If you think that the classroom life isn’t for you, and that you would prefer to do your A-Levels by yourself, you may be considering doing it on your own. With this, you could work at your own pace with only your self at your choice of place. This seems like a great idea for some, and would allow you to be home schooled, or privately tutored. However, is it even possible to take A-Levels privately?
Yes! You can learn you’re A-Levels privately. You must join in a school or college, but you are not technically a student there. This allows you to take the final examination there, but learn the course at home, or elsewhere and with a tutor, home school or be self-taught. You can make your own decision about the board, how you study, and which provider you study with; you’re in charge!
With this, we will be further looking at private learning of A-Levels, and where some complications arise like NEAs or science practical’s. To find out more, you should read on.
Table of Contents
Can you take A-Levels privately?
Students can learn their A-Levels privately. They must first ‘enter’ a school or college, but they would not be a student there. They will then supply other information, like identification and subject choices, so the school can forward this to the exam board. Students should bear in mind that the school or college must be approved by the exam board for private students.
After that, they are free to learn the course how they wish. This could be through self-teaching from textbooks and other resources. Other students may choose to receive 1 on 1 tutoring. Some may also choose to be home schooled, along with other siblings. Another possibility is where a student is resitting the exam and is re-learning the course.
How do you take A-Level exams privately?
Your A-Level will take place in the school or college you have ‘entered’. When entering, you will need to provide some more information. This could be:
- Your name and date of birth (as it is shows on valid ID)
- Contact details.
- The examination code (this could be from the exam board)
- Your unique candidate identifier (UCI) which you can find on any previous exam paperwork or qualifications.
- Payment fee for the exam.
You will be sitting the exam at the same time that all students on the exam board will be taking it.
How can you complete any Non-Examined Assessments?
Your educational institution is responsible for your NEA. They have a responsibility to oversee, and ensure the authenticity of your NEA, and in some cases mark your NEA. In some subjects, your exam board will mark your NEA.
How can you complete fieldwork?
If fieldwork is required, then you must find a suitable school or college that allows you to complete fieldwork there. However, if you have chosen the international course, all exams will be written, and there is no fieldwork.
How can you complete practical’s?
If your science course has required practical’s, you will need to find a school or college that allows you to carry them out there. Similarly to fieldwork, if you have chosen the international course, there is no practical’s, but only written exams.
Which exam boards allow private candidates?
If you would like to know which exam boards allow private candidates, but also to find out more about private learning, you should refer to the links below:
You should also use these links to find local exam centres/schools and colleges that allow private candidates.
How much do private A-Levels cost?
A-level courses are free to 16 to 18-year-old UK students. If you’re between 19 to 23 years of age, some colleges may waive a part, if not all your course fee, in some circumstances. However, if you’re above the age of 23, the cost will depend on your learning provider, the course, and how you study.
The average price of an A-Level qualification fee for the exam was £105.12 in 2021. More can be found here on the government website. There are many different factors that contribute to how much a private A-Level costs: your learning provider, age, study route and A-Level exam fees.
You can study your A-Level qualification either in a classroom or with an online provider.
Learning providers essentially teach you the required knowledge, either in a college classroom setting or online. Typically, online learning is cheaper as the materials are online, and the schedule is more flexible.
Check out this Think Student article for a list of online A-Level providers.
If you choose the classroom, then you must attend in-person classes each week, typically in a college setting. You must buy your own materials, however. The cost of both the learning and the learning materials makes this the more unpopular course generally.
If you choose online study, you can study anywhere and anytime, making this a more flexible and popular route.
Typically, studying with a college or Sixth form can cost several thousands of pounds, whereas online it’s more like several hundred.
Why would you take your A-Levels privately?
There are many reasons why someone would take A-Levels privately. To begin with, it may be because a person wants to do an A-Level that they didn’t get to in Sixth Form. It might be one necessary to study a course at university that they didn’t do.
Another reason is that a person is home schooled, or otherwise unable to attend school regularly. Taking A-Levels privately can be more convenient and comfortable for some students. With private A-Levels, you can study courses online, which also makes learning more flexible.
Some students may only be able to take A-Levels privately. If that student is a carer, then this may be their only choice. Similarly, if the student is taking resits, and their school doesn’t allow them to redo the course there, they would have to take the course privately.
If the student is unable to work in classrooms, or just doesn’t enjoy that environment, they may choose to work privately. Some students who struggle more, or are SEND may also benefit from receiving private learning, like home schooling, or 1 on 1 tutoring to further aid them.
A lot of private candidates for A-Levels are also adults who either failed their A-Levels and want to re-do them, or simply couldn’t do a specific A-Level the first-time round. To read more about adults doing A-Levels, check out this article from Open Study College!
Private candidates for A-Level have the option of studying either in a college classroom setting or online; this option makes doing A-Levels privately more appealing. Doing A-Levels online and juggling a job looks a lot easier than doing both school and work full-time!
Can you take your A-Levels early?
In short, yes. While you cannot sit the actual paper earlier than its release, you can take your A-Levels even if you haven’t completed the course in school or finished it a lot earlier.
Typically, early A-Levels need to be approved by the school. For example, if you’re in Year 11 and wanted to do a language A-Level earlier, it would be quite straightforward to ask the school to approve you.
It’s generally not recommended to do them early since you can benefit from revising the content for a longer period, but if you feel like you’d benefit if you sat it early, it’s certainly possible!