"It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way, even by death, and we fly back to the first principles of hope and enjoyment." -Bram Stoker

Of all living things, humans, by far, are the most complex. Not only is our brain programmed to complete mundane tasks, but we also have feelings that can make us soar or plummet. We feel joy, contentment, excitement, and confidence when we are in a healthy state. And, we experience regret, discouragement, despair, and sadness when we are at our worst.

Nonetheless, despite what we may feel at our worst, all human beings possess an exquisite quality known as resilience that helps them get back up after they fall; no matter how many times that may be.

But why are we talking about resilience and personal strength? Well, because unfortunately, year after year, many youths across the United Kingdom receive less than stellar grade results on essential qualifications such as A-Levels or GCSEs. And, instead of feeling sorry for themselves and accepting their mediocre marks, they pick themselves back up and fight towards getting a better grade by doing a little something known as a retake. What a fantastic attitude!

Therefore, to continuously encourage British youths to strive for academic excellence at a secondary school level, in today's article, we shall examine a step-by-step guide explaining how to resit the GCSEs.

A Brief History of the GCSEs

Although the GCSEs have been around for more than 30 years and are well-known by generations of citizens in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, not a lot of people are familiar with the history behind the GCSEs and how they came about.

working academically
Retaking the GCSEs is enough to stress anybody out, hire a private tutor on Superprof to get the help you need. (Source: Unsplash)

First and foremost, it's important to state that the GCSEs have been around since 1988 and were introduced as a national qualification for those who wanted to leave secondary school at 16 years of age and not continue onto further courses such as the A-Levels or university programmes. What did they replace?

The GCSEs replaced the CSE, which is known as the Certificate of Secondary Education, and the O-Levels which are known by many former students and educators as the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level. And, while the CSEs and the O-Levels were used for many years successfully, they were often criticised for their disparity of exam results. For instance, there was not a middle ground; either the students did very well or exceptionally poorly.

Have there been any criticisms of the GCSEs? But, of course. Despite all sincere efforts done by parliament and the Education Board, the GCSEs are imperfect and have been scrutinised for the following reasons:

  • Gender bias,
  • Grade disparity,
  • Widening of the social divide in the UK,
  • Increased stress levels amongst students,
  • Correction errors and mistakes,
  • Grade inflation,
  • Unsuccessful marking systems,
  • Cancellations.

To iron out the potential problems faced with the GCSEs, the National Education System has implemented several reforms to the GCSE format since there introduction in the late 80s. For instance, grading has changed, marking systems were adjusted, and new course subjects were introduced to students.

However, the GCSEs are a predominantly sound system of grading that prepare secondary school students in Year 9 and 10 (Key Stage 4) for university and additional further education programmes. 

The GCSEs are unique to the United Kingdom. They have been compared to the European Baccalaureate in the EU, the high school leaving diploma in the United States and the Diplôme National du Brevet in France.

Along with the core subjects of English, Maths, and Science that students are required to complete, there are plenty of additional topics that make learning engaging for secondary school students. Such as? The following are some prime examples of GCSE subjects:

  • Astronomy,
  • Geology,
  • Sociology,
  • Ancient History,
  • Business Studies,
  • Food Preparation & Nutrition,
  • Art & Design,
  • Photography,
  • Graphics,
  • And many many more!

Of course, the previously mentioned additional subjects are available depending on the secondary school, examination board, and geographic area of the UK. The engaging GCSE subjects are only provided as an option for students who are in Key Stage 4 of the National Education System.

As a way of concluding this section, it's encouraging to mention that millions of high schoolers across the United Kingdom, and for the past 30+ years, have found future success primarily due to the effectiveness of GCSE subjects. And, if that isn't yet you, there is no need to fret since you will find all the information you need to resit the GCSEs in the following subheading.

A How-To Guide of Resitting the GCSEs

After you've grieved your first GCSE results and come to realise that a retake is the only viable option to secure a bright future, you must uncover the necessary information to resit your GCSEs. But how can it be done?

While resitting the GCSE is a serious decision that shouldn't be taken lightly, the National Education System has made it possible to do so, and it's a no brainer!

Therefore, for all those affected by less than stellar GCSE marks, we shall examine a How-To Guide of what needs to be taken into consideration.

How Can You... Choose Which Subjects Need to be Retaken?

core subjects like maths
Maths, science, and English are core subjects that need to be passed at a GCSE level. (Source: Unsplash)

Deciding upon which subjects of the GCSEs need to be significantly taken depends on your plans and the career you have in mind. For example, if you've passed your core subjects of Maths, Sciences, and English with a minimal yet passing result, and have no plans to attend further education courses, you've got what it takes to graduate at 16 and leave the world of high school behind forever. And, it doesn't matter if you didn't get excellent results on your supplementary subjects.

