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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please take the time to read our FAQs by clicking on a relevant title to see the answer to a question.

Who we are and what we do

Wolsey Hall is a not-for-profit home study college based in Oxford, England and established in 1894. We offer a range of academic courses to students around the world, using a state of the art online learning platform.

We provide first class preparation at Key Stage 3 level and for IGCSEs and A levels - more information is available here). Our aim is to support our students throughout their home study courses, and equip them with the skills necessary not just to get good exam results but to succeed in further studies, in work, and in life.

“Distance learning” and “home study” refer to a form of education whereby the student works primarily from home. In recent years advances in digital technology have made this increasingly possible, as students can communicate with tutors, submit assignments, and access valuable resources online.

There are a number of benefits to home study, particularly for students over the age of 18, who may have other work or domestic commitments, who may be working towards specific career or educational goals, or who may not have had a positive experience at school the first time around.

  • With home study you can learn wherever and whenever you want, so you can fit your studies around your other commitments.
  • You’ll be a more effective person when you’ve completed your course. Your time management and organisation skills will be significantly improved and you’ll have demonstrated a commitment to improving your knowledge and skills, which should make you more attractive to an existing or prospective employer.

There are many reasons you might take a course after leaving school. In our experience, these are some common factors:

  • You need IGCSEs at a specific grade to gain entrance to a higher level qualification such as teaching or nursing.
  • You’re thinking of a job or career change or have been offered a promotion within your present organisation. In both instances additional IGCSEs or A levels could make the change more possible and more likely.
  • Self-improvement. More people are committed to life-long learning than ever before and are keen to keep up with the developing world around them. So perhaps you want to learn about a new culture, or gain a greater understanding of science and technology or business.

We have students of all ages, from all over the world, enrolled on our courses for all kinds of reasons. They all enjoy the flexibility of home study and are generally able to fit their studies around other commitments, including work, family, social obligations, and hobbies.

The Wolsey Hall system of learning has been developed over many years and provides a carefully balanced mix of independent study with guidance and feedback provided by our experienced and qualified tutor team.

Nearly all of what we do happens online via our state-of-the-art learning platform, Canvas, which contains a range of online resources such as videos, quizzes and other learning material which complement the course books. Canvas also serves as the primary means of communication between students and tutors. For example students submit assignments and receive feedback on these assignments via Canvas.

We can think of at least five key reasons to choose Wolsey Hall to gain your qualifications.

1. We’re supportive

We know that home study can seem daunting, and so it’s important to us that our students never feel that they’re “going it alone”. Our whole team are committed to helping students successfully complete their courses; our experienced Directors of Studies, Student Support Managers, and Tutors all play a key role in ensuring you get the best possible support on your course and are available either by telephone or email to respond to any queries that you might have.

2. We’re fast and flexible

You can enrol on a Wolsey Hall course at any time of the year – we don’t have cut-off dates or enrolment periods. This is because nearly all of our courses can be examined in either the summer or winter examination sittings. The flexibility that distance learning provides combined with our system of providing rapid feedback means that we can prepare you for your examinations as quickly as needed.

3. We have 120 years of experience

We’ve been supporting students on home study courses since 1894. We use all our experience to help our students to complete their courses successfully, become effective, independent learners, get the best grades possible in their exams, and develop crucial, transferable skills for life and work along the way.

4. We’re thinking about the future

Exam results are important, but we also strive to instil our students with skills for life – skills that will equip them to continue their education or thrive in their chosen career. Our many years of experience have also taught us to be adaptable and to embrace the latest changes in technology. We’re always looking ahead and ensuring that we stay at the cutting edge of developments in educational technology. In 1894 our students received course materials via the “Penny Post”; these days they have instant access to an award-winning learning system and the best online support available!

5. We’re not-for-profit

Wolsey Hall is a not-for-profit organisation, with any surplus reinvested to improve our courses and our service to our students.

How it Works

Yes, absolutely! The beauty of distance learning is that you can study with Wolsey Hall from outside the UK as easily as if you were resident here. We have students from all across the globe, and as long as you have an Internet connection you should be able to keep up with your studies wherever you are.

As in the UK, you will have to make arrangements to sit your examination as a private candidate. If you live abroad, you can usually sit exam(s) at your local British Council office or at an International School. However, we do recommend that you contact the British Council or local schools before you begin your course to make absolutely certain that you know where you’ll be able to sit the exam from day one. We can advise you on this if you have any questions.

Yes! Just because you enroll on a distance learning course doesn’t mean you have to give up your job or reduce your hours. Distance learning is flexible, so you can fit your course around your life, and not the other way round. Many of our students successfully balance their studies with other commitments, including full-time work and looking after a family. In fact you may find that some of the organisational and time management skills that distance learning helps students develop are transferable to your career and make you a more valuable employee.

