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Julie Swan, Ofqual

I am pleased that we can ensure that no student taking AS or A levels will have to effectively study for a new qualification if things don’t go to plan the first time around.

Julie Swan, Ofqual

Guide to A level retakes and exam reform

RIC specialises in A level resits and we are available in the post results period for reliable, clear advice about what your options are.

This year sees the results from the first new A levels in many subjects. Other subjects, notably Mathematics, are still on the old modular system.

Whatever combination of subjects you have taken there are retake options in 2018 for all specifications and RIC is happy to talk through the possibilities available.

Bolu Alade, Destination 2017: Medicine at Liverpool

I've just seen track and shortly after my grades! I just wanted to thank you for all the encouragement and support I received the college! I didn't know if coming to RIC and taking an extra year would be worthwhile, I felt it was a massive risk considering how medschools aren't particularly fond of resits. But with my place confirmed I know it was all worthwhile! So thank you once again for allowing me to realise a dream that I at times didn't think was possible!

Bolu Alade, Destination 2017: Medicine at Liverpool
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Can I retake legacy exams? 

Yes- if these are the exams you have received results for in August 2017.

Students taking legacy AS and A2 levels have the opportunity to resit these qualifications after the final scheduled award, regardless of the subject. These resits will be in May or June of the following year.

Where legacy retakes are still available, all modules are available to retake, including coursework and practicals. You can retake all modules or just the ones you need to.

The only qualifying criteria is that students must have taken the subject before at A level in order to retake, or have been prevented from doing so due to health reasons. Click here for the full Ofqual consultation option. Students may choose to retake their exams on a different exam board to the one they took originally.

Legacy A levels available for retake for the last time in 2018 are Dance, Drama and Theatre, Geography, Music, Modern Foreign Languages (French, German, Spanish), Physical Education and Religious Studies.

The legacy A levels available for both retake and first time students in 2018, and for which there will be a final resit opportunity in 2019, are Accounting, DT, Environmental Science, Further Maths, Government and Politics, Law, Mathematics, Media Studies, Film Studies, Philosophy and World Development.

Can I retake new A levels? 

Yes- if these are the exams you have received results for in August 2017.

The first subjects reformed were Art and Design, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English Language, English Language and Literature, English Literature, History, Physics, Psychology and Sociology. The last resit opportunity for legacy modular specifications in these subjects was in May/June 2017.

If you need to improve your grade in these subjects then you will have to sit the new reformed A level. For students finishing their A level in summer 2017 in these subjects this will be the specification you are familiar with.

In the Sciences a pass in the Practical Endorsement may be carried forward and used alongside the grade achieved in resitting the exams, even if this is with a different exam board.

If you need to retake a reformed A level you will have to resit all of the exam papers that make up the qualification and RIC’s courses are designed to reflect this.

If you have taken a reformed A level the results slip you will be given will be different to those from legacy exams. You will get an overall grade but no UMS score or breakdown of marks from the different papers or parts of the exam.

In order to access your overall mark and grade boundaries you will have to contact your school who have to request the information from the exam boards. It is not sent automatically to candidates. This is the information you will need in order to judge whether to request a remark or consider retaking at RIC. Remarks of individual papers rather than the whole specification are permitted.

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Retake A levels Options at RIC

You can opt for a one year A level retake programme or study on a shorter course, January-June, depending on your target grade and starting point. RIC staff will be able to advise.

It is possible to combine retaking legacy subjects and new reformed specifications but the approach will be different.

Case Study

Say for example Billy has an offer from Imperial for Chemistry that he needs A*AA to meet. At results time this August, he’s disappointed as he only gets A*BB. He doesn’t want to go through Clearing. He has the A* in Chemistry he needs and, after checking that his chosen universities will consider applicants retaking, decides to resit Maths and Economics in 2018.

As Economics is a reformed subject Billy has to resit all 3 A level Economics exams and his new grade will be calculated based on his performance in those.

With Maths though, as this subject is still on the modular system, Billy can resit as many or as few A level Maths units as he wishes or needs to next year and his final grade will be based on his best attempt at each unit.

So, say Billy opted to retake C3 and C4 next year and did better in C3 and worse in C4 then his new final grade would be calculated including his 2018 C3 score and his 2017 C4 score.

At RIC students often combine retaking A levels with fresh one year courses to target their first choice university and make their academic gap year more engaging. RIC offers full UCAS support for students retaking A levels to ensure that their new application is carefully put together. It is usual for students retaking A levels at RIC to receive five Russell Group university offers.

As well as offering specialist retake courses RIC is a centre for candidates wishing to resit their exams as private or external candidates.

Sarah Wallace

Sam is delighted with his Imperial place and thank you all at RIC. We are really pleased with all the help and support he received.

Sarah Wallace

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