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To Resit or not to Resit?

Why Grade 5 and Grade 6 in English Language and Maths are so important.

Students all across the UK received their GCSE examination results this week. Having reverted the grade boundaries back to 2019, achieving a pass in Maths, and to a lesser extent, English Language has plummeted compared with the results from last year. 

It’s easy to forget that students today have been faced with many hardships during their schooling. Completing Years 8 and 9 in a pandemic and teacher strikes have significantly impacted the current cohort. To compensate for this, Education Minister Nick Gibb said on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday that “there were mitigations”. These mitigations included a formula sheet given to students to use in their maths and science exams, however one pupil I spoke to claimed: “We weren’t taught how to use the formulas because they were being given to us.” This renders the formula sheet moot. 

On the same news programme, Gill Burbridge, principal of Leyton Sixth Form College stated that because of these failures, of the one-third of students who did not achieve a Grade 4 or above in English Language or Maths, in a “post-sixteen” environment they are even less likely to be successful, with a pass rate of 20% – leaving 80% of students to re-sit their exams for a third time. The reason for this, it is suggested, is that post-sixteen environments are simply not equipped to re-teach the vast number of students who will need to re-take.

 As Gill Burbridge says, GSCEs are “a gateway to employment, into university [and] other forms of education”, so the question then arises as to whether a mere ‘pass’ is enough for today’s students to open doors for their future. 

It is commonly understood that while a Grade 4 is a pass, a Grade 5 is a strong pass and the grade needed for most A-Level, college, and apprenticeship programmes, A Grade 6 is needed to give anyone a fighting chance at a competitive university course both now, and in the future.

Your GCSEs are with you for life and so, if you need a Grade 5 or Grade 6 to realise your aspirations, it is well worth resitting those exams in November or June. As mentioned, a post-sixteen environment may not offer high chances of success at helping you to improve your grade, however, a small group learning environment increases your chances significantly.

Should you decide to resit in the upcoming November session and get it out of the way, or next summer to give yourself further time to prepare? That depends on a number of factors. Contact  to arrange a free consultation.

Your GCSEs are with you for life, so why not make them the best they can be?

Molly Cavalier

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