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Can you complete an A level in a year?

If you are applying to university or are retaking an A level, you may be looking to complete your course within a year. The flexible nature of NEC’s online courses means that it’s possible to do this, as long as you’re able to effectively schedule your study time.

We normally recommend that you consider studying an A level across two years. However, we understand that occasionally life gives you deadlines and sometimes some things simply can’t wait. So, if you feel you are up to the task of studying an A level in a year, we have developed 5 highly Structured Fast Track online A levels that offer a start date in September, followed by live tutorials and set assignment deadlines throughout the year so you are prepared to sit the summer exam. 

We’ve designed these courses to help you to complete your A level within a year, and gain the all important grades you need.

Each Structured Fast Track A level features:

  • Comprehensive induction programme starting early September
  • A small cohort starting mid-September
  • A schedule of work which has been carefully considered to help you complete the course within a year
  • Live tutorials throughout the course
  • Past paper marking
  • Tutor support, including a mid-course review
  • Predicted grade
  • UCAS reference
  • Student only and tutor led forums

Our Structured Fast Track A levels have been written and developed by experts, and designed to give you the extra support you need. Through access to group forums and live tutorials covering each topic of the course, you will be able to share ideas with your fellow cohorts and ask questions of your tutor ‘in-class’.

Take a look at the full details of our Structured Fast Track A levels:

Do NEC offer any other one-year A level or GCSE courses?

Due to the flexible nature of our online courses, many of them can be studied within a year. However, there are many things you will need to consider: 

  • How much time do you have each week? The key to study success is planning. Everyone works at a different pace but you will need to assess how much time you would have for study each week and plan accordingly.
  • What subject will you choose? If it is a subject you are very familiar with, perhaps you have previously taken the A level and are hoping to improve your grade, then it is likely that you will get to grips with the content quicker. 
  • How many subjects are you doing? The more subjects, the more time you’ll need.
  • Does the subject have non-examination assessment? If it does, you’ll have strict deadlines to meet and need to study a substantial amount of the course before you can be assessed. This applies to subjects such as English language, English literature and History, among others.
  • Will you need to book exams? There are deadlines for booking exams and as this carries a cost, you want to be sure you’ll be ready for the exams before committing. Information about exams and assessment can be found in our Exams Handbook.
  • Have you planned for a break? We suggest that you make sure you have sufficient time in your planning to account for any break you might need to take. Remember, life can be unexpected – a bout of flu, a new job, a house move can interrupt your study schedule.

How much time should I set aside for study each week?

Studying a GCSE or an A level takes a considerable amount of time, with a lot to learn in order to be prepared for your exams.

For a GCSE or IGCSE you need to plan for around 120-150 hours of study, plus additional time to complete your assignments. Over the course of an academic year, (nine months) you should plan to study for 4-5 hours per week for each subject, plus extra time for completing your assignments.

For an A level you’ll need a little more time. You need to plan for around 250-350 study hours for each subject. Over the course of an academic year, (nine months) you should aim to study for around 8-9 hours per week for each subject, plus time for completing your assignments.

When is the latest I can enrol on a course?

It becomes more difficult – although still not impossible – to complete the course in time for the exam the following summer if you don’t start until October, so we always recommend enrolling as soon as possible.

Some of our A level subjects have coursework (you might see this referred to as non-exam assessment or NEA). These courses have earlier cut-off dates, as the coursework deadlines are much earlier than the exams and they are substantial pieces of work that contribute towards your final grade.

If you are applying to university and need predicted grades, you will need to have completed 50% of your course assignments before your tutor can provide these. Please bear this in mind when you are enrolling later in the year.

We stop taking enrolments for subjects with no coursework at the end of November (only if you intend to sit exams the following summer). This is no reflection on your abilities, just the reality that we are not able to guarantee that all of the assignments can be submitted and marked within this time-frame.

By this time the commitment you need to make each week increases, and you’ll need to spend a lot more time on your studies.

For a GCSE or IGCSE: Around 8 hours per week, plus additional time to complete assignments.

For an A level: Around 15 hours per week, plus additional time to complete assignments.

Our Structured Fast Track A levels in biology, chemistry, physics, maths and psychology have a set start date so are completed between September and the summer exams. Speak to our Course Advice Team on 0800 389 2839 to secure your place.

What if I want to delay taking exams until next year?

One of the things our students tell us they value most is the flexibility of NEC’s courses. Your course and tutor support is available to you for up to 24 months and extensions are possible, so if you find that you can’t meet your original expectations, you can aim for the following year. This does not apply to our Structured Fast Track A levels.

Why does it cost extra to study a Structured Fast Track A level?

Our Structured Fast Track A levels in biology, chemistry, physics, maths or psychology have a higher cost than our normal A levels. This is due to the specifically designed structure, inclusion of live tutorials and additional support students will receive whilst taking these subjects. Full details can be found on the Structured Fast Track A level course pages. 

If you decide not to study one of our Structured Fast Track A levels, and you still want to complete your study within a year, then there are no additional charges. However, you will need to set your own study schedule and assignment deadlines.

Not sure if you want to study across one year or two?

If you’re not sure, call us to discuss your circumstances. We want to make sure that every one of our students has the best possible chance of success, so we’ll always be honest with you and tell you if we think it’s possible.

Our Course Advice Team is ready to answer any questions. Email at info@nec.ac.uk or call on 0800 389 2839.

Planning on applying for the early UCAS deadline?

Courses such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science have an early UCAS application deadline. For 2022 entry, this is 15th October 2021 at 6pm. The early deadline also applies to all courses at Oxford and Cambridge.

You can enrol on Structured Fast Track A levels if you’re aiming for the October UCAS deadline. Click the image below to find out how to prepare.