CAN YOU RETAKE A LEVELS?
The first question you have to ask yourself is “where can you retake A levels?”. It may be possible to stay at your current school to resit the exams in the summer or repeat the year. Alternatively, you can retake your A levels as an external candidate at many exam centres. However, if you are looking for a fresh start and want to enrol on an A level retake course, there are a number of sixth form colleges who offer these. Westminster Tutors has a wealth of experience and our unique teaching approach means our results generally outstrip our competitors by a long measure.
What to consider when choosing an A level retake course
Each independent sixth form college will offer a different kind of A level retake course so it’s essential to research what is the best fit for you. Some will only teach one exam board they have chosen for A level retakes but this type of course can be useful if your A level board matches and you feel the need to go back over the whole syllabus. Some will provide complete one-year intensive A level courses, but their retake students will be placed in their normal Year 12 and Year 13 classes alongside students who are studying the subject for the first time. This could be confusing if you need to fully assimilate the AS content before you move on to the A level content so be sure you understand exactly how the course will be delivered.
Another aspect to consider is the number of students who will be in your class. If you were previously left behind in a big class at school, it’s important to check that this will not happen again. The class size and the extent to which your independent sixth form college follows a strict school routine also varies greatly, and several of the larger sixth form colleges operate in the exact same way as a school, which would give you less of a chance to transition to a more flexible and mature environment.
Other independent colleges like ours stay much closer to their tutorial college origins and teach all exam boards for A level retakes, in addition to offering the opportunity to concentrate on the specific topics that you need, whether these be English Literature set texts, specific periods of History, different areas of Politics or different options in Psychology. Some components may only require exam practice and revision; while in other areas it may be necessary to go over the whole course again if you never really got the hang of the subject matter. Our targeted approach to A level retakes can often end up being cheaper and less time-consuming since you only pay for what you study and you don’t have to sit in lessons for every topic whether you have grasped it or not.A flexible retake course like this also allows you to think more about finding work experience or paid work. We are able to put together timetables which give you the chance to work part-time for a few days a week. This all means that your extra year taking A levels also includes the opportunity to to enhance your CV, or to take advantage of the many things central London has on offer or to pursue new interests. Altogether, instead of taking a step backwards, a year spent with us provides the opportunity to take on new, positive things.
It is also important to ask A level retake colleges about the A level results and UCAS destinations for ALL of their students, because many just publish their ‘success stories’, i.e. the students who gained top grades and places at the best universities. This of course does not paint the full picture of their overall success rate. As you are spending the money and the time, you must be sure that you pick a college which will help you go to your chosen university.
One final thing to be aware of is the number/ proportion of non UK students who might be in your classes. In some colleges it is possible that there will be a majority of international students in lessons for particular A level subjects, and although this is a wonderful opportunity to meet students from around the world, they often have very different requirements to students from the UK. In Maths and the sciences, the international students might be at varying and sometimes higher levels; whereas in the arts and humanities it might be necessary to adapt teaching for the students who are still studying English along with their A level courses.
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