Using your experience

Making your previous experience and qualifications count - APL

In some cases you may be able to secure a place on a higher education level course and/or gain some exemptions from parts of a course by using your previous learning.

There are some courses that help adults prepare for higher level study, (sometimes you need English and maths GCSE Grade 4-9 equivalent) e.g. Access to Higher Education courses, most programmes from The Open University and some foundation years. However, adults may also be able to gain entry to a higher education level course by using the knowledge and skills they have gained through their previous experience. In addition, they may be able to use their previous learning through experience or qualifications to gain exemptions from certain modules of a course. 

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the generic term for the process that can be used to recognise previous experience and/or qualifications. Each higher education institution should have a policy on their arrangements for APL. 

APL can include the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) and the Accreditation of Prior Certified Learning (APCL).

Note that, depending on the course you are applying for, your prior learning may have a certain ‘shelf life’, i.e. it needs to be still current. Changes within the subject area can mean that your knowledge and skills may require updating.

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