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Declining my offer and doing 4 A-levels from home in my gap year. Watch

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    Hey everyone. I'm having a serious re-think about my offer for FdA Digital Media Production at The Arts University College at Bournemouth.

    I was thinking of completing four or even five A levels [Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Computing etc] from home in my gap year and re-applying for Computer Science somewhere such as Oxbridge, Imperial, Durham, LSE etc.

    Has anyone ever done something like this before? Did it work out for you?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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    Do you mean doing all of those A-levels from scratch, within a year rather than the typical 2 years?
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    In my college, yes, you can do a third year of college and do more A levels. That's what I'm doing, but probably only 2 AS levels and 1 full A level. Though if I wanted to carry on for a 4th year, I would have to pay.

    HOWEVER, I can't see you doing 4-5 full A levels in a year, when you've just chosen the hardest A levels out there. Can I ask, why the change of heart? have you been predicted all As or similar for your A levels?
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    Do you realistically think you can do it? I've done A levels during my gap year and got accepted at unis, but not really at "top unis". Is there any reason why you want to do five rather than the required three, other than to look impressive? What were your A levels before?
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    (Original post by timetokill)
    Do you mean doing all of those A-levels from scratch, within a year rather than the typical 2 years?
    (Original post by Sarafina)
    In my college, yes, you can do a third year of college and do more A levels. That's what I'm doing, but probably only 2 AS levels and 1 full A level. Though if I wanted to carry on for a 4th year, I would have to pay.

    HOWEVER, I can't see you doing 4-5 full A levels in a year, when you've just chosen the hardest A levels out there. Can I ask, why the change of heart? have you been predicted all As or similar for your A levels?
    The truth is, I don't actually have any A-levels. I was having problems at home and became too depressed/anxious to finish them.

    That's why I've got an offer for a foundation degree.

    I just feel although I've been cheated out of an education and feel as though I can do better.
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    So you would be planning to do the typical 2 year A-levels in a year?

    Hmm, Im not too sure how you would manage that too be honest. I know of people who have done full A-levels in a year, but never 4 or 5. That would mean you having to cover an entire years worth of work in 4/5 subjects before exams in January, and then another entire years worth of work in 4/5 subjects before may/june. Even doing a full A-level in a year in just 1 subject is a struggle for alot of people.

    Could you not just do a foundation degree in another area which would allow you to progress straight onto a computer science degree? That would seem to make much more sense.

    OR you could do an access course.
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    (Original post by timetokill)
    So you would be planning to do the typical 2 year A-levels in a year?
    Yeah. There's loads of 'learn from home' A-levels that take around 300 hours to complete.

    (Original post by timetokill)
    Hmm, Im not too sure how you would manage that too be honest. I know of people who have done full A-levels in a year, but never 4 or 5. That would mean you having to cover an entire years worth of work in 4/5 subjects before exams in January, and then another entire years worth of work in 4/5 subjects before may/june. Even doing a full A-level in a year in just 1 subject is a struggle for alot of people.
    Yeah, 5 does seem too much to be honest. Although, because of my situation, I'm very, very determined.

    (Original post by timetokill)
    Could you not just do a foundation degree in another area which would allow you to progress straight onto a computer science degree? That would seem to make much more sense.

    OR you could do an access course.
    Yeah I've looked at these, although I think it's too late to apply for them now.
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    (Original post by Absinth)
    Do you realistically think you can do it? I've done A levels during my gap year and got accepted at unis, but not really at "top unis". Is there any reason why you want to do five rather than the required three, other than to look impressive? What were your A levels before?

    dude i think i done really ***** in my alevels in may/june

    i was thinking to take a gap year now and apply for uni again next year, i could retake some of my exams again in jan and hope for the best.

    just want to know how hard is it to study in a gap year? how focused and comitted do you have to be? and also are unis alright with it?

    thanks
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    (Original post by Srxjer)

    Yeah I've looked at these, although I think it's too late to apply for them now.
    You can go through clearing? It may be a long shot, but its worth a try.

    If you are going to try for A-levels in your year out anyway then you dont have anything to lose. And if it all goes well you may be able to to secure a place this year.

    You can always reapply for a foundation course again next year if for some reason things didnt go as planned.
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    (Original post by timetokill)
    You can go through clearing? It may be a long shot, but its worth a try.
    Yeah good point. I'll have a look.

    (Original post by timetokill)
    If you are going to try for A-levels in your year out anyway then you dont have anything to lose. And if it all goes well you may be able to to secure a place this year.
    That's what I was thinking. It's only a year and it can make such a difference.

    (Original post by timetokill)
    You can always reapply for a foundation course again next year if for some reason things didnt go as planned.
    True. Thanks for the help by the way.
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    (Original post by Srxjer)
    Yeah good point. I'll have a look.



    That's what I was thinking. It's only a year and it can make such a difference.



    True. Thanks for the help by the way.
    No problem, good luck whatever you decide to do.
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    They might take into account your situation but I think that you realistically don't stand a chance at the top universities.

    They take your AS Level results and predicted grades way too seriously, and predicted straight As from a distance learning tutor after 1 month of tuition will not be worth the paper it's written on.

    Also, 5 would be very, very tough going. I have done a self taught AS Level and it was very difficult to get motivated sometimes, although I suppose it depends on how self-disciplined you are.

