“It was a difficult decision to retake my A levels but now I know it was the best thing I could have done with my gap year. I have found all my teachers inspiring and enthusiastic and they have given me the confidence I needed to achieve my potential. I have the skills and confidence to go and do well at university.”
daisy falconer, retake a level student
changes to a level retake courses from 2013
As part of its ongoing education reforms the government has removed the opportunity for students to resit any A level modules in January. The last A level January modules were available in January 2013. Traditional one term September-January A level resit courses offered by independent sixth form colleges on English exam boards (OCR, Edexcel and AQA) are therefore no longer possible. These one term courses however were sometimes limited by the availability of modules in January anyway and less impressive to universities as it was always clear students were looking for a quick fix with minimum disruption to their gap year plans!
In effect most successful RIC A level resit students have in recent years opted for the September-June programme as this has given the best chances of significant grade improvement, the opportunity to take fresh subjects alongside retaking and to prepare properly for university. As many resit students at RIC opt to board there is still the opportunity to leave home at the same time as peers and live in a residential environment that is designed to be a stepping stone between school and university.
RIC’s bespoke A level resit courses now run January- June or September-June depending on individual circumstances. Our teachers can offer retake courses for all examination boards and options.
It is also possible for students to combine resitting A levels part time September-June with strengthening their work experience portfolios.
RIC works closely with A level retake students on their university applications ensuring that they target their applications at universities that will consider A level retake students for their chosen course and present themselves and their tenacious choice to retake in the most positive light. Most 2012 RIC January A level resit students secured Russell group university offers.
“I learnt more in one term on an A level resit course than I had done in the whole two years of Chemistry at my previous school.”
amelia liddell, joined ric from king’s canterbury, now at the royal veterinary college studying veterinary science
One year A level retake courses have always been the most appropriate option if significant grade improvements are required. Short January A level resit courses work best if a student has only narrowly missed their grades. The College is able to offer 1 year A level resit courses to students on most examination boards.
profiles of one term january a level retake students
Matthew Sarstedt, from Cheshire knew that the disappointing A level grades in 2009 from his previous school would not hold him back from his ambition to be a dentist.
“On results day I knew I had to resit – I was absolutely determined to study dentistry rather than going through clearing for something else and I knew that I needed a college that would specialise in intensive January resits.”
Matthew enrolled on a short A level retake course taking Chemistry and Maths in January while boarding in the College halls of residence. He also added extra subjects, taking Sociology and Statistics AS, strengthening his academic profile. He said:
“I expected boarding to be old fashioned and uncomfortable with loads of rules and regulations but it was so different. My room was great and the staff were really kind and fun. Also it was so easy to get extra help from my teachers when I needed it as they were right on the campus and happy to help at any time. I felt the difference after high school – it was significant.”
Last year Matthew was rejected from all the Dental schools without interview. This year he received offers and achieved his grades and started Dentistry at Sheffield University in September 2010, proving that retaking A levels and broadening your profile can be successful. RIC’s successful Dental retakers often add AS Ceramics or AS Statistics to demonstrate and develop their mathematical and manual dexterity skills.
Louisa Garcia joined RIC on a 1 term January retake course last year from King’s, Rochester to improve her English Literature and History A level grades and secure a place on her first choice History of Art degree course at Birmingham University. To ensure she made the most of her extra term of study Louisa took AS History of Art alongside her A level resits to prepare for her chosen university course. Taking extra courses helps convince the better universities that retaking students are serious about preparing for undergraduate study. After her January A level retake term Louisa was able to enjoy the rest of her GAP year by travelling to Australia as originally planned.
This strategy of combining a one term A level retake course with extra subjects up to AS level is popular with universities as demonstrated by the success of RIC students taking this route. Studying something fresh rather than regurgitating a subject you have been studying for a year can often be more rewarding for the student as well. It turns an A level retake course into a university preparation course.
team ric a level january resit 2012 success
In 2012 Will Selmon from Harrow School added AS World Development to his January A level retakes of Chemistry and Biology and won a place at Newcastle University to study Geography. Simon Melizan from The Forest School, Berkshire boarded at RIC for a term and took a combination of fresh AS subjects including Film Studies and A level January retakes to rack up the UCAS points needed for his Nottingham Trent Interior Architecture course.
“Your educational formula at the College is very special.”
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