You'd be best to ask the uni you are interested in. It is a VERY tough course for workload and they will be able to advise you on their expectations regarding attendance and likelihood of suitable placements. My uni place students in pairs for the first school and it's a tough task to juggle everyone's requirements.
Unis vary in the detail of their assessments but expect a couple of long essays: I had one of 2000 words, then two of 6000 each. TBH the biggest workload is the planning and teaching when you're on placement. You'll need to pass the QTS tests for literacy and maths too.
Work you could do in advance rather depends on your prior experience and the subject you want to teach. Time just spent in school is the most valuable thing you can get - see other teachers at work.
Hi, I'm looking into doing a pgce and wondered if anyone could shed some light. I was wondering is it possible to stay in the area we currently live in, but do it with a university two hours or so away but one that has partnership schools in the area we live in. Can they allocate schools in such a way or is it a case they give you two schools and you have to get on with it, hence you do need to be close to the university?
Also, if anyone could share their experiences of the year and the kind of assessments they do that would be really helpful. Is there any work or theory work i can do beforehand to make the workload easier? Thanks