Nonetheless, it's important to state that if you didn't pass Maths or English with a four or C grade, you would have to continue studying these topics until you are 18 to get your GCSE diploma; even if you have no plans to attend university. 

Although you might be annoyed not to have passed your core subjects, employers in the UK require at least a high school leaving diploma to hire you.

However, on the other hand, for those who have passed their core subjects with flying colours yet struggled on additional topics such as history or art & design, you need not worrying about retaking these subjects if you are focused on a career in the sciences. Rather than retake these "unnecessary" topics, pay attention to resitting issues that you will need in your future university programme and that the admissions staff will carefully observe.

And, if you failed a topic that you enjoyed yet won't need in the future, study a new GCSE topic that will be relevant to your future studies. 

All in all, to avoid getting caught up and discouraged from the thinking that you have to resit all of your GCSEs subjects, consult with a trusted academic advisor and prioritise the essential topics such as the core GCSEs and the specific ones that will help you in the future.

How Can You... Find Out How Much Resitting the GCSEs Cost?

While it is usually the school or examination board that pays for GCSE or A-Level retakes at £35 a pop, this year, the UK government is paying the bill. Why? Well, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, summer exams, when the GCSEs are usually held, were cancelled, which lead to many students feeling stranded and having their academic results negatively affected.

The guidelines from the National Board of Education highlight that schools and colleges nationwide can claim funding for the retakes in November following the annulment of summer assessments. With schools paying the fees of retakes this year, parents in the UK will feel less stressed economically than they did before.

Although dedicated students are happy that resits are finally scheduled for November 2020, and they can start to plan for their future effectively, many parents are concerned about the public health risk and repercussions of having their teens attend GCSE retakes.

How Can You...Know the Date of GCSE Retakes?

Knowing when GCSEs resits will be scheduled depends significantly on the following three things:

  • The subject,
  • The examination board,
  • The location of your school.

It's important to state that for core GCSE subjects such as English, Maths, and Science, the retakes are usually quite soon after the first evaluation has been completed. For instance, if we look at the 2019 schedule, which was the last year the world was familiar, resits for English and Maths took place in November 2019; only a few months after the actual GCSE exams were held.

On the other hand, for additional non-core subjects, depending on the examinations board and the location of the school under its jurisdiction, pupils may have had to wait until June 2020 to take retakes and hone their overall assessment scores.

So, the best advice we can give is to be patient and pay attention to any news from your educators about the GCSEs you wish to resit. You'll do great!

How Can You...Take the GCSEs Later On in Life?

alternative studying
For working professionals, taking GCSEs can be done online. (Source: Unsplash)

For many well-intentioned people, the circumstances during high school were less than favourable for many different reasons, and that resulted in never completing the GCSEs or not getting good results on them. Therefore, after serious consideration, many have decided to retake the GCSEs later on in their life whilst working. How can that be done?

The following are some options to retake the GCSEs while maintaining your day job to support your family:

  • Night School: a lot of schools all over the UK offer refresher classes to students who need to go through the GCSEs again. It's a brilliant option for those who work full-time during the day. Check with your local education centres to find out more.
  • Learning from a Distance: in some circumstances, much depending on the school and educators, individuals can retake their GCSEs through online lessons or by getting documents sent to them by post.
  • Day Release: a relatively unheard of option, day release involves spending a workday at your education centre which gives you the chance to improve your GCSE results and get paid; this must be talked about with your employer and depends on location.

How Can You...Effectively Preparing for the Retake?

Are you nervous? Does the fear of failure paralyse you and make you want to stay home? If so, you're not alone! Retaking the GCSEs is an extremely stressful experience, and all advice needs to be taken seriously. So, we strongly encourage all to heed the following advice to prepare for their GCSE resit effectively:

  • Create a Study Schedule, 
  • Use Studying Alternatives, 
  • Form a Study Group,
  • Hire a Private Online Tutor, 
  • Don't Forget to Reward Yourself. 

By considering the previously mentioned tips, you will blaze through the GCSEs without any problems!

In conclusion, we are confident that through today's article, we have answered the question, "how can you resit the GCSEs?" You'll never regret the hard work you've dedicated to giving your education a second chance.

But, where can I can resit the GCSEs? Click this link to find out more!

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