How to pass your GCSE resit, with a little support from your tutor

Most students are only ready to pass their GCSEs in the last six months of an 11-year-long school education. Some students require a little more time and support to excel in their GCSE exams. This is where GCSE resits are useful.

GCSE resit student

For those who were not quite ready and did not pass, it is important not to lose confidence or to feel inadequate. We all learn at different rates in different ways and have different strengths and weaknesses.

The good news is that with a little extra help, most students making a second attempt at maths and or English, only six months later, actually achieve the grades they need.

Your school or College will provide Maths and English courses to help you achieve a passing grade in these subjects at either GCSE or an equivalent Functional Key Skills Level 2 qualification.

Functional Key Skills Courses and Exams

A Level 2 Functional Skills course focuses on ‘Life Skills’ and is more applicable to the needs of students in the real world. It will suit students who do not want to try for the same GCSE exam they have already failed. It can be recognised as equivalent to a passing grade in GCSE.

GCSE Courses and Exams

Most schools and colleges will provide about 2 hours of teaching a week in each subject with the expectation that the student will undertake a lot of individual consolidation practice.

Most schools and colleges will enter students for the GCSE resit in May.

However, it is my own opinion, formed through over 40 years of teaching Maths, that “resit exams” are best taken in November. I believe that this gives the student the optimum chance of gaining a passing grade. When students re-sit exams in November, they can focus on the exam they need to pass, rather than many exams, as they had the previous summer.

You may be able to persuade your school or college to enter you for a November exam. If not, you could persuade them to enter you as a private candidate, which will have cost implications. 

For those students not attached to a school or college, you can find a local exam centre where you will be able to register as a private candidate. Please see my previous blog for more advice and information on this.

GCSE resitsPlan of Action

It is up to you to ensure you have the best chance of passing the “resit exams”.

  • Go to all the lessons available at your school or college
  • Go to all support sessions you can. This may be in school and college or perhaps extra tutoring support
  • Sharpen your skills and exam technique by using websites such as

For Maths –  Corbettmaths, Maths Genie

For English – BBC English Bitesize

Remember, not everyone gets the grades they hope for the first time they sit their exams. Not getting your desired grades the first time is not proof that you will be unable to pass when you resit your exams.

Our GCSE resit courses only take a few weeks, and with the benefit of focused learning and support from your tutor, you greatly improve your chances of getting the grades you wish for. 

Claire Meadows-Smith

Principal, The Community Schools


Last Updated on January 11, 2024

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