Totum student discount card


Studying with us here at Absorb Online Learning doesn’t just further your knowledge and opportunities –it also allows you to take advantage of several benefits. We all know that students at university or college can take advantage of a number of student discounts – so why not those learning from home? Replacing the old NUS Extra card comes the new TOTUM PRO card, a way for our online students to enjoy the 100’s of discounts in the UK alone through our online learning courses. Read on for how you can sign up for this card, and the many savings it will bring you.

With all the great discounts you’ve come to love, the new TOTUM card gives you the same savings, but with new additional features and functionality all rolled into the TOTUM app. The pair allow you to access more local deals, exciting financial features and act as a proof of ID. If you have an NUS card this will still be valid for all of its old features, to gain the full benefit of these new updates you’ll have to sign up for the new card as soon as your old one expires. To qualify for the TOTUM card, however, you will have to be a student completing a course that leads to an Ofqual regulated qualification. Here at Absorb Online Learning, we only run online Ofqual courses that validate you for the TOTUM Card – GCSEs and A-Levels.


Much like the old application process for the NUS card, applying for TOTUM is simple.

Following your payment (£14.99 for 1 year, £22 for 2 years), your card will be delivered within 7 working days, and you can start saving with over 200 UK discounts.


The TOTUM Pro card offers a huge range of discounts from 10% off Macs and ASOS to 15% off Dell and 20% off EE phone contracts – all designed to make studying that little bit easier. The card is £14.99 for 1 year but TOTUM do have an amazing offer on at the moment. TOTUM PRO Price Promotion – members can buy a two-year membership card and TOTUM will chuck in an extra year FOR FREE. That means that you can buy a TOTUM PRO 3-year membership for just £24.99, that’s a saving of a tenner over RRP. There are no voucher codes involved, simply sign-in as usual and the new price is reflected on the website.

Obviously with the current pandemic, where people are being told to stay at home, TOTUM PRO members have very different needs and wants. TOTUM are quickly responding to this change in circumstances and are onboarding new offers for products and services that use home delivery or the internet. The essentials category which includes lots of the offers that members are currently using – whether that’s stocking up on home delivered beer at Beer52 or Flavourly, getting their SMOL washing capsules delivered direct to their door, 15% off Samsung tech or getting their 10% discount on a Co-op essentials shopping trip. There are still lots of great savings to be had with a TOTUM PRO membership.Some of the discount partners:

•Beauty – Look Fantastic, Braun, Superdrug, Bulldog Skincare •Eating Out – Pizza Express, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas, Barburrito •Entertainment – Alton Towers, Legoland, Go Ape, Sealife •Fashion – Asos, Forever 21, Blue INC, Fat Face •Finance – Financial Times, The Economist •Health and Fitness – The Gym, Vision Express, Myprotein, Go Nutrition •Music and Technology – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon Prime •Supermarkets – Bunches, Co-op •Travel – Railcards, Airparks, Megabus, RED Driving School •Uni Essentials – Firebox, WH Smith, UniBulkBuy, Stuff4Students

When you apply for a TOTUM card, you are also entitled to a free International Student Identity Card for 1-year. The ISIC allows you to take your savings abroad, as it is the only internationally accepted proof of a certified student status. With the ISIC, you can travel to over 130 countries and take advantage of over 42,000 international discounts, as well as a number of UK discounts. There is also the option to expand your TOTUM card by signing up to the Gourmet Society. This offers you 2-for-1 meals or up to 50% discounts at a number of leading restaurants, such as Bella Italia, La Tasca and Strada – plus thousands of local deals. For more on the courses we offer here at Absorb Online Learning, take a look at our online learning courses page here. If you have a question and would like to speak to one of our team, head over to our contact page.

GCSE maths or IGCSE Maths

We make GCSE maths easy

So, we have two maths courses at GCSE level. Why?

Well, first of all, let’s clear up something. Both the GCSE and IGCSE are treated as the exact same by all Universities, colleges and employers.

Now to the why we have two!

The courses are virtually identical with some minor exceptions. These are:

  • GCSE maths is examined by 3 papers
  • IGCSE Maths is examined by 2 papers
  • GCSE maths has a non-calculator paper (you need to do things like long-division.
  • IGCSE maths allows the use of a calculator in both papers.
  • GCSE maths is examined in November and May/June
  • IGCSE maths is examined in January and May/June
  • IGCSE maths has a small section on calculus (It’s easy)

So, you can choose which course suits your needs best. In most cases this will be based on if you are wanting to sit the maths exam in November or January.

If you are not sure you can enroll on one and also get the second for an extra £29. Talk to us if you want to do that.

What to do if you don’t get the GCSE grades you need

GCSE Grades Too Low?

For most sixth forms or Further Education colleges you will need specific grades to be accepted on the courses you applied for.

If you just miss out on a grade, you can speak to the sixth form or Further Education college to see if they will still accept you with the lower grades, or they may offer you a place but on a different subject or course.

What to do if you just miss out on a grade

It’s always best to collect your own GCSE results from your school on the day, as that’s when teachers will be around to give you advice if you don’t get your desired results.

