How Much Does it Cost to Retake an A-level?

by | Jan 17, 2020 | A-Level | 0 comments

Trying to tally up the costs of retaking one or more A-level? 

You’re looking at around £175 per subject if you stay in 6th form or college. However, if for whatever reason you need to leave, the overall cost will depend on where you go next.

The final year of your A-levels is a stressful time. Believe me; I was a ball of anxiety all the way through. And – the first time around – not everyone gets the grades they need to get into the uni course of their choice and many consider a resit or two. 

One of my besties found themselves in this very situation. They’d worked hard all year and revised really hard, but things just hadn’t gone their way.

So, we sat together and went over all the options – and we were surprised to discover that getting bad A-levels wasn’t the end of the world. 

It’s just a different gateway to the same path.

To totally ruin the end of this story, they got there and passed the second time around.  But while we were researching their options, we discovered other paths, which I’m going to share with you right now. 


Where can I resit my exams?

We both did our A-levels in the 6th form annexe of our high school. We both assumed that the only option was to spend another year in the same building. 


We discovered that there were more options. 

You can do your resits at school or go to a local college or sixth forth centre. We even found that you could redo your A-levels online. 

Can I resit my A-levels at school and how much does it cost?

Probably the most straightforward solution is to go back and resit at school. 


You’re very likely be expected to go back into the classroom for the entire year and re-take the classes. 

This seems to be one of the cheapest (and easiest) ways of resitting A-levels because we found that most schools are prepared to take a student back without charging tuition fees – but you probably will have to pay an exam fee. 

More about actual costs later. 

Can I go to a college or a different sixth-form?

If you want a change of scene, you might consider doing your re-takes at another college. You’ll still have to attend classes with a timetable, but you’re working in a different environment. 

We found that there are some specialist independent colleges with a real focus on specific subject areas. Some have excellent science provision, while others cater to the arts and humanities. Google your local colleges, because there are likely to be a range of options. 

My friend wanted to study music at university, and we found that there was a great A-level course at a local college, taught by professional musicians. 

But then we looked at the costs.

With colleges (if you haven’t been a prior student) you usually have to pay tuition fees AND exam fees – and when we weighed it up, it was a bit too much. 

More specifics in a bit. 

Can I really retake my A-levels online?

The quick answer is yes. And no. 

Yes: you can take online A-level courses – the lessons and the resources are available through an educational portal, and you do the course at your own rate. Most of the online options come with live lessons and live chat/video support, as well as options to explore the content of the course in your own time. 

But “no” in the sense that you won’t be able to do the exam online.

You have to find a local exam centre (it could even be your old school) and pay the examination fee. And the organisation of the exam is down to you. Most of the online portals don’t do that bit for you, so this option requires a bit of conscientiousness on your part. 

You’ll need to book your exam six months in advance.

The main benefit of redoing your A-levels online is the flexibility it gives you. You probably won’t have a timetable; you fit the study into your life. You can even do the course in your PJs if you really wanted to.  

Take An Access Course

Screwing up your A-levels doesn’t have to be the end of your uni dream. It could just be the start of things. 

Loads of unis and colleges do access courses and foundation degrees these days. They usually take around a year to complete and give you all the foundation knowledge you’ll need to exceed in your degree course. 

Many colleges that offer Foundation Degrees are affiliated with universities. This means that you can do two years on the Foundation Degree (at which point you can finish with a qualification) or complete the full degree by jumping into the second year of the university course. 

So if the prospect of going back to your A-levels for another year fills you with absolute dread, then access courses or Foundation Degrees might be for you. 

How much does each option cost?

There are two costs involved in re-taking your A-levels. There’s a tuition fee and an exam fee. 

The tuition fee is likely to be wavered if you go back to your school or original centre to re-take, but you will have to pay the exam fee. 

The exam fee varies from subject to subject, depending on the content of the exam. Subjects with a practical element, for example, usually have higher exam fees. 

Like we mentioned earlier, you’re looking at around £175 per subject, potentially. Most schools are different, so speak to your school secretary who will be able to provide a tariff. 

Some centres charge up to £400 per exam, so it’s a good idea to shop around. You’ve got the whole summer holidays to do it. 


Re-taking your A-levels at college can be a pricey route. The costs of the tuition fees vary, depending on each centre. You’re looking at anything between £1,500 and £7,000 for each subject. The cost of the exam might not be included in the tuition fees, so you should definitely do a bit of research with each college before you commit yourself. 


Online courses are surprisingly affordable and give you all that freedom in how you learn. 


Consider whether freedom with your learning might result in a lazy approach to it. Love it or hate it, the timetable brings structure to your week. Without that structure, you can find that the week runs away from you; and before you know it, you’ve run out of study time. 

Flexible learning isn’t for everyone. So, be honest with yourself and decide whether you’re prepared to knuckle down when it matters. 

What did my friend do?

You might be disappointed to discover that they went back to school. 

Sure, there were all those options, but when they sat down with their parents and went through the costs, they decided that school was the most affordable option. 

They knew that they weren’t going to disciplined enough to learn online, and – actually – the local college wasn’t actually that local when they looked into it. It would have meant at train and a bus just to get there and back. 

So, they bit the bullet and went back to school. They worked REALLY hard, and they found that the whole year was a great revision year. 

And they did much better when exam time came around. 

And now they’re at uni, studying music. 

Dreams do come true – you can ace your A-levels

It’s just that sometimes the path isn’t clear. 

What about you?

Share your story with us in the comments box below. Did you go to a local college or take an online course? Let us know how that went. Sometimes the best research is other people’s recommendations. 

Good luck!


Do universities accept a level resits?

Almost all universities across the UK, even those in the Russel Group, accept A-level retakes. However, admission boards will usually take a keen look at retaken A-levels before deciding.

Can you retake a Levels 2020?

As of June 2020, students will only be able to sit for the new linear system exams. Only students who took the 2019 A levels will be able to resit the modular exams available in 2020. Note that if you did the modular examination before the summer of 2019, you would have to resit A-levels under the current system. Your modular exam credits don’t apply, requiring you to take the whole exam.

Can you retake a levels twice?

You can take A levels as often as you want and there are no restrictions. However, some 6th forms may not allow you to resit in school and you may need to pay to retake exams privately.

Can you pay to do a level exams?

Yes and it will cost you around £175 per subject.

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