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Deciding between Bristol and Oxford groundschool

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Deciding between Bristol and Oxford groundschool

Old 8th Nov 2011, 16:46
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Deciding between Bristol and Oxford groundschool

Hi everyone,

This is my first contribution to the forum, although I've been reading you for many years. Let me present myself, I'm a spaniard with a Engineering and a Master degree that a few months ago decided to change his career in order to be where he loves to be: the sky.

I didn't doubt in choosing the modular way towards the (f)ATPL, and so far I've completed the PPL in Madrid. Then, I want to enroll into a foreigner FTO just because I want to escape from the terrible and unefficient Spanish Aviation Authority.

My next step will be the 14 ATPLs through distance learning so I can do it cheap by staying at home. I am basically considering two options: Bristol and Oxford. I am more inclined into the latter one because I studied my PPL with Oxford books and they were really superb. The price difference on the course itself is not that much (something like 2100 vs 2400), besides, a large proportion of the costs will be due to travel and living expenses during the 2x 2-week lectures + examination days.

I also considered CATS, however their organization of the lectures into three modules instead of two does not fully convince me. In addition to that, I'd buy the Oxford books rather than the printed material they offer, thus reducing their price advantage.

So, if someone has anything to say about these groundschools besides what has been already said into this forum (I read many many posts about the subject), it surely will be welcomed . If not, just take this post as an introductory one from another pilot wannabe.

See you in the sky!
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Old 8th Nov 2011, 21:19
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I did mine with BGS. Very good school and value for money.
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Old 8th Nov 2011, 21:30
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Both will get the job done.

You need to way up how much to total price is going to be including travel and accom etc then go for the cheapest.
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Old 8th Nov 2011, 23:07
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BGS did it very well for me as a Distance Learning groundschool. You're unlikely to find anyone who's done both though, so people will always be biased towards the one that they chose!
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Old 9th Nov 2011, 12:29
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Yeah, I considered all the costs regarding accommodation, board, travel, CAA fees, etc, resulting in total cost of 6000 vs 6400 (Bristol vs Oxford). But this amount is likely to vary because you cannot plan how much is the air fare is going to be (specially when olympics are approaching), kind of accommodation you'll find or other misc expenses that may arise. Moreover, in top of all that there is the exchange rate /.

I'm also aware that it's unlikely someone tried both schools (hope so!!). I've read plenty of positive opinions about the two of them, so I am more interested in the negative ones. However, probably I will end up choosing Oxford, I'm more biased to them because of their great books.

Regards,
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Old 9th Nov 2011, 14:16
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To be honest I went to oxford and would say between the two go to the cheapest because they will both get the job done

I personally preffer the Oxford notes but others find the Bristol ones better for them.

I was the same commuting in to do courses etc and getting to oxford is way more simpler than Bristol although with the expansion of LOC's at Bristol it may not be the case now.

There isn't much difference between the two they both get the job done. Although you can get buggered around with the exam centers with oxford because the full time students tend to book the exams months in advance in oxford so that center is full up and you have to decamp somewhere else for the exams.
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Old 9th Nov 2011, 16:10
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Well, it's good to know that. Nevertheless, in Oxford you MAY take the exams at the same place where you attended the brush-up lectures, while in Bristol you have to move to one of the CAA venues .
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Old 9th Nov 2011, 18:02
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i second what EC-KIY said above and also the school is not in Bristol, but in Cheddar, a small village far away from Bristol.this may increase BGS total cost
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Old 10th Nov 2011, 12:41
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Looking at just the cost of the course (excluding travel & accommodation) :
BGS = 2140 inc class phases
OAA = 2100 [1500 + 2X(300) for class phases]
- There's not much in it.

But as I'm in the South West of the UK, I know who I'm choosing
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Old 10th Nov 2011, 12:51
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Review your calculations. OAA is 1225 initial payment plus 2 periods of 2 weeks each at 300 per week. So it makes total of 1225+2*2*300 =2425.