If you have just missed out on a grade, or you don’t think the grade you achieved reflects your ability, you can ask for your paper to be remarked.

Your school will be able to help you arrange this, but you will have to pay a fee which is only reimbursed if examiners change your grade.


If you have failed and you’re worried that you’ve really blown it, don’t worry, there is a second chance.

Retakes for Maths are available in November. For English and all Science IGCSEs you can take the exam in January. Sadly you will have to wait until next June if you have to resit other subjects.

Apply to another Further Education college or sixth form

If the college you had in mind won’t accept your lower grades, it’s worth speaking to other colleges offering the same or similar courses and find out what their entry requirements are.

They may accept the grades you’ve got and offer you an opportunity to re-sit and improve your English and maths grades.

If I don’t get into sixth form or college, what else can I do?


Apprenticeships offer an opportunity to gain paid employment and work experience whilst studying for a qualification. There are many schemes on offer and you may find that practical hands-on learning suits you. There is also the added benefit of having a money in your pocket each month.

There are a wealth of opportunities to explore, and some schemes will offer a starting salary of £14,000.


If you don’t have the skills for an apprenticeship, that’s not an issue.

Traineeships are available to anyone aged 16 to 24 and provide the essential work preparation training that is necessary to secure an apprenticeship or employment in the future.

Private Candidate

You don’t need to attend school or college to sit exams. You can enter at exam centres as a private candidate. If you are following this route, and many thousands do every year, then it is best to follow a structured programme of study with tutorial support.

This is something provided here at Absorb.

You can see our courses for GCSE at:

GCSE Courses

And our A levels at:

A Level Courses

GCSE 9-1 Grading Explained

What is the new 9-1 grading system and how will it affect me?

Last year, the 9-1 grading system was only used in English language, English literature and Maths.

This year, it will used in 20 more subjects (see below for a full list).

The new scale will be phased in to all other GCSEs over the next few years.

GCSEs graded 9-1 in 2018

English, Maths

Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Combined Science

Computer Science

Geography, History

Art and Design

French, German, Latin, Spanish

Classical Greek

Dance, Drama, Music

Food Preparation and Nutrition

Physical Education

Religious Studies

Citizenship Studies

In summer 2019, the following subjects will be graded 9-1: Ancient History; Astronomy; Business; Classical Civilisation; Design and Technology; Economics; Electronics; Engineering; Film Studies; Geology; Media Studies; Modern Foreign Languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi, Polish, Russian, Urdu); Psychology; Sociology; Statistics

In summer 2020, this will be expanded to: Ancient Languages (Biblical Hebrew); Modern Foreign Languages (Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese, Turkish)

The new scale is a dramatic shift away from the A*- G system that students, parents, and teachers have been familiar with for decades, but exam boards say it is “anchored” in the old A* – G system.

The bottom of a grade 7 is equivalent to the bottom of a grade A, for example, and the bottom of grade 4 is equivalent to the bottom of a grade C. The bottom of a 1 is aligned to the bottom of a G.

The government expects, therefore, that a pupil who scored a C or above under last year’s grading scale will receive a 4 or above.

The government introduced the scale to inject more rigour into the exam system, and to allow for more differentiation among the highest-achievers.

 You can read more about the changes at:

The 10 highest paying jobs you don’t need a degree for

Air traffic controllers:

Up to £91,000 per year

Could you help aeroplanes to land safely? Air traffic controllers make sure that planes travelling through the UK take off, land safely and are a safe distance apart. They also respond to any emergencies that arise – they’re the traffic wardens of the skies.

What’s it worth?

Qualified air traffic controllers take home up to £50,000 a year and senior controllers can make up to £91,000. While you’re a sponsored trainee controller at college you usually earn about £10,000 a year. During on-the-job training, this goes up to between £15,000 and £19,000.

How do I become an air traffic controller?

To become a fully qualified controller, you will need an air traffic control licence, which you can gain by completing an approved training course.

Project manager:

Up to £80,000+ per year

Could you lead a construction team and make sure everything gets finished on time? Project managers plan and manage all kinds of business projects. They make sure work is finished on time, as agreed, and within budget. You can find them in almost every type of industry – from looking after building projects to introducing new departments to big businesses.

What’s it worth? It depends on experience, the industry and the size and type of project, but you can expect between £25,000 and £50,000 a year as a project manager. Top project managers can take home £80,000 or more.

How do I become a project manager? You can start by working in a project support team and work your way up, or manage smaller projects as part of another job. It will help if you understand PRINCE2 (projects in controlled environments) methods or specialist software such as MS Project or Workbench.

Marketing and sales managers:

Up to £100,000 per year

Could you sell sand in the desert? Sales managers lead teams of people who sell products and services. You might work for a record label, selling music into record shops, or for a telesales company that sells insurance. The list is endless – if there’s something that can be sold, a company will need a sales manager.

What’s it worth?

