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GCSE Astronomy Distance Learning Course

Frequently Asked Questions

Summer 2013 results saw a 100% success rate again, with 76% passing at A* or A grades. One of our Star Learners has been awarded a certificate by the Royal Astronomical Society for finishing in the top 12 of the country - the fourth time this honour has been achieved. In past years, a 13 year old gifted and talented student scored full marks in his written exam paper.

When can I start the course?

You can begin our GCSE Astronomy course at any time. Starting the course earlier than the traditional start in September can help to take the pressure off your learning, simply by giving you extra time. If you have a full year ahead, you are able to view the whole night sky, which helps to give you a greater range of options for your observational coursework. We do have a cut-off point on 31st October each year. After this date, you would need to take the exam 20 months ahead, not in the following year.

How long does the course last?

If you start in September/October, you will be able to complete the Starlearner Distance Learning GCSE Astronomy course in time for the June exam. You can spread the work out over 2 years if personal circumstances intervene, or if you prefer to take longer over the course. You choose your pace, which adds to your enjoyment and aids learning. Your fee paid to Starlearner covers the length of time you take (recommended maximum of two years).

What do I need to do to register?

Our standard registration fee is £180. We send you an invoice for the amount together with payment details (either full payment by cheque or by transfer direct from your bank - a standing order would be set up to cover payments by 4 monthly instalments). We just need your full name and date of birth, home address, contact phone number and a User Name and Password for gaining access to the website. No personal details are ever disclosed to outside parties, as is the legal requirement. The details are required for your exam entry through your centre. Your only other costs will be the standard exam entry fee and an administration charge from your centre where you are entered.

What happens after registration?

Once you have registered with we work with you, guiding you all the way. David has taken the course and knows the demands placed on students for completing coursework and preparing for the final written examination. We are available to you for advice at any stage. Our years of experience of viewing the night sky will be a big help to you as you carry out your two observational tasks. You will really know the night sky by the time you have completed your course.

Summer 2013 results saw a 100% success rate again, with 76% passing at A* or A grades. In past years, we have had two Starlearners who finished top in the country and a 13 year old gifted and talented student who scored full marks in his written exam paper.


You will be given a timetable setting out each section of the course so that you will be able to complete all new work by the end of April in the year of your exam.


Choose your two observation tasks and begin a log of your observational activity. Complete drawings, take photographs, gather data...


Entry made for the June exam at a school/centre as close to where you live as we can arrange together


Completion of observational tasks ready for writing up under controlled assessment/supervised conditions.


Completion of the study of course material.


Sit our two hour written trial exam. We mark this and advise you on improvements to be made.


Revision and exam preparation work.


Sit the final written exam


Results day

Check our presentation on the Home Page to see how our GCSE Astronomy e-textbook is arranged and how the superb content is clearly presented. Direct links to helpful webpages, simulations and video clips are found throughout our e-textbook. We have not continued to seek Edexcel endorsement for our work so that we can now update the content rather than leave the e-textbook as it was when endorsement was agreed - so everything is even better than when it was endorsed - right up-to-date with everything you need!

As well as providing our e-textbook, which is the most complete GCSE Astronomy textbook, assistance is given in the following ways:-

Full course details - a comprehensive presentation of the complete GCSE Astronomy course, including full details about your coursework.

Course timetable - arranged to suit your preferred time frame. This links the delivery of your course with predicted astronomical events.

Progress sheet - arranged to suit your preferred time frame. This links the delivery of your course with predicted astronomical events.

Practical guidance - tried and tested experiments designed to show astronomical ideas and help explain Astronomy details clearly.

Night sky viewing - assistance beyond the two observational tasks, with tips for successful viewing, safety, advice about telescopes, binoculars and other viewing equipment.

Coursework advice - help to select the best options for your coursework and full support in gaining the data/observations that you need. If you are interested in astrophotography, we can explain tips to help you get the best from your camera.

Online help - we are here to help. A major part of our work is to offer a service to the individual so that problems can be solved quickly.

Leading up to the final written exam:-

Testing - tests in a variety of formats to assess progress and to aid your learning.

Practice calculations - to make sure that calculations found in the final exam paper can be completed correctly.

Practice questions - exam style questions are given, so that each Starlearner is properly prepared.

We want you to enjoy the excellent GCSE Astronomy course and be successful.

GCSE Astronomy - Phases of the Moon
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