are set on Exeter to do your second bachelor's, then you should be fine.

The alternative to the above would be to do an Access to HE course (as far as I know Exeter accept Access diplomas for their courses, but I can't be sure they do for all the courses they offer). I don't know which specific area of science you intend to go into, but with Access courses you need to ensure that you have enough credits in the types of subjects in order to meet the equivalent A Level requirements.
Say you have a chemistry degree for example that requires A Level Biology and so happens to accept Access courses. In the entry requirements for the degree course, it can say something along the lines of 15 credits in Biology and then something along the lines of 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits. The 15 credits in Biology means that you need the biology modules in your Access diploma to be of at least 15 credits in order for the diploma to be applicable for the course; and then you need the grade of the overall diploma to be at a minimum of 30 credits at distinction and 15 at merit.
I am mentioning Access courses because you can easily do one at your local adult college for about £3500 (since you have already done A Levels). If you done an Access diploma online (provided they are genuine, but then again I haven't found one which isn't), they can cost around £1000. Online Access courses can be done in as little as 6 months (3 if you study like crazy) or as long as 18 months (sometimes 24 depending on the specific course provider). The in classroom courses you find in local colleges would do them in 10-12 months.
If the above regarding Access wasn't clear, let me know.

Your other option is to go to an adult college and do a BTEC in Applied Sciences at Level 3, as well as any individual A Level (depending on whatt the requirements of the degree is). If you were to do a BTEC, it would need to be offline, cost £3500 or so, and take 2 years.

The problem with any A Level, BTEC, Access diploma is that universities accept them so long you have achieved the result within a certain timeframe. For example, if you did your A Levels 15 years ago, it's not likely Exeter would accept them. Universities will vary in terms of timeframes (some 2 years, others 5), but they tend to be relatively short. I would contact Exeter's science department's undergrad admissions personnel to double check on this.

ELQ
Since you are looking to do a second bachelor's, I wasn't sure whether you were made aware of the Equivalent Lower Qualitication policy. If you don't, let me know.

Just for my interest, if you don't mind, what made you decide to leave civil engineering if you are?

Would be more than happy to share (regards to your last question at the end), as you have been extremely helpful for myself.

I'm good at maths and and okay with mechanical concepts, but have come to realise that I don't have the same general interest in some of the sciences, or antiquity (hobby). I will happily stay up to 2-3 am, some nights, reading on my phone about chromosomal diseases, parasites etc, antiquity history, for hours (hence staying up so late). As well as watching multiple hour long videos on criminal investigation cases. But I never spend any of my free time reading or delving into anything to do with an engineering of any type. I think I had misunderstood my ability to do maths and physics, and subsequently engineering, as something that I "should do", but I was simply just alright at it because I'm fairly intelligent / well clocked on. (Don't mean to and hate to sound full of myself, can't think how else to word that).

I have come to realise as I got older that this is what others, who were older and wiser, meant when they said "Do something that you enjoy".

Learning at university also felt more like a chore for me, and I had to really push myself to go and study. I was never at the top of any of my lecture groups / classes. And I felt like it was because I had no love for the subject, and would only study If I had too. I was awarded a 2:1 at the end of it all.

All in all, I don't think or feel like I am an engineer. Its not in my heart
Reply 6
Original post by MindMax2000
You're welcome Clifford.

The thing I might want to point out regarding the science A Levels is that you are often asked whether you want to do a practical assessment on top of your exams. As you have already done the practicals for Physics and Chemistry, you can try to ask the exam board whether they can transfer your practical assessments over from your old A Levels.
I am not sure which science degree you want to do, but if you need to do a biology A Level and the degree course page specifically says that you need to have a practical assessment on top of the A Level, you will need to find an exam centre that would be willing to take you on to do the practical assessment (costs roughly £1000, and this again goes to the exam centre). Finding a place to do practical assessment in most people's experience is a complete pain.

