Can You Resit A Levels? What You Need To Know

An empty exam hall

A Levels, a crucial part of the UK education system, often determine a student's path to higher education and career opportunities. However, not everyone achieves their desired grades on the first attempt. This leads to the question: can you retake or resit A Levels?

The Option to Retake

The answer is yes, students can retake A Levels. This option is a lifeline for those who didn't perform as expected, providing a second chance to improve grades. Retaking can be done for various reasons, ranging from missing university offers to personal dissatisfaction with the results.


When and How to Retake

A Level retakes usually occur in the following summer exam series, a year after the initial exams. However, some subjects also offer retakes in January.

You can re-take A Levels either at your current school or college, a new one or via a private exam centre.


How Much Does It Cost to Resit A Levels?

While some colleges of sixth forms may provide resits free of charge, in most cases you will have to pay a fee. This is typically between £100 - £200 per subject. If you are resitting at a private centre, the fee will likely be significantly higher.


Choosing Subjects to Retake

It's important to carefully consider which subjects to retake. Some students opt to retake all their subjects, while others focus on specific ones where they need improvement. This decision should be based on university requirements, career aspirations, and personal strengths.


The Impact on University Applications

Retaking A Levels can impact university applications. Most universities accept retake students, but some competitive courses or universities might have stricter policies. It's crucial to check individual university policies and communicate with admissions departments.


Preparing for the Retakes

Preparation for retakes should be thorough. It's advisable to review the exam feedback, understand where improvements are needed, and possibly seek additional tutoring. Balancing the retake studies with other commitments, like a gap year or part-time work, requires good time management.


Can You Go To Uni Without A Levels?

It's a common misconception that A Levels are the only route to university. In fact, there are several alternatives for those who either didn't take A Levels or did not achieve the necessary grades. Options include:

  • Foundation Courses: Many universities offer foundation years designed to prepare students for degree-level study. These are ideal for those who have not met the A Level requirements for their chosen course.
  • Access to Higher Education Diplomas: Specifically designed for adults looking to enter higher education, these courses provide a pathway to university for those who left school without A Levels.
  • BTEC Qualifications: BTEC diplomas are vocational qualifications that are widely recognised by universities and can be equivalent to A Levels.
  • Apprenticeships: Higher apprenticeships can lead to degree-level qualifications and offer a practical, work-based alternative to traditional university study.
  • Open University Courses: The Open University provides flexible distance learning courses that don't always require traditional qualifications for entry.
  • Mature Student Entry: Universities often have different entry requirements for mature students, recognising work experience and other qualifications instead of A Levels.

It's important for prospective students to research and understand the entry requirements of specific universities and courses, as they can vary significantly.


In conclusion, retaking A Levels is not only possible but also a practical option for many students. Additionally, the pathway to university is not limited to A Levels. Various alternative qualifications and routes can lead to higher education, opening up opportunities for a diverse range of students.

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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