Guide to A level retakes
While many universities are becoming increasingly flexible with entry when students miss their offers, the most competitive ones are not. Re-taking is often the only way of securing a place. RIC specialises in A level resits and we are available in the post results period for reliable, clear advice about what your options are. Expectations are that universities this year will not be able to flexible when students miss their offers and so it is likely demand for revision and resit courses at specialist independent sixth forms like RIC will be high from those not prepared to compromise in Clearing.
Students who aren't happy with the teacher assessed grades given to them in 2021 can opt to sit an exam in October or a one year A level retake programme, depending on your target grade and starting point. Try to be realistic - if you have low grades and the university you are targeting is asking for straight As, can you really make this big jump in a short period of time? RIC staff will be able to advise. It is likely that a traditional one year retake course, perhaps combining retakes with 1 year A level courses in a new subject will be the most risk free route to your chosen university.
Rochester Independent College A level re-takers have been successful in recent years gaining places at Durham, Imperial, Exeter, Edinburgh, UCL, Bath and Bristol, among many others. Destinations for students retaking their A levels in 2020 include Psychology at Edinburgh, Medicine at Sunderland, Medicine at Sheffield, Pharmacy at Newcastle, Fine Art at UCL's The Slade, Languages, Culture and Economics at Leeds, Chemistry at Nottingham, Natural Sciences at UCL, Physics at Manchester, Accounting and Finance at Warwick and English Literature at Bristol.
Four RIC students retook A levels successfully in 2021 and secured Dentistry places. Jack from Chew Valley School has a second chance place at Bristol, Matilda from QE Faversham is off to Manchester, Caitlin from King's Rochester to Newcastle and Rachel from Chis and Sid Grammar to Leeds.
"I came to Rochester with CDD grades, but I still had a desire to do medicine. My tutor was supportive and helped me through the entire application process including medical interview practice. My teachers were patient and thorough, ensuring I had regained my confidence to reach my full potential to do the best I possibly could. From taking this year, I've learned the value of hard work and dedication, something that I wouldn't have otherwise known. I came to this college because they are known for turning grades like mine around, and sure enough they did. I highly recommend this college.”
Retake A levels Options at RIC
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.
Since each university has different rules for A Level resits (even between the individual coursesthey offer), it’s advisable to phone up the admissions office for all the universities you are interested in applying to and ask what their resit policy is for your chosen degree courses. It pays to do your homework before committing yourself to a resit course.
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 and facilitate this.
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.
As well as offering specialist retake courses RIC is a centre for candidates wishing to resit their exams as private or external candidates.
Is it worth retaking for Medicine?
Despite the increased competition and the reduction in places available to those who resit, students from Rochester often gain places at Medical and Dental Schools. In 2020 six of our retake A level students secured Medical school places. Bolu Alade (Medicine at Liverpool) says: “Retaking seemed a massive risk. But with my place confirmed I know it was all worthwhile. Thank you for all the encouragement and support.” Priya Takhar and Amman Sall both off to dental school, came to the College from the same grammar school with matching ABB grades at A level to retake Biology and Chemistry. Priya gained A*A* and Amman A*A. Amman says: “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all the help at RIC. I really appreciate all the support from everyone there.”
But not everyone who retakes is aiming for university. Some, having matured for a year, proceed onto business apprenticeship schemes which can be as competitive as top universities. Ben Wilson, who won a place on the BP IST School-Leaver Trading Development Programme, adds: “Without the grades I achieved at Rochester Independent College I would not have had the qualifications necessary to apply to BP. I now sit on the Diesel and Jet Fuel Trading Desk in London and manage various risks that are inherent in the oil markets.”
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.