With results currently being digested, the subject of A level retakes may be something you are considering. For those with high expectations, who have significantly fallen short of their predictions, there are compelling arguments for retaking. For those who feel that they have not done themselves justice or reached their full potential, another attempt may give the peace of mind they need, irrespective of university offers.
You may have been going through personal problems or illness at the time you sat your A level exams, with the result that the excellent and hard work you did throughout the year was not reflected in your final results. You may also feel that achieving better grades would enable you to start at university with a firmer foothold on your chosen subject.
From a university admissions perspective, the level of competition for some subjects or institutions remains extremely high, particularly for top-ranking universities or for highly competitive professional degrees such as those in Medicine. This means that you will still need to achieve the best grades to secure a place. You may not want to have to resort to finding university places through the UCAS Clearing process, quite possibly settling for degrees in which you have little genuine interest. Retaking can keep options open and boost your confidence.
The recent change in A levels from a modular to linear structure means the opportunities for retakes are now more limited than they were, and you no longer have the degree of freedom over which individual modules to retake and when to retake them.
This reduced availability for retakes does not mean that you have no options; simply that it is now all the more important for you to do better second time round – requiring an individual approach, detailed and careful planning and determined execution.
You may find that you need extra support as you prepare for retakes – and an individualised plan is crucial. Experience has taught that simply going over the work again is not necessarily the answer. Depending on time, it can even be worthwhile changing one of the optional topics (a set text, for example), or even the examination board. This may sound risky, but the results can be astonishing. Indeed something different needs to happen the second time around, and fresh material can often keep at bay the sense of enervation. However, although sometimes difficult to have, a detailed and honest discussions with you about motivation can reveal options and opportunities which would never have been realised otherwise. Once a clear plan is formed, confidence can be restored and you can move forward.
Retaking really can be a huge success if you approach the task with the right attitude and understanding. An illustration of this is from the story of a recent student at Greene’s:
Charlotte was disappointed with her A level results from school, achieving B, D, E, in subjects which really did not suit her or her interests. She found it difficult to work by herself and having been predicted high grades, came to Greene’s very dispirited.
We spent some time discussing with Charlotte where she thought her problems lay, with an honest assessment of her academic interests. We then designed a one year course of new A level choices more suited to her strengths and ambitions, and appointed her a Personal Tutor to guide her and develop her independent learning skills. After completing her A level course of Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Psychology, and receiving conditional offers from all her preferred university choices, Charlotte achieved A level results of A, A, A.
Charlotte’s mother wrote to us: “Thank you for what Greene’s has done for Charlotte. In the year she has grown in confidence and personality, and I am sure this is due mainly to the learning process provided by you. You confidently saw what she ought to do, and then provided excellent tutors, who, by their manner and ability showed Charlotte that she was capable of anything …”
We see many students in Charlotte’s position, and stories not dissimilar to this are fairly frequent. We are happy to discuss your retake options. Please contact us.