Students in college
At the end of July I set off to King’s Cross to attend four weeks of college in preparation for our upcoming exams in November (the final three which make up the Advance stage). I was sporting a rucksack (to transport the copious amounts of folders, books and guides I knew I was about to receive), and feeling a little like it was the first day back at university (or even school!).

There are many good points about being back at college. It provides nice variety in my working year. It’s also great for the social aspect, as all trainees in my intake are together in two classes. And, contrary to what I thought when I left university, it’s actually really great to be actively learning again.

Days at college are very structured and lead by the tutor. Pre-printed notes are provided, which saves on writing (although some annotations are handy!). Sessions of learning are broken up by regular breaks (with free hot drinks from the vending machines) and the day finishes at around 4.15pm, which is a bonus. The tutors are great; they welcome questions and take the time to explain any points which may be challenging. They can also be contacted during the periods when we are not at college, so are a source of continual support if needed.

College can be tough. Learning is interspersed with tests and mock exams, which although unpleasant, are definitely beneficial in the long run, as it forces you to work hard and it’s an indication of where you need to focus your efforts and improve. There’s also a lot of homework; reviewing the day’s learning and tackling practice questions.

It can be tricky balancing revision with the normal day job, but usually this isn’t too much of an issue, as we are given generous amounts of time to learn; all of our college learning is during the week (i.e. we do not attend evening or weekend classes). We also have some days of study leave, which definitely help. All the hard work pays off in the end though, and you are definitely grateful for efforts put in prior to the exams.

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