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Studying A-levels independently

Studying A-levels independentlyHow do you study for A-levels if you're not in sixth form?

Although most people take A-levels in sixth form between 16 and 18, you can take them at any time. For example, if you missed a university offer and haven't got another place, taking an A-level independently can give you a better chance when reapplying. This guide will help you understand the basics of studying for A-levels independently.

Signing up for exams

The only essential requirement for taking A-levels is having somewhere to do the exams. That means registering at an examination centre.

If you left school or college recently, the easiest option might be to get back in touch and see if they will let you sit your exams there. Alternatively, there are lots of centres where you can request to sit your exams as a private student, although not every centre will offer every subject. You can find more about these on exam board websites:

There are fees to pay when taking exams as a private candidate, which will vary based on the exam board and subject. AQA charges £77.35 for most A-levels.

What about coursework?

If the A-level you are studying includes coursework, this will need to be submitted to the exam centre you are using. In some cases, you may not be able to submit coursework as part of your course.

If you are re-taking an A-level, you may be able to reuse coursework you have already done. If a module was made up entirely of coursework, you are likely to be able to carry the mark for that coursework forwards. Otherwise, whether you can re-use your mark will depend on the subject.

Getting help

You might also want to get extra help studying to make sure you get the most out of your learning.

Private tutors can teach you in your home one-on-one, which means you can focus on the areas you need the most help with. This can be a particularly good option if you are re-taking an A-level after a disappointing result, as you can concentrate on the things that caught you out. Private tutors generally charge by the hour, with prices depending on the experience and education level of the tutor you hire.

Distance learning is another option. This will provide you with the course materials you need to study for your A-level, and give you the chance to get your work marked so you know how you're doing. Prices will vary depending on the course you take, and you may have to arrange your exams yourself.

You can also enroll in college to study A-levels. This will give you a full classroom-based course, similar to studying A-levels in sixth form. Many colleges offer part-time or evening classes, allowing you to fit study around a job. You will have to pay fees if you are 19 or older.

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