Retakes/Resits, Revision and External Candidates
Resits & Retakes
A resit requires that you sit one item of assessment on a further occasion. A retake requires completion of all elements of assessment on a further occasion.
If you haven’t achieved the exam results you’d hoped for, don’t panic! You are certainly not alone and we are here to assist all students who may want to retake GCSE or A Level exams in order to improve their grades.
The new ‘linear’ A Level system undoubtedly makes it more difficult for schools and colleges to accommodate AS Level and A Level retakes.
The new system means it is no longer possible to RESIT individual units/modules of a course, instead you have to RETAKE the entire theory exam (it will be possible to carry forward internally assessed marks). Therefore, it will still be possible to complete an A-level course in one year, so long as all the assessments are completed at the end.
With no January resits, at AS and A level, students will have the chance to retake in May or June the following year.
Retakes should only be available to students who have taken the qualification previously, or had a good reason not to have taken it when planned (such as illness).
Some private sixth-form colleges offer 1 year retake courses whereby you will enrol in September, complete your UCAS university application, and then take a few months off to work or travel before returning in the spring for an intensive period of study leading up to the exam.
You may prefer to take a whole year to prepare for your retake/s. Most colleges offer one-year intensive A Level retake courses. In some cases you can combine these with starting a new subject, and indeed many colleges encourage this as it adds a new dimension to your studies and may increase your level of motivation as well as improving your academic portfolio.
Most colleges also offer one or two week revision courses in the Easter or Summer holidays.
When it comes to university applications many establishments are pleased to accept applications from retaking candidates as such students show determination, perseverance and ambition. However each department in a university may have their own policy with regard to retakes. To know where you stand you should make contact to discover if they welcome reapplications and what grades they require.
Some private colleges provide the traditional full two-year GCSE courses and almost all colleges provide intensive courses covering GCSE in a year.
Students who have taken GCSE already and who need to improve will either look to start sixth form and retake one or two GCSEs alongside, or spend the year retaking.
The best option depends upon whether you are academically ready to go on into the sixth-form. If you have fewer than 5 C grades at GCSE you are probably better off resitting GCSEs over a year in order to strengthen your skills in general before starting the sixth form.
Resitting Exams as an External Candidate
Some students just want to resit an examination without tuition and are seeking an examination centre. We may be able to refer you to a college that can help. Please note that fees are payable to the college for this facility.
Contact us for retake advice
To discuss your requirements or ask questions about the retakes in private 6th form colleges, please complete an enquiry form or contact us on