GCSE and International GCSE

ICS Learn logo

GCSE Resits: The Complete Guide to Retaking GCSEs 2024

Missing out on the GCSE grades you wanted can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed! 

There may be many reasons why you might not have received the grade that you were hoping for. Perhaps in the months leading up to the exams you had a lot of things going on, leaving you overwhelmed and struggling to manage your time.

Whatever the case, you shouldn't let it get you down for too long and it absolutely shouldn't stop you from trying again. 

Believe it or not, resitting can be a positive experience! It demonstrates that you’re super-committed to achieving your goals and are willing to work hard to get the results you want. 

If you’re ready to give it another go, here’s our complete guide to resitting your GCSEs.

Woman Working From Home

Are there rules for GCSE resits?

There is some government policy that may or may not affect which GCSE subjects you resit.

The good news is that if you spectacularly failed History, there’s no obligation to take it again. You might decide you want to try your hand at Biology instead. Or maybe you fancy exploring Psychology. It might help you better understand your weird and wonderful friends and family!

The slightly less good news is that if you didn’t manage to get a grade 4 or above in Maths or English, you’ll need to keep studying these subjects until you’re 18.

The type of qualification you’ll be required to study is dependant on your grade:

  • If you got a grade 3 and will be studying full-time (540+ hours) next year, you’ll need to resit the GCSE
  • If you got a grade 3 and will be studying part-time (150 – 539 hours), you can take a functional skills qualification instead of GCSE
  • If you got a grade 2 or below, you can take a functional skills qualification instead of GCSE
  • If you’re going on to an apprenticeship, studying Maths and English will be part of your programme

This might be a disappointment to you, especially if you really struggled with either of these subjects, but many employers and further education courses require you to have at least a pass before they’ll even consider you, so it is worth your while trying again.

It might be difficult, but you should try to look at this as a fresh opportunity. You might want to try a different way of studying, come up with a new revision plan, or ask for extra support from a friend, relative or tutor.

Students In A Cafeteria

Where can I resit my GCSEs?

Now that you’ve decided which subjects you’d like to resit, you should decide how you want to study.

You can either resit your GCSEs at school or college or you can study for your resit with an online GCSE course and resit the exam at a private exam centre.

Resitting at a school or college

You can enrol to resit your GCSEs at a local school or college. This means you’ll have a timetable and attend classes with other GCSE students.

Most schools and colleges will let you study your GCSEs alongside A Levels for other subjects, so don’t feel that resitting one or two subjects will completely hold you back.

If you like to learn in a classroom environment but need a bit more flexibility, you might want to try evening classes. Many colleges and some schools offer evening classes as an option which can be handy if you want to work alongside your studies.

Your exam

When it comes to your actual exam, you'll sit this alongside other people in your class.

Resitting online as a private candidate

If studying in a classroom isn’t for you, you can retake your GCSEs by studying online. 

This can give you greater flexibility as you’re not tied to a set timetable. So, if you want to work or have a hectic family or social life, you can easily schedule your studies around your other commitments. You can even study for A Levels online alongside your resits.

Online courses give you the freedom to study at your own pace. You can move through the topics as quickly as you like and spend a lot more time on the areas you struggle with than you’d be able to in a class with other students.

Plus, you'll have a personal tutor, so you'll get plenty of support rather than competing for attention in a classroom.

Remember that if you’ve failed English or Maths, however, you’ll still need to take these in school until you’re 18; you can't sit them online unless you're 18+ or have already achieved a pass and are looking to get an even better grade.

Your exam

You’ll still sit your exam in person at the same time as all other GCSE students; however, you’ll be responsible for arranging this yourself.

About six months before you want to sit your exam, you should contact your local schools and colleges to see if they’ll allow you to sit the exam there as a private candidate.

You should be aware that there’s a fee to sit the exam which you’ll pay directly to the exam centre. The exact cost of this will vary depending on which centre you chose.

Have a look at our exam booking guide for more advice on how to get this organised. 

Student Carrying Books

When can I resit my exams?

You’re probably aware that GCSE exams run in May/June, as this is when you would normally sit them at the end of the school term.

You might not know, however, that you can sit exams for some subjects, including Maths and English, in January and/or November each year. The availability of these exams will vary depending on which awarding body you're sitting your exams with, such as AQA or Pearson Edexcel.

Your school or online course provider will be able to give you full details of potential exams dates as soon as they become available.

How much will it cost to resit my GCSEs?

To resit your GCSEs, you’ll have to pay two types of fees: course fees and exam fees. 

Your course fees will cover your tuition and/or course materials and will vary depending on where and how you choose to study.

If you choose a college you can be expected to pay upwards of £1,000 per subject for your tuition. Online courses tend to be much more flexible and affordable; you can enrol for an online course with 1:1 tutor support for as low as £38 per month, interest-free, for courses averaging under £300 in total costs. 

If you’re over 16, have left school and do not have a Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and/or Maths, you may be able to study these subjects for free at a local learning centre. If you feel you might be eligible, contact the learning centre directly to find out more.

Your exam fees are also an additional cost that’s paid directly to the exam centre.

The exact cost of the exam is set by the exam centres themselves, so this can vary a lot in price, but you can expect to pay upwards of £100 per exam for GCSEs and International GCSEs.

We’d highly recommend that you contact multiple exam centres in your area about their pricing, so you can get the best deal.

What can I do to prepare for my exams? 

Now that you know how, where and when you can resit your GCSEs, all that’s left to do it get studying.

Here are our study tips to help you ace those resits:

  1. Find a place for revision that will allow you to concentrate.
  2. Plan out your revision – you might find a study planner or study apps useful.
  3. Use past papers to get exam-ready.
  4. Remember to reward yourself for all your hard work!

When will I get my results for my GCSE resits?

For resits sat in May/June, GCSE and International GCSE results are usually released on the fourth Thursday in August each year.

This year, GCSE results day is set for 22nd August

If all goes according to plan and you resit Maths in November, you can expect to get your results mid-January. If you resit any International GCSEs in January, you should be able to collect your results in March.


Want to find out more? Learn about our flexible online GCSE courses with unlimited tutor support.


We’re the UK’s most recommended online GCSE and A Level provider, with a Trustpilot rating of Excellent from more than 8,000 independent student reviews. We’re trusted by thousands of students each year across 100+ countries.

We’re also the world’s most experienced online learning provider, having been pioneers in flexible distance learning for 130 years.

Our flexible self-paced course structure, unlimited support, and interest-free* monthly payment plans make it easy to shape learning around your life.

That’s why every year, we help thousands of students like you get the GCSEs they need to succeed.

An IGCSE is an International GCSE. They’re offered in many independent and private schools in the UK, and are recognised globally as equivalent to GCSEs.

We teach them for some subjects because they’re assessed mainly through exams, not coursework, so they’re better suited to online learning.

Whether you study online or in a classroom, all GCSE and IGCSE students must sit their exams in person at the same time as all other students in the UK. 

You'll book to sit your exams at your nearest exam centre roughly six months before your chosen exam date. 

Exam centres are usually schools or colleges that are submitting their own students for the same exam. 

You'll need to pay a fee to sit your exam which is paid directly to the exam centre. The exact cost of this will vary depending on which centre you chose.

Download Your Free GCSE & International GCSE Course Guide

Get information on our GCSE & International GCSE courses

Share this post