View Full Version : opinions on bristol G.S distance atpl course
I'm looking for opinions on which school to do the distance ATLP(A) course with. Ive looked at OAT, GTS Bournmouth and Bristol G.S. They seem similar enough in price but think that perhaps Bristol would be the better course provider. Could anyone please advise. Also i would be interested in finding out:
1) Opinions on what the work load is like for the home study as I currently work 5 days a week, intending to cut that to 4 which leaves 3 days and the evenings to study. Is the recommended 15 hrs per week enough for a person of average academic ability to pass the exams?I havent a great academic past and naturally feel cautious about the difficulty of the course ahead.
2)Is the online support which Bristol offers enough to help a student of average ability?
3)On average, how long does it take a student from start to finish to complete the distance course and exams?
3rd Dec 2003, 20:51
I have no first-hand experience of the other schools you're looking at, but you won't go wrong with Bristol. However, we're all different - just because they worked for me, doesn't mean they will work for you. Visit all three, get a sample of their notes, and see which set of notes you think you will be able to study from the easiest. Also ask if it's possible to sit in on a half hour or so of their brush-up.
As for your other questions:
1) I managed it, working 5 days a week, but I didn't have a social life for a year. As for 15 hours per week... well, I guess technically 1 hour a week would be ok, except it would take a little longer! But yes, 15 hours sounds reasonable.
The problem, though, won't be passing the exams with 15 hours per week. The problem will be finding the motivation to put in 15 hours per week every week throughout the course. Once you get your notes, I would think in terms of the number of frames/chapters/whatever that you want to complete each week, and put in as many hours as you need to in order to achieve that.
2) Progress tests were always returned very promptly. I only needed extra help a couple of times while I did the course, but each time I e-mailed a question and got a reply from the appropriate instructor the next day. Can't fault them at all here.
3) How long is a piece of string? Took me 12 months exactly, but it will depend how quickly you work through the course!
I'm just coming to the end of the course with bristol...my final exams are in jan.
They have been excellent their support and brushup course are second to none. The online forum is v helpful and the notes they produce are clear and concise.
They have an excellent pass rate and i'd recommend them to anyone.
I've been doing a little more than 15 hours a week probably more like 25, but you can take as long as you like really
Hope this helps
4th Dec 2003, 04:58
Not wanting to be repeat myself here, since I have posted replies to quite a few such posts! Go for BGS...no question...Alex and team know the subject matter, what is important and (vitally) how to put it across. I have never heard a bad word said about them, and I have nothing but total praise....reputation is often the best advert. Did all my ATPL work with BGS...full pass on everything first time...the old perf A crammer was spot on.
As for work, 3hrs a night, one night off per week. This is a big investment...treat it as such is the best advice.
Hope this helps.
4th Dec 2003, 16:02
At the risk of repeating the same old message, I would thoroughly recommend Bristol. Excellent notes and feedback. Turnround time on tutorials is short. I passed all of them first time round whilst working full-time in the US with a new baby in the house.
4th Dec 2003, 17:33
Same here ! Nuff said !!
I'm only going to reply to point 3, because the other questions have already been answered well enough.
The motivational issue raised by FFF is very important. Different people motivate themselves in different ways. I completed mod 1 by studying 3+hrs per night, only taking nights off when I was too exhausted to study. This did get me through mod 1 but I don't think this is the best way of doing it, and motivation was sometimes very low.
I'm half way through mod 2 now, and have started to give myself 2 days off per week, sometimes more, and study at a much more relaxed pace. As a result I'm enjoying the course to a greater extent than ever before, and more importantly, what I learn seems to stick.
Sure the ATPLS can be done in 9 months, commonly 12, but I plan for 18months. Relax, enjoy the hourbuilding and make sure you have a life outside the study.
4th Dec 2003, 21:32
I fully support all the comments above. Currently half way through Mod 1 with BGS. I am covering a frame per week on average with around 12 to 15 hours per week study. It is a big committment but make sure you build in a little free time or it may overwhelm you. Sometimes I find it hard to make time for study on some days and feel guilty if I don't "get the hours in", but the most important thing is that you learn at a pace that suits you and that you remember it all. No good rushing through it and forgetting it because you will only have to do it all again further down the line. Support from the team at BGS is prompt and clearly explained.
For those that are in front of me, I cannot decide which brush up course to book in for. I hope to have completed all the Mod 1 study by the end of Jan 04. This to be followed by some revision and a go at a few tests. I could possibly make the Feb brush up course and definitely the March one. I am not sure whether to risk booking for Feb or wait for March. Once I have covered the material should the brush up be all I need or will I need several weeks of revision first?
I am reasonably happy that I know the material even though I often feel like I have forgotten some of it. Every 5 frames I also do a quick revision over the material again before moving on.
4th Dec 2003, 21:42
Its difficult for people to compare different ground schools, as i dont think many people ever study with more than 1. I however, chose Bristol, and although I have only been studyung for a couple of weeks, the material seems good, and the CD rom with all the notes on is good for looking like youre busy while youre at work!!!
best of luck with whoever you choose.
4th Dec 2003, 22:20
Just out of curiosity, have any of you heard of Horizon.sfa? I also wish to enroll in a distance school for my atpl and have been looking around. I came across this school and saw that they were much cheaper than any of the other ones. Is there a catch to this one because of it's location? Would appreciate any input here, thanks.
4th Dec 2003, 22:57
No, I haven't heard of them.
You need to follow a CAA-approved course before sitting the exams. The complete list of CAA-approved schools is on their website (http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/175/srg_fcl_ApprovedFTOs.pdf), and I don't see a school called Horizon listed as offering any groundschool. The only Horizon in their list is Horizon Flying Club at Elmsett, and they seem to be an instructor school.
This might explain why Horizon.sfa are much cheaper. Of course it's possible they operate under another school's authorisation, or under the authority of a different JAR state - but some more research would definitely be needed before spending any of your hard-earned cash or time on anyone not on the official list.
4th Dec 2003, 23:59
I'm half way through the fisrt Bristol module and agree with all the good things everyone has said about them, apart from a few errors in the tests and examples I found in the beginning, but they soon sorted them out.
I am going to quite work soon to devote myself to them full-time though. I am getting through the frames and tests but am forgetting everything a week later as I move along the frames.
I'd love to know how long it took anyone else who's tackled them via distance learning but full-time?
5th Dec 2003, 20:00
Idid it full time. Module 1 took 3 months. To be honest could have done it quicker but was going through a messy split at the time so had a few other things to deal with. Module 2 was on track for 2 months, however just found out that the brush up is fully booked until march - the moral -book the brush up well in advance!!
Thanks to all for your advice, appreciate it. Best of luck with your studies!
i did mine in 12 months doing 15-20 a week. Could have done it a bit quicker, but decided to make sure i was completely ready for the exams. I couldnt recommend bristol enough, excellent notes, good computer program and good back up on the forums and through email.