- 10 Jul 2008
Hi - most colleges will run the two level 2 certificates as an
evening class over 18 months or two years, or as a day course over one
year, but that's to fit in with exams and terms. If you look at the introduction
to the syllabus (downloadable from the website) it explains that the
certificates have been designed to be worth 14 credits each - a credit
is common to all exam boards in QCF now, and it equates to ten hours'
learning. This doesn't have to be ten hours of teaching - at level 2 a
college would expect students to be doing about the same amount of
'background' study and revision as they would be allocating teaching
hours. So, for distance learning, you have to work out where 280 hours of studying fits into your life.
Assignments are particular to your dl provider - I tend to work through modified past papers instead - but if you allocate roughly 20 weeks to each certificate to fit into the exam timing ( and have holidays) you are giving yourself an expectation of seven hours study a week. Can you commit to an hour a night, or two blocks of study in a week, or would it be better to halve this and aim for exams in June?
There are loads of other variables - if you are comfortable with science it may take much less time for you to cover the plant science unit, or soils and nutrition, than it would for someone with an arts background, and if you have done a lot of practical gardening already some of the Garden Planning certificate may just be confirming things you know.
One of the advantages with distance learning will be that if you are motivated to get through your studies quickly, you aren't tied to college terms: so if you realise in November that you'll finish studying four units well before February, there's nothing to stop you entering for another unit exam from the other certificate as well. Conversely, if you get held up by 'life, the universe and everything', no-one will hold you to doing all four exams. Just get yourself registered in good time to get access to the RHS exams portal, be aware of the deadlines for exam entry and deferrals, and take control of your own studies!