A Levels

Thinking about retaking your A-Levels? Here's everything you need to know

Ben Maples  · Apr 3rd 2024  · 12 min

Is it A-Level results day, and you're disappointed with your results? Try not to panic, you have a few options including resitting your A-Levels. Let's walk you through everything you need to know if you're considering this.

Students in exam hall

Retaking A-Levels involves you studying the same subjects again and sitting the exams at the end of the next academic year. This gives you the chance to improve your grade. It can be a daunting idea, but is an option available to you. Whether you're reading this article ahead of results day in preparation, or have your results and want to understand this option, this article will answer your burning questions.

Can you retake a-levels

Can you retake your A-levels?

If you've already sat your A-Levels and are looking to improve your grades, yes, you can retake your A-Levels! You have several options when it comes to retaking, including enrolling at your original sixth-form college for another year, choosing a different college, or opting for online courses. You'll then resit your A-Levels at the end of that academic year, in the autumn and summer exam windows.

Before deciding to retake A-levels, it's important to know the benefits and potential impact on university applications. Be sure to talk to your teachers or career advisors, and they can give you advice on what the next steps should be.

Why retake your A-levels?

Typical reasons for retaking your A-Levels include missing out on the grades set out in the university's entry requirements, or a career requires you to have a specific set of grades achieved.

You might be considering this option because you feel you could have done better - we've all been there! Exams are hard and it can feel disappointing. Before you decide to retake the year, you'll want to think about the impact on your future - are you set on a specific career or university that requires higher grades? Are you happy to take a year to re-study and retake?

Retaking a-levels

What are the benefits of retaking your A-levels?

The main advantage is you get another shot to improve your A-Level grades. You'll already have some knowledge from Year 12, which means you can potentially start the year ahead of the other students. You'll have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and have a stronger understanding of what is needed for the exam as well as brushing up on the important exam techniques.

How long does it take to retake A-levels?

As it stands today, you'll need to have to retake the entire course to be able to resit the exams at the end. This means it's going to be a minimum of a year, with exams taking place the following May or June.

The exception to this is coursework - if your A-Level involved coursework and you're happy with those grades, then great, you can skip those assessments!

The exam boards will post their exam timetables for the year nearer to the time. Key dates for AQA, Pearson and Cambridge Assessment International are all posted on their websites.

How much does it cost to resit your A-levels?

One thing to consider is the cost as unfortunately resits aren't free. Costs will depend on the subject but you'll need to pay two separate fees: the course fee and the exam fee.

In some circumstances, the college or school may support with the costs, so check with them for further information. Prices can vary with fees being around £150-200 and course and exam fees together known to reach as much as £2000.

What happens if you miss an A-Level exam

Do universities accept A-level retakes?

Yes, universities accept students who have resat their exams. However, you will need to re-apply for UCAS and university with your new exam results. This will mean that your university start date will be a year later than you originally intended.

The risk of retaking your exams is more down to the grade and competition. If you're basing your decision to retake on getting into a specific course and a certain university, you want to be wary that the entry requirements may change. A course that's an ABB entry requirement this year may be an AAB the following year.

Alternatives to retaking

It may be you've thought about it and you aren't sure retaking the year is the right option, but what else can you do?

You may be able to get your A-Level results re-marked. Your teachers will have your grade breakdown and be able to tell you whether a re-mark could have a positive impact on your grade. There is the chance you'll have to pay for this, so is something to account for. Similarly, you can appeal your grades - this process will require you to provide strong evidence of your mitigating circumstances that affected your grade outcome.

If your grade is stopping you from going to the university of your choice, Clearing is there! On A-Level results day, Clearing will open, which allows you to quickly apply to universities with available places on their courses. While it may not have been plan A, plan B can look just as good. One thing we recommend is having the Clearing App installed ready for results day!

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