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Can You Retake GCSEs? You Guide to GCSE Resits

Can You Retake GCSEs? You Guide to GCSE Resits

Failing your GCSEs – or not getting the results you wanted – can be difficult. But don’t worry, it’s not the end of the road. 

You’ll be pleased to hear that you can retake your GCSEs. In fact, you may even have to depending on the subject.

Here’s all you need to know about GCSE resits.

Can you resit GCSEs?

Yes! Anyone can retake a GCSE – regardless of your results or how long ago you first took the exam.

Resitting your GCSEs can be a great way to improve your skill set and open up more opportunities for yourself later down the line.

This is especially the case if you’re hoping to continue your studies. Most A level – and T Level – courses require at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, including English and maths.

Meanwhile, some university courses and jobs will want high grades in certain subjects.

Ultimately, depending on your results and your future plans, retaking your GCSEs could pave the way for success in your studies and career. 

An experienced tutor can help you to prepare fully for your resit, to give you the best chance of getting the results you want.

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Your questions answered about resitting GCSEs

What GCSEs can you retake?

You can retake any GCSE you like. There are no limits.

However, GCSE maths and GCSE English are the most common exams to resit. This is because the government will make you resit these exams if you’re under 18 and didn’t get at least a grade 4.

Can you retake a GCSE even if you passed?

Just because you passed your GCSEs, that doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed with your exam results. So, can you retake a GCSE if you passed?

Absolutely! It doesn’t make a difference what result you’ve received. If you want to retake a GCSE in order to try and get a better grade, that’s your call.

How many times can you retake your GCSEs?

You can retake your GCSEs as many times as you like! 

However, if you’re struggling to pass after several retakes, it might be worth considering other qualifications instead. 

Can you retake GCSEs at any age?

Yes, you can retake GCSEs at any age – even if years have passed since you first sat the exams.

It makes no difference whether you’re 16 years old or an adult returning to education after a break.

That said, if you know you’d like to resit a GCSE, it’s often best to do so as soon as possible after you first sit the exam. This is because the knowledge and preparation should still be fresh in your mind, making it easier for you to prepare the second time around.

Regardless, it’s important to put in some extra preparation to make sure you’re able to better your result. A professional GCSE tutor can help you.

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Can you retake GCSEs in sixth form?

That depends on your school, your GCSE results and what subjects you’re hoping to study in sixth form.

Most sixth forms, schools and colleges will let you study for GCSE resits alongside A levels for other subjects.

Just bear in mind that, if you want to take an A level in a subject where you’ve struggled to achieve a grade 4, you might find it hard to work at a higher level without improving your GCSE result first.

Talk to the sixth form you’re hoping to attend to get their advice.

When can you resit a GCSE?

That depends on which subject you’re hoping to resit.

English and maths GCSE resits take place twice a year – once in the autumn (usually November) and once in the summer at the usual exam time.

On the other hand, other subjects will normally need to be retaken in the summer, during normal exam time.

"My advice regarding English and maths resits is to book them as soon as possible and seek appropriate tutor support to fill the gaps where necessary.

"A lot of the English or maths you have learned will still be fresh in your mind so the sooner they are resat - the better!”

- Matthew B, GCSE English tutor

What happens if you do worse in a GCSE resit?

Some people are put off from retaking a GCSE because they’re afraid they’ll do worse the second time around. But there’s no need to worry!

If you do worse in a GCSE resit, this won’t mean you’ll lose your higher grade.

Rather, you’ll be able to choose which of the two grades you want to keep – and let’s be honest, that’ll probably mean keeping the higher one!

Even if you resit the same GCSE several times, you can still choose to keep the highest grade.

Young woman in a GCSE resit

Do you have to retake GCSEs if you fail?

That depends on the GCSE. 

In most cases, you don’t have to retake a GCSE. But when it comes to English and maths, you’ll need to get at least a grade 4 – otherwise, you have to retake them (or get an equivalent qualification).

Here’s the lowdown.

Do you have to retake your English Literature GCSE if you fail?

No. If you fail your English Literature exam, you won’t need to resit it – although of course, you can if you choose to.

That said, you will need to get a grade 4 in at least one English GCSE exam. Which brings us onto…

Do you have to retake your English Language GCSE?

That depends!

If you fail your GCSE in English Language but you’ve got a grade 4 or above in English Literature, you won’t need to retake it.

This is because you’re only required to get at least a grade 4 in one English exam.

On the other hand, if you fail both your English Language and English Literature exams, you can’t choose which one to retake. Instead, you’ll need to retake your English Language exam to get at least a grade 4 (although of course, there’s nothing to stop you from resitting them both if you want to!).

If you won’t be studying full-time next year or you got a grade 2 or below, you may be able to take a functional skills qualification in English instead. This is an online qualification that exam boards can offer on demand.

