A Level results day isn’t always a positive experience and many people don’t achieve their university offers. Whilst some people may choose to look into other courses through clearing, for others it may be easier to simply retake your A Levels in order to get the grades you need- especially if you’re extremely passionate about doing one course in particular.

Before making the decision to retake your A Levels there are several things that you should consider, one of which being will it actually improve your chances of getting into university next time? Depending on the type of course you want to do some universities can be extremely picky when it comes to A Level retakes. Courses like medicine or veterinary science typically won’t take people with retakes unless they have special circumstances (such as an illness or something which affected their ability the first time around). Before deciding to spend money and time on retakes it may be worth searching which universities and courses will accept them as part of offers.

1. What went wrong the first time?

You should also consider what went wrong the first time. If your problem was that you left all of your revision to the last minute so you had to cram then you could probably improve your grade next time. If you were scoring consistently low throughout the two years then it is unlikely that retaking the exam will improve your grade significantly. Think about what you would do to improve your grade and think about whether you really want to spend another year doing it again. If you hated a subject the first time around then it is unlikely that you will develop a sudden passion for it this time.

2. Request copies of your exam papers

If you’re definitely certain that retaking your A Levels is the best route then there are a couple of more things that you should maybe do before the year begins. A simple one would be to request copies of your exam papers for the courses that you are planning to resit because there is no easier way to see where you went wrong. You can look at the mistakes that you made in each exam and try and focus on those areas this time around. It’s unlikely that you did everything badly so there probably isn’t a lot of use in going over absolutely everything again and again. Instead you should try and focus on the things that went badly so that you can correct them this time around.

3. Focus on revision

For some people it isn’t the knowledge that trips them up, but rather their exam preparation. If you’re one of those people who just forgot to revise until the last minute then you should focus on how you’ll avoid that this time around. Draw up a timetable of when you’ll do your homework and revision, but be realistic about it as well. If you could barely be bothered to do your homework last time then it’s unlikely that you’ll all of a sudden be able to study for five hours at a time. Keeping on top of everything throughout the year should help you to avoid the last minute panic when it comes to exams this time around.

4. Use the summer wisely

Another key tip is to keep reminding yourself over the summer. You don’t get your results until late August so once you’ve got them it may be worth going over some of the content from your courses again. If you’ve forgotten all of the material from the course then it will be much much harder to try and get ahead this time around. Look through your textbooks every now and again and maybe do some practice questions as well, just so that you don’t forget absolutely everything.

Like we said, resits aren’t for everyone but if you know it’s what you want to do then it is definitely worth doing. The key is to be smart about it; don’t retake a course if it won’t get you into university or your apprenticeship, don’t take it if you are unlikely to get better or you’re unlikely to put more effort in this time around. If you are desperate to retake it then you should start by looking at where you can improve from the get go rather than waiting until exams come around again so that you have the best chance of getting the grades you want!