David decided to study GCSE Geography and GCSE Astronomy with NEC during the pandemic as a result of the extra time he had at home.

At 67, David has had a long career working in Logistics Management before gaining a PGCE in chemistry at the age of 55 and teaching GCSE and A level Chemistry for seven years. At school, David took A levels in chemistry, physics, maths and general studies before completing a degree in chemistry and biology. However since retiring, David has also pursued a wide range of other interests. He has published a non-fiction travel and history book about his journey following the 300 mile route of the Roman Ninth Legion in Britannia. He is also involved in Amateur Dramatics in both acting and writing, having had three books of plays also published. 

As someone who has always had a diverse range of interests from chemistry to history, David decided that he wanted to use his time in retirement to explore other topics of interest to him. He had always been interested in astronomy and geography, having not studied either subject in school and decided that lockdown was a good time to start GCSE qualifications in both subjects. 

Despite being apprehensive about studying for the GCSEs at first, David found that distance learning was a good fit for him: 

Having left full time education 46 years ago (I am 69 years old) I was concerned that I had lost the ability to formally learn new subjects. However, I took to distance learning well. I found the tutor feedback after each assignment to be extremely useful both in terms of understanding what I had done well and also in how I could improve my score. Being able to plan the workload around my daily routines benefited me and helped to keep me focused. The course materials were detailed and contained many questions (with answers) that helped me to determine how well I had understood each topic and whether I needed to revisit any section. The flexibility meant that for those topics I found more demanding, I could spend extra time on, compared to the less challenging topics. High quality graphics were very helpful. 

Whilst the extra time that lockdown gave David meant that it was a good time to study, it was nevertheless a somewhat uncertain time to be studying towards exams. David found that the communication from NEC particularly stood out for him as helping to make his experience with NEC as smooth as possible: 

The regular updates from NEC with regards to the impact of Covid on the examination process helped to give me confidence that I would still be able to get qualifications were examinations to be cancelled. My tutors’ support, always being there, both in terms of expert advice and praise, was a key memory during both courses. Marking and feedback of my assignments was rapid from both tutors.

Having now completed both GCSEs, David has now enrolled on a GCSE English Literature course with NEC, hoping to extend his interests further in a new direction. His advice to anyone thinking about studying with us is: 

Just do it […] I would recommend NEC to other people interested in distance learning. I cannot think of how things could have been done better.

Inspired by David’s story? 

Take a look here at our range of GCSE courses! Click here to read Diana’s story, a retired author who used lockdown to study A level Philosophy. 

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