Do you have to retake your maths GCSE?

Yes. You’ll need to get at least a grade 4 in your maths GCSE – otherwise, you’ll have to retake it.

As with English, you’ll need to carry on studying and retaking maths until you get a grade 4 – unless you turn 18 before that or you’re eligible to take a functional skills qualification instead.

Again, functional skills qualifications are usually only an option if you’re not going to be in full-time education next year, or you got a grade 2 or below.

Do you have to retake your science GCSE?

No, you don’t have to retake your science GCSE. But many students still choose to. 

This is because lots of jobs require you to have at least a grade 4 in science. 

With that in mind, retaking your science GCSE if you fail can help you to access more opportunities in the future.

Teens receive their GCSE resit results

How to retake GCSEs

If you need to retake a GCSE – or you simply want to get a better grade – then you’re probably wondering how to do so.

Luckily, it’s not hard to arrange, although you should make sure to put in the proper preparation to give yourself the best chance of improving on your results.

Here’s how to resit GCSEs.

1. Book your GCSE resit

First things first, you’ll need to book your resit.

If you’re currently studying, the best way to do this is to ask your school or college.

Alternatively, you can choose to sit your GCSEs as a private candidate. To do this, you just need to contact local exam centres such as schools and colleges to see if they accept private candidates.

2. Prepare to resit your GCSE

There’s no point in resitting your GCSE if you’re not going to put the work in to improve your result.

With that in mind, preparation is key!

Private tutoring can be a great way to prepare for your GCSE resit. They’ll help you get the result you want with one-to-one attention and weekly lesson plans that take into account your strengths, weaknesses and learning style.

They’ll also help you to study for your resit alongside your other plans – whether that’s working towards your A levels or a full-time job.

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3. Retake your GCSE

Now all that remains is to resit your GCSE.

With the right preparation – and the help of a dedicated tutor – you’ll be much more likely to get the result you’re after.

But even if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Remember, you can resit your GCSEs as many times as you like.

How much does it cost to retake a GCSE?

So, how much is it to retake a GCSE?

Well, it all depends on the grade you got, the subject you want to retake and the type of school or college you attend (if you’re currently in formal education).

Normally, if you resit your exam at the same school or college within a year of your first attempt, you won’t need to pay a penny. 

However, some schools may ask you to pay if you’re retaking a subject that you’ve passed or you’re hoping to resit a subject other than English or maths.

In this case – or if you choose to sit a GCSE exam as a private candidate – you could be looking at a cost of anywhere between £30 and £100+. It all depends on your exam centre.

Find a tutor to help with your GCSE resit

Remember, preparation is the key to success when it comes to resitting a GCSE.

Luckily, our expert tutors can help to make sure you’re fully prepared for your resit. From week-by-week plans to practice exams, they’ll have you covered every step of the way, so you can ace that resit when the time comes.

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FAQs

Can you retake your science GCSE?

Yes, you can retake your science GCSE. Many pupils choose to retake their science GCSE as lots of jobs require at least a grade 4.

How to retake your maths GCSE?

The easiest way to retake your maths GCSE is to ask your school or college to book you in for a resit. But make sure to prepare in the meantime. 

A tutor can help you to hone your maths skills to give you the best chance of achieving the grade you need. 

Do you have to retake maths and English GCSE?

Yes, if you don’t achieve at least a grade 4 in your maths and English GCSEs, you’ll need to retake them.

However, some students are eligible to take functional skills qualifications instead.

Can you do a GCSE retake online?

No, you can’t retake a GCSE online, although you can prepare for your resit with online tutoring.

That said, functional skills qualifications can be taken online. Some pupils are eligible to take these instead of resitting their English or maths GCSE.

Is an English GCSE retake hard?

Your English GCSE retake shouldn’t be any harder than your first GCSE attempt, as the exams are the same for all candidates.

Is a science GCSE retake worth it?

A science GCSE retake can be worth it, especially if you’re hoping to pursue sciences in the future. Many jobs require at least a grade 4 in science.

How to retake your science GCSE?

If you’re currently studying, your school or college will be able to arrange for you to resit your science GCSE. However, it’ll often be up to you to prepare for the resit – a tutor can help.

Can I resit my GCSE for free?

Yes. Normally, you can resit your GCSE for free if it’s at the same school or college within a year of your first attempt. 

Are GCSE retakes harder?

No, GCSE retakes shouldn’t be any harder as all candidates will sit the same exam. That said, you may find it harder if you don’t prepare thoroughly, as your knowledge can become rusty in the period between your initial attempt and your resit.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to get the help of a private tutor. They’ll be able to make sure you’re fully prepared for your retake so you stand the best possible chance of getting the result you’re hoping for.

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Imogen Beech

Imogen Beech

26th Jun 2024