Salaries vary, starting at about £18,000 and reaching up to £70,000 and beyond. You will often earn commission (extra payment depending on how much you sell) on top of what is called your ‘basic’ salary.

How do I become a sales manager?

You’ll need experience in sales – and have a good record of achieving targets. You won’t necessarily need specific qualifications (aside from a grade C or above in English and maths), because it’s more about your personality – how outgoing, persuasive and likeable you are. Personality counts for a lot in the world of sales and marketing.

Personnel and training managers:

Up to £50,000 per year

Could you help someone shine at work? Training officers help people get better at their jobs by organising and running training sessions. They look at the skills employees are lacking and the kind of things they need to know to do their jobs well.

What’s it worth?

If you start as a training assistant, you can earn between £16,000 and £18,000 a year. Full training officers earn between £20,000 and around £30,000, while for training managers this can reach £50,000.

How do I become a training officer?

You can work your way up from a training officer or personnel position by gaining experience and a professional qualification such as those offered by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Train drivers:

Up to £40,000+ per year

Think driving trains sounds like fun? It’s also well paid! Train drivers carry passengers and cargo around the county on local and national rail networks.

What’s it worth?

Trainee train drivers earn about £17,500 a year. Newly qualified drivers can earn more than £30,000 a year and this rises to £40,000 with experience. You’ll also get free or reduced price rail travel!

**How do I become a train driver? **

Good news! You don’t need any specific qualifications to become a train driver – although C grades or above in GCSE maths and English will help. Train companies often recruit from within their workforce, so a good way to get your foot in the door is by finding a job working in another role, such as rail maintenance, and applying for train driver jobs as they come up.

Customer service managers

Up to £40,000 per year

Got a big, friendly smile and positive attitude to match? Put them to good use as a customer services manager! In this role, you’ll make sure that a company’s customers feel happy and well treated. You’ll deal with clients or shoppers, lead the customer services team, and might even develop rules and regulations for employees to follow when dealing with the public.

What’s it worth?

At entry-level, customer services assistants earn up to £18,000 a year. When you become a customer services manager this increases to about £25,000 and can go up to £40,000 with experience.

**How do I become a customer services manager? **

You’ll need to start as a customer services assistant and work your way up. People with good customer service skills are always in demand, so there are lots of career opportunities down the line. You don’t need formal qualifications – good people skills, a positive attitude and experience are more important.

Supply chain manager:

Up to £60,000 per year

Great at organising people and coming up with clever plans? Supply chain managers – also called logistics or distribution managers – make sure that goods and materials from manufacturers and suppliers reach shops and businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s an important job – get it wrong and customers can’t buy the products they need and a business will lose sales.

**What’s it worth? **

Starting salaries range from £18,000 to £22,000 a year. With experience and promotion to manager level, you can earn between £25,000 and £40,000 – while for senior supply chain managers this can rise to £60,000.

**How do I become a supply chain manager? **

You can start out as a transport clerk – arranging times for the delivery of goods – and work your way up in the company. Alternatively, take a logistics qualification in supply chain or transport management and start applying for jobs.

Police constable:

Up to £50,000 per year

Would you like to save lives and fight crime? A police constable helps to keep our streets and communities safe. They look out for suspicious behaviour and investigate any criminal activity, with the aim of preventing it before it’s happened or catching the people responsible. As a PC, you could work in a police station, behind a desk, or out on the streets.

What’s it worth?

The starting salary for a police constable is roughly £20,000. This increases to nearly £36,500 over the years. If you get a promotion to inspector or above, your pay packet will grow considerably.

How do I become a police constable?

All police officers need good literary and communication skills, but having a willingness to learn on the job is most important. You’ll also need to be in good health, free of any offensive tattoos and be at least 18 years old.


The sky’s the limit!

Got the drive and know-how to bring your business ideas to life? Entrepreneurs are brilliant businessmen and women who set up innovative companies and come up with concepts for new products.

**What’s it worth? **

That depends on how successful your business is – it could be millions of pounds!

**How do I become an entrepreneur? **

You don’t need any specific qualifications to become an entrepreneur, but you’ll definitely need a bagful of good ideas that you think you can turn into a business venture. A GCSE or A-level in business studies might help as well.

If you have an idea for your business, get as much help and advice as possible to make it happen. You need to research your target market, identify your competitors and work on making sure you know your product or service inside out.


Up to £40,000+ per year

Want to be the hero who saves someone’s life? Firefighters protect people in the community from fire and other dangers. They rescue people from burning buildings, extinguish fires and, yes, sometimes get cats down from trees when needed!

What’s it worth?

Firefighters earn between £21,000 and £28,200 a year. If you get promoted to crew manager you can earn around £31,300, while station managers can make between £36,000 and £40,100.

**How do I become a firefighter? **

You usually need to be at least 18 years old to become a firefighter but if you are under this age you might still be able to get involved by joining a Young Firefighters Scheme in your local area.

You will need to contact the chief fire officer at the fire station you want to join for details of their requirements. Typically, you will need a good standard of education (GCSEs or equivalent) and a reasonable level of fitness.