With big exams, such as GCSEs and A-Levels, creeping up on students, there will inevitably be failure in the same strand as success. Students might’ve experienced failure already or might be worried about the worst-case scenario – this is natural and perfectly fine. In regard to this, a question that is asked often is how many times you can retake A-Levels; this is a common way students try to prepare in case they don’t get their desired grades.
In short, as long as you have the money (since retakes can be quite pricey!) you can retake A-Levels as much as you like – provided you also received a C/5 in the GCSE exam. However, there are obviously exceptions, such as if there were no GCSEs offered in that subject.
While this may have given you a brief overview of how many times you can retake A-Levels, it may be helpful to continue reading for a more nuanced commentary.
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How many times can you retake A-Levels?
To put it briefly, you can retake A-Levels as many times as you like, provided you have the money. However, for a lot of students, this is simply unfeasible – A-Level resits take a minimum of a year to be done, since you have to wait for the next exam season to roll around.
Additionally, many universities require you to put all sets of results on your application (of course, there are exceptions to this rule). This makes a lot of students put-off by this fact. Also, you will be competing with those behind you a year, who have the best grades – resits can be quite the risk.
You may also be wondering what happens if you do worse in your resit. Read this Think Student article to find out more.
However, theoretically, there is no limit to the number of times you can take A-Levels. But not many choose to retake them many times – it boils down to the high cost, risk, and long time period.
To read more about whether or not universities see retakes as bad, check out this article from Think Student.
Instead, why not choose to have your A-Levels remarked if you get a grade you’re dissatisfied with? They’re cheaper, and oftentimes can boost your grade if you’re on the cusp of a grade boundary. This Think Student article discusses if a A-Level remark is actually worth it.
Ultimately, if you feel like a remark wouldn’t give you the grade you wanted, it may be beneficial to do a resit; with hard work and some serious studying, students can really succeed. A-Levels aren’t something to be taken lightly. They can really open doors for students to do well in life, but in the end, there are also other things to life than academic success.
Other options, like apprenticeships, T-Levels or BTECs, can also be better suited for students than A-Levels.
Click here to learn more about the importance of A-Levels from a Think Student article.
Does it cost money to retake A-Levels?
To put it briefly, it does – it’s quite pricey for the average student. It depends on the subject, but a general rule is that you need to pay both the course fee and exam fee. Course fees are usually the more expensive of the two fees.
Prices can range from £1500 to £2000 for the course, then an additional £150 to £200 for the actual exam fee. Exam fees are sometimes offered as a flat fee by certain colleges, while others include it all in one price. Pricing both depends on the exam centre where you do your exam, and then the subject.
To read more about pricing and retaking A-Levels, check out this article from Think Student!
Because of how inaccessible retaking A-Levels can be for the average student, it is often recommended to just get them remarked if your grades are near a grade boundary – this is significantly cheaper to do, and quicker (remarks typically take about a month, rather than year, to complete).
In conclusion, if you have the means and motivation, go for it!
How old do you have to be to do A-Levels?
There’s officially no age limit to taking A-Levels, but it is very rare for students younger than 16 to take them. However, there is no upper cap, and mature students are more common – if you want to retake A-Levels or are perhaps doing them for the first time as an adult, you can certainly do that.
However, if you’re past college/sixth form age, you will almost certainly have to sit them privately. This means that you register with an exam centre and pay to either study with a college/sixth form or online.
To read more about taking A-Levels as a mature student, check out this article from Oxbridge Home Learning.
Ultimately, it’s nothing to stress about if you haven’t done A-Levels yet and wanted to – you can always take them at a later stage in life! And, if you don’t want the pressure of going to a college and sitting among younger students, there is always the online option.
Are A-Levels necessary for university?
To put it briefly, A-Levels themselves are not compulsory to get into university – but they are an example of a good qualification to have.
In this day and age, a lot of universities are extremely competitive and have high entry requirements: such as A-Levels, BTECs, or other equivalents. In a lot of cases, universities may also prefer one qualification over the other.
Sure, while A-Levels aren’t strictly necessary, per se, you still need an equivalent qualification to even be considered for this type of higher education. Some unis expect these post-16 qualifications to have been achieved in one sitting.
However, there are still alternative pathways to university, without having sat A-Levels or similar qualifications: two such paths include ‘Access to Higher Education Diplomas’ and foundation years. Such Diplomas are available for a multitude of subjects and contain flexible learning options for those otherwise preoccupied with life.
Foundation years are offered by universities to let students fill in gaps in their knowledge – good for those who want to test a particular subject out without diving straight into the deep end. This is also great for students who are coming back to an academic life and want to ease into university studies without being too overwhelmed. Check out this Think Student article to learn more about foundation years.
Other than A-Levels, universities may also look at your GCSEs, as well as UCAS tariff points. Additionally, the more competitive universities will usually offer some form of admission test; scoring well there is your best bet, other than A-Levels or the other prerequisites. There might even be an interview stage to consider!
In conclusion, while A-Levels aren’t strictly necessary for uni, they sure are good to have! As long as you don’t solely focus on them, that is!
Will you still get a job without A-Levels?
To put it briefly, absolutely! For a lot of jobs, all you need are a pass in GCSE Maths and GCSE English Language. Even if you do badly academically, there will always be some form of work you will be able to get.
On the other hand, A-Levels can be a good stepping stone for those looking for more specialised careers – but do not be discouraged! If you want to pursue a specialised field without A-Levels, why not look for apprenticeships or internships? There are many within a huge range of fields – why not try out?
Check out the following Think Student articles to get an idea of jobs available to students.