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To all of those who are doing or have done an Access course, is it for me ?

(25 Posts)
NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:49:13

You may or may not have read my 'crippling pressure' thread, but the nub of it is that I want to go and get a degree in the medical field.

I left school at 16 with 10 high grade GCSEs (As & Bs) and nothing else (no higher qualifications). This means that I cannot embark on a uni course without doing a-levels or an access course. I've been onto the UCAS site and the sites of a cpl of my local colleges offering Access courses, and read the associated blurb. It strikes me that the Access courses are a little, dare I say, simplistic. They seem to go over a significant amount of old GCSE ground and not much else, this strikes me as just teaching me stuff I already know and have been assessed in less than 7 years ago. Seems a bit silly, TBH.

Am I wrong in in my overall impression of the Access courses ?

SeaShells Sat 01-Jan-05 16:08:02

Hi I'm in the same position as you, been a SAHM for 7 yrs, recently had the urge to get out and do something with myself, hope to go to Uni to do Midwifery, I also have good GCSE's but nothing since, I have also been comtemplating the access course route, I decided that I AM going to go do it in Sept (Access to life sciences) basically just to show that I've had some recent learning experience as it's 7yrs since I was last a student, plus so I can give my tutor as a reference when I apply to Uni.

SeaShells Sat 01-Jan-05 16:10:15

Oh and basically the Access course is a year long and free while if I were to do the Alevels, they would cost me and take 2 years.

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 16:15:57

I know, I don't see how the access course and a-levels can amount to the same thing in terms of entrance requirements. I'm confused by it TBH.

SeaShells Sat 01-Jan-05 16:21:26

Think we'll just have to bump till someone with experience comes along....


NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 16:29:51

HELP US !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope I haven't offended those doing access courses . I just need to understand what it involves and whether I will just be going over skills I already have (and have certfied recognition for), in which case it strikes me as a bit pointless.

bonkerz Sat 01-Jan-05 16:50:08

i started the Access COurse before i met my dh and TBH i found it alot more complex than GCSE. The maths part was simple and i was allowed to work at my own pace and do the 'exams' but everything else was hard work. I left school in 1995 with 10 C+ GCSE and this was in 2002.

I also did the course that they offer before you do the access course (springboard!) This was a great help as i met other people in my shoes and also it gave me the chance to see if i could cope with leaving ds in nursery! I only left because i fell in love and moved 180 miles away! All my mates who did the course said it got harder towards the end as you had so much to do in so little time! Hope this helps!

PS i would definately recommend the springboard just as a taster! You could do the springboard before the access starts in september as its only 12 weeks i think!

SeaShells Sat 01-Jan-05 17:01:03

Yes the college I would like to go to does a pre-access course, which is 24wks long but only starts in september which seems stupid! It'd mean I'd be just getting into studying then have to wait 1/2 yr to start the access course.

Potty1 Sat 01-Jan-05 17:04:10

I did the Access course a couple of years ago. Mine was a fast-track course, completed over a year and I did Human Biology, psychology and sociology. I found the content wasn't particularly taxing (I hadn't studied for 20 years and have O levels, but no sciences at all), there was a lot of independent study on my course but that was a lot to do with the 'fast track' format. I haven't put mine to good use but several of the students on my course got places at uni in nursing, social work, midwifery and even in physiotherapy which is apparently very difficult to get into. IME the universities do seem to feel that its a dceent grounding for degree study.

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 20:04:14

Having just read tamums post re Access courses on my other thread, it strikes me that perhaps the A-level route would be the best for me. I'll paste it on here....

Tamum is a geneticist....

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 20:05:13


"Hi, I've just got a few things to mention.

I would say that if you want to do medicine you would have to be absolutely sure that this is what you want. I teach medical students and it is a hellishly hard and intense course. Most universities do now integrate clinical work from very early in the course so you would need to be quite flexible about childcare. I have never come across anyone doing medicine from an access course- I think you're right to be wary of this route TBH. I have lectured to quite a few straight science students who have done access courses when I was in London, and they nearly all struggled with uni in the first year as they really weren't starting from the same level as the A level students. However, this must depend on the access course and on the degree, I realise. In medicine the students who have done Highers as opposed to A levels also find the first year very hard going. If you're really certain medicine is for you maybe you could look into courses like the one at St George's where they take students from all sorts of professional backgrounds?

