Frequently asked questions about resitting A levels

Frequently asked questions about resitting A levels

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Passing examinations with higher grades is challenging, and as such, there is no shame in retaking A levels.  You may choose to start again and take your online A levels so that you can approach the courses in your own way and at your own pace.  However, you may decide that retaking A Levels completely would be a waste and you should just consider resitting the examinations.

If this is you, then you likely have many questions.  Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about resitting A Levels.

Why would I want to retake my A levels?

You’d likely want to resit your examinations if:

  • you didn’t get the grades you required to achieve a conditional offer
  • there is no suitable courses available through the clearing process, so you need to achieve more UCAS points
  • you have committed to going to university, and you do not want to enter full-time work or start an apprenticeship.

 Where can I retake my A levels?

Your first option will be with the school or college where you initially took your A levels.  Not all schools are capable of offering retakes and may refer you to a different educational institution.  You may want to look at local colleges or work online to complete study for A level repeat examinations.  Alternatively, you can look to a CIFE (College for Independent Education) group member and following an intense course, which will likely include one-to-one tuition.

Who can retake A levels?

Anyone can retake A levels.  The more important question is if you should resit the examinations or retake the whole two-year course.  Check with your local school or college and asked for advice about retaking A levels.

Will I need to retake the whole A level?

It is highly likely that you should retake the whole course again.  A-levels are now linear, which means all study leads to an examination at the end of study.  Your teacher or tutor may feel your result was close enough to warrant just giving the examination another go. However, it is essential to seek advice from your local educational institution.  When you site the same A level twice, you will end up with two grades: your first grade and your resit grade.

When can I retake my A-Levels?

A-level examinations are taken only once per year.  You can start to study for the new course in September and then retake the exam the following May/ June.

How do I retake my A-Levels?

First, you should ring up your local school or college and ask whether you can sit an A level the following summer.  If these educational institutions don’t undertake retakes with students, then you will need to ring around other places and ask if they offer this option.

If you decide to retake your A levels with a different institution, you will need to provide your candidate details from the previous examination centre.  Your exams officer will ask for these candidate details, which you will find on your examination slip – or the place where your results were posted.

Do I need to retake the whole course?

It is entirely up to you whether you site the whole two-year course, just a year of study, or just simply retake the examinations in the next sitting.  You have the option to make any decision that suits, depending on what your local school or college offer.  Some subjects have some non-examined assessments that would also need to be completed, which might be best undertaken in the formal study environment.

Knowing the best approach is down to the individual, and if you need specific advice, it is best to talk to a careers’ advisor or your teacher/ tutor.

How much with this cost?

You will likely have to pay a fee to resit the examination.  You may also need to pay for your time at college.  If you feel confident enough, you can just take the examination and pay only the entry fee.

The entry fee can be surprisingly expensive, as can the cost of studying for the A level.  Therefore, you are advised to do your research before you commit to resitting.

Can I still go to a good university?

Some of the top universities are highly competitive and resits may require extensive explanation to get past the admissions officer.  However, most universities are accepting of A level re-sits and will admire your decision to continue studying.  They will perceive trying again as a positive sign of resilience and independent motivation.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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