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Retaking A level examinations is a common occurrence for students who want to get the best possible grades to help them get into top universities or to get the job of their dreams. Taking the test again can be a daunting prospect, so let’s take a look at the top five most frequently asked questions about A level retakes.

1. Do universities look down on A level retakes?

In general, universities understand that life can throw up unexpected hurdles, and that A level retakes can be necessary for a student to reach their academic potential. Therefore, A level retakes are generally not seen as a bad thing, and universities are usually quite understanding of extenuating circumstances.

Matthew Uffindell, Greene's Senior Tutor

The American writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, wisely declared that one should never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat, and I would avow that one should not even speak about ‘defeat’ or ‘failure’. It must be time to ‘reframe’ the concept of retaking. We need to see retaking as a new path to success.

2. How many A level resits can you take?

The answer to this question is dependent on the student and the circumstances. Generally, most students can take resits for their A Level exams up to three times. However, this number is not set in stone. Certain universities or exam boards may allow for more resits, depending on the situation. It is important to contact your university or exam board to see what their policy is regarding resits.

3. How do a level retakes work?

First and foremost, you will need to decide if you are going to retake the exam. To help you decide, you should consider why you didn’t achieve the results you wanted in the first place. Did you struggle to understand the material? Did you have too little time to prepare? Did you not revise enough? Or was it just bad luck and a case of having an off day? Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand why and use that understanding to plan your retake strategy.

Once you have decided to retake the exam, you will need to decide on the best course of action. Depending on the exam board, you may be offered a partial or full retake. A partial retake means taking only the modules you failed, while a full retake means taking the entire course again. Make sure to check with the exam board for the rules and regulations.

Thereafter, you will need to prepare. Allot yourself enough time; usually a few months is sufficient. Start by working through any revision guides you have – it is important to make sure you’re confident with the material. Use past papers as practice and familiarise yourself with the structure of the examination. You can also look into supplementary tuition, which can help cement your understanding of the material.

4. Do the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge accept A level retakes?

The answer is yes, to some degree. The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge will accept A Level retakes, however, the individual college you apply to may have its own admissions criteria. For example, some colleges may be more lenient towards retakes while others may be more strict.

Generally, colleges will consider retakes if a student has demonstrated their commitment to achieving the best possible result. If a student has taken their A Level exams more than once and shows improvement across the board, then a college is more likely to accept their application.

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge generally requires students to gain A* grades in their A Level exams. Even if students retake their exams and improve their result, they may still not receive the A* grade required for entry. If this is the case, students should consider alternative options such as taking a gap year and retaking the exams again.

Furthermore, Oxbridge colleges may also consider a student’s other achievements, such as extracurricular activities and work experience, when reviewing their applications.

91% of all A level retakes at Greene’s improve by at least 2 grades.

5. when can i retake my a levels?

You can retake your A-Levels at any age, and at Greene’s, you can enrol at any point in the academic year. Recent changes to the system mean that A levels can now only normally be retaken in the summer, typically in June.

Retaking an A level requires deep thought, planning, and courage and you may well find yourself with further questions. We hope that our answers to the top 5 most commonly asked questions about A level retakes has assisted with your decision. Contact Greene’s to learn more about A level retakes and how we can help you to achieve your education goals.

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