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Biology A level

(16 Posts)
OuterFromOutersville Wed 12-Feb-14 20:36:03

Can I do my Biology A level either in the evenings or by distance learning?

I'd like to do it for a couple of reasons (one being the possibility of tutoring Biology later; I actually have 3 blush biology-based degrees).

rightsaidfrederick Thu 13-Feb-14 01:02:50

If you have three biology based degrees then the biology A Level ought to be a piece of piss.

Ring aroud your local schools and colleges and ask whether they take external candidates. If they do, jobs a good'un and you just need to check that you know everything on the relevant syllabus before you go in for the exams.

Needmoresleep Thu 13-Feb-14 12:02:55

You might consider one of the 3 day commercial revision courses (Justin Craig, MPW etc) to bring you up to speed on exam technique, though you would probably be in a class with teenagers. There can be a big difference between knowing a subject and providing what an examiner wants to see.

OuterFromOutersville Thu 13-Feb-14 18:00:38

grin I don't already know the whole syllabus.

I've only done Higher Biology before, then a specialised Biology-based undergrad degree and two post-grad degrees. So there are huge swathes of basic biology that I've never covered.

kritur Sat 15-Feb-14 07:33:01

You will need to find somewhere to take the practical assessment which is likely to be your biggest hurdle. The syllabus is pretty easy however the exam has really tightened up in terms of question demand in the last few years.

OuterFromOutersville Sat 15-Feb-14 07:40:01

kritur, I wondered about that - what is the practical requirement? I could possibly do it at work.

kritur Sat 15-Feb-14 10:01:25

It needs to be supervised and sent off by a teacher and they need to compare your results to standard results obtained by the teacher/technician. It changes each year. AQA is one of the largest exam boards and they do either ISA or EMPA. EMPA is easier for external candidates. You get a pre release statement about the scope of the experiment and the topic areas the examination covers, then you do the practical, then there is a written paper based on the results and the topic areas around it. AQA should be able to provide a list of centres who may take external candidates. FE colleges or private schools are worth a punt. They will charge for the technical support for practical assessment.

OuterFromOutersville Sat 15-Feb-14 10:19:44

Oh my. That all sounds a bit complicated.

kritur Sat 15-Feb-14 10:47:11

If you're doing it with a local college (in night classes) then it will be sorted for you. The funding for A level night classes was cut though so it's difficult to find them. It is possible to self teach then do the practical somewhere but it requires perseverance to organise!

LEMmingaround Sat 15-Feb-14 10:57:27

Do you actually need the A level though? i understand about the basic knowledge as i have post grad qualifications in biochemistry but my basic biology knowledge is very rusty indeed. Maybe have a look at the open university as they may well offer foundation degrees/diplomas in biology which would give you the knowledge base that you want.

OuterFromOutersville Sat 15-Feb-14 11:02:30

Thanks everyone - yes, I need to think about whether I need the A level in order to become a tutor. I'd quite like it (in a box ticking way), but I don't think that I need it. Of course, I'd need to re-learn / learn all of the material.

kritur Sat 15-Feb-14 11:11:55

If you want to tutor biology A level I think you do need the A level. I have A level biology but I would never tutor it as I don't know all the tricks for getting high marks even though I remember a good chunk of the biology. It is so prescribed these days that just being good at biology probably doesn't cut it.

LEMmingaround Sat 15-Feb-14 11:13:57

I think your time would be better spend going through the exam boards syllabuses and investigating what the requirements are and where your knowledge gaps are and working through that. Look on the AQA Edexel and OCR websites as they will all have a list of modules etc and also past exam papers - you wont have full access unless you are associated with a teaching education but it will be enough for tutoring. I had a brielf stint teaching at a FE college at A level and i was shock at the gaps in my knowledge really - its easy enough to cover though and tutoring will be more of a case of helping students with the bits they are finding difficult.

LEMmingaround Sat 15-Feb-14 11:14:27

*teaching establishment

OuterFromOutersville Sat 15-Feb-14 11:23:06

Thanks for the (contrasting!) opinions smile. I used to work with someone who has become a Biology tutor, so I should catch up with her. This is a bit of a plan B for me, so I have time to explore the idea.

kritur Sat 15-Feb-14 18:10:17

I find tutoring is a lot about teaching students to read questions properly, recognise and respond to the command words and create hooks for particular questions in their minds as they learn. It does depend on what kind of students you tutor, getting someone from a C to a B is more likely to be about content, A to A* about technique.

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