For most UK universities, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C (including English and mathematics) or above is a mandatory requirement. Students should have attained this standard before beginning A-Levels.

Those needing to retake GCSE subjects should use their existent GCSE grades as a guide; a grade D that is near to a grade C in a subject where a winter exam sitting is available (key subjects such as English and mathematics are usually available as winter exam sittings) should provide encouragement for a short retake course to be completed. However, other factors need to be considered such as knowledge and aptitude in and enjoyment of the subject, the amount of preparation required and other work priorities. GCSE coursework is also a factor, as this may be carried forward or resubmitted, but is not transferable to a different examining board. A very low grade D or below and a one year retake course is unquestionably the right option.


We are happy to offer advice about GCSE preparation and retake strategies, either by telephone, email or at interview. We look at each student as an individual and where only one or two subjects are at grade D and need to be retaken it is normally possible to begin two A-Levels or a BTEC programme in a subject or subjects where a student is clearly able or passionate about (such as art or business) alongside the GCSE retake subjects.

The standard structure for a short, winter exam, GCSE retake course is four hours per subject, per week of small group lessons whilst a student retaking over one year will join the students in the One Year GCSE course classes.