GCSE or A-level retakes can be daunting at any age, whether you have just attempted your qualifications for the first time and flunked, or you left school years ago and you need to try again, the thought of a GCSE or A-Level retake can send people into a spiral of panic! But it doesn’t need to be as scary as you might think.
With the developments in online learning and the wide availability of online GCSE or A-Level courses, it’s now easier than ever to successfully achieve GCSE or A-Level retakes without having to go back to school or even a classroom if you don’t want to.
The first thing you need to do is have a plan. You need to work out which subjects you want or need to retake and the timeline you are looking to achieve this in. Of course with both GCSE and A-Level retakes, you always have to keep in mind the next examination period (usually the June of each year). When it comes to retaking qualifications, you are in a great position to fast track your learning, lets be honest, you have learnt it all once, so you just need to brush up and top up your knowledge on the subject. This advantage will come in especially handy when it comes to A-Levels, as instead of the usual 2 years, you can consider condensing your learning time down into one year or even 6 months.
How to find an Online College for GCSE or A-Level Retakes
You might think this is a bit of an obvious area to cover, but actually, you’d be surprised of some of the pitfalls you could fall into. Online colleges are great and offer a great service to students, but they aren’t like state schools or colleges, so learning with online colleges isn’t going to be free. You are going to find prices of courses vary quite significantly from college to college, which is why it’s vital you do your research.
Where you might find one college keeps appearing in your Google searches over and over and seems to have the cheapest prices, if you look a bit further into things and check views on student forums, you might just find the service is terrible or the course materials lack significant and important up to date information. On the other hand, where you find a tucked away gem of an online college, that has expensive course prices and offers you the world, you may find that the service is flawless and the course materials right on point, but then you feel too much like you’re back at school with set classes and times you have to attend. Basically, it’s all about research and knowing what you want from the start.
What about the exams for GCSE or A-Level Retakes?
So, again, online colleges aren’t like state schools or colleges, when it comes to sitting the actual examinations you will need to book yourself in with an examination centre as a Private Candidate. Some online colleges offer this service (at a fee), others will just point you in the general direction of the awarding bodies’ websites where you can find lists of centres. Sounds a bit daunting right? Well it’s only daunting if you haven’t done your research or if you don’t ask for help. The process of booking in as a Private Candidate can be very simple and straight forward, you just have to know the steps to follow.
With Open College, we advise all our new students to follow the rough guidelines below:
- In the January of the year you want to sit your GCSE or A-Level Retakes, start getting in touch with local examination centres and enquiring about registering with them as a Private Candidate. If you’re a student with Open College, you can get in touch with the Student Services Team and they will give you a list of centres close to your location who have confirmed they accept Private Candidates.
- By no later than March, ensure that you have confirmed with the examination centre that you want to sit your retakes with them and begin the registration process. If you are doing courses that have a NEA (coursework) element, you will need to also confirm the dates for submitting your NEA with the centre.
- Get in touch with your online college and confirm with them all of your exam codes, paper codes and awarding bodies for your courses (you would be surprised how many students get their awarding bodies mixed up).
- Provide all the exam codes, paper codes and registration forms with fees to your exam centre and ask them to confirm with you your exam times and dates.
Once all four of the above steps are completed, you are registered and ready to go, all you have left to do is make sure you get to that exam centre with plenty of time to sit the exams.
Still need more help or advice?
If you’re still unsure of what you need to do or how to enrol for GCSE or A-Level retakes, then contact one of the Open College Student Services Team to get more help and advice. We’re ready and waiting to help and we’re with you every step of the way, call +44 (0)204 5770365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of our Online A-Levels
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