A Level Retakes 2013 and 2014 – FAQs From Questions We Have Received!

A Level Retakes 2013/14 – FAQs

Since the A Level results day we have had many enquiries from students and parents from other schools/colleges looking for A Level retakes places at Bales College.

Given the number of common questions we have been receiving from prospective new students/parents, we decided to post answers to these questions on our News section.

As one of London’s oldest private Colleges, we have a tremendous amount of experience in helping students reach their potential and improve their A Level grades to gain entry into better universities or courses.

Please see below if you are considering doing A Level retakes, and/or call our main office to discuss your situation or any of the below.


Where are you located?

We are at the north side of Ladbroke Grove, close to Queens Park, around 2 miles north of Notting Hill. See the MAP here.Bales Sixth Form College - Map of Queens Park, Maida Vale, Notting Hill, Westbourne Park


What grade improvement do you look for?

We normally seek a 2-grade improvement *on average* per student. The lower the grade, clearly the higher average jump we would aim for. We have had students jump from Us, up to As, Bs and Cs in 1 year for example.

When do students sit their exams?

January re-takes for AS and A2 have been abolished now, meaning that all retake modules would be sat in the regular Summer (June) examination period.

Should I do A  Level Retakes?

If you feel that you have not reached your potential, and you still want to get onto better courses and universities than your current position, then you should retake. You do need to be motivated to work harder, and above all more consistently from the first day at Bales College. We are confident that if you follow what your teachers ask of you, that you will see a significant improvement in your grades!

How long do courses last for?

Courses start during September, and teaching continues through until a few weeks after the Easter holidays, following which revision classes and trial examinations take place allowing plenty of time. We believe that consistency is a huge part of success in A Level Retake examinations.

How does your teaching/environment help a student?

Retake students are generally very motivated, which of course is a great start. We also know where your strengths and weaknesses lie (by reviewing your examination scores in detail together). You are building on existing knowledge, rather than learning much new, meaning that practice class tests, mock examinations etc, can all begin earlier in the year. We can also start earlier on examination techniques, we have small classes meaning plenty of individual attention, and you have direct access to all your teachers outside of class time for extra focus on areas you need.

We are extremely confident that we have a good methodology for improving grades. Our new Head of Sixth Form, Mr Yearsley, has been involved in a number of state and private schools where he has significantly raised the overall academic standards.

Can I change exam boards?

Yes you can transfer examination boards if you did not do the same boards that we normally offer for any given subject.

What about my old A Level results when I do A Level Retakes?

When you take your A Level Retakes, your best grades from your first time and your retakes will count towards your final grade. This is done automatically by the exam boards. Of course we aim for the new grades to overtake all the old ones!

Do I need to retake all my modules?

No, you can pick and choose. We would normally sit down with you and discuss the options. If you have all low grades, then it would make sense to re-take all modules. However, if you have some good and some poor, then focusing on the poor ones may be the best option to allow you to put all your effort into those. HOwever, it may still be that you and we feel that you can manage to re-take all your modules and, for example, push up some from a B to an A, while also improving the lower grade modules. Knowledge in one module often translates across to improvement in others, particularly in subjects like mathematics.

Do I need a new UCAS reference?

Yes, generally we would work with your previous school/College to craft a new reference. Your old school would have better knowledge of your history, and we can work to incorporate your new achievements, plans and motivations! We would normally have 2 months of your class performance on which to base our reference and predicted grades, which will be determined by previous performance, plus the effort you put in at Bales, and results you get in class tests or mock exams at Bales.

Ms Teji has over 20 years experience in helping students at Bales College and other colleges write their own UCAS applications.

Do you do my exam entries?

Yes, Ms Sabat is our full-time examinations officer and will work with you and your subject teachers in determining which modules you should be entered for, and then complete this for you.