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Taking A levels as an independent candidate - any advice/experience?

(12 Posts)
SunBite Thu 15-Nov-18 10:52:44

My DS is in year 13 studying three A levels but it is likely that he will be leaving shortly. To avoid him coming away with nothing (now that AS levels are no longer a thing) we are wondering whether it is possible to sit the exams as an independent candidate.

We've done some initial research online and see that he will need an exam centre to take him on. There's also the complication that two of the subjects involve course work / practical elements (both of which he has completed through school).

Does anyone have experience of their child doing this?

OP’s posts: |
bubblegumunicorn Thu 15-Nov-18 11:04:08

Not personal experiance but work based experiance. It is an option to do this the first thing you would need to do is speak to the exam boards. Preferably the ones he is using at the moment as they will have coursework ECT hopefully they will be able to carry it over from his current school if he needs too! He can also look at online taught A level courses look at the National Extension College. They might be able to offer something to him if sitting as a private candidte isn't viable.

Becca19962014 Thu 15-Nov-18 11:09:29

Some online course providers provide exam centres e.g. Nec had some in Manchester (don't know if they still do) which can be quite far away, as not all external exam providere will accept external candidates. For example my council is registered as a centre but when I asked them they told me I needed to be staff, the local college is the same but I needed to be a distance learner with them.

I suggest you contact exam boards for information about local centres and go from there.

SunBite Thu 15-Nov-18 12:30:59

Thanks for suggesting NEC - taking a look at their website now.

OP’s posts: |
EBearhug Thu 15-Nov-18 12:36:18

I've done it through an evening class - we sat in with one of the local colleges, but we had to pay for the exam ourselves. It was a few years ago, though, and I don't remember all the details.

ksa103 Thu 15-Nov-18 12:39:42

If you google Home Ed Exams Wiki, you will get loads of info re sitting GCSEs and A Levels as external candidates, including exam centres. It's easier to go to an actual external exam centre rather than as a private candidate at a school, if the exams include practical assessments.

EBearhug Thu 15-Nov-18 13:08:54

Oh yes, I have done techy certification exams in a private exam centre, and they did also do A-levels. I had forgotten that. (I have tried to scrub the whole traumatic experience from my mind. Would have rather done A-levels again...)

Rogueone Fri 16-Nov-18 18:53:25

My DS resat his A levels at a local
College. He had to register as a private candidate. Some local schools will allow you to do it too.

CraftyGin Fri 16-Nov-18 20:00:52

First thing to check is the exam specifications - if it says it is suitable for private candidates, then you should be able to work around the practical difficulties.

SunBite Mon 19-Nov-18 11:52:20

Thanks for taking the time to respond everyone.

We've started to explore options. NEC can't help if he wants to take the exams in 2019 but we have a meeting with the Head of 6th Form later today which will be the first time we've spoken to the school so we will see what their response is.

OP’s posts: |
SunBite Mon 19-Nov-18 19:59:03

Head of 6th Form was surprisingly (to DS) helpful and understanding. She gave us several options to consider that he had thought would be out of the question. These range from staying on the school roll so he can take the exams but not attending school at all (not recommended but an option) to staying on taking all 3 subjects but being allowed to be at home for all his free lessons (only allowed home for 3 at the moment).

My preferred option is to drop studying the most hated subject but still sit the exam as he might as well having done so much of the course and being able to study at home during his free lessons. I think this is more sustainable than studying all 3 subjects.

Then he's got the fall back option of stopping going to school and just taking the exams if it's still too much.

OP’s posts: |
Becca19962014 Mon 19-Nov-18 20:13:38

I'm glad they were helpful and understanding.

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