    If you're going to do it you need to start as soon as possible.
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    I fully understand your determination, but be sure that your depression/anxiety won't be sparked off again by the intensity of work you'll have to do

    Another problem is that, as above said, top unis may not be interested because of your lack of predicted grades. In this case, it's better to do 5 A levels but spread them over 2 years, then apply in a year's time when you have some predicted grades and therefore a 'proof of dedication' to show the universities.
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    (Original post by Castelbajac)
    They might take into account your situation but I think that you realistically don't stand a chance at the top universities.
    Yeah that's what I was thinking. Although I'm sure it'd be much better than the course/uni that I have as my firm at the moment.

    (Original post by Castelbajac)
    They take your AS Level results and predicted grades way too seriously, and predicted straight As from a distance learning tutor after 1 month of tuition will not be worth the paper it's written on.
    Yeah I can understand this being true too, I'm sure there's something that can be done, mock exams or something?

    (Original post by Castelbajac)
    Also, 5 would be very, very tough going. I have done a self taught AS Level and it was very difficult to get motivated sometimes, although I suppose it depends on how self-disciplined you are.

    If you're going to do it you need to start as soon as possible.
    Yeah, If I start right now I'll have 13 months. I'm sure with sheer determination I can get through it.
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    You could do three, definitely - you don't really need any more than that, do you? Explain your circumstances in your PS, and the fact you've done them within a year should definitely give you a decent chance.

    I did two this year and worked pretty much full time from September to December and managed to get As in January for AS. Still waiting on the A2 results in August.

    My advice would be to try to go to a college though - even if it's just evening classes, the contact time with teachers who can advise you on exam technique, point you in the right direction and even cut your workload by advising which sections you can leave out could be priceless.
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    (Original post by Srxjer)
    Yeah that's what I was thinking. Although I'm sure it'd be much better than the course/uni that I have as my firm at the moment.



    Yeah I can understand this being true too, I'm sure there's something that can be done, mock exams or something?



    Yeah, If I start right now I'll have 13 months. I'm sure with sheer determination I can get through it.
    I would advise emailing or ringing the universities that you're thinking of applying to. They will tell you straight whether you are barking mad or if it's possible. Chances are that you will have to lower your expectations a bit, but there are still some very respectable universities that may be more empathetic of your position.

    I had the same problem, but nowhere near to the same degree. I needed a predicted grade for my distance course, and my tutor had only marked one piece of my work, so couldn't really give one. Mock exams might help, but if you're applying to Oxford/Cambridge within the October deadline I'm sure they would prefer some harder evidence - which is obviously impossible within the strict time frame.

    Also, another thing to consider is the expense. It will cost a lot of money if you are going to pay for a distance or home tutor, then all the materials, and then all the exam fees. Also you will have to find a lab if there is a practical section for any of your courses. You will be expected to organise and pay for all of this. Like another poster said, be careful, as it is a huge commitment you are making. I felt the same as you, with bags of enthusiasm, but we are talking months and months of literally non-stop studying, pretty much alone. Make sure you're making the right decision, not only in terms of your future academics/career but also your health. You can always take 2 years.
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    Oh, that's a good point about evidence of achievement. Predicted grades won't really be enough to convince some of the better unis. I found that out to my dismay this year too. Take two years if you can, it'll probably be worth it in the end if you get into some of the unis you're talking about and you'll still be perfectly young enough to fit in with everyone.
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    (Original post by Castelbajac)
    I would advise emailing or ringing the universities that you're thinking of applying to. They will tell you straight whether you are barking mad or if it's possible. Chances are that you will have to lower your expectations a bit, but there are still some very respectable universities that may be more empathetic of your position.

    I had the same problem, but nowhere near to the same degree. I needed a predicted grade for my distance course, and my tutor had only marked one piece of my work, so couldn't really give one. Mock exams might help, but if you're applying to Oxford/Cambridge within the October deadline I'm sure they would prefer some harder evidence - which is obviously impossible within the strict time frame.

    Also, another thing to consider is the expense. It will cost a lot of money if you are going to pay for a distance or home tutor, then all the materials, and then all the exam fees. Also you will have to find a lab if there is a practical section for any of your courses. You will be expected to organise and pay for all of this. Like another poster said, be careful, as it is a huge commitment you are making. I felt the same as you, with bags of enthusiasm, but we are talking months and months of literally non-stop studying, pretty much alone. Make sure you're making the right decision, not only in terms of your future academics/career but also your health. You can always take 2 years.
    (Original post by Eric Arthur)
    Oh, that's a good point about evidence of achievement. Predicted grades won't really be enough to convince some of the better unis. I found that out to my dismay this year too. Take two years if you can, it'll probably be worth it in the end if you get into some of the unis you're talking about and you'll still be perfectly young enough to fit in with everyone.
    Two years does sound like a good choice, especially because of the evidence of achievement and the pressure from the work. I'll definitely take into account what you've both said. Thanks a lot for the help. I really do appreciate it.

    Oh, I'm 19 btw, so I'll be 21 when/if I start uni, do you think that'd be too old?
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    Not at all. I turned 21 last month and won't be going until next year. I went at 18, straight after school but dropped out but when I was there, there were plenty of people on my course in their early twenties. You'll be grand!
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    (Original post by Srxjer)
    Two years does sound like a good choice, especially because of the evidence of achievement and the pressure from the work. I'll definitely take into account what you've both said. Thanks a lot for the help. I really do appreciate it.

    Oh, I'm 19 btw, so I'll be 21 when/if I start uni, do you think that'd be too old?
    No problem

    Nahhhh, no one will even notice you're a couple of years older.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
 
 
 
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