These are 2011 fares, so they may increase them next year. For you living SW of UK, I'd bet you choose Bristol. For me, having to take a international flight to go to the lectures, Oxford is far better (also, IMHO, they provide better notes ).
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Old 10th Nov 2011, 13:56
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Review your calculations
Yeh, you're right. It's 4 weeks, not 2! I'll definitely be choosing BGS.

OAA 2012 prices are here, so be quick!

Good Luck
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Old 10th Nov 2011, 18:59
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The choice isn't just between Bristol and Oxford of course. There are other upcoming schools which offer a radically different approach to ATPL theory.

However, to answer your question the key difference between the Bristol and Oxford approach is in the depth of coverage of the material.

Oxford's notes are very comprehensive - rather too much so for some people's liking. But the advantage is that you get a very thorough grounding in the subjects.

Bristol's notes are significantly less deep. The advantage is a more focussed approach to exam passing. The disadvantage is that they don't necessarily promote the most thorough professional grounding.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that ATPL theory is just a hurde to be jumped. A lot of this knowledge underpins everything that you subsequently do. It's important not to just 'learn and dump'.
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Old 10th Nov 2011, 20:21
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Of course, if one is studying to achieve a so expensive and (up to certain point) also dangerous career it's because you love it. As I said before, I studied my PPL with the Oxford (PPL) books and I love the way the explained most of the things.
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Old 10th Nov 2011, 21:13
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I've done neither, but know people who've chosen each way. From what I hear though, OAA are still (on the quiet) telling their students to go and buy Bristol's QB as an extra.
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Old 12th Nov 2011, 00:32
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Don't fall into the trap of thinking that ATPL theory is just a hurdle to be jumped
I agree. But how can one be assured that their chosen provider doesn't fall into the "learn and dump" category? As I would certainly prefer the "most thorough professional grounding" versus the "focussed approach to exam passing".

Graham, I see you have worked with BGS in the past, so you must know the structure and material well; thanks for your input here. I thought my choice was a 'no brainer', and not just for the location; maybe not. Anyone else care to chip in?
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 15:03
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hi I got the same doubt, i'd like to start my atpl distance learning in december, but one day when i'll finish all my studies, what will be the difference between a distance learning atpl course and a full time atpl course for a possible recruitment?
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 16:07
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None, unless they are looking for integrated students. There are pros and cons to both methods and it comes down to YOU, your available time, budget & self MOTIVATION.

Having instructed on and received courses via both methods you can PM me for my personal thoughts if you wish.
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Old 22nd Nov 2011, 10:02
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Bristol all the wya.
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Old 22nd Nov 2011, 10:42
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I am not and never have studied at BGS or OAA, but I am studying from the Bristol material (CBT and books). So far I can tell that the explanation is pretty poor and sometimes you have to read the same boring stuff a million times and do a lot of research in other places to get your answer (or alternatively ask the instructor, but I choose this as a last resort). It is hard to do the tests as well because often There are quite a few noticeable mistakes as well, nobody's perfect, but these are big ones.

I haven't compared it to OAA, and can't say that I am unhappy with them, but I imagine things could be done a bit easier and clearer. I've heard similar things from our instructors as well.

Anyway, the guys are right, either will get you there, one will be cheaper, one will be a bit easier and more informative, but again, both will get you there.
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Old 22nd Nov 2011, 18:50
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Piper88 The difference comes when you choose a course which encourages you to understand the material, not just learn how to make the right answers in a 4-option multiple choice exam.

Some of the stuff in ATPL theory isn't essential for a pilot career but a hell of a lot of it is.

Once, when interviewing for potential direct entry pilots, I came across an applicant who couldn't tell me the basic operating principle of a jet engine. I kept making my questions simpler and simpler. I gave up with him when he couldn't even tell me the fundamental purpose of fuel in an internal combustion engine.

Just one example out of dozens where a guy lost the chance to fly big shiny jets because he just learned and dumped.

Last edited by Graham@IDC; 23rd Nov 2011 at 20:30.
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