1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is it possible to do two AS-levels in six months with full-time work?

Discussion in 'A-Levels' started by maskofsanity, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. maskofsanity

    maskofsanity New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I work 40 hours and volunteer 8 hours per week. I'm self-teaching AS Chemistry on my one day off per week plus various hours after work. I'm starting to think I should be doing AS Biology as well as Chemistry if I want a wider choice of 5-year courses to apply to as a graduate.

    I am all too conscious of the fact that it is December already. That gives me only 6 months to learn four theory units and two practical units to the standard of an A grade, while working 48 hours per week. I am dedicated but I am wondering if this is asking too much? I only started the Chemistry a month ago so I will be doing two AS-levels in approximately six months.

    Any experience/opinions appreciated.
     
  2. Quill

    Quill New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Would you be doing them as a distance learning course aimed at accelerated AS levels? Or late starting an existing group. I attempted to join evening classes on top of uni, work and parenting. In the end I couldn't attend classes because it added a crazy amount of driving to my week and whilst initially they sent me learning packs they completely failed to inform me about course work and practicals, until I missed them. The work wasn't hard (from a grad perspective) and if you know you will definitely be able to attend practicals and will know all the briefs and deadlines for coursework you might be able to do it. Only you know how well you will stick to a study plan. I personally found life got in the way entirely. It may have been easier via an intensive distance learning course where all the practical stuff gets done in a week and you don't have to leave the house for study material and guidance but I couldn't afford them.

    There are plenty of grad courses that don't ask for A Levels though. Why would you want a 5 year over 4 out of interest?
     
  3. Goldenhawkw

    Goldenhawkw New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've tried doing exactly what you did maskofsanity. I worked a 50+ hour week and studied Chemistry at night and during my days off. In the end it didn't go well for me. The work is not hard, but there is a lot to read, practice and remember. Also depending on where you go to do the practicals and what lab experience you have (mine was 10+ years ago) you may not get any opportunity prior to the exam to familiarize yourself with the equipment.

    If you are in a situation to do it, perhaps an Access course would be better? A-level equivalents of Chem., Bio. and Physics in a year plus the support of tutors and specifically focused on the stuff you need to know for medicine. Certainly worth a thought.

    Only you can really know if you can make it work. My suggestion is read and study as much as possible and definitely do the past papers. I wouldn't take on any extra courses on top of Chemistry, there won't be enough hours in the day to study everything. For me, it was too much on top of work.
     
  4. maskofsanity

    maskofsanity New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah I can understand how attending classes would make things difficult. I just self-teach with the syllabus, textbook, revision guide and past papers. For the practical unit I have a 3 day intensive course booked with a college. Have you stopped the A-level now then and going for GEM with no A-level requirements?

    I want to keep my options open with the 5-year courses in case my UKCAT score is not high enough for GEM - especially as I'm a non-science graduate and these universities focus on UKCAT quite a lot it seems, like Warwick, Newcastle, King's, etc.

    That doesn't sound too hopeful! Did you do a full A-level or just AS?

    Yeah an Access Course would be good but I've just started as a full-time HCA and need the experience and the money (£36k in fees!)

    Thanks for the advice - it is very tough to judge how much I can cope with. At the moment I am finding it tiring but I think that's partly because I have been a student for 3 years so full-time work has been a shock to the system. Like you say though, there may not be enough hours in the day and it would be a real shame if I take on Biology too and then don't get A grades because of it.
     
  5. TDL

    TDL New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,
    It's doable but tough. I did Chem A2 through self study in a year (practicals through Campbell Harris) and then decided to do AS Bio in about March, at which point was too late to do practicals so just did the two written papers. I also sat Gamsat in Sept 2012 and again in March 2013 so it was a year of pretty intensive science (I am totally arts background apart from Biology GCSE years ago).
    I got A grades in all the AS papers and B in the two A2 papers (in the end I only cashed in the AS Chem as was advised to do so by Cambridge who then rejected me anyway!) and am sitting the AS Bio practical this Spring.
    I don't work full time but when I do work I I am abroad working 14 hour days (about 80 days a year) plus do other freelance work plus voluntary so was pretty busy. But it's not full time, which would be harder.
    Are you considering Gamsat too?
    How are you finding the study so far? I found Chem really tough I have to say.
     
  6. maskofsanity

    maskofsanity New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi there. So you only had from March until June to learn the two papers for Biology from scratch plus continue the four papers for Chemistry? That is a lot, especially as you got A grades for AS. I'm not doing GAMSAT only the UKCAT as I just have too much to focus on and I think it would complicate things even more! I am finding the Biology easy in terms of concepts but it's a lot of memorising and exam technique. Did you find AS Chemistry tough as well? And how did you find Campbell Harris?
     
  7. maskofsanity

    maskofsanity New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also, how does cashing in work exactly? Can you decide what does and doesn't get cashed in for all your units? So if I did take on the AS biology units but didn't get the grades I wanted, could I just not cash them in like you did with your A2 units?
     
    #7 maskofsanity, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  8. TDL

    TDL New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi there, yes if you don't like the grade you don't need to cash in.

    I would actually really recommend doing GAMSAT because there is so much overlap with the A levels and also if you do manage to pass it you open up 4 year course possibilities. Obviously this is only useful if these work for you geographically though. It's a horrid exam but if you do pull it off I think it's worth it.

    Although I only started working on the Bio from March I had already covered a fair bit of the syllabus revising or Gamsat before that so it wasn't from scratch. Also I found Bio so much easier than Chem - I didn't find any of Chem easy to be honest; remember when I started with the text books when was preparing for a Gamsat first time round I kind of raced through Bio then slowed to snail's pace for Chem! But it got easier.

    Campbell Harris are good I think. Are you just doing the AS Chem practicals through them then?
    Is your plan to try and get the AS Chem under your belt this year and then apply with a pending AS Bio? Because AS Chem alone won't get you in anywhere, will it?
     
  9. maskofsanity

    maskofsanity New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's true - I might try for it next September. The first two sections look fairly straight-forward but that third one is scary! Are you applying to GAMSAT GEM courses then?

    Yeah I have heard others say that Biology is easier than Chemistry. I have been finding chem ok but I'm only on AS unit 1 so that will all change.

    I am doing it with Pembrokeshire College next year. The plan is to do AS Chem this year and A2 Chem next year with AS Bio either this year or next year - but now I'm thinking I might split the exams up for the AS Bio over the two years but I need to see if that's even allowed.

    Getting into medicine as a non-science graduate is so complicated!
     
  10. TDL

    TDL New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah it is! Good luck with it all :)
     

Share This Page