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Resitting GCSE and A Level dates

I am currently looking at resitting GCSE maths and starting A Level chemistry independently to apply for university next October. My questions are 1. Do you think it’s possible for me to complete A level chemistry and GCSE maths within one year and 2. If I were to sit them, would I have to sit them in May or could I sit them later closer to my application date?
Original post by JohnWoolrich
I am currently looking at resitting GCSE maths and starting A Level chemistry independently to apply for university next October. My questions are 1. Do you think it’s possible for me to complete A level chemistry and GCSE maths within one year and 2. If I were to sit them, would I have to sit them in May or could I sit them later closer to my application date?


1. Yeah,
If you do an A Level in one year, it's like saying you're doing 2 A Levels at a time. It's doable. Typically, the length of an A Level is 300 hours of material, but I would double that figure to include revision time. A standard A Level student does 3-4 A Levels over 2 years or 1.5-2A Levels in one year
GCSE normally doesn't take that much time. The standard recommend amount of time for a single GCSE is about 200 hours. The standard GCSE student can do 7-10 GCSEs over the course of 2 years; or if you like it's saying 3.5-5 GCSEs per year.
If you take one A Level to take about the same time as 2.5 GCSEs, your single A Level + one GCSE is like saying it's about 2.6 A Levels in one year or 3.5 GCSEs in one year. That's at best mid-range workload and should be something you are well accustomed to doing if you did 3 A Levels or 7 GCSEs over 2 years before.
If you really want to push it, you can cover all the material for the A Level in 1 month (30 days at 10 hours per day - pretty intense; I prefer 6 weeks with breaks on weekends), and then do the GCSE in 20 days (typically another month if you skip weekends and do 10 hour days).

Having said that, your GCSE Maths is technically a resit, so you would only worry about covering the material for your A Level. As you have covered the GCSE material before, you would focus on doing about 100-200 hours revision. So in total about 700-800 hours of study and revision. Something you should be able to comfortably do in 2-3 months if you want to do it all at once (not that I recommend it).

2. You sit them in May. The exams are done through the exam boards and are proctor exams i.e. not in random bedrooms or dodgy warehouses where people could show you the notes whilst you do the exams. They are all invigilated and require you to be tested under the same conditions as other candidates sitting the same exams, otherwise these resits and private candidate sittings won't mean a thing to neither employers nor universities.
You would also be sitting the exams on the same day and time as the other candidates are sitting, otherwise people would have an unfair advantage over those who took the exams early e.g. someone who took the same exam earlier in the year could tell people later in the year what the exam questions are and be able to produce the answers they need to score higher marks. It wouldn't make sense otherwise and it would invalidate the results as well as the credibility of the exam boards.

Also, have you checked with your chosen university whether you specifically need to do the practical assessments for your degree, even though you're a distance learner? Sometimes they can be lenient and not ask for it if you're doing the A Level from scratch.
If they specifically require it, have you sorted out your practical assessment prior to your exam? They can be a pain to book.
(edited 8 months ago)

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