In our previous article, we covered how A-Levels work and a little about what they can do for you. Now we’re going to cover how A levels via distance learning studies differ from classroom studies and whether this is a good or bad thing.
Where’s my school?
The first and most obvious difference is that with distance learning you don’t have to attend a school. The absence of bricks and mortar can be intimidating to some and liberating to others. A huge advantage of distance learning is that you are not required to attend during term times, meaning you can be flexible and study during a quiet period.
You’re also not stuck having to be at a particular classroom at a set time and date. If you work full time, you can plan your studies at a time that suits you and need not miss out on education because you can’t attend class. For example, you don’t need to be at classroom 3C at 11:00 for your Biology class.
For some, not having a class to attend can make it harder to focus and be disciplined. We are all guilty of slacking off from time to time, but this will make your studies harder in the long run! We’re not going to pretend that distance learning is easy – it requires you to be determined, disciplined and hard working. If you have these qualities and really want to progress, then you can work around these issues and we can help you. We find that the students, who do the best use the following techniques, so read through and consider how you would integrate them into your studies:
- Plan their time and subjects – Students who plan their courses out in advance and are prepared in advance will find their studies much easier to manage.
- Set a timetable- Setting a schedule can help students keep disciplined and can ensure that you don’t slip behind in your studies
- Make use of your assigned tutor – Our tutors are trained in tutoring over a distance and have many years worth of experience. You should make the most of their knowledge!
- Keep extensive and, most importantly, well organised notes. These will be invaluable to you when it comes to revising and will also be extremely helpful in identifying your weak points.
- Find your weak points – We all know that we have them, even if we might be reluctant to admit it! Acknowledging them makes it easier to devise strategies to counter these weak points. This will boost your grades in the long run.
Where’s my tutor?
Another striking difference is that you don’t have a tutor to talk to in person. This can be a bit daunting, not having someone to chat to or ask a question in class. However, all of our tutors can be contacted via our internal messaging system and will get back to you via the system. All of your communications are kept in one place, for easy access and you will get an email to notify you when your tutor responds. This means that you can respond and get back to your studies as soon as possible.
How do I study?
We provide all the materials you need to study for and pass your exams. For some subjects, such as English Literature, you will need to purchase books to complement the materials and to annotate, analyse and study. Once you enrol with us, you will get your log in details to the campus page. From here you can access your study materials, contact your tutor or chat to fellow students on the forum or chatroom.
You start by planning your studies; take account of what exams you need to sit and when you need to sit them. This will serve as your timeline; you should then use this timeline to set milestones. Milestones function is to keep track of how you are progressing along the course and help keep you focused of what work needs to be complete. For example, if you have a coursework due, you will need to ensure that you have covered all of the materials in sufficient depth, written your essays and taken into account your tutors feedback. Then you can send your work off for marking!
Sounds complex? Break it down into smaller steps and tackle each one at a time. Take a look at the flowchart below and work through it step by step.
So, what does this tell us about distance learning?
It can be tough and challenging. It can be hard work. But it is flexible, open and lets you be your own boss. Don’t allow this to intimidate you and use it instead to grow and develop. Recognise the freedom that distance learning allows and embrace it. Take this opportunity to reverse typical top down teaching and start learning in a way that works for you.
*Ok, that was a bit too much – but the point stands. Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Is distance learning for you? Have your say in the comments.
What would you like to see us cover in the future?