I would second the suggestion of pharmacy- it's such a potentially family friendly career with so many options, and a good, intellectually stretching degree course. Good luck, whatever you decide"

huggybear Sat 01-Jan-05 21:06:07

i am currently doing an access course in health and have been surprised at the amount of work involved, also it is good practice for uni and gives you a background in the area you want to study in. Another good thing about access is that it gives you an advantage when it comes to applying for uni as most colleges have a sysyem set up with the local uni and places are put aside for access students. they also look upon access credits more favourably than a-levels and gcse as they are seen to be harder to achieve and cover a wider range of topics including study skills and maths.

sallystrawberry Sat 01-Jan-05 21:06:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

huggybear Sat 01-Jan-05 21:09:04

sallystrawberry put it better than me and i agree with everything shes written.

nikcola Sat 01-Jan-05 21:11:33

im doing an access course too and i love it and ive been offred places and interviews for uni allready

sallystrawberry Sat 01-Jan-05 21:13:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Potty1 Sat 01-Jan-05 22:34:46

Ncmm - I agree with tamum that if you want to do full on medicine (doctor) then A-levels will be better in as much as the places are hard to come by and that the universities want not only A levels but top grade passes. If you are looking at nursing then Access will probably be enough. Do you have a medical school close to you? have you called them to get their opinion?

chloeb2002 Tue 04-Jan-05 19:14:12

hello, id dito what was said before i did GCSE's in 1992 with 8 B's and 2 A's went on for my own reasons to do an equine studies course which was BTEC A level equivelent. on two counts i found the access course great. It was far harder id anticipated and it got my brain back into functioning. Ive now started on a nursing diploma course... i did start as a paeds nurse in Australia but had DD and found study hard. cruising this so far and loving it. Id say medicine is very demanding on family life, needs 24/7 commitment and is stressfull. if you are dead cert on going direct into med school id be doing a levels knowing you will need A's in Bio, Phys and Chem ( I think) my cousin is a final year med student. he has higher maths at a B too. ever thought of doing nursing first to see if you enjoy the field? it is very easy to transfer on completion from nursing diploma (degree) to med. degree. Have you got care work experience? I applied for nursing diploma before access and didnt get in because i needed current study, within the last 3 years on an alevel programme. id also ring your local unis. do the like mature students? some uni guides show ratio of young to old... leeds uni for example have very few mature students......worth looking into. also could you move away from home for 5 days at a time for a different uni? id have thought for med you would need a few options?

Natster81 Sat 19-Feb-05 18:16:37

hi, i am on a science access course and have just been offered a place at UCL!!! to study biomedicine! i havent found it simplistic, they go into alevel depth definately!

spacedonkey Sun 20-Feb-05 18:57:53

Congratulations natster!

I'm thinking about signing up for a humanities access course this september with a view to doing languages at university, but frankly I don't think I can afford to do a degree

NameChangingMancMidlander Sun 20-Feb-05 19:21:31

I've decided to do Radiography/Radiotherapy. I phoned the uni and was told that a local-ish college to the uni has tailor-made an access course specifically for the degree course, one of only 2 radiography access courses offered in England. I sent off for a form, filled it in and sent it back. Just waiting for the date of my assessment to come through

ljcooper3 Sun 20-Feb-05 19:44:14


I was at uni training to becomea paediatric nurse but had to leave in my second year, I hope to go back in Septmeber, have my interview on Thursday - very nervous. Anyway, I made alotof friends who wereout ofeducation for 5 years or more meaning they had to do a access course.

I totally understand what you are saying, you have already done alot of what they are going to teach which Im sure is extremly frustrating.

However, most of the people I got to know found the access course very helpful as some had been out of a 'classroom'for up to 20 years. They found the access course a great help and a bit of a test if you like, to see if they could cope with going to back to learning.

Hope that helps a little.


marj Sun 20-Feb-05 20:39:20

Good luck ljcooper3 for your interview. I am a paeds nurse and cant imagine ever doing anything else. I went to uni from school so am no help on this thread but just wanted to wish you luck!!

slug Mon 21-Feb-05 13:21:10

I'm a big fan of access courses, mainly because I teach on one. Check with your local college, some, like ours, have links with universities where basically if you pass the Access course you have a guaranteed place at the partner university.

ljcooper3 Mon 21-Feb-05 20:30:38

Thanks marj

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