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One year A level retakes at Rochester College

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A level resits

Many students arrive at RIC each year having missed their offers and leave with three top grades and a first choice university place- even for subjects like Medicine or Law- after an intensive A level retake course. Equally important is the self-confidence gained from these successful educational makeovers. If you have missed your A level offer grades and are not happy with the thought of applying through Clearing there are positive options for students needing to resit their A levels. We have been offering intensive A level resit courses since 1984 and on average students improve by two grades in a year, taking Bs to A*s and Cs to As. Resitting A levels at RIC is not like going back to school. There’s no uniform, no petty rules, and teachers and students are on first name terms. It’s a stepping-stone between school and university. Retaking can be a  journey filled with detours, roadblocks, and unexpected turns but RIC is here to help students along the way. 

Changing directions

Sometimes A level retakers change direction while on their course. Maia from Colfe’s School originally joined RIC as a boarder to retake A levels for Medicine but swiftly decided to switch, opting for one-year courses in Fine Art and English Literature alongside resitting Chemistry and winning a place at UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art.


Right results, brighter futures

RIC offers a range of one year A level courses that can be successfully combined with A level resits. The one thing to remember is that retaking A levels does not necessarily diminish your chances of attending a top university and, through the years, RIC has enabled retake students to actually improve their future academic prospects as students leave us to start degree programmes they initially thought beyond their reach before joining us.

But perhaps what sets RIC's retake program apart is the sense of camaraderie and community. It's a place where many are on the same journey, even if they are heading in different directions. Lois, Class of 2020, said: "As a retake student, RIC really helped me change the mistakes I'd previously made when applying to university. I found a new passion for Film at RIC that I wanted to explore further at university along with English literature.

What’s it like to learn in a sixth form boarding college?

Classes are small, usually numbering around six to eight, meaning students have individual attention. Exam practice is frequent. It can be both reassuring and stimulating to join A Level classes with those in the same position who have also moved schools. 

Just as you reach the end of two years of study, retaking those same qualifications all over again may feel like the last thing on earth you would want to do. However, many students leave at the end of the year saying that A Level retakes were the best choice they made in education. With expert guidance, another year in the Sixth Form is likely to open up far more possibilities both for university and beyond. For many, it is also the best year of their academic life.

Can I combine resits with new intensive one-year courses?

When looking to retake A Levels, it is important to seek out expert advice and guidance. It is important to consider what didn’t work first time around and to have the right support in place to ensure things are different during your resit year. You will likely want to consider your subject choices. Often students take on subjects they are not well suited for and which are not required for their course. This can be an opportunity to realign your subjects towards your interests at the same time as strengthening your chances of achieving As and A*s and making your application more attractive to universities. And yes, it is entirely achievable to sit a new A Level in one year and achieve top grades - at RIC it happens every year.

If you have A Level or below your expectations, or things are not going as planned, call or email us at Rochester Independent College for an informal conversation about options for you.

RIC has very limited places this year for intensive A level retake courses running September 2024-June 2025 so please contact us swiftly to discuss your resit options. 

Students who opt for a retake year are able to reflect carefully on their chosen academic direction. Were you doing the right subjects first time around? You can combine resits with new subjects. Why do you need to retake and how are you going to approach things differently seconds time around? 

Students retaking their A levels in 2023 have secured places at a range of Russell Group universities including Medicine at Sheffield and Newcastle, and Art History at Exeter and UCL. 

Guide for students thinking about A level resits

• One Year A level retake courses allow students to be comprehensively retaught. Class sizes average eight. Exam practice is regular and students are kept on target. Individualised help is plentiful. Our engaging tutors help students towards their academic destinations with precision and flair.

• Some students on A level resit courses have missed periods of school in the past due to illness. Some have struggled with exam technique, organisation or knowing how to study and revise independently. Others have not flourished in previous schools or simply not worked hard enough before! All benefit from supportive Director of Studies and university application expertise.

• In order to make an A level retake course as stimulating and productive as possible it is usual for students to add at least one new subject studied intensively to full A level. Students often do better with fresh A levels than they would have done retaking A level subjects that were not right for them in the first place.

• We are able to offer places in our on campus halls of residence to students on A level resit courses. We group such older, university aged students together in boarding. The atmosphere is closer to a university halls of residence than a traditional boarding school but with more structure and support. 

What gives Rochester Independent College’s A level retake students the competitive edge when reapplying for university is that they often add new A level subjects completed as one year intensive courses alongside their A level resits to properly prepare them for their chosen course of study and demonstrate their academic potential.

One year A level retake success stories

Year 13 at former schools was unlucky for some but many students turned things around by opting for an extra year of sixth form in RIC’s year 14, taking a mixture of one year A level and retake courses. Freddy from The Judd School, Tonbridge improved his grades from BBC to A*A*A and now has a place at Bristol University for Aerospace Engineering. He’ll be joined there by another Freddy from King’s Canterbury who improved his A levels from CDE to A*A*A and will study Engineering Mathematics. 

Erin switched from Holcombe Grammar with DEE to retake and upgraded these results to A*A*A*A and will read Anthropology at UCL. Erin said that ‘It was the best decision I made to come to RIC during my A level. The teachers gave me back both the confidence and the grades I needed. I do not know any other school that cares like RIC does.’

It is always a shock not to receive the grades you wanted, but it need not be the end of high aspirations. Joel achieved grades ABB at The Judd School but this was not enough for the course he was aiming at. Joel retook two subjects and added English Literature, winning a place at Exeter University. He says: "I really enjoyed English and was so pleased with my A* result, especially since it was my only B at GCSE. Social and political protest writing linked well with Politics and Economics. RIC has been a stepping stone between school and university. Weekly boarding meant that I could get my creature comforts at home yet have a social life at college, living with people the same age as me. Taking control of my own education ensured I had the motivation to succeed."


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