As far as I know, the science courses at Exeter tend not to specifically require a practical assessment, but then again I haven't looked through all their courses.

Your other options
There are foundation years available for certain science courses at Exeter should you not meet the requirements and they are willing to take you. It's definitely a lot cheaper to resit the A Levels though.
Having said that, the drawback with foundation years is that it's a complete pain if you want to switch to another university. If you are set on Exeter to do your second bachelor's, then you should be fine.

The alternative to the above would be to do an Access to HE course (as far as I know Exeter accept Access diplomas for their courses, but I can't be sure they do for all the courses they offer). I don't know which specific area of science you intend to go into, but with Access courses you need to ensure that you have enough credits in the types of subjects in order to meet the equivalent A Level requirements.
Say you have a chemistry degree for example that requires A Level Biology and so happens to accept Access courses. In the entry requirements for the degree course, it can say something along the lines of 15 credits in Biology and then something along the lines of 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits. The 15 credits in Biology means that you need the biology modules in your Access diploma to be of at least 15 credits in order for the diploma to be applicable for the course; and then you need the grade of the overall diploma to be at a minimum of 30 credits at distinction and 15 at merit.
I am mentioning Access courses because you can easily do one at your local adult college for about £3500 (since you have already done A Levels). If you done an Access diploma online (provided they are genuine, but then again I haven't found one which isn't), they can cost around £1000. Online Access courses can be done in as little as 6 months (3 if you study like crazy) or as long as 18 months (sometimes 24 depending on the specific course provider). The in classroom courses you find in local colleges would do them in 10-12 months.
If the above regarding Access wasn't clear, let me know.

Your other option is to go to an adult college and do a BTEC in Applied Sciences at Level 3, as well as any individual A Level (depending on whatt the requirements of the degree is). If you were to do a BTEC, it would need to be offline, cost £3500 or so, and take 2 years.

The problem with any A Level, BTEC, Access diploma is that universities accept them so long you have achieved the result within a certain timeframe. For example, if you did your A Levels 15 years ago, it's not likely Exeter would accept them. Universities will vary in terms of timeframes (some 2 years, others 5), but they tend to be relatively short. I would contact Exeter's science department's undergrad admissions personnel to double check on this.

ELQ
Since you are looking to do a second bachelor's, I wasn't sure whether you were made aware of the Equivalent Lower Qualitication policy. If you don't, let me know.

Just for my interest, if you don't mind, what made you decide to leave civil engineering if you are?


Now in regards for your information you have provided, yet again many thanks and it is greatly appreciated.

I will make calls tomorrow morning, and inquire if they are able to transfer the practicals across. I will also call OCR and ask them, they are extremely helpful over the phone. Thanks for that suggestion.

I am either going to study a BA Ancient History (feel like I will have no issue wanting to learn), or a science. Its looking like Neuroscience so far, as they require 2 "sciences" at A grade GCE, and do not require Biology as a compulsory GCE.

Maths counts as a science, and If I book the exam for this June I know I can get an A again, or maybe even an A* hopefully, as I've done an completed an engineering degree (with my 1st year basically being A-level maths all over again, lol). I am also a lot older and more mature, as well as having my own place, and can provide more than adequate room and space to maximise my study potential.

FOUNDATION years are not an option for me, I don't think. I have 1 year left of SFE loan that I (think) i'm entitled too. I will use that to pay for 1st and 2nd year, and pay for the 3rd year myself (Will use my £8998 maintenance loan as my "tuition loan" for year 2). I have run a gas station for the past 2 years, and have a fair bit of money in my savings for someone my age. My father has offered and promised to pay 4,500 for the last year, providing I get to that stage.

