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DO NOT DO A LEVEL SCIENCE WITH ICS
Author Name: kirsty hardwick
Advantages: Studying at Home
Disadvantages: Little support, practically impossible to sit practical exams
I am currently doing A Level Biology through ICS.
I made the payment in full for the course and received my study pack. This consisted of a folder with photocopied pages in. The content is nowhere near enough to get through the course. I also bought a separate study book that they recomended on the website, fortunatley this is alot more concise.
The folder has alot of errors in, spelling mainly but i found it far too basic to get a half decent grade. The forum takes at least 24 hours to show your new thread, or posts so if you want a quick answer think again.
The tutor service is practically non existant, you submit an online query and the tutor gets back to you within 7days. You never get direct access to the tutor which for the price you pay for the course i feel is a scam.
The exams for Biology are crazy! Almost any school/college will take you as an external candidate to do the written papers, however barely anywhere offers the practical units. You cannot gain the qualification without sitting the practicals of which there are two. I phoned every, and i mean EVERY! school in Yorkshire (north, east, south and west) and not one is taking students for the practical examination.
I'm now going to have to travel to Birmingham as that is the closest center i can find, however its going to cost me £250 per practical not including travel expenses! This is apparently cheap, one place in Oxford has quoted another student friend of mine doing the course up to £900 for one practical exam.
ICS do not state that there is a very limited amount of places that offer practicals when you pay for it.
The support period is 18months which if like me you want to do the exams like a normal A Level student as not to rush the learning process and exams is not enough time. Particularly as there is only one chance a year to sit practical examinations.
To anyone thinking of doing an A Level in Science go to a college that will do part time study if you can't do it full time. This has been more stress than it is worth, i now wish i had downloaded the sylabus from AQA bought a couple of books and paid for a private tutor on the odd occasion as i bet that would have worked out alot cheaper than £350 i paid for some poxy ring binders! As that is essentially what you are paying for
Summary: If you want to study and work, do it part time through a college