For some adults, a less than perfect grade back in their youth plays on their mind and affects their pride. Meanwhile others may have done a complete U-turn in their professional direction and now need a specific qualification to complete their training, whether they studied the subject and been awarded a mediocre grade or they hadn’t opted to study it to this high level.
If the latter is the case and you have been left feeling red in the face because of a grade you thought you would never need to think about again, don’t worry – it really is quite common and goes with the territory of growing and maturing and finding new interests.
Traditionally, in the UK, A Levels are taken by seventeen-year-olds who do not yet know where life will take them. But what if fully-fledged grown-ups look back upon their exams with regret, or wish they had made better subject choices to support their now dream career – is there still a chance for them to go back and do their A Levels over again?
Thankfully, there are many options available to adults wishing to study towards an A Level qualification, no matter their age or circumstances.
If you are one of these people who, for whatever reason, wants to revisit their A Level education and either take or re-take Maths, then you will be relieved to hear that it is a relatively straightforward process. While you have the opportunity to simply sit an exam with only independent study or a professional tutor to help you along the way, you do so at your own cost.
We would, however, advise that you enrol on a course either online (with the relevant teaching resources included) or attend a course at a nearby college. Many courses for mature students offer flexible learning patterns to work around your existing responsibilities and with varying lengths to accommodate your educational needs.
Being an adult makes no difference to the examiner assessing your A Level work. As with school-aged pupils, they will expect you to show equal amounts of knowledge, skill and technique as well as a passion for the subject.
Maths courses are designed to provide students with a thorough grounding of Maths tools and techniques, which are often needed in the workplace and beyond. Logic and reasoning are key elements of the syllabus, which are skills that can be applied to many factors in life.
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Colleges across the country offer opportunities for adults to enrol as mature students.
At one UK college, a Maths A Level course runs for either 4.5 hours per week during daytime or 3 hours per week in the evenings. Each qualification, AS and A level, takes one year to complete, just like at sixth form college. Even if you are forced to study in the evenings because of your personal and professional circumstances, you will still need to pay the full price of the course.
Most full-time courses are priced in the region of £900, not including materials and, at times, exam fees. However, part-time course fees do vary depending on the course and your age.
Many colleges offer case studies and other useful information about their courses, like how you can apply, on their websites.
Although with a course like the above, you will not be learning from a maths tutor all day every day as you would at school, remember that a typical A Level student’s day is additionally made up of other subject classes and free periods.
As such, you are not missing a huge amount of teacher/pupil time and, besides, you have the maturity to understand that you need to work independently and to develop as an individual on the course.
Part-time study is particularly useful for those in work or those with families as they can attend group study sessions in the evenings and arrange 1-2-1s with their tutor at a time that is convenient for them both. Even better, if you have a home student status, the tuition and qualification are often free.
Please note that you can apply for student loans to cover all or part of the cost of these courses (however you will be expected to pay up front for textbooks).
If you decide to go down the route of studying predominantly online, some establishments can offer you accredited fast track A Level courses. One such example is a Maths A Level course awarded by Edexcel via Pearson.
The online courses offered by such colleges are available for students to sign up to all year round and offer a flexible course length, with some offering one on one email support as well as online tutorials and lessons.
Some establishments may additionally offer students a pay as you study plan to help ease the financial commitments involved in going back to education.When signing up to a course run online, you can sometimes choose whether you prefer to use online materials for your studies or printed resources.
Those offering Maths courses are said to cover the brand new specifications introduced in recent years, so you can be sure that you are learning roughly the same content as those in schools and colleges currently are.
Also included within the price of your course is assessment feedback and marking, so that you can keep track of your progress throughout the duration of the course.
It is possible for adults to enter exams as private students. To do so, you must find a school or college who is able to take you for exams and give information to the examinations officer. This will include your name and contact details, which units or awards you wish to enter for and your Unique Candidate Identifier (UCI), among other things.
Although, as a private student, it is up to you to carry out independent study or find private tuition, the school which has accepted you has a responsibility to forward details of your entry to the exam board, keep you informed of exam timetables, tell you where exams will take place, define coursework deadlines (if any), dispatch your completed coursework to the examiner and indicate where you collect your results from and when.
Although independent study can save you in course fees, it is still recommended that you hire maths tutors to guide you through the course and teach you vital exam techniques in order to help you achieve a high grade. This may result you in spending the same amount of money, if not more, on the road to completing your A Level.
Be sure to weigh up your options in terms of suitability and financial implications before making any concrete decisions.
As aforementioned, adult students can either enrol for a course with a specified start date or alternatively sign up to a flexible course 365 days a year. When you register your interest, you may be required to submit your existing qualifications, to check that you qualify for the course.
Consult your chosen place of study’s website or admissions team for more information on getting started on the course.
There is a vast range of grants and bursaries on offer by the government to support adult learners and, in some cases, you may not be required to pay these back. In addition, if you are a parent, you may be entitled to help with childcare costs whilst you are enrolled on a course of study.
City & Guilds, for example, offers a course-specific grant to people studying for one of their qualifications while there are also loans available for adults seeking professional and career developing courses.
You can find further details about the types of grants, loans and bursaries on offer by consulting www.gov.uk or by applying directly to the organisation that is giving them out.
A good Maths A Level result is essential for those looking to further their studies in the subject, for instance if enrolling on a degree course linked to a numerical or scientific subject. It may be that you wish to specialise in a certain field for work purposes but need a higher A Level grade in order to be accepted on your chosen further education course.
Alternatively, you may be applying for jobs and finding that your core subject grades are letting you down or hindering your ability to secure those big promotions.
Whether you want to re-sit your A Level Maths exam, or simply enhance your qualifications with an additional subject of study, a good grade in Maths will do wonders for your CV. Plus, the skills acquired whilst studying on a Maths course are highly useful in all walks of life, particularly in the workplace (i.e. problem-solving, reasoning, logical thinking, etc…).
Furthermore, many adults choose to re-sit their secondary education exams for their own personal achievement or gratitude. You may be unhappy with how you scored when you were back at school, or you might just want to go back to learning something fun like in the good old days.
Many assume that learning is just for young students, but the reality is that any individual can have aspirations, no matter their age.
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