GCSEs – whether you study them online (the so called iGCSE) or in a traditional setting are the same.
They’re the same because all courses awarding those qualifications have to go through independent assessment and oversight.
This is to ensure that a GCSE earned at a local college is worth the same as one earned at a sixth form school. And – by extension – a GCSE earned from studying with a distance learning provider.
The reasons for this are obvious but the simplest one being – makes things fair. It means no one gets an easy ride or gets a qualification they didn’t earn.
The syllabuses may vary but the learning outcomes are the same. Which means you’ll have the same skills and depth of knowledge in your chosen subject, regardless of who you study with.
This means that so long as you’re enrolling onto an accredited course then you will gain a GCSE qualification when you pass.
The only real difference between iGCSEs and GCSEs is the method of learning.
Studying iGCSEs (Distance Learning)
The main difference between a GCSE studied in a traditional setting and an iGCSE is that the latter is completely online.
So rather than sitting in a classroom with textbooks and a teacher leading your studies, everything is accessed via an online portal.
That has some key benefits over the classroom setting.
The first is you don’t have to attend classes. While a handful of distance learning courses may require practices or placements, the majority don’t.
That means you can fit your studies around your life rather than making your life fit around your studies.
For anyone with a demanding job or a busy homelife – which is most of us – this takes the pressure off trying to juggle a full-time job and kids.
Similarly, because the course is online, rather than during term time, you can learn as and when you feel like it.
There are no assignment deadlines beyond the ones you set for yourself. This can be both good and bad, however. Discipline is essential when studying online precisely because you won’t have a teacher nagging you.
Because you have two years to complete the course, without some self-imposed deadlines your learning can start to drift.
The upside is should you need to take a break from your studies for a couple of weeks then you have the freedom to do that.
You won’t fall behind or get into trouble. You just pause your studies until you can return to them.
This approach allows you to enjoy your studies a lot more too. You’re not focused on getting to class and frantic note taking. Instead you can create a calm and peaceful study space and learn in a way that works best for you.
You won’t have the issue of missing a class – and therefore missing out on the learning – or someone coughing over the key point the teacher made.
Instead you can just read and re-read the material until you understand it. But if you get really stuck you can simply email your dedicated tutor who will help you.
And as personal tutors through distance learning tend to be subject experts, you can be confident of a helpful response.
Just remember – to get the most out of your studies, planning is everything. Without it you may find yourself two years down the road and nothing to show for it.
Which GCSEs are Right for You?
This entirely depends on what you want to gain from your studies. Are you learning solely because you’re interested in the area of study or do you need the qualification?
If it’s the former, then it really is just a case of enrolling on to the course that is of the most interest.
Assuming you are studying GCSEs in order to progress academically or professionally then the course or courses you choose matter.
Firstly, maths and English are the most common GCSEs taken by mature students. This is largely because most jobs and undergraduate degrees require this as a demonstration of basic numeracy and literacy.
While not having these qualifications won’t necessarily hold you back in life, having them certainly won’t do you any harm either.
In the case of training to become a teacher – along with a number of other careers – they are mandatory. Always check course requirements or job specifications before committing to any course.
If your plan is to start with GCSEs in specific subjects, then progress through further education and then higher education, you course choices matter.
Fortunately, with most learning pathways there is some degree of variety as you can study related subjects alongside.
This will not only allow you to broaden your knowledge but add depth to your assignments too.
Through distance learning you can gain your GCSE qualification relatively quickly. Although you have two years to complete the course, most students can get their qualification in 6-9 months.
Whatever your plans are for the future, studying GCSEs is a good start. They are a nationally recognised qualification that will allow you to work towards university via studying A Levels or an Access to HE Diploma.
You also have the advantage that you can tailor your courses either to meet academic requirements or your personal areas of interest.
Whichever GCSE courses you opt for, Stonebridge Associated Colleges can help you in your studies. All you need to do is get in touch with a member of the sales team or enrol online. There are flexible payment terms available to help you spread the cost.
You will also have access to a dedicated tutor who will help you through the process. Check out our blog for useful tips on how to get the most out of your study experience.
Click below to check out our GCSE courses and enrol today.