A level retakes courses in London – Retaking A levels

Ashbourne wants to attract ambitious, hardworking and independent students who are capable of reaching at least a B grade standard but want help to push that to A or A*.

Such students will not settle for second best and, despite the initial setback of disappointing results, have the resilience to try again. They thrive in an environment which is encouraging, supportive and ambitious and appreciate the encouragement to explore the depths of any subject without fear. They are competitive and will want to be challenged to fulfil their potential and understand that confidence improves grades. For all intents and purposes, all grades of retake candidates improve with almost 95% at B grade or better. The majority of our students go on to Russell Group universities.

Moving to Ashbourne may involve a change of syllabus but the knowledge a student has already acquired at their first attempt, makes this task quite straightforward. For the same reason, this prior knowledge means completing the syllabus in one year is equally straightforward and allows our students sufficient time to focus on detail that they missed previously. In fact, many of our retake students succeed in their retake year whilst taking a new A level subject from scratch. Politics, Philosophy, Psychology and Film are frequent choices whose exam results rarely disappoint.

Moving to a new environment might seem daunting but students should be optimistic. Over half of our students have never been here before; the environment is stimulating, never intimidating, so students quickly settle in. Our approach to education is refreshing and exciting. Lessons in groups of fewer than 10 students provide engagement, individual attention and a relationship between staff and students which is grown up and informal. These small groups allow us to feedback to students in ways not possible with larger class sizes, in particular because this feature enables us to set much more homework than most may have experienced previously. Each student has a personal tutor who will guide and direct the UCAS process and oversee their academic progress. We are much more focused on exams and exam technique than is usual, and each half term there is a mock exam based on previous exam paper questions. After this mock exam a progress report will be prepared for you and your parents by each of your teachers.

Ashbourne suits those students who are ambitious, hardworking and independent and in general helps them move from a B standard to A or A*. The majority move on to Russell Group universities. Just over one third of our students come from abroad with Russia, China and Viet Nam among the greatest representations. Among our students there is a wonderful diversity of personalities, interests and goals, in part because we offer more than 25 different subjects at A level. These range from Art and Design and Performing Arts to Maths, Sciences and Economics, including traditional subjects as well as Psychology, Classics and History of Art. These are complemented with an array of co-curricular activities.

What to consider before retaking your A level courses

Most universities will regard a decision to retake as a sign of determination, perseverance and ambition. Nonetheless, any student considering retaking their A levels should always ask the relevant university faculty to confirm that a re-application will be welcome and to specify the grades that might now be required.

If you have missed your offer by a small margin you should contact the university’s admissions department who may be pleased to accept you anyway. If not, the university might be able to offer you a place on a course that is closely related to your first choice. You may need to be patient getting through to the department during busy application periods. 

