Resitting a GCSE is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, you had to memorise a lot of content and the stress of the situation probably did not help you to perform your best. Perhaps your revision techniques were not the best option for you. Whatever the reason you are resitting your GCSEs, you may have certain concerns which come with this requirement. This article will focus on explaining the various costs which you may need to pay in order to re-sit your GCSEs, as well as why these fees are necessary in the first place.
Re-sitting a GCSE is free if the exams you are taking are mandatory. This includes English and Maths if you did not previously gain a passing grade (at least a 4). If the exam is not compulsory, then you have to pay course fees in addition to the exam fees. This is also true if you choose to sit the exams as a private candidate, meaning that you are privately educated for the re-sits. Each exam varies in price according to the subject and exam board.
Although some of the key information has been summarised for you already, there is more to find out! This article will dive into more topics, such as how many times you can re-sit your GCSEs, before providing a bit of advice. So, keep reading to learn more!
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Do you have to pay to re-sit GCSEs?
If you are re-sitting English or Maths exams due to not passing, the government will cover the cost whilst you study at your college, until you pass or turn 19. You can of course choose to re-sit your exams after this age (for more information on retaking GCSEs at any age, have a look at this Think Student article. If you are educated privately or have already obtained a passing grade, then you will have to pay for your re-sits.
So long as you remain at the same school that you took your GCSEs at, then it is likely that your re-sit will be free. If you choose to study under a different exam board, move to another institution, or sit the exams privately then there may be fees that you must pay.
If you choose not to study in a class again, then you can choose to do online courses instead. As you will be studying privately for your exams, you will need to pay course fees to cover the costs of a tutor and also for any course materials (e.g. textbooks).
Each exam board will have their own set of fees and requirements for resitting a GCSE as a private candidate. Below are links to the main 3 exam boards’ fees.
- AQA– If your subject is under the AQA exam board, then use this guide from AQA.org.uk to learn about sitting their exams privately. They will upload the information about their entry fees on this page of the AQA website.
- Pearson Edexcel– This link will take you to the page on Pearson’s website where you can find their fees.
- Oxford Cambridge and RSA (OCR)– OCR has its fees listed on this page of their website. Just as with the other two exam boards that I have listed here, the specific exam series prices are in a document found if you scroll down.
The costs are not the same for each exam board, so make sure you check out the costs associate with the exam board that is relevant to you.
Why do you have to pay for GCSE re-sits?
The money paid to the exam boards allows them to continue to operate. They use this money to fund their services. This includes writing assessment papers and to pay for the exam papers to be marked.
When you first sat your GCSE exams in Year 11, your school will have paid for each student to sit all of their exam papers to the correct exam boards. Your resits are no different– the exams still cost money to sit. If the exams you are resitting are mandatory then the government funds your institution so that they can pay the exam boards on your behalf. If you are a private candidate, then it is up to you to cover these costs.
Essentially, GCSE exams always cost money to sit. You may not have realised this due to them being funded for you by the government. As a private candidate, it means you have taken it upon yourself to cover these costs.
How do you re-sit a GCSE exam?
If you are studying privately rather than under an institution, you will need to organise your exams yourself. Around six months before you intend to sit any exams, contact your local schools/colleges to ask if you would be allowed to sit them there as a private candidate. The institution may ask for an additional administration/accommodation fee which is payable to them alone.
For a more in-depth guide to sitting your exams as a private candidate, check out this Think Student article.
English and Maths exams can be resat in November following your original GCSEs. If you think this is too soon for you to prepare for, or you are resitting non-compulsory exams, then you can sit them in the summer.
Do you have to re-sit your GCSEs?
The government has a policy that if you were unable to attain a grade 4 or above in English or Maths, then you must keep resitting the subject until you reach a passing grade or until you turn 18.
For all other subjects, it is completely up to you as to whether or not you resit them. Bear in mind that for certain level 3 qualifications, certain institutions may require you to have attained a certain grade in specific subjects. For example, a college may want you to have a grade 6 in history at a GCSE level in order to study history as an A-Level.
For more information about whether you have to re-sit your GCSEs, check out this guide by ICS Learn.
Before deciding to re-sit your exams, it might be worth considering a GCSE remark. This would be a particularly good idea if you were close to a grade boundary. Check out this Think Student article to learn more.
If you are struggling to pass your GCSEs, then a Functional Skills qualification might be a good fit for you. A Functional Skills level 2 qualification is a course which some students may find easier to complete. It focuses on more practical topics regarding English and maths, which contain useful life skills.
To learn more about FSQs, have a look at this guide from NCFE.
How many times can you retake your GCSEs?
Luckily for you, you have an unlimited number of attempts to get the grades you want! You are allowed to retake your GCSEs as many times as you like. However, this is not necessarily the best course of action for you.
Even if you were able to get a passing grade, some students may wish to retake a GCSE in order to try to get the best possible grade they can achieve. This will especially be the case if they have a prestigious college or university in mind.
For more information, check out this Think Student article.