A Levels

Retaking A Levels

By Ben Maples  · Feb 16th 2022

Students can feel worried or let down on AS Level and A Level results day, especially as they have completed all the work and studying that can do for the subject and then have to wait until the summer for their results.

Students in exam hall

In some cases, students may find that they didn’t meet the grade to continue onto A Level, or to attend their university or degree course. If this is the case, students are able to retake their A Level course or to just re-sit the exams to attempt to achieve a higher grade.

Universities are happy to defer a place for a year so that students can retake their A Levels, or individuals are able to apply again the following year, or maybe a few years after that! Universities will always be there, and students can attend at any time, so don’t feel too let down if students didn’t receive the grade students wanted or needed when retaking A-Levels!

The first thing students need to do is to contact the admissions team at their university or higher education college and talk to them about their options, as some institutions still accept students who didn’t receive the exact grades needed.

If students encountered extenuating circumstances during their A Levels, such as health conditions, or family news that could have hindered their performance, there might be exemptions if that student can prove that this was the case. Retaking A Levels is fairly common in the UK, so don't worry about it too much, we have everything students need, right here!

Retaking my A Levels

Shall I Retake My A Levels?

This decision is dependent on many factors, such as whether the failed or lower grade was due to lack of revision or effort, or if students feel that their paper should be remarked, etc.

If students worked extremely hard during exam season and the 2 years leading up to the A Level exam, but still didn’t receive the grade, it could be that that particular subject isn’t suitable for them. There are more options out there, and students can study similar subjects but can choose one that is less demanding or to study a BTEC or Higher National Diplomas that are more coursework based.

If there is a specific career or university degree course in mind, then students should try to re-sit the exams if students want to excel in that field and continue onto their career aspirations. Although students are not permitted a lot of time to consider retaking the A Level course, or re-sitting an exam, they should really think about their decision.

When Can I Retake My A Level Exams?

Now, students are able to retake their A Level exams in the summer, meaning they will have to wait nearly a full year to resit the exam. This will ensure students have enough time to study and prepare for the exam, especially if students take up work during the year off.

It’s not just limited to students who have just left school, although there are plenty of students who look into retaking A Levels at 20 or retaking A Levels at 19, mature students can also look into the possibilities as well. You can still look into retaking A Levels as a mature student.

Where Can I Retake My A Level Exams?

Some students may want a change of scenery, or to not go back to their further education college or sixth form school to take their exams again. If this is the case, students can check out what specialist independent colleges offer students the chance to retake their A Levels.

However, if students do choose this option, they should be fully aware they will have to pay for their own fees – as they are no longer under the age of 18 and in full-time education – and it can cost up to £6,300 to study an A Level! However, some of these costs will include private, one-to-one tuition, a lot of contact hours with their tutor, small class sizes of around 5 people, and a lot of exam preparation.

Although, if this is too expensive for particular students, they can contact their local further education college which will offer A Level retakes at a lower cost, and in most cases mean study for the exam at home (or retaking A Levels at home), and pay just an exam/invigilation fee, though the cost may cause many people to ask, “Is it worth retaking A Levels?”

Retaking my A-Levels

Will Retaking My A Levels Ruin My Chances Of Going To University?

No, retaking a subject will not affect their university application or how universities see students as a student. Universities cannot see what A Level subjects students failed, or needed to retake, the only results shown are their new/recent/passed grades that students uploaded. However, applying to university again via UCAS does mean students will have to write another personal statement, find referees and pay the fees all over again!

Within their personal statement, students can explain why there is a gap in their A Level grades, or why it took longer to sit them, but if students do talk about this, ensure students write about the positives, to ensure to have covered all aspects of their personal statement, use our personal statement editor. Don’t place a negative spin on the statement, or talk about how students failed – universities do not want to hear that. You could instead, discuss how students wanted more experience or had a health or family issue that affected their grades but talks about how students overcome these issues and why students persisted in achieving their grades.

Although, there are specific courses or universities – primarily, medicine or veterinary science – that want their students to have completed their A Levels in 2 years. However, students could still apply, explain their situation and try to prove why students are still right for the course and how determined students are.

But students can look into the possibility of retaking A Levels at uni as well.

Retaking A Levels In Gap Year

As A Level exam retakes have to wait until the following summer, many students retake exams during a gap year.

Depending on how much time students wish to allocate to their A Level exams, students can travel abroad, work, save money, volunteer, get involved with a charity, or gain valuable experience on a work placement. These will look exceptionally good on a student CV and on a UCAS application and will show how dedicated students are to using their time effectively.

Retaking A Levels After Degree

Students can of course look into the possibility of retaking A Levels after degree, though most employers will be more interested in their degree, than their A Levels. That is not to say that this should put students off.

Some Masters degrees do occasionally ask for students to have a certain A Levels before studying them, regardless of their grades on their degree.

Retaking A Levels

Retaking A Levels At University

Students can look into retaking A Levels at university, but we do not recommend it, especially since students may possibly need to look into retaking A Levels privately, whether students are looking at retaking GCSEs and A Levels or retaking A Levels years later.

You will have a lot of work to do at university as it is, with their degree and their other work that students need to do, so we don’t recommend retaking A-Levels whilst at university, but some universities do offer students the chance students need.

Retaking A-Levels Abroad

A Levels can be retaken abroad if students need them to be, but this can be a tough ask, since students will need to find a place where students will be allowed to sit their A Levels, that is approved by whichever awarding body students are using.

For instance, if students Googled “Retaking A Levels Singapore”, then students may find it tough to find a place to resit their exams, in Singapore.

If students are looking to become a teacher, then students may want to look into the possibilities of studying the SCITT Exams. Learn more about them right here.

Is Retaking A Levels Bad?

Not at all! Plenty of students look into the possibility of retaking their A Levels and it’s never a bad thing to do so.

Although plenty of students get accepted into university, they sometimes still feel the need to improve a certain grade, so resitting or retaking A-Levels is never a bad idea for them. Don't feel bad if students need to resit the exams, if it is going to help students, then we recommend that students stick with it!

Some students sometimes are forced into retaking A Levels 3 times, there is no shame in trying to improve things for themselves and there are always plenty of options for retaking A Levels. Does retaking A Levels look bad?

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