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Belinda studied GCSEs in astronomy and maths with NEC as a mature student, and achieved top grades of 9 in both. She is now looking forward to starting a Natural Sciences degree with the Open University in October. 

Belinda is a mum to her sixteen-year-old daughter in Hampshire and was motivated to return to education herself after helping her daughter revise for science during secondary school. She had tried distance learning many years ago for a brief stint but it had never stuck. Belinda was keen to find a great quality distance learning provider to help her stay committed and engaged and did her research before settling on the National Extension College.

“The fact that NEC had been around a long time, as well as their ties to the Open University, was a factor in my decision, as well as the guaranteed exam place of course!  Many of the reviews I had read agreed that the content of the course and the support given was good.  All the tutors seem very well qualified and experienced in teaching as well.”

Belinda’s daughter was bringing home increasingly complicated homework from school and Belinda struggled to support her in some subjects, particularly maths. As well as GCSE Maths, Belinda rediscovered an old passion for science so she decided to study astronomy academically for the first time, having read lots of books about the moon missions and space for leisure. Despite not having a very positive experience at school, Belinda achieved highly in both maths and astronomy, showing that a renewed love for learning later in life can lead to brilliant results. 

Through doing these courses, I was not only able to help my daughter, but also discovered a renewed interest in learning myself.  I now plan to take my studies further and do a science degree.”

Belinda appreciated the ability to study when it suited her, as she could easily balance it with work and family commitments. Belinda maintained a host of hobbies, including martial arts, baking and travelling, throughout her studies. Belinda thoroughly enjoyed learning with NEC as she found that studying as a mature student meant it was much more about the process of learning than just the end qualification. In particular, Belinda enjoyed the coursework tasks in GCSE Astronomy, which she found challenging but successfully completed with careful planning and a lot of work – “it was a good feeling.”

“I found the course materials of a very high quality, and the tutor support was very good. I never had to wait very long for a response to a question, and both my tutors were very knowledgeable and willing to help.”

Belinda’s impressive grades show that online distance learning can reap high rewards for hard workers, even if it didn’t suit them earlier in life. NEC provides high quality materials and support to give our students the best chance of success in their qualifications. But the real driving force behind our students’ exam success are the students themselves, like Belinda, who muster incredible levels of self discipline to learn independently and work towards their goals.

“Distance learning requires a huge amount of self discipline, but it is exceptionally rewarding. Don’t fall behind.  Set a schedule at the beginning and try to stick with it as best you can.”

As for Belinda, we congratulate her on her excellent results and wish her well in continuing her distance learning journey with the Open University. Belinda is able to benefit from a unique partnership between NEC and the Open University to support lifelong learning. Current NEC students and recent alumni can claim a 10% discount on all Open University Level 1 undergraduate courses.

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