Is an access course better than A Levels?

Is an access course better than A Levels?

Are you struggling to decide between A Levels and an access course? Do you want to pursue higher education, but aren't sure which path is best for you?
Look no further!
In this blog post, we'll debate whether an access course is better than A Levels.

What are access courses?

Access courses are created for adults who want to return to education and gain the qualifications needed to access university. These courses are alternatives to A Levels and aimed at adults who haven't studied for some time. Access courses are a great way to get back into studying and provide a valuable stepping stone to a degree.

What are A Levels?

A Levels are the traditional route to university in the UK. They are typically studied by 16- to 18-year-olds in secondary school and consist of different subjects and levels. A Levels are assessed through exams and coursework, and successful completion can lead to entry into a university degree programme.

Comparing access courses to A Levels

Access courses and A Levels are popular choices, but which is better?

Access courses or A Levels: curriculum

Access courses are designed to suit the needs of adult learners. They typically cover a wide range of topics and may include a mixture of theory and practical elements. Not all access to higher education diplomas use exams to measure knowledge gained.
A Levels are assessed through exams and coursework. A Levels are typically also more focussed on the in-depth theory first.

Access courses or A Levels: time commitment

A Levels are typically 2-year courses, with exams at the end of the second year. A Levels also have fixed terms and exam dates, meaning you must wait for exam terms even if you can work independently.
Access courses, on the other hand, are shorter courses that last around one year. Moreover, they typically require less time and energy commitment than A Levels, allowing adult learners to balance their studies with other life aspects.

Access courses or A Levels: level of difficulty

A Levels are generally considered the more difficult option, but that doesn't mean they're impossible. These courses are more academic-based, focussing on subjects like English, maths, or science. It really depends on your own ability and how you learn best.
An access course is designed for those who did not study A Levels previously, so it can be seen as a more flexible option. Access to higher education diplomas is more career orientated, such as nursing, graphic design, or computer science.

Access courses or A Levels: validity

Colleges and universities typically offer access courses, which is why many institutions accept them as a route to university. One access course is equal to 3 A Levels.
A Levels, on the other hand, are widely accepted by universities as a route to higher education. You need more than 1 A Level to gain university acceptance.

The pros and cons of each

Every student's situation is different, and each person's educational needs will vary. That said, there are some general pros and cons to consider before deciding.

Access courses advantages

  • Access courses provide a more flexible approach to learning, with many institutions offering part-time, online, and evening classes to fit around other commitments.
  • They can be shorter than A Level courses, meaning you can get qualified in a shorter space of time.
  • Access courses are career-focused, giving you a better understanding of your chosen career.

Access courses disadvantages

  • All employers may not recognize access courses, so it's important to check before applying for jobs.
  • All universities may not accept select access courses as a route to higher education.
  • They can be more expensive than A Levels, as they are typically funded by the government rather than schools or colleges.

A Levels advantages

  • A Levels are widely recognised by employers and universities, so they can provide a solid foundation for your career.
  • They offer a broad curriculum covering a range of subjects, which can help you develop essential skills such as critical thinking and analysis.
  • A Levels allows you to specialise in a particular area of interest and deepen your knowledge and understanding.

A Levels disadvantages

  • A Levels can be quite demanding regarding the workload and complexity level.
  • They can be expensive, as some schools and colleges may charge fees for attending classes or taking exams.
  • A Levels require a long-term commitment, with courses typically spanning two years or more.
  • A Levels may not be suitable for adult learners who haven't studied for a while.

So, is an access course better than A Levels?

It's more complicated to answer. There are pros and cons to taking an access course and A Levels. Ultimately, it depends on your needs and situation.

Where to enroll for your online access course?

Online Access Courses provide a great alternative route to higher education for those seeking access to university.
With a wide range of course options, you can gain the qualifications you need to pursue higher education from the comfort of your home. All the courses are taught by experienced professionals and are quality assured by Cambridge Online Education. So, you can rest assured that you are getting the best education possible.

Online Access Courses offers flexible learning options and affordable prices. Contact us today!

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