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Many students opt to study their course within a year.

It’s particularly useful if you’re studying with a specific purpose in mind, like applying to university, and need your grades quickly, or if you’re retaking a GCSE or A level and still want to apply to your chosen university. The flexible nature of distance learning and home study courses means that it’s possible to do this, as long as you’re able to schedule in enough study time.

NEC recommends that for standard A levels, you consider studying across two years. However, we understand that occasionally life gives you deadlines and sometimes somethings simply can’t wait. So, if you feel you are up to the task of studying an A level in a year, and would like to improve your chances of achieving your desired grade. NEC has developed 4 brand new, highly structured Fast Track online A levels that will help ensure you are ready to sit your exams in 2020. 

Our structured Fast Track online A levels

If you are looking to complete an A level in biology, chemistry, physics or maths within an academic year, you might want to take a look at our new Fast Track A levels. With a set start date, structured approach and tutorials, we’ve designed this course to help you to complete the course within a year, and gain the all important grades you need.

Each Fast Track A level features:

  • Comprehensive induction programme starting on 2nd September
  • A small cohort starting on 16th 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
  • Personal tutor support, including a mid-course review

Our 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 new structured Fast Track A levels:

Can I take any other A levels or GCSE’s within a year?

If you choose not to study one of our structured Fast Track A levels, but are still aiming to take your exams within one academic year or less, there are many things you need to consider, such as:

  • How much time do you have each week? If you are working full-time and have a family to care for, you won’t have as much time as someone who is planning to study full time and has no other commitments. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. There is more information about exams and assessment 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 many hours of study will it take

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. 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 and maths begin on 16th September. No further enrolments will be taken after 27th September.

What if I'm not ready to take the exams?

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.

Does it cost extra to study fast track?

If you choose to study one of our structured Fast Track A levels in biology, chemistry, physics or maths, then these courses do incur additional costs, which are included within your course fee. This is due to the specifically designed structure and additional support students will receive whilst taking these subjects. Full details can be found on the 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 no. We don’t charge extra.

I'm not sure if I should study fast track.

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 don’t think it’s possible.