English and Maths GCSE Resits – all you need to know

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HollyOwl Tutor

11 Plus, 13 Plus, Other School Entrance, University Admissions, English & Maths

October 25th, 2023Last updated: January 22nd, 2024

In this article, experienced GCSE teacher Holly, sets out the best approach and most essential information for GCSE retakes.

Why do I need to resit my English Language or Maths GCSE exam?

There are two reasons why you might be resitting your English Language or Maths GCSE exams.

Firstly, you might have underachieved and not passed. In both exams, under the new grading 9-1 system, this means you didn’t achieve a grade 4 or above. The UK government requires you to resit your English Language (not Literature) and Maths exams until you have achieved at least a grade 4 in both, or until you turn 18. However, many jobs now require at least a pass (grade 4) in English Language and Maths, so even if you are over 18, you may wish to resit. A resit for those who previously failed the exam is free of charge.

The other reason for resitting is that you didn’t achieve the result you wanted. You can resit to try to improve your grade. You will have to pay for this resit, but you can then use whichever result is higher.

When can I resit my English Language or Maths GCSE exam?

English Language and Maths resit GCSE examinations take place in November. This year the dates are as follows:

English language paper 1: Tuesday 7 November 2023

Mathematics paper 1: Wednesday 8 November 2023

English language paper 2: Thursday 9 November 2023

Mathematics paper 2: Friday 10 November 2023

Mathematics paper 3 (if applicable – some exam boards (for example, iGCSE) only have two exams): Monday 13 November 2023

The deadline for entries is Wednesday 4th October 2023. Talk to your school or college to make sure you have been entered before the deadline.

How should I prepare for my English Language or Maths resit GCSE exam?

Firstly, don’t panic! There is plenty of time and you probably already know most of the material. A tutor can help you to work through the parts of the exam you found particularly challenging, and help you with exam techniques to give you the best opportunity to pass. There are past papers available, with mark schemes which explain how marks are awarded. The earlier you start, the better.

Are there any alternatives to resitting English Language or Maths GCSE?

Yes -so don’t worry if you feel the GCSEs may be too challenging for you. You can do a qualification called ‘Functional Skills’ in both English and Maths. These can be taken at any time and will give you access to further education and employment. They are offered by two of the same exam boards who offer GCSEs, but are considered easier and more accessible. Please ask if we can help with this Owl Tutors can provide tutors with functional skills teaching experience.

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    gil.ganyon@gmail.com said on 23rd Jan 2024
    This is a good advice and as a tutor I find this very useful. I’ll certainly sharing this with my GCSE maths resits.

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