Everything You Need to Know About A-level Retakes

August 11, 2022

POV: Sixth Form was hard. Harder than you expected. You fought valiantly, making diligent notes, completing past papers, but in the end, for whatever reason, you never quite got to grips with the writhing hydra that is the A-level experience. Come Results Day your fears are confirmed and your grades didn’t quite carry you far enough for entry into your firm choice university.

Take a beat.

The moment when you see a different result to the one you were hoping for is one of the more gut-wrenching feelings you can experience as a young person. So your immediate response to this might well be to succumb to that jarring combination of depression and panic that can only be induced by exam failure. But the thing to remember is that all is not lost: you have options. 

Whether you choose to enter Clearing to find a last minute place, apply for a remark on the off chance or start your A-levels over again, there are plenty of reasons to resist curling up in a hopeless ball on Results Day. (Check out our Results Day blog for an in-depth run-down of the possibilities available to you in the case of disappointing results). 

Today the spotlight is on A-level retakes and why they might just be the hidden gem out of this trio of options. We’ll discuss reasons to retake, how the process works and chat to an experienced retake tutor about his tips for students preparing to resit.

Why should you sign up for A-level retakes?

If you’ve just surfaced from an intense two years of Sixth Form study, it’s completely understandable that the prospect of delaying university for another year in order to resit your A-levels may seem less than appealing. But hear us out. A-level retakes might not be how you envisaged spending this year but there are several reasons why dusting yourself off and trying again might well be the best option for you (yes, even better than Clearing).

When it comes to university, you don’t want to compromise

Even if you’ve just dipped your toe into Results Day research, you’ll have heard about the infamous sifting process known as Clearing which allows students who have received rejections from their university of choice to apply to alternative courses last minute. While thousands of applicants go through Clearing every year, there’s one obvious flaw in this plan: the university you enter through Clearing will not be the one you originally chose. 

This can be devastating for students who had their hearts set on everything - from the course to the campus to the town - their dream university had to offer. So when considering A-level retakes as an option, the first question to ask yourself is a simple one: is this university worth waiting for? For an enormous number of students, the answer is a resounding yes.

What are the benefits of A-level retakes?

We’re so glad you asked.

It’s not like school!

The first thing to know about A-level retakes is that, if you choose to go down the private tutoring route, the experience will not  be a repeat of your last year at school. Promise. Sitting your A-levels outside a school setting is an entirely different ballgame, and we guarantee it won’t be the groundhog day you might be picturing. 

Small group teaching

With Tutor House you have the opportunity to approach your study in an entirely novel way through our A-level retake courses. We specialise in small group learning, allowing for maximum personalisation and bespoke teaching

The principal advantage of a more intimate teaching set-up is that it allows students the flexibility and agency to take control of their own learning. Plus, the tuition packages we offer mean you can choose the learning structure that corresponds with your preferred time frame.

Gap year, anyone?

An unplanned gap year can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. While your friends may be gearing up for another year of full-time study, we’ve designed our retake courses in a way that allows you to take on other projects alongside revision. You might use the spare hours to get a part time job, explore a potential career via an internship or perhaps go travelling (in which case we recommend our Short Retake Course). The world’s your oyster.

How do A-level retakes work?

Before you get started on our A-level retake courses, you have three package options to choose from: 

  • 1. Our short retake course  
  • 2. Our one year retake course
  • 3. 1:1 tuition

Head over to our retakes page for more information on which option might be best for you. 

If you’ve had a browse of our website, you’ll have noticed that here at Tutor House we believe the key to productive learning is focused personalised attention. So our A-level retake courses consist of no more than 5 students.


Your tutor’s no.1 focus in the run up to ‘A-levels Take 2’ is working with you to identify what went wrong on your first attempt so you can achieve the results you’re hoping for this time around. So, how exactly do they do this? 

We asked one of our most experienced retake tutors, Jack, what he considers to be the most important elements of a retake course. “Not getting the exam results you want is quite a blow and it takes some considerable courage to try again.” So Jack’s primary aim during the initial stages of his course is to bolster students’ confidence. “I also make it a priority to determine what happened for the student to not be able to achieve the grades they deserve. Did they have problems with their teacher, did they miss lessons through illness or could their exam technique do with some improvement?”

As part of our retake courses, we aim to break down the hierarchical student-teacher relationships that learners will have encountered at school (and were likely less than conducive to productivity.) A collaborative approach to learning yields the most positive results, so our tutors work to develop an environment that encourages openness, questions and immediate feedback.

How can you make the most of your A-level retake course?

Good question.


So signing up to resit your A-levels would appear to be the best option. But what can you do to guarantee you don’t end up making the same mistakes as last time? Passing the mic back to tutor Jack, “practice makes perfect. Try every past paper and exam-style question you can get your hands on, even if it's not from your exam board. The more you practice your subject the more you embed the skills in your long-term memory.

If you find a topic tricky or you’re struggling with a question, tell your tutor and don’t be embarrassed. We’re here to help, and working together with your tutor on the parts of the course you find tricky will really help improve your results.”

Be bold

Try not to let past mistakes hold you back. Insecurity about what came before will only hamper your growth and ability to perform better this time. Just remember: the power of a fresh start knows no bounds and with the right commitment and support, you have every chance of succeeding this time around. 

For more information about resitting, head over to our A-level retakes page - and don’t forget to check out Jack’s profile here.

Interested in A-level retakes?

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Ella Burgess

Ella is a content writer at Tutor House and explores a range of education centred topics, having previously spent time teaching English while living abroad. A foreign language enthusiast and lover of text art, she is devoted to words in all their forms. She'll happily immerse herself in anything wordy from conceptual art to vintage murder mysteries.

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