The Challenge

The Challenge

The Challenge..

Last February, with A-level exams just a few short months away, most students were hard at work preparing for their exams.

So as you can imagine, it was something of a surprise when we received an unusual and intriguing challenge.  A challenge that we felt we couldn’t turn down.

We offer Fast Track courses, designed to help students compress their A levels into just one year. But the challenger wanted to go one better than that. With very little time left in the year, he outlined his challenge.

With little time remaining, the challenger intended to sit and pass a full A level. But this wasn’t enough for our challenger. Not simply satisfied with passing, he intended walking out of his exams with an A grade! If he succeeded, then he wanted to be rewarded with a free course. So, with the terms of the challenge laid out, we thought about it and decided it sounded like a fun test of our College. It was settled, he was to begin intensive studies with Oxford College to prepare for the A level.


Our Challenger

Fast forward to August and, well, we’ll let him say it in his own words:

Just before Christmas I returned from working in the USA and was accepted to start a Masters at Durham University. Knowing I had nine months before this course, I wanted to use my time wisely and improve areas of my CV that were a little weak.  I quickly found work experience with a London based think tank which provided an excellent array of work experience, and then set about addressing the ‘D’ grade A – Level result that I attained during my lazy teen years. After trawling the Internet for online courses, I came across Oxford College. Here I found an incredibly professional organisation with such a helpful team that I quickly signed up to an AS & A Level in Government & Politics (a completely new topic for me); the only catch was that I intended to do the whole course in 10 weeks in order to meet the 2013 summer exams.

The challenge was set; I paid for the course on 23nd February 2013 and committed to studying two hours a day. Bare in mind I was working 4 days a week as a research assistant for the think tank and having to get 4-5 shifts per week at my local pub to pay for rent and food. In the beginning, I stuck to my two hours a day regime, ploughing through the handbooks provided by Oxford College and downloading every politically related podcast/documentary I could find.

With 10 weeks before the exams started, I gave myself 4 weeks for the AS and 4 weeks for the A-level, then 2 weeks at the end for revision and exam preparation. Thankfully, over the exam period I was able to take time off from the think tank and drop a number of hours with the pub. I revised pretty much solidly 7 days a week and perhaps most importantly practiced as many past papers as I could through the links provided by Oxford Colleges’ student portal.

The actual exams went by in a flash and my only real lasting memory is that of sitting in an exam hall surrounded by nervous teenagers. I couldn’t help but smile at the sense of irony that I was once one of those very pupils. I had almost forgotten about the whole experience when in August I awoke to find a letter from the Exam Board on my doorstep – A grade! The sense of achievement was overwhelming, much more so than I felt for my 2:1 at undergrad. It was the perfect blend of 10 weeks intense study and the realization that somehow I’d reconciled my lack of effort during my late teens. Thank you Oxford College and thank you to my friends for all of the support you gave throughout those weeks. So there we have it, an A level in 10 weeks!

Congratulations to our challenger, William Lunn-Rockliffe, you’ll have your course refunded and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.


Image Credit : Guillemins Station 02.21 pm