If you didn’t get the A Level or GCSE grades you wanted you might feel as though your dreams are over – but that’s far from true. With hard work and time you can still achieve the results you need.
Students like you who don’t give up but pick themselves up and try again show themselves as determined, resilient individuals – and that’s a valuable foundation for the future.
So, are you ready for a fresh start? Here’s our guide to resitting your exams:
Do I have to go back to school?
No – not if you don’t want to. Not all schools offer the chance to resit exams anyway, so check with your teacher. You can study at a sixth form college or online. Search Google to find out what is available locally. You might decide to resit through an online, distance learning course which gives you the flexibility to study part-time while you work. For extra support with your exam retakes, consider hiring a private tutor. TutorMyKids can find you a professional tutor to support you in overcoming difficulties and understanding tricky concepts. A private tutor can help you to exceed your expectations and achieve success.
Do I need to resit GCSE subjects?
The first thing to decide is whether you want to resit a particular GCSE exam. If you failed Geography, you don’t have to retake the exam. If you need a certain number of passes, you might decide to study a different subject altogether, and you can!
However, you might have to resit English Language and Maths GCSEs. You will need to keep studying these subjects until you are eighteen if you didn’t get a grade 4 or above. The good news is you can study alongside other courses such as A Levels or BTECs, so there’s no need to put your plans on hold.
When can I resit my GCSEs?
You can retake GCSEs in May/June, and you can also resit some subjects in November. When you choose a GCSE provider they will explain your options.
When can I retake my A Levels?
Do universities still consider students who resit exams?
Yes. Most universities will not penalise you for retaking exams. In your UCAS personal statement focus on the valuable experience that resitting an exam has given you. By trying again you are demonstrating commitment, determination and focus. Perhaps you’ve been busy with work experience or volunteer work whilst you’ve been studying? Talk to friends, teachers and parents who can help you identify the positives.
What’s the most effective way to revise?
Revise actively not passively. Don’t mindlessly highlight passages in notes or textbooks. Here’s what works:
- Read a section of your textbook or notes and write yourself some questions. Without looking at the original text try to answer your questions. Repeat the exercise until you are confident. Each time answer the questions in a different order.
- Read notes just before you go to sleep. While you sleep your brain processes and consolidates your learning.
- Read your notes into a recording device. Play them when you are doing something that doesn’t require concentration like cooking, cross-stitch, running, or sitting outside in the sunshine.
- Give your memory a helping hand by:
- Using mnemonics thought up by others or by making up your own. Here’s a science example: OIL RIG – oxidation is loss, reduction is gain.
- Inventing or memorising sayings. For example, to spell ‘necessary’ remember ‘one collar and two socks’.
- Using visual cues. Draw charts, diagrams or sketches to help you to recall key concepts. For instance, to remember the plot of Shakespeare’s Macbeth you might draw a basic flow diagram with labelled sketches of the action.
- Do practice exam questions, particularly focus on the types of questions you find difficult. Although the same questions never come up twice, this helps you polish your exam technique. After you’ve answered a question compare it to the exam board’s model answer.
How often should I revise?
Every day, but not all day. Make yourself a structured plan. Aim to revise for about three to five hours every week day, and an hour or less on Saturdays and Sundays.
Break up your study time into manageable chunks. Stop every hour or so – make a cup of tea, watch television for a bit, go for a walk. Some breaks will be just a few minutes, some will be longer. Make sure you stick to your daily allotted time though.
Don’t exhaust yourself by over-studying as that’s counter-productive. Your brain needs time to rest and consolidate information, and you will feel miserable if you spend too long revising. Exercise is particularly important (healthy body, healthy mind – it’s true!). While we’re on the subject, try to resist the temptation to eat too many bars of chocolate and packets of crisps while you revise and find yourself some healthier snacks.
Don’t study too little either, otherwise you will feel guilty and stressed. If you work part-time and you need to reduce your hours then do it. If friends pressure you to socialise more than you are comfortable with, be firm. It’s only a few weeks until your resits are over – it’s worth sacrificing time in the short term to achieve your long-term goal.
Remember: resitting an exam is certainly not the end of the world. What you learn personally from this experience will have a positive impact on your future.
If you would like one-to-one support to retake an exam, get in touch with TutorMyKids and we will help you to achieve the result you have worked so hard to achieve.