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If you find yourself in a position where you are thinking about resiting your GCSE or A Level examinations you may be feeling slightly disheartened. But don’t be, retaking your GCSE’s or A-level’s couldn’t be easier!

We understand that it can be disappointing and upsetting if you discover that you haven’t achieved the results you’d hoped for. However, it is important to remember that it is far from the end of the world. You still have plenty of options, including the opportunity to resit your exams,  meaning that you have another chance to achieve the grade you believe you are capable of achieving.

Why would you retake your GCSE or A Level exams?

  • If you have failed your GCSE or A Level examinations and needed to gain some qualifications.
  • If you want a higher grade than the one you have already achieved- some pupils find that, while they might have done well, their results do not match what they had expected or what they want, and therefore retake to try and improve their grade.
  • If you need a particular grade to get into a university course as Universities and professions often require certain grades in specific subjects. Thus some students may choose to retake if they didn’t manage to achieve what they needed to be accepted into a particular course or university.
  • Adult learners – those who have found a renewed interest in the subject and want to re-sit it. Maybe the revision courses weren’t available when they were at school, so they want to try to gain additional qualifications now that they are.

Pro’s and Cons of retaking GCSE’s and A-Levels


  • GCSE and A Level qualifications are those that most Universities and colleges look at. Doing well in your GCSE’s will determine which subjects you go on to study at A Level, which can ultimately influence which course you choose to study at university. It’s much harder to jump into an A-Level course without having taken the GCSE first, so, if you fail or don’t do as well as you hoped at GCSE level, retaking your exams is well worth considering.
  • Most jobs require a minimum of a C or above in GCSE Maths and English. Even if you have no desire to go to university or college, apprenticeships usually require some qualifications for you to be considered for a place. The better qualifications you have, the more education and job opportunities will be available to you.
  • Retaking right away means that you still have a good amount of knowledge stored in your short-term memory. The longer you wait the more likely you are to forget the information, resulting in an increased amount of revision hours.


  • Re-sitting exams takes time and can cause disruption to a student’s education. If there is too much focus on re-sitting exams instead of moving on and learning new material or accepting that perhaps this particular subject is not where your strengths lie, you could end up falling behind in other subjects.
  • Creates a sense of apathy. It’s paramount not to see the opportunity to re-sit as an excuse not to try your best first time round. Having an attitude of ‘I can always do it again’ is dangerous for self-discipline when it comes to revision and if you can do well first time it is much less hassle!
  • Schools may not be able to provide the resources to help students who wish to resit their exams. Schools are overstretched as it is and therefore if you do decide to retake you may have to undertake revision and study in your own time. However, hiring a private tutor to help go through course material and work through any areas you had trouble with before, is a fantastic alternative to ensure you give yourself the best chance of success.
  • You may still not get the grade you require which can feel disappointing and frustrating.
  • Resitting exams costs money. Each time you decide to retake an exam you have to pay an entry fee and doing this time and time again can add up. You may also wish to hire a private tutor to help with your revision and this is an additional expense. However, at Tutor House we aim to make tutoring available to everyone, with some of our tutors offering to teach for just £20 per hour. Choosing an affordable tutor can mean you achieve that desired grade first time round, saving you time and money in the long run.

What are the alternatives to GCSE and A Level resits?

If you don’t feel as though resitting your exams is the right option for you, there are still plenty of alternative paths that you can consider to help you continue your education or start your career. For example, there are many opportunities for apprenticeships which don’t require you to have any formal qualifications, so these are worth looking into if you haven’t managed to pass any of your exams.  You can find out more about apprenticeships here.

  • Work Experience or internships – if you can get work experience or an internship in an industry you love, you could end up being offered a more permanent role.
  • Volunteering – do some valuable volunteer work in an area you are interested in. This will look great on your cv which could lead to a paid role. It will also make you feel happy to know you are giving something back too!
  • Taking a break – you don’t have to resit your exams right away! Explore different avenues and options, and take the time to think about what it right for you. Sometimes getting some distance can help you to think about what you really need, and if you do decide to come back and resit your exams, you can always refresh your knowledge by  hiring a tutor to help you.
  • Resitting your GCSE or A Levels can be advantageous for many reasons, but it is important to think carefully before you decide to. By hiring a tutor to keep you focused, work through difficult topics and help with your revision strategy you will give yourself the best chance of success.