I am going to have a look into access to HE courses. The information you have provided on that is also very clear, just like nearly everything else you have spoken about. :smile:

I am thinking I will stick with the A-Level route (Haven't looked into access courses yet). Reasoning is because I want to go this September to Exeter University if possible. I feel like I can get an A/A* in ancient history, an A/A* in OCR maths (if Exeter wants me to do it again so the grade is more "recent") and a science again (physics or chemistry, if not needed to do the practical turns out true). If not then I am thinking I will take psychology, as Exeter state that they accept it as a Science. AQA Psychology is only exam based, according to what i've read on the prospectus.

All in all, to clarify things up. Exeter ask for AAB, with 1 Science at an A grade. I think I can achieve an A in ancient history (one ticked off). Already have, and can get again if needed, an A in maths (another ticked off). And an A in another science (Chemistry, Physics or Psychology), 3rd one ticked off.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 7
I want to add, that my reasoning for this idea came from......

A medicine courses website of some sort, had a giant list of every uni in a column. And what their criteria was for medicine applicants. (I will see if I can find a link, I was looking at it earlier today so will have a look *this is an edit*)

As I was looking through the list, It stated that for Exeter they do not discriminate in any way towards applicants that have done resits, or have done A-levels after college. This was surprising as (it seemed like) 90%+ of all the other uni's on that list said that they wont accept you if you have re-sitted, or done A-levels at any other point apart from college, unless you have "extreme circumstances". A lot said they wont even consider it at all.

This then spurred a thought process of "technically" If I have 3 A-levels at A grade, with 2 being science subjects (they provide a list of what they accept for that), then "technically" I meet the criteria to study Ancient History or Nuerology.

Just thought I'd add that in if you were also wondering why I was doing any of this. I'm going to make another post tomorrow about my plan, just to see if others think it makes sense the way that I do. *edit, please check that out if you feel like it! You are extremely helpful, and really know what you are talking about! Would be great if you could.*

Also yet again, many thanks for taking your time out of your day to respond to this. I forget how great TSR can be.

Many thanks pal!

Clifford
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 8
Thank you for making me aware of ELQ'S, I had not realised it was I thing. Hopefully I can still recieve some funding of some sort.

Many thanks yet again,

Clifford
Original post by Cliff12
Thank you for making me aware of ELQ'S, I had not realised it was I thing. Hopefully I can still recieve some funding of some sort.

Many thanks yet again,

Clifford

I might as well throw some of the links your way:
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/career-planning/study-and-training/considering-or-university/financial-support-university
https://www.heinfo.slc.co.uk/resources/guidance/courses-management-service-user-guide/eligibility/equivalent-or-lower-qualification-elq-exceptions/english-domiciled-students/
https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies

I was wondering whether you would get funding if the course that you want to do is associated with healthcare and whether you will get the funding for full time courses (as far as I know, Exeter does not do part time science courses). This is where it gets a bit vague: you will be able to get full student funding for subjects allied to medicine, but you would only get full funding for part time Biological and Sport Science.

If chromosonal diseases, parasitology, and neurology float your boat, I would check whether biochemistry, biomedicine, psychology, and neuroscience would be classed as allied to medicine subjects. If they are, then you will be in luck. It's best if you call up the Student Loan Company, or ask a question under the SFE category on TSR (only personnel from the Student Loan Company would answer those specific questions) to get a confirmation.

I can't help with ancienty history degrees; you would need to get full funding for it. Believe me when I say it's not going to be easy.
Original post by Cliff12
I have 1 year left of SFE loan that I (think) i'm entitled too. I will use that to pay for 1st and 2nd year, and pay for the 3rd year myself (Will use my £8998 maintenance loan as my "tuition loan" for year 2).

No you don't have a year of SFE loan left.

The following link explains the ELQ exceptions:

https://www.heinfo.slc.co.uk/resources/guidance/courses-management-service-user-guide/eligibility/equivalent-or-lower-qualification-elq-exceptions/english-domiciled-students/

If you have specific courses in mind (uni with course name/code), post on the Ask SFE forum:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=910

Some suggestions for alternative sources of funding:

https://www.thescholarshiphub.org.uk/how-get-funding-second-degree-uk/

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