Edit Simplenews newsletter December Newsletter | Academy Online Learning

December Newsletter

Mon, 27/11/2017 - 13:11 -- admin
Welcome to our new monthly newsletter, keeping you up to date with important deadlines, such as UCAS, and helpful hints on how to get the most from your course. 

In this month's newsletter:

  • Improve your essays with detailed descriptions
  • UCAS Applications for September 2018 entry
  • Deadlines for June Moderation
  • Meet the tutors

Important Dates

Dates for UCAS Applications

11th December - Deadline for submitting applications via Academy Online Learning.

15th January - UCAS deadline for applications.

Please ensure you apply through us rather than as a private candidate, it improves your chances of an interview/offer

Last year:

  • 97% of students who applied through AOLL got an interview
  • 93% had an offer made
  • 90% accepted an offer and started in September 2017


Dates for June Moderation

To complete your diploma in time for June moderation, you must achieve the following:

  • 15 Credits by 21st January
  • 30 credits by 4th March
  • 45 credits by 15th April
  • 60 credits by 20th May

Awards board December 2017

The Final Awards Board meeting was held on Friday December 1st for students who have recently completed their diploma. We are pleased to say that everyone went through successfully with their expected grades. Certa have told us that certificates will be posted out within 4 weeks.

Congratulations to all our completers, you have all worked extremely hard and should be very proud of your acheivements!

Improve your essays with detailed descriptions


Grade descriptor 1, “Understanding the subject”, is based on how well you demonstrate your understanding of the knowledge base, conventions or perspectives associated with the topic (QAA, 2012). In other words how well you show what you know. This means that to get the higher grades, your work needs to be accurate and contain enough detail to demonstrate your understanding. Consider the following:

Benzodiazepines are a medication used to treat stress and anxiety, they are usually only used in the short term, as they can cause problems with addiction and become less effective over time. (NHS Choices, 2016)

 This example is accurate and demonstrates some knowledge, however, an essay that consistently uses descriptions at this level is unlikely to get a high grade. If you check the source (NHS Choices website) you can see that it doesn’t really give any more information than this, as it is designed to inform the general public rather than for academic use. For a more detailed description, use a more appropriate academic source. Consider the following: 

Medicines such as benzodiazepines can be used to treat a variety of illnesses, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and agitation. They work by boosting the effect of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain which is used to transfer messages from one cell to another, this chemical has a calming or sedative effect on the brain, slowing down cognitive functions (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2013). 

This is a much better description, as it explains how benzodiazepines work and the effect they have on the brain. Consistently using descriptions like this in an essay on stress, for example, demonstrates a sound understanding of the material. However, if the topic concerned the effects of drugs on the nervous system, it would be appropriate to describe the action of benzodiazepines in more detail:

Medicines such as benzodiazepines can be used to treat a variety of illnesses, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and agitation. They bind to GABA  receptors, but rather than directly opening chloride channels like GABA does when it binds to the site, it increases the conduction of chloride ions across the membrane when GABA is also bound to that receptor (Griffin et al., 2013). This means that benzodiazepines enhance the sedative effect of the GABA neurotransmitter that is already present.

 This example provides more technical detail that is appropriate to the topic and it demonstrates understanding by using the phrase “This means that...” followed by an explanation of the technical information. 

So the key to demonstrating your understanding of a topic is to include the right level of detail in your answers and use “Signposting phrases” like: “this means...”, “this indicates..”, “in other words...” to elaborate. In next month’s newsletter, we will look at how to provide more depth in your discussions.



Griffin, C.E. III., Kaye, A.M., Bueno, F.R. & Kaye, A.D. (2013) Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System-Mediated Effects. The Ochsner Journal 13(2): 214-223 [online] Available at <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684331/> [Accessed 27 November 2017]

NHS Choices (2016) Generalised Anxiety Disorder in Adults [online] Available <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/treatment/> [accessed 27 November, 2017]
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2017) Benzodiazepines. [online] Available: <http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/treatmentswellbeing/benzodiazepines.aspx> [accessed 27 November 2017]
Next month: How to evaluate in depth


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