Benefits of retaking A levels at Ashbourne

  • Outstanding grade improvement Ashbourne is committed to helping students reach their potential. A student who has achieved BBB could, on average, attain A*AA on retake.
  • Lots of teaching time means that you may complete the syllabus in a relaxed and confident manner, with plenty of time for engagement and structured, supervised work in class.
  • Specialist courses Ashbourne offers more than 30 years’ experience in delivering highly successful A Level retake and one-year courses.
  • A fresh, more grown-up approach to education quickly renews the spirit and provides a clean break from stale mind-sets and attitudes. Students’ performance is revitalised through contact with colleagues who share similar ambitions and aspirations.
  • Exam practice is too often in the background at traditional schools. In any field, excellence is achieved through dedicated effort guided by inspired and inspiring teachers and coaches. Our straightforward focus on examination preparation is simple, effective and transformational.
  • Individual attention, communication and feedback. The importance of small classes cannot be exaggerated but they are more effective when complemented by Personal Tutors. These dedicated teachers encourage and guide students to realise their academic potential and are a reassuring point of contact in dealing with parents’ concerns.
Why Choose Ashbourne College?
I was drawn to apply to Ashbourne at first based on their phenomenal reputation in the UK, but the reality far exceeded my expectations… No single teacher had the same approach to teaching a subject, which was much more refreshing than the standard lecture & questions approach. From team quizzes during revision period, to weekly workbooks matching the syllabus – the organisation and creativity of my tutors really helped the content stick in my head, which made revision easier when exams came around. My personal tutor was extremely supportive throughout my UCAS application. He would reply emails near instantly if I had any questions, be on hand for regular support when I needed it and loaned me materials to read directly related to my chosen course – Law. Albeit slightly frustrating with the constant tweaking required to my personal statement every week, this was more of a fine tuning process as he would not stop until he knew my personal statement was as perfect as it could be, and I am very grateful for his determination! The hard work and determination required of you at Ashbourne really set me up for life at university as I knew what I had to do to stay ahead and still even applied revision tactics and tips from Ashbourne tutors to my final year of my law degree
NatashaLaw at Queen Mary (University of London); Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP Law School
My child has benefited from the amazing opportunities Ashbourne offers. He is respected as an individual and his education has been tailored to suit him. He has had brilliant tutors and the small class sizes ensures he is receiving personalised support in all his classes
If I had to describe Ashbourne in three words it would be welcoming, intimate, and fun. I have never met such an eclectic group of people who all get on and are integrated with each other so well. It’s a great opportunity to get the grades that you want alongside gaining confidence and maturity
Emily BoothroydFormer Administrative and Behavioural Assistant and PA to the Director of Studies


2019 retake results


Biology A
Chemistry B
Latin C

Original grades: CED

Biological Sciences at East Anglia University 


Further Maths A*
Maths A*
Physics A*

Original grade: DAA

Aerospace Engineering at Bristol University 


Further Maths A
Mathematics A*
Physics A

Original grades: CAC

Computer Science with Industrial Studies, Southampton University


Economics A
Government & Politics A
Mathematics B

Original grades: XXE

Religion, Politics and Society at King’s College London


Biology A
Mathematics A*

Original grades: XA

Economics at King’s College London 


Chemistry B
Mathematics A
Physics A

Original grades: CBC

Physics at King’s College London


Ecnomics B
Mathematics A

Original grades: BC

International Development at Leeds University


Biology A

Original grades: B

Neuroscience at Nottingham University


Chemistry A*

Original grades: B

Medicine at Manchester University


Economics A
Further Mathematics A
Mathematics A*

Original grades: BXA

Economics at Bath University


Art A

Original grade: B

Foundation in Fine Art at Art Academy London


Biology A
Physics A
Chemistry A

Original grades: BBB

Biological Sciences at Durham University
Note: In Original grades, ‘X’ denotes subject not previously studied.
Grade Percentage
A* A 67%
A* AB 98%
A* ABC 100%
Grade Percentage
A* 8%
A 59%
B 31%
C 2%

Apply to retake your A levels at Ashbourne College

Please contact our Admissions Team for further information or to apply on 020 7937 3858, email admissions@ashbournecollege.co.uk or use our enquiry form.

Ashbourne is a private fee-paying college.

Getting into the right university

Ashbourne’s UCAS Tutors offer individual and expert guidance on finding and applying for university courses that match students’ ambitions and abilities. They also provide invaluable interview technique practice for those applying for demanding and highly popular degree courses. Ashbourne also runs specialist Medical School and Engineering programmes, with seminars and outside speakers, as well as preparation for any aptitude tests required by a particular course.


Alternatives to retaking


Your grade(s) might be so inconsistent with your own and your teachers’ expectations that you may consider a request to the exam board for re-marking. Be aware, however, that grades often do not change as a result of re-marks and may even go down! All remarks must be organised by your school. You can find more information on remarking and post results services here


If you are unsuccessful in getting a place at the university of your choice you may wish to enter the clearing system. You will automatically be sent a‘clearing passport’ number by email. Should you wish to take up a course at another university you will use this to confirm your acceptance. Courses which are still available may be found on the UCAS website.

Gap year

Taking a gap year to travel and work can often help to clarify your thoughts about your future and thus make the years spent at university, should you decide to reapply, more enjoyable and productive.


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