I Didn't Get the GCSE Results Needed for Sixth Form College

Mark Maclaine

August 20, 2014

So, you didn't get the GCSE results needed for your chosen Sixth Form College. Before you try any one of our options below,  first contact your chosen college as soon as possible! They might let you in, anyway. If not, don’t worry! There are still options.

Exam resits
Speak to your chosen college before deciding to re-sit; some colleges may allow you to re-sit GCSEs alongside your AS Levels.

It is true that many students do far better in re-sits, but your teacher will know your capabilities well. If your teacher believes you won’t improve, it might not be worth the effort.

Remember that resitting exams can be lonely and will increase your workload. A-Levels are a big step up from GCSEs so bear that in mind when deciding. If you decide to take another year to prepare for Sixth Form and get better GCSE results that’s perfectly okay – you really don’t have to go through AS and A2 exactly when everyone else does.

You don’t have to re-sit at the same school either. There are 5th  and 6th form colleges that specialize in putting students through GCSE resits – or you can always study at home, with a private tutor if necessary, and sit your exams as an External Candidate. An experienced tutor should be able to help you with this.

Ask for a remark
If you feel your mark does not reflect how well you performed, you can request a remark. The more subjective the subject is, the more chance the score could change. In other words, you’re more likely to get a remark in English or Humanities subjects than in Maths and Science.

For the less subjective subjects it might be worth just asking for the ‘clerical’ remark service (i.e. did the examiner miss out any questions when marking, or add your marks up wrong?) which is often cheaper. Ask your subject teacher for advice on this and bear in mind your mark could go down as well as up, so if you’re just a few marks above a grade boundary this could be a risky strategy!

Search for another college
Search for another college with lower entry requirements. You’ll need to contact the college admissions to check if there are still free places. As always, ask your school careers adviser for help and advice on this. Don’t make a rushed decision; it takes time to discuss the pros and cons for each college choice.

Retake the year
You could retake the year to achieve the grades required to attend your chosen College. Before going ahead with this option, contact your chosen college and check that they will accept you if you were to retake the year.

Remember that retaking the year might be difficult and could be lonely, but many students find A Levels a big step up from GCSEs, so there could well be advantages in taking one more year to prepare yourself for 6th form.

Other Options
You could consider other options such as vocational courses or apprenticeships. Again, speak to your careers adviser for help and guidance.