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A Level Retakes

Should I re-take my ‘A’ Levels?

Grades not what you hoped for?  Thinking about re-taking?

AS levels (the first year of an A Level course) can be repeated at most sixth forms and it’s more common than you might think.  The step up from GCSE to AS level is more difficult than many people think and catches a lot of students out.  Study is much more independent and many students leave it too late in Year 12 to knuckle down, resulting in a last minute panic, which rarely pays off.  Sixth forms usually have quite a few students that need to repeat Year 12 due to disappointing AS Level results and this is rarely problematic. Your school will be able to guide you on what to do next.

If your ‘A’ Level results were not what you expected and you didn’t get your preferred university offer – firstly don’t panic – there are options.

You do need to have a long hard think about why you didn’t get the results you were predicted.  Again, your tutors will probably be the best people to guide you.  If you decide to re-sit the exams you will have to wait until the same time next year.  Most state schools will not have the funding for you to repeat Year 13 so you can wing it and hope you haven’t forgotten everything you’ve learnt by next year, keep your notes, do your own revision and ask to be booked in to the exam or you can enrol at a private sixth form college where you can repeat the year.

Do ask yourself:

Was your first choice of university realistic? If you were really stretching yourself with your choice – would you be happy there anyway?  Or would you be spending the next three years of your life locked in the library trying to catch up whilst other students are out living student life to the full!

Why did you get lower marks than anticipated? Answer honestly - was it down to lack of effort, insufficient revision, missed course work? Or was it all down to exam nerves?  If so, take a look at the proportion of a university course that’s exam based – some are 80 / 90% coursework – perhaps you’d be better off looking at a university through clearing that has less exams.

What are you going to do to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen next year?  Again, be honest with yourself.  What are your options if the same thing happens again?

Would you be just as happy at another university?  There are hundreds of universities in the country that you can apply to through clearing.  Each university has thousands of students and you will no doubt meet a likeminded group of people wherever you go.  Most students who end up going to a second choice university claim that it's the best decision they could have made and couldn't be happier where they've ended up.

How does the university you are interested in view re-sits?  Most don’t distinguish between first- time and re-sit grades but if you are aiming for a Russell Group university or any course that is massively over-subscribed a first-time grade might be preferable to a re-sit grade.  It’s probably best to find out first.

If you have answered all the above questions and have decided that the only thing to do is re-sit, you can search our wide range of independent schools with sixth forms and independent sixth form colleges for your next step. 

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