As soon as you enrol for a course:

  • You’ll receive profiles and contact details for your tutor(s) so you can get in touch with them as soon as you wish
  • Your course books will be despatched. These are the best and most interactive learning texts available. Our curriculum development team choose the best and most interactive learning texts available and these are constantly reviewed and updated to ensure that you `are always working with the most up to date textbooks In most cases the books are endorsed by the relevant examining body. Within the UK course books normally arrive within 3 working days. Outside the UK we arrange for courier service where possible. This normally takes between 3 – 6 working days, depending on the country in which you live.
  • As soon as you’ve enrolled on the course you’ll have access to our online learning environment and its wide range of resources, so that you can begin your studies right away. Your Student Support Manager will develop an individual study schedule for you based on the time that you have available for study, the number of assignments on the course, and the examination dates.

How long a course will take depends largely on your prior knowledge of a subject and how quickly you learn, among other factors. But we estimate, on average, that you should allow up to 150 hours of study for an IGCSE subject and 500 hours for an A level subject (250 hours for AS and 250 hours for A2). Put another way, students generally take IGCSE courses over 6-12 months (for up to 4 subjects) or 12-24 months (for more than 4 subjects). Students normally take A levels over the course of two years.

For IGCSE or A level you will receive a certificate from either Cambridge International Examinations or Edxcel depending on the course you are taking. This will indicate the grade that you have obtained.

Our online learning environment contains all of your course resources and is very easy to use. Among the resources you’ll find there are:

  • The syllabus for the subject(s) you’re studying, so that you can clearly see the topics to be covered in the examination and how you will be assessed.
  • The Programme of Study, which shows exactly what material you need to cover before each assignment.
  • The assignments. You submit these to your tutor online via the learning environment and will receive grades, together with helpful feedback, within 3 – 5 working days of submission. This rapid turnaround aims to keep students feeling supported and motivated throughout the course.
  • A wide range of online resources (such as interactive websites,quizzes videos and tutor-prepared material) which will complement your course books.

The assignments are designed to fully prepare you for your exam. These assignments do not count towards the exam, but they are assessed, and your tutor will provide extensive feedback on each assignment. In most cases the assignments are based on previous exam papers, so they are an excellent chance for you to practice answering the kinds of questions you’ll encounter in the exam.

Exams and centres

You will need to apply to an exam centre to take your exams as a private candidate. Your Student Support Manager will be able to advise you on examination arrangements.

In the UK the Cambridge and Edexcel exam boards have centres located throughout the country. See our map here to find your nearest centre. Outside the UK, the British Council will usually be your exam centre of choice, though there may also be a nearby school which will accept private candidates. We can provide you with a list of exam centres for most countries.


It’s very important to us that you feel supported throughout your course. This support will come from two main sources:

  1. Your tutor, who will assess and grade your assignments. We also invite you to arrange a Skype call with your tutor before starting work on the course. This is a “get to know you” call and will give you the opportunity to ask your tutor any questions you might have about the course itself. You can then contact your tutor via the online environment. It’s important to note that tutors do not give “online tutorials”, and their primary role is to provide feedback on assignments, but you may also make an appointment to talk with a tutor via Skype if you have a problem you can’t resolve on your own or by email exchange.
  2. Your Student Support Manager, who will be your key link with the college. Your Student Support Manager will deal with any administrative issues, such as changing your study schedule, helping you to find an exam centre, or anything else on which you need advice.

If you feel you are falling behind on your work, you can contact your Student Support Manager to renegotiate your study schedule. If there are further complications please do let us know as soon as you can and we will work with you to find a suitable solution.

We’re proud of our team of experienced and highly-qualified tutors. They come from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: a love for their subject and a real passion for passing on this learning to their students. You can meet them here.

Fees and Payment

Course fees vary depending on the course and payment schedule. Current fees are as follows:

Course TitleCourse Fee
(if paid monthly)
Fee in full
with 5% discount
IGCSE each subject£425£978£41£403
IGCSE French/German/Latin/Spanish each subject£525£1098£52£498
A Level each subject£725£1658£70£688
AS or A2 each subject£425£978£41£403

Note that:

  • Course fees include all required books, but not their postage outside the UK.
  • Examination fees are payable separately to the examination centre.
  • Monthly fee payments must be completed at least two months before the date of the examination.
  • Fees are payable by bank transfer (BACS in the UK); secure online invoice, debit/credit card over the phone, or cheque.
  • We offer a discount of 10% to students taking 5 or more IGCSE subjects or 3 or more A-Level subjects.
  • If you'd like to pay monthly over a longer period than that shown, please let us know.

If you would rather not pay the course fee up front, it is certainly possible to pay by instalments. Please refer to our fees page for details, as fees vary by course.

Application and Enrolment

You can enroll at any time of the year – we don’t have cut-off dates or enrollment periods because nearly all of our courses can be examined in either the summer of winter examination sittings. So we can help you prepare for an exam as quickly as needed.

You can apply online at any time. If you would like advice before you do so, just submit our contact form or telephone our Freephone line: 0800 622 6599 from within the UK or 0044 800 622 6599 from outside the UK.

Contacting us

We’re happy to answer any queries you might have that aren’t answered here – just submit our contact form, telephone our Freephone line: 0800 622 6599 from within the UK or 0044 800 622 6599 from outside the UK.

We look forward to welcoming you as a student with Wolsey Hall!