A level retakes

Change for Year 13

Switch schools after Year 12 for a successful year 13 and a top university place


Every September up to 60 students join RIC directly into Year 13 for their final year of sixth form. RIC is able to offer teaching on all exam boards for most subjects so switching schools can be done with ease.

Do you feel disappointed with your grades but don’t want to start Year 12/Lower Sixth again?

Have you completed your first year of A levels at an international school but want to spend your final year of sixth form boarding in the UK before university?

Have you missed lots of time in Year 12 so need to catch up in Year 13/Upper Sixth?

Do you want to change direction after Year 12 and maybe change some of your subjects, taking some one year intensive A levels, in Year 13?

Is your school or College unable to let you continue with the choice of A level subjects you need for university?

Have you started the IB Diploma in Year 12 but think you would be better suited to A levels?

Do you need to study specialist subjects such as Further Maths or Cambridge STEP papers in Year 13?

Do you want to apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Vet Science but are worried about getting AAA next year?

Are you ready to board away from home for the first time for the last year of your sixth form to focus on your studies and help prepare for university?

“Thank you for getting Josh to university. I am sure that had he remained at Wellington College for Upper VI he would not have achieved his university place.”
Martin Craddock, former parent


Theodora Penney from Chatham this time last year had grades CDE in her AS exams at Fort Pitt and was worried that she would not fulfill her ambition to study Economics at a top university. After switching for Year 13 she is now celebrating grades of AAB and a place at Sheffield University for Economics. Another high flying one year A level success is Henry Barten from Cranbrook School. Henry joined the College with CDDD at AS, switched all of his subjects and took three one year A levels in Psychology, Sociology and Film Studies. His grades of AAB have won him a Psychology place at KCL.

Our Year 13 transfer students have often been told by their previous schools to lower their sights, repeat Year 12 or sometimes drop their favourite subjects. Others have actually been asked to leave their grammar or independent schools after Year 12 results in internal exams or AS results due to progression requirements. Others have had an academically successful Year 12 but want to take new subjects and change direction.

“I would just like to thank you so much for everything last year, helping me completely change my situation! I remember being told by one of my old teachers after receiving my AS-levels to just ‘apply to do BTECS or get a job’ because maybe university ‘wasn’t for me’. I was in a hopeless situation (I thought!) and genuinely believed I had insufficient skills to pass my A-levels. But just out of pure luck I found Rochester Independent College on the internet and my mum encouraged me to give A-levels another shot. I am so grateful for everything and want to thank everyone at Rochester for helping me jump back onto the path I was told I shouldn’t take. ” Patrick Cooper 2015


“Just a brief note to say that we are pleased with Tom’s results and delighted that he has been accepted at Manchester. Clearly the hard work put in by Tom, and the exemplary support given by the academic staff, has paid off and vindicates the decision to change schools for year 13. We would have no hesitation in recommending RIC to others in a similar position. Please pass on our grateful thanks to all of Tom’s teachers and to the boarding staff whose support was equally important – not least for putting up with all that muddy rugby kit! The experience of being away from home has also been a maturing one for Tom and a great stepping stone to university life.” Chris & Angela Fidler 2015


After fresh starts, students transferring into Year 13 at RIC in 2017 are holding offers for university courses that include English at Exeter, Philosophy at UCL, Economics at Manchester, Economics at Durham, Geography at Sheffield and Geography at Edinburgh, all first choice courses that seemed impossible after Year 12s spent elsewhere.

can i resit the new a levelsIncreasingly, students choose to move schools for year 13/Upper Sixth and switch to Rochester Independent College after completing the first year of their A level studies elsewhere, allowing them to be re taught comprehensively.

A more individualised approach means that disappointing results in Year 12 can be dealt with without university plans being wrecked. A change of environment at this stage of a two year A level course is a highly successful way of ensuring good results without the need for a retake year or to go back and restart.

