When you think of A Levels and studying them, you can be forgiven for automatically thinking of them as being for teenagers in school or college. But there is a growing trend of adults who are returning to studying A Levels in an attempt to improve their career prospects.
With the growth of online learning and the ability for people to self study subjects as and when they want to, A Levels for adults is now a thing and a great way to get you on the path to university that you always dreamed of.
In this in-depth article, we’re going to look at all things A Levels for adults and try and answer as many of the frequently asked questions that our team come across when helping students.
How are A Levels for Adults Different to School or College A Levels?
The biggest and most significant difference is the freedom of studying, unlike in school or college, when you study, you are free to learn your course syllabus as and when you want to. There is no teacher or tutor chasing you to do your work, the onus is on you to keep to your deadlines and ensure you have handed in your assessments at the right points. So, if you wanted, you could work through the entire course and syllabus without doing any assessments and just focus on sitting the examinations. Although, we wouldn’t advise that!
With A Levels for adults, you also have the option of choosing the awarding body you sit your A Levels with. So instead of being told you’re studying Biology with AQA, you can choose between AQA or Cambridge International. Why does that matter? Well each awarding body has a slightly different focus within each syllabus, so where some are more focused on practicals or coursework, other courses may focus more on the examination side of things.
Is there help when I need it during my Studies?
Absolutely! This is the great thing with A Levels for adults, you are in control. So if you feel you need help or feedback, there is always an Academic Expert on hand to help and assist. If you are struggling to understand a theory or practice, you can ask for help and they will find a way to help you better understand.
Should you decide to complete the self assessment tasks and want to hand them in for a grade and feedback, you can do just that! And what’s more, the feedback you will get will include hints and tips on how to better improve your answers for when it comes to your examinations.
When can I Study A Levels for Adults?
With the flexibility that comes with online A Levels, you are free to begin studying whenever it suits you. Open College always advise students to start studying as soon as possible, to allow the maximum study time before you wish to sit your examinations. So, once you know when you want to sit your exams, then you can go ahead and enrol and begin studying right away.
The key with studying A Levels, is to always keep the exam period in mind. Although the courses themselves are flexible, the exams aren’t and you need to sit the exams to complete the qualification. So, for example, if you wanted to complete your A Levels in one year, then the first thing to do is find out the next exam period, you can do this by contacting the awarding bodies directly or by doing a quick Google search. Of course, if the next available period is in a few months, that’s not feasible and you will have to look at the next one in the next year.
What about A Level Subjects with Practicals or Coursework?
Believe it or not, even A Levels with practicals or coursework can be studied online and studied by adults. First, we will look at the science A Levels and how the practicals for these work and then we will look at other courses with coursework.
If you opt to study A Level Biology, Chemistry or Physics, you are going to need to complete practicals. Practicals are basically small experiments and exercises you carry out in a lab at your exam centre to demonstrate your ability to apply the theory you have learnt. Sounds daunting, but it’s really not that bad! Before you are assessed on the practicals, you will have plenty of chances to practice them and get them right. Once you have perfected your technique and you’re ready to be assessed, you let your chosen exam centre know. They will then give you dates to attend the centre and be assessed on your work. When all completed, they store your results and send them off to the Awarding Body with your written exams.
A Level courses that have a coursework element include English, History, Environmental Science and Geography. The additional coursework for these courses is carried out in a very similar way to practicals. Only with English and History, it’s usually your tutor from the course who will be checking and rough marking your coursework before you then send it to your exam centre for submission.
How many UCAS Points is one A Level Worth?
UCAS points depend entirely on the grade you achieve when you complete your exams. So for example, an A* is worth 56 UCAs points, but a D is only worth 24. Most Degree courses require students to hold 112 UCAS points to get a place on a Degree course. This does vary and change though, especially for adult learners, so it’s always worth checking with a potential University what their requirements for you are. You can read more on UCAS points and their value here.
Are A Levels for Adults only good for University?
Not at all! A Levels are one of those qualifications that hold value in many different fields. Even in the professional workplace, A Levels are a valuable qualification to hold as they open doorways. Think about job adverts you have seen around, the usual minimum requirements for roles within Management or higher, require the applicant to hold at least A Levels.
With an A Level under your belt, it’s also possible to gain access onto higher level Diplomas. These Diplomas are Degree equivalent and often more relevant to the workplace for adult learners. So, you can upskill and upgrade your CV quickly and easily once you hold A Levels.
What A Levels can Adults Study?
The range of A Levels available to adults is the same as it would be to any student. Depending on whether you want to study online or at a school or college, you can consider many subjects including:
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