A-level results can significantly impact your educational and career opportunities. If you’re considering retaking your A-levels, it’s crucial to understand the process and implications. Retakes could be the pathway to better grades, meeting university entry requirements, or even just personal satisfaction in your academic achievements.
People retake A-levels for many reasons – some may have fallen short of their expected grades, others might wish to apply to a different course that requires higher marks, and there are those who seek to study at home or online for convenience or necessity. If you’re wondering “is retaking A-levels worth it?” or “should I retake my A-levels?”, we are here to ease your concerns and guide you through this decision-making process.
- Most A-Level retakes occur during the May/June exam period.
- November retakes might be available but are subject-specific and less common.
- The retake process involves registration, preparation, and sitting the exams, similar to the first time, but with a focus on improving specific areas.
- You can also retake A-levels as a private candidate
- The price ranges from £80 to £120 per A-Level subject.
Why Do People Resit A-levels?
1. Meeting University Entry Requirements
Students often retake to secure the necessary grades for their chosen university course, especially if they’ve narrowly missed the cut-off.
2. Improving Career Prospects
Certain professions and employers look for strong A-level results, so improving grades can enhance job opportunities.
3. Personal Satisfaction
Some may wish to prove to themselves that they can achieve better, aiming for personal growth and academic fulfilment.
4. Changing Course or Career Path
Retaking A-levels can be essential for those who have had a change of heart about their future direction and need different qualifications to pursue a new path.
5. Previous Results Not Reflective of Ability
If students feel their exam performance was affected by extenuating circumstances, they might retake to achieve grades that truly reflect their capabilities.
6. University Deferral
If a student has deferred their university place, they might use the extra year to improve their A-level results.
7. Requirement for Further Study
Postgraduate or professional programs sometimes require specific A-level grades, prompting graduates to retake exams.
Each reason is valid and acknowledges the dynamic nature of education and career planning, affirming that retaking A-levels can be a strategic step towards achieving one’s goals.
Options for Retaking A-Levels
When planning to retake A-levels, it’s crucial to weigh the options available carefully. Both traditional school environments and online platforms offer unique benefits and challenges. To help decide which path might be the best fit for your academic journey, here’s a concise comparison of the two options to consider.
The process remains the same – register as a private candidate, prepare, and sit the exams.
|Feature||School or Sixth-Form College||Online Retaking|
|Environment||Structured and familiar setting with face-to-face interaction.||Flexible and remote learning environment, study from anywhere.|
|Access to Resources||Direct access to teaching staff, physical resources, and facilities.||Wide range of digital resources and potentially broader course material access.|
|Coursework||Opportunities to submit new coursework with teacher guidance.||May require independent coursework completion, but with access to online support.|
|Flexibility||Set schedule aligned with the academic year, less flexible.||Highly flexible, allowing for self-paced study around other commitments.|
|Social Interaction||Daily interaction with peers and teachers, fostering a sense of community.||Primarily solitary, though some platforms may offer forums or group study sessions.|
|Routine and Discipline||The regular timetable can aid in maintaining discipline in studies.||Requires a high degree of self-motivation and discipline to maintain study schedule.|
|Feedback and Support||Immediate, personalised feedback and support readily available.||Feedback can be less immediate, support often via email or virtual meetings.|
|Cost||Potentially less expensive if part of a school’s existing provision. Additional costs for resources are rare.||Can vary widely, with some online courses being costly; however, often includes all resources needed for study.|
|Suitability for Practical Work||Ideal for subjects that require practical experiments or work, with access to equipment.||May not be suited for subjects requiring practical assessment without access to appropriate facilities.|
|Study Materials||Often provided by the school, with textbooks and revision guides included.||Requires students to ensure they have the correct and up-to-date study materials, though these are often integrated into the platform.|
Retaking A-Levels as a Private Candidate – Steps, Resources, and Reasons
Retaking A-levels as a private candidate requires a significant commitment to self-study and organisation. It offers the flexibility to learn at one’s own pace and the opportunity to focus specifically on areas of improvement. This path is especially suited for those who need to balance their studies with other responsibilities or prefer a more self-directed approach to learning.