We are so happy that Emily’s difficult decision to change school last year, and all her hard work this year has paid off. Her grades last year of BCC (and E in physics!) were raised by 4 grades. There is no question that if she had remained at her old school, she would not have been in a position to take up a place at Exeter University. We are all absolutely delighted and relieved that she has achieved so brilliantly at RIC this year. I have had a couple of conversations with friends whose children are in a similar situation to Emily last year. I’m having no difficulty at all in recommending RIC!  Sue Labrum, mother of Emily, from Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks

switching schools for a levelIt’s not just students who have disappointing AS results who transfer directly into year 13. Some move to change direction and add extra A levels intensively in one year. Others are seeking a more stimulating academic environment or wish to spend the last year of their secondary education boarding.

Year 13 entry means an intensive year- no bank holidays, no study leave and often teaching over half terms and Easter. The average class size is 8 and individual attention in one to one tutorials is plentiful.

When students change schools for Year 13 our tutors and UCAS advisors are often able to quickly make credible grade predictions based on assessment of potential over the year here rather than prior achievement elsewhere.

The College is academically non-selective but we are not able to offer places to every student wishing to transfer directly into Year 13. We only do so where the programme proposed is realistic and likely to succeed. Options are explored at interview but there are circumstances, depending on subject choice and  AS module grade starting point where we can only offer places to to restart Year 12.

“Many students are hardworking and committed to their studies yet still find the top grades elusive due to poor revision techniques, inadequate examination preparation and practice as well as a general lack of confidence. Teaching at RIC is designed to remove these barriers and help students realise their potential at GCSE, A level and beyond.”
Dr Todd Dedman, Head of sixth form


Particularly noteworthy achievements from Year 13 transfer students in the class of 2014 include:

Katie Taylor, joined after Year 12 from Dartford Grammar. AS Grades: ABBCD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*AA. Destination: Durham University, Geography

A level retakes 2014Nadine Muncey, joined after Year 12 from Mayfield Grammar. AS Grades BDD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*A*A*

“I’ve got the Muncey perfection streak and was determined to improve on my AS results. I have though really exceeded my expectation and can’t believe my results. I really like the relationship between teachers and students here. In class there was lots of banter as we sat around tables in small groups.

Nadine is pictured with Fergus Stewart who is a celebrating a coveted place at university to study Physiotherapy.

Louis Ellingworth, joined after Year 12 from Bryanston School, Somerset. AS Grades BCD. A2 Grades at RIC: ABB Destination: Sociology, Manchester University

David Hawes, joined after Year 12 from Central Sussex College. AS Grades DEU. A2 Grades at RIC: AAB Destination: International Politics, Aberystwyth University

Sasha Miles, joined after Year 12 at Simon Langton. AS Grades ABCD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*AB Destination: Classical Civilisation, Nottingham University

“I hated English at my old school but at RIC the teachers prepared me for the exams, inspired me and made me love English again. I went from a D to an A. It was really easy to get here on the train from Selling and even better as there were lots of us travelling to College”


A level results 2014Becky Dolman, joined after year 12 at Invicta. A2 Grades at RIC AAAB

“The moment we came to the interview at RIC I knew it was the right place. When I came there were lots of people in the same boat. All the teachers have been brilliant. If you get something wrong they make you see how you can change and improve it yourself. They make you think and don’t spoonfeed. I really liked the two hour lessons as there was so much time for debate. At my old school there was only one type of person and it was cliquey but at RIC there are people from all over the world- my best friend was from Sierra Leone.”


Jack Hinchcliffe, joined after Year 12 at Greenacre School. AS Grades CCDU. A2 Grades at RIC: AAB. Destination: Business Management, Surrey University

Thomas Hinchcliffe, joined after Year 12 at Greenacre School. AS Grades CCUU. A2 Grades at RIC: ABBC. Destination: Finance, University of East Anglia






move school year 13Ben Sharma left St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington after his AS results. Ben says: “Moving schools for Year 13 allowed me to retake modules where I needed to and focus on achieving the grades for my first choice university- Architecture at Nottingham.” While studying hard, Ben also found time during the year to run the London marathon and exhibit his photography at a local Pizza Express.

