“I’m delighted to see the results of Judd students retaking A levels at RIC and offer my congratulations to the five students who did so this year. We do recommend RIC to our students who are looking for further support and need to retake A levels.”
robert masters, headmaster, the judd School, tonbridge
rethink and retake a levels
Even the top universities accept A level resit students, even for some of the most competitive courses such as Dentistry, Veterinary Science, English and Law. One bad year need not blight your career, indeed it can be turned to your advantage. A level retake students from RIC regularly secure places at leading Russell and 1994 Group institutions. With a squeeze on university places and ever more students securing Grade As at A level it’s clear that retaking A levels offers a passport to more prestigious courses at better universities.
Crucially students considering whether to retake their A levels need good advice about which universities and courses will consider A level resit students. Some courses and universities state explicitly that A level retakers are not considered. Many coveted universities however do still make offers to A level resit students although they sometimes ask for higher grades. In 2012 almost all of the RIC students who resat their A levels secured offers from Russell Group universities.
Rather than rushing to university when they are not really ready or accepting second choice courses through Clearing each year students opt to spend their gap year, or part of it, retaking A levels, or doing new ones from scratch.
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 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 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.
“There were times during the A level resit year I thought about giving up and choosing an alternative course but I’m glad I persevered. I know I wouldn’t have been happy with anything else.”
shahab sarwar, joined RIC for a level retakes in 2008 from rochester maths school, now at leeds university studying dentistry
aiming higher with a level resits
When deciding to retake A levels it is worth considering that with a degree now far more of a common currency and the cost of a university education increasing all the time it has become even more important for students to ensure they aim to secure entry to good courses at respected institutions. A level results and UCAS points are also increasingly being used by major employers when they are recruiting graduates. For entry in 2013 it is clear that students who attain ABB in their subjects will be able to attain a first choice place as the government is removing the cap for students with these grades, allowing leading universities to increase the number they recruit.
Students underperform in examinations for many reasons: lack of confidence, lack of commitment and illness are a few of the most common. However, the invariably awful disappointment on the day the results are issued often leads to the most important step on the road to improvement which is an absolute determination never to go through it again.
“I chose Rochester to retake because I thought it was the nicest college, and it seemed very friendly. It had a boarding facility, which appealed to me. I wanted to go away because my friends had gone away – I would have had no life if I’d stayed at home. Going to Rochester gave me the chance to meet people in the same boat as me.”
matthew sarstedt, a level january retake student 2010, now at sheffied university studying dentistry
The teachers at RIC cannot do all the hard work necessary for improved results on A level resit courses, but they can provide a new and stimulating environment in which students can build or regain lost confidence and explore their subjects in a new and more adult manner, bringing their own ideas and experiences with them, not just passively regurgitating an old and tired syllabus. A level retake students are invariably better prepared for Higher Education at the end of their time at Rochester Independent College. We don’t just want to help students gain places on their chosen courses, we want them to leave us with the study skills and academic foundation to enjoy and excel at university.
resit and exceed expections with a level retake courses
Class sizes are extremely small on A level resit courses, usually numbering around 6 to 8 which means that every student has individual attention. Grade improvements as large as 5 or 6 are by no means unheard of even on an A level resit course, however, improvements of two or three grades are more common in a term. We encourage our students to see their year retaking A levels at RIC as a university preparatory course rather than an A level resit one and previous students often comment that their time here was the most enjoyable and productive of their secondary education. It can be very reassuring to join A level resit classes with students from different all of whom are in the same position and have made the decision not to compromise and aim for their first choice university courses.
“It’s refreshing to work with such dedicated students who retake their A levels in order to realise their ambitions. In small classes problems can be quickly diagnosed and tackled. Improvement is often rapid.”
dr brenda harrison, head of biology
profiles of a level resit success stories
Three former King’s School, Canterbury students are celebrating second chance A level success in 2011 and places at some of the UK’s top universities.
Even top institutions like The Royal Veterinary College still consider retake students, as demonstrated by the offer Amelia Liddell received. As well as retaking Chemistry and Spanish at RIC Amelia took AS Sociology from scratch in a term, achieving AAA and continued to broaden her work experience. Amelia is now able to realise her ambition to be a vet.
She says “On results day last year we had a big family discussion and we looked at the options for retaking A levels. If you are willing to work hard then the teachers will give you all the help you need. I don’t think anyone goes on an A level resit course to slack though!”
Jean Michel Hurst’s sixth form education at King’s was disrupted due to illness so he took an extra year to complete his A levels at RIC. With the unusually broad combination of Fine Art and Further Maths Jean Michel now has 2As, and an A* in Further Maths and a place at London’s top rated Imperial College.
The third former King’s student to improve his university prospects by spending an extra year over his A levels was Josh Ross who now has a place studying Economics at Loughborough. While studying at Rochester Independent College he continued to work on his online business- a firm he started as a summer project post GCSEs as an online re-seller of high quality watches. Lower Master and Acting Head of King’s Canterbury Mark Lascelles says:
“The results are outstanding and many congratulations. I will have no hesitation in recommending RIC.”
A level retake student Asha Chohan demonstrated that it sometimes pays to rethink and retake A levels and aim high. Asha says: “Last year I didn’t get the grades I had hoped for so I knew I needed to retake.” Asha is now celebrating grades of A*AA and a place to study Optometry at Aston University in Birmingham, the UK’s highest ranked programme in the subject. Asha moved to RIC from a state school in Nottingham to resit her A levels.
Will Mounty from Gravesend Grammar followed in his brother’s footsteps and came to Rochester Independent College to retake his A levels. His grades rocketed from BCD to AAA on a one year A level resit course, including taking English Literature in a year from scratch. Despite being an A level retake student he got offers from all the universities he applied to and is taking up a place at his first choice Lancaster to study Geography in September. His brother Tom, another former RIC A level retake student success story is at Royal Holloway studying History.
Natalie Shortt celebrated top A level resit results in August 2008 and a place to study Graphic Design at Leeds University. Natalie, formerly of Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls joined RIC with a Grade U in Geography which she managed to improve to an A! Her overall results were AAAB.
Peter Shepherd formerly of Dane Court Grammar School was devastated after receiving his A level results. It seemed that his dreams of becoming a dentist had been dashed after failing to meet the terms of his offer. It is notoriously difficult to get a place at Dental School, even more so as a retake student applying second time around. Determined not to give up Peter enrolled on a 1 year A level retake programme at Rochester Independent College. To strengthen his application he took an additional A level- Sociology- from scratch in a year as well as an AS course in Ceramics to demonstrate his manual dexterity. Peter starts his course at Leeds in September. Peter is pictured with fellow student George Matthews, formerly of Maidstone Grammar School who celebrated grades of AAAC and a Vet Science place at Nottingham University. George is the third brother in his high achieving family to leave RIC with a place on a top course. Tom Matthews won a place studying Dentistry, Edward Matthews a place at medical school.