1. Deciding to Retake
- – Reasons for Retaking – Students often choose this route to improve grades for specific university courses, change career paths, or fulfill personal academic goals.
- – Assessing Needs – Consider which subjects need retaking and the reasons, whether for better understanding or meeting specific entry requirements.
2. Registering as a Private Candidate
- – Finding an Exam Centre – Locate a school or college that accepts private candidates. This can be done through exam board websites.
- – Registration Process – Contact the centre to register for your chosen subjects. Be mindful of deadlines and fees.
3. Accessing Study Materials and Resources
- – Course Books and Online Resources – Purchase relevant textbooks and find reliable online study materials.
- – Tutoring – Consider hiring an A-level tutor for subjects you find challenging, especially where practical or coursework elements are involved.
4. Planning Your Study Schedule
- – Time Management – Create a realistic study timetable that accommodates other life commitments, such as work or university studies.
- – Consistent Review – Regularly revisit topics to reinforce learning and manage the workload effectively.
5. Managing Coursework and Practical Assessments (if applicable)
- – Understanding Requirements – Clarify with the exam centre how coursework or practical assessments are handled for private candidates.
- – Submission Deadlines – Ensure you are aware of all deadlines for submitting coursework or completing practical assessments.
6. Preparing for Exams
- – Practice Papers – Utilise past exam papers and mark schemes for practice.
- – Revision Techniques – Employ diverse revision methods like flashcards, mind maps, or group studies to enhance learning.
7. Taking the Exams
- – Exam Day Preparation – Familiarise yourself with the exam centre location, and what to bring on the day.
- – Focus on Well-being – Prioritise good sleep, nutrition, and stress management techniques leading up to the exams.
8. Receiving Results and Next Steps
- – Results Day – Collect or receive results as instructed by the exam centre.
- – Considering Further Action – If results are not as expected, explore options like remarks or discussing alternatives with university admissions.
When Can You Retake A-Levels?
- Regular Exam Sessions – A-Level exams are typically held in May and June each year.
- Specifics for 2023 – For those looking to retake A-levels in 2023, it’s essential to be aware of these standard exam dates.
- November Retakes – Some subjects offer retake opportunities in November. However, this is more common for GCSEs and less so for A-Levels. For 2023, it’s advisable to check with the specific exam boards (like AQA, OCR, Edexcel) to confirm if November retakes are available for your subjects.
Cost of Retaking A-Levels
Each exam board charges a fee per subject. In 2023, these fees typically range from £80 to £120 per A-Level subject.
Centre Fees – If you’re retaking as a private candidate, exam centres will charge an additional fee for hosting your exam, which can vary widely.
Is Retaking A-Levels Free?
For School Students, If you’re still enrolled in a school or sixth-form college, there might not be any additional costs.
Common Concern – Does Retaking A-Levels Look Bad?
Many universities and employers view retaking A-Levels positively, as it shows commitment to improving oneself. Remember, the reason for retaking and the improvement shown can significantly impact how it’s perceived.
Preparing for Retaking A-Levels – Top 5 Tips
- Use Online Resources like revision websites – Khan Academy and BBC Bitesize offer comprehensive revision materials.
- Study using Past Papers – past papers are a great way to familiarise with the subject material and marking schemes are offered on websites liek AQA, edexcel.. etc
- Watch YouTube Channels – Channels such as CrashCourse and FreeScienceLessons offer visual and auditory learning resources.
- Join Virtual Study Groups – Reddit communities like Subreddits r/6thForm and r/ALevel are great for connecting with other students.
- Online Tutoring Services – If possible, schedule regular sessions with A-level Tutors for guidance and to clarify doubts.
Retaking A-levels presents a valuable opportunity for students to align their academic achievements with their educational and career aspirations. Whether it’s to meet university entry requirements, improve career prospects, or simply attain a sense of personal accomplishment, retaking A-levels can be a significant step towards realising one’s goals.
If you feel that you need some extra assistance along the way, Edumentors might be the place to find the best A-level tutors who will guide your every step along this journey and make sure it’s a success.