The Student Room Group

Redo GCSE or start A levels?

I'm technically in year 13, but long story short I made some bad decisions. I want to sort my act out by September and do A levels in Chemistry and Biology at least, the college course I have looked at (I don't have many options) usually requires you to do either those two or Physics and Maths, along with a BTEC level 3 in applied science. I do have some desire to do maths A level, but I don't know whether this would be possible, and I want to do applied science because I think I'd enjoy it, honestly.

However, as time goes on I remember how long it has been since I did GCSEs, and my grades were shoddy then. I am right on the cusp of good enough, so I might have to beg in the interview if I do not resit any. If you were wondering why, my entire secondary education was substantially disrupted.

If I were to get on the course, I would still go through GCSE papers for each subject (separate, higher paper) and make sure I could do the questions well in advance of starting. Although it is looking highly unlikely and all a bit last-chance-saloon. The fact I would have to resit English isn't in my favour either. My (abysmal) set of qualifications are as follows:
(Note: it is a bit of a weird mish-mash, due to the aforementioned disruption)
Maths (foundation paper) - 5 [my school only taught foundation]
English language - 3 [I am now considered practically illiterate]

Chemistry - 5 [Ironically I got entered into this exam in y9, it turned out to be 2020 teacher assessed, except the good science teacher had left, and we got one who didn't believe in any of our abilities.]

Combined Science - 6/5 [I did the majority of the biology and physics based on common sense alone, 100% thought I'd failed.]

History - 4 [not relevant, although it proves I can write to some degree.]
As a side note, I am probably a bit unintelligent, I make no excuses and know I should have tried harder. As for the two academic years since year 11, this becomes even more true. Is there anyone who has got into college doing science A levels with dodgy GCSE grades? [clarification, I mean on the lower end of things, not lying].
There is a reason why they require higher grades for A-levels, especially for STEM subjects. If they require certain GSES for a course, regardless. you will have to sit your GCSE exams and get those grades. They might make some exceptions, but that's a conversation between yourself and the college.
You'll benefit more talking with your sixth form or college, they will know the best route for you and people with low grades doing A-levels isn't as rare as you think so they will have some procedures in place (they're also very well aware that some people can perform horrifically at GCSEs but excel at A-levels)
I don't think it's worth bothering resitting GCSEs other than English language and/or maths, and only do that if you need to get a higher grade to meet minimum GCSE requirements. The unis that care about GCSE grades other than those two probably also care if you did them as resits or not so it's a moot point.

A 5 in GCSE Maths is sufficient for most purposes, but I would definitely recommend exploring resitting GCSE English language at foundation tier to try and get a 5. This is also useful outside of university and A-level course considerations, as it's not altogether uncommon for jobs to look for a pass in those two subjects at GCSE as a measure of literacy and numeracy.

If you only did foundation tier maths I think jumping into A-level Maths may be unrealistic. Also unless it's specifically needed for your future plans, probably not important in the grand scheme of things to do anyway.

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