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 - ABDO College

Access Courses

Courses Overview

Course duration

16-21 weeks depending on the subject

Assessment methods

Students must attain an average mark of 70% across their assignments, all of which need to be submitted according to the timetable.

Application deadline

11th January 2021

Entry requirements



£575 per course

Course start date

1st February 2021

Course requirements

The course is delivered entirely on-line so regular access to the internet as well as Microsoft Word and PDF software is required.

Access Courses available from ABDO College are designed to help prospective dispensing optician students to meet the necessary entry requirements. They are also a useful refresher for those who have been out of education for some time.

The entry requirements for the ABDO Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing (FBDO) and the Canterbury Christ Church University Foundation Degree/BSc (Hons) in Ophthalmic Dispensing are five GCSEs at grade c or above, which must include English, Maths and a Science. Each passed access course is accepted in place of one GCSE. The access courses are available in the key subjects of English, Mathematics and Optics and Dispensing (in lieu of Science). Access Optics and Dispensing presents introductory level information to facilitate an initial understanding of these important disciplines. It is also therefore a particularly useful course for new staff induction and for practice reception staff.

Access courses run once a year starting in February and each course takes approximately 20 weeks. The timing is designed to align with entry to dispensing courses each September.

Access Courses are currently assessed by continuous assessment only and students are required to achieve an average mark of 70 per cent in their coursework assignments in order to pass.

Please note: If candidates require more than 1 subject to satisfy the entry requirements, it will be cheaper and more straightforward to study the ‘Optical Assistant’ course, as this covers the entry requirements in full and takes 26 weeks to complete.

What is covered on each course?


Words; Sentences; Punctuation; Review; Verbs (present tense); Verbs (past and future tense); Comprehension; Adjectives; Adverbs; Paragraphs; Note taking; Spelling; Reports; Letters; Essay writing; Essay planning; Curriculum Vitae

Duration: 20 weeks


Basic Arithmetic; Fractions; Ratio and Proportion; Decimals; Use of Calculators; Percentages; Graphs from Data; Basic Algebra; Expansion of brackets and Factorisation; Algebraic Fractions; Solution of Simple Equations; Formulae; Quadratic Equations; Simultaneous Equations; Graphs of Functions; Indices; Angles; Triangles; Trigonometry; Further trigonometry; Vectors

Duration: 21 weeks

Essential reading: Countdown to Mathematics (Vol 1) – Lynne Graham and David Sargent

Optics and Dispensing

Introduction to the eye; How the eye works; Maths revision; Electromagnetic spectrum, refractive index and refraction of light; Spherical lenses; Optical correction of refractive errors; Lens measure and lens thickness; Prescriptions and their transposition; Prisms; Bifocal and Multifocal Lenses; Lens materials and their properties; Lens tints and coatings; Facial and frame measurements; Frame selection and adjustment; Reflection of light

Duration: 16 weeks

Essential reading: Practical Dispensing (3rd edition) – A I Griffiths