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. 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 (learn more – understanding offers from universities). If this is the case, students are able to re-take 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 you didn’t receive the grade you wanted or needed!
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 your performance, there might be exemptions if that student can prove that this was the case.
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 you feel that your paper should be remarked, etc. If individuals choose to retake their A Levels, then they need to ensure that they study extremely hard the second time around, especially as most students have to pay for their re-sit exams themselves, and if they fail a second time, may find that they are making their journey a lot harder on themselves.
Additionally, 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. Not every individual will excel at all subjects! The best thing about this situation is knowing that you worked really hard, and tried your best, but you just know that this course isn’t for you. 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 you should try to re-sit the exams if you want to excel in that field and continue onto your 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. Students should try to avoid panicking, entering Clearing, and choosing any degree course that will accept you because you’ll probably be making a mistake that will have you miserable for 3 to 4 years – and even alter your career path because of it!
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 you have enough time to study and prepare yourself for the exam, especially if you take up work during the year off.
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 your 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, and pay just an exam/invigilation fee.
No, retaking a subject will not affect your university application or how universities see you as a student. Universities cannot see what A Level subjects you failed, or needed to retake, the only results shown are your new/recent/passed grades that you uploaded. However, applying to university again via UCAS does mean you will have to write another personal statement examples, find referees and pay the fees all over again!
Within your personal statement, you can explain why there is a gap in your A Level grades, or why it took longer to sit them, but if you do talk about this, ensure you write about the positives, to ensure to have covered all aspects of your personal statement, use our personal statement editor. Don’t place a negative spin on the statement, or talk about how you failed – universities do not want to hear that. You could instead, discuss how you wanted more experience or had a health or family issue that affected your grades but talks about how you overcome these issues and why you persisted in achieving your 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, you could still apply, explain your situation and try to prove why you are still right for the course and how determined you are.
As A Level exam retakes have to wait until the following summer, many students retake exams during a gap year. It’s popular with students to find themselves on a gap year (learn more – should you go on a gap year). Students who are on a gap year should use this time wisely and try to get as much from it as they can, using gap year agencies could help you plan and prepare your time away – don’t let it pass you by or feel like a completely wasted year – especially as universities won’t appreciate this either!
Depending on how much time you wish to allocate to your 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 your Student CV and UCAS application and will show how dedicated you are to using your time effectively.
Students should think about what they want to do on their gap year efficiently, or they may find they have made a mistake, such as wishing to travel but not being able to save up enough money. Or not doing much within the whole year and not having anything exciting to discuss within their personal statement.
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