Students have moved directly into Year 13 at Rochester Independent College from a range of local schools. Those from further afield are able to take up places in the College’s boarding accommodation. If a student is aiming for something very competitive such as medicine or dentistry a move at this point can be a shrewd one as it can maximise the potential of the right A level grades being achieved first time round.

“The reason for my move from Rochester Grammar was that I felt that Rochester Independent College (RIC) would give me more of an opportunity to extend my studies, learn more independently and re-enthuse my passion for biology and chemistry, with their specialised environment for the sciences.”


Moving directly into the Upper Sixth/Year 13 at Rochester Independent College also gives students the opportunity to take a fresh look at their A level options, sometimes choosing to change academic direction and their subject choices. Our teachers can offer all examination boards and options, making it possible to switch schools with ease.

Switching schools for year 13- profiles

moving schools for upper 6th“Before I came to Rochester I struggled with my grades and my prospects for university were much akin to Ikea tables. I couldn’t stand them. I enjoyed myself, learned a lot about myself and my subjects of choice and came out all the better for it.” Tom Parker At the end of year 12 Tom’s grades were CCE. After a year at RIC he celebrated grades of A*A*AB in four A levels- English Literature, Sociology, History and History of Art. He left RIC for a BA Honours course in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield.

a level studentJack Weston:
“I decided to change school after year 12. I was at Gravesend Grammar School for Boys and was disappointed with my AS results. My results were not what I wanted or needed for university. I’d been at my previous school for 6 years and consequently there were lots of distractions. I came to RIC to take Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Government and Politics, it’s a much more academically focused college. In fact it was my parents who came in to see Alistair and have a look around as I was working, it wasn’t until my first day that I saw the college for myself! It has been a really good year, I’ve worked really hard and the support from the teachers has been excellent. My personal tutor gave me lots of help and advice with my university application and I now have 5 out of 5 offers for university. Warwick is my first choice and I know that I’ve done all I could have this year to get the grades.” Destination: Warwick

Alex Alford:
“I was so happy with my GCSE results but then my AS year did not go as well as planned at Bennett Memorial. I got BDD in Maths, Chemistry and Physics. I was lucky, my parents gave me the opportunity to come here for year 13 and retake some of my AS modules. Environment change has been the key. I think I was just too buddy with my friends at Bennett which affected my work. At RIC I am here to work hard and get the grades I need for Engineering. It is great having the college minibus service from Sevenoaks. I feel so much more confident now and am much better prepared for the exams. We do loads of past papers and the teachers give us fantastic insights into how to answer questions to achieve our potential. There is a real enjoyment of learning, the teachers are passionate about their subjects and we don’t just work from text books. Maths lessons are quirky in the shed in the garden! I’m hoping to study Chemical Engineering next year.” Destination: Bath

as retakes Tim Turvey– who lives on the same Sevenoaks street as Alex-transferred to RIC from TWGSB, disappointed with his AS grades of CDD. Tim benefited from the college’s expertise in Maths and Science, finally achieving AAB, securing his place at Nottingham to read Mechanical Engineering. His brother, Rob Turvey joined RIC’s Middle School in year 10 and takes his GCSEs next year. Seb Lundberg joined RIC after his year 12 at Colfe’s and went on to gain AAA in History, Politics and English Literature. Seb is also set for Nottingham and a Theology degree where he is joined by Sophie Dunk, resident RIC lab rat and formerly of Gravesend Grammar school for Girls who will be reading Zoology there.

retakes for medicineMatt Swain from Leybourne is celebrating winning a place at Hull and York Medical School and 4 top Grade As at A level. His success is even more astounding as he made the decision to switch schools half way through his A levels to maximise his chances of a place at Medical School. He joined the Upper Sixth at Rochester Independent College after six years at Maidstone Grammar School. Matt says: “My previous school said I was a solid grade B student and wouldn’t make the A grades required for Medical School. I was determined to realise my ambition to become a doctor.” Matt’s application was helped not only by a good portfolio of work experience but by taking an additional A level- Sociology- from scratch in a year.

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