Don’t settle for second best – re-taking your A levels can help you get into you

Results day is nearly here. On Thursday morning, thousands of A level students across the country will find out if they’ve got the university places they’ve long dreamed of.

But while many will be celebrating and crying happy tears, for those who didn’t get the grades they need, the future is less certain.

Aside from having to cope with the disappointment that their hard work hasn’t paid off – yet – there are big decisions to be made.

Dare you risk going through clearing and settling for a place on a course you didn’t initially want to do, and perhaps spend three years regretting accepting second best?

Or should you take a year out to resit your exams, to give yourself the best possible chance of getting into your first-choice uni and never looking back?

The retake specialists

If you decide to retake, then Mander Portman Woodward (MPW) are experts in helping students fulfil their potential and get the grades they need.

Their colleges offer A level courses in a wide range of subjects across different exam boards for resit students.

And it works – they have a highly consistent record of exam results and in 2021, their most commonly achieved grade was A* or A.

Each year, MPW help thousands of students achieve their dreams at their three colleges – in London, Cambridge and Birmingham.

They have an outstanding Russell Group placement record for retake students, and their experienced tutors are prepared to go the extra mile to make sure everyone gets the grades they need.

Over 40 subjects are available and they’re exam board specific so what students are taught matches their existing curriculum knowledge.

MPW run two types of retake courses, both full-year and short-course options depending on how much support is needed…

Full year retake courses:

Starting in September and running until June next year, these are generally best for students who’ve not done nearly as well as they hoped and require a lot of help to get the grades they need.

Often people on these courses are resitting more than one subject and require thorough revision of much of the curriculum.

Short retake courses:

These begin in January (and end in June) and are best for students who’ve only narrowly missed their target grades or require retakes of only a small number of selected units.

Both types of course offer exam-focused programmes with small classes and an emphasis on pastoral care with a supportive personal tutoring system.

There’s also expert UCAS advice available for those reapplying for university places.

Remember – it’s not the end of the world

The feeling of ‘failing’ your A levels can be absolutely devastating especially if everyone around seems to be celebrating.

But you’re not alone – there are thousands of people in your position this year as there was last year and as there will be in 2023.

It’s important to remember not getting your grades is not the end of the world. You can stay true to your ambitions by retaking your A levels and securing the place you dreamed of.

And resitting even has some advantages. You have time to plan ahead and study hard enough not just to pass but even to exceed your expectations.

A year out at college rather than school can also help you prepare for life at university, teaching you new skills and better ways of managing your time independently.

You’ll also be more mature when you start uni and more able to balance the work side of things with your social life.

And, depending on which course you choose, you may also have time for a short gap year – MPW students in the past have travelled, worked ski seasons and even volunteered abroad.

All of which made their personal statement for UCAS richer and helped them cope with uni when they eventually made the grade.

So if things don’t go to plan on Thursday, try not to worry. It really isn’t the end of the world, just the beginning.

*For more information, go to mpw.ac.uk

Who are Mander Portman Woodward?

One of the most well-respected independent college brands in the UK (Picture: Mander Portman Woodward, Cambridge)

Mander Portman Woodward was founded in London in 1973 by three Cambridge University graduates and has gone on to become one of the best known and most respected independent college groups in the UK.

They enjoy a reputation for great exam results, university placements and strong pastoral care and offer a highly flexible curriculum of unrivalled depth and breadth, comprising GCSE, A level, University Foundation and Easter Revision courses.

Each year 1,200 students – around two thirds British – pass through their doors and their numbers are swelled every spring by a further 1,500 signing on for MPW’s Easter revision courses.

There are three colleges in total, all close to prestigious UK universities, and all have attained maximum scores in all UK government inspection reports.

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