While we hope that you don’t wind up feeling disappointed with your end result in A level Maths, because there is nothing worse than the sensation of regret, we understand that re-sits are inevitable within this area of study because of its significance to many.
Whether you need a specific grade in Maths to enrol on the further education course of your choice or you want to be able to display a certain grade on your resume, you do have the opportunity to go back and try again.
Of course, life would much easier if you were to prepare effectively and reach your preferred grade the first time around!
The existing conditions for re-sitting exams are that you have the opportunity to re-sit an exam as many times as you feel necessary, in line with the exam’s shelf life. This means that, if the Maths syllabus was to undergo changes that lead to an adapted course and assessment, then you may no longer be liable for a re-sit.
But, for the unforeseeable future, you can feel reassured that the opportunity is there should you need it.
The main reasons for students re-taking exams are that they didn’t revise enough the first time around, they struggled to keep up with the course content, they didn’t quite achieve the grade they needed to progress in their education, or they were affected by circumstances out of their control such as sickness or family problems.
Exam boards have taken into account the struggles and pressures on teens during this challenging time in their life, and this is why they are open to giving eligible pupils a second chance. That doesn’t mean, however, that the system should be abused and that you should see your exams as a trial run.
It is only fair that you take your exams just as seriously as your peers because, ultimately, you are all going to need this Maths qualification to a certain degree, no matter which direction you go in after college.
It is probably hard to get to grips with the fact that you will be participating in nationwide exams along with your peers across the country, especially if you have never been tested in this way before.
Nevertheless, there is no benefit to shutting them out and being in denial. Soon, your exams will take place and they will make up all of your final grade in this subject, so now is as good a time as any to start thinking seriously about them.
Having access to a timetable, even if only a provisional one, can really help to prepare you psychologically for the culmination of your course, because having a specific goal to work towards can be very motivating.
Using a calendar or a countdown app might make it even easier to remain focused on the exam period and might, on some level, build up a bit of anticipation for the day of the first exam to finally come.
Try to find ways to make the countdown to your exams more exciting. Photo on Visualhunt.com
Attempt to keep your spirits up by translating your nervous energy into positivity. Just think, once you have completed your last exam you will have an entirely carefree summer ahead of you!
Timetables for compulsory exams like GCSEs and A Levels are usually released a couple of years in advance, but do remember that these are only there for guidance and should not be taken as completely certain.
Although exams will usually take place across roughly the same 2-3 week period of each academic year, you should never attempt to predict when your exams will be based on information from previous years.
To be on the safe side, however, we would recommend that you do not make any arrangements for holidays or social events around the time of your exams unless completely necessary, as doing so could allow you to get distracted from your revision, cause unwanted stress due to losing precious revision time, or leave you feeling tired and less alert.
Your education does not last forever but you will have plenty of opportunities to go on trips or nights out in the future.
You should make sure that you do not accidentally make any plans which cause you to be away on the date of any of your exams. Failing to sit an exam could result in you failing the entire course and putting two years of study to waste.
If your family are looking to book a holiday which crosses over with the exam period, then every effort should be made for the trip to be booked for a later date, or rebooked for another year. Even a once in a lifetime trip will not sway the examiners, as the rules cannot be twisted for just one pupil.
If, however, you have a valid reason for missing an exam, such as being unable to make an exam due to the death of a loved one or as a result of having a funeral to attend, you should consult your school or exam board at the earliest opportunity. Be warned that your sixteenth birthday will absolutely not be classed as a reasonable excuse to miss or re-sit an exam.
In real emergencies, the officials will work together to do all that they can to help you, whether that be awarding you a mark based on other assessed performances or using comparable units of a completed exam to predict how you would probably have been graded. This is called special consideration and applies to all GCSE and A Level students so long as they have completed 25% or more of the total assessment for the subject.
Similarly, special consideration can be applied to those who made it to the exam but were affected by circumstances out of their control, like sickness, a bereavement, or being in the midst of a court case, for example. In situations like these, exam boards will give an allowance (usually up to 5% of the raw mark) dependent on the severity of the circumstances.
For some students, knowing exactly what will be happening on a certain day or week in the future can really help them to visualise their movements on a given day and aid in putting their mind at rest. For those who are particularly susceptible to feeling stress on a severe level, being able to organise yourself far in advance can be quite satisfying.
Use this information to plan educational activities, like pencilling in revision sessions with friends or setting aside time to complete independent study prior to a certain exam.
If you want to book some sessions with an independent tutor in the run up to your exams, or even throughout the academic year, then knowing when your exams will be taking place will help you to collaborate on a teaching schedule. Getting additional help from a tutor can have a very positive impact on your exams.
Not only will you be more confident in the approach to the exams, knowing that you have had that extra time to really get to grips with the complicated functions of Maths, but you’ll also feel mentally more prepared. Less nerves and tension going into the exam hall will allow you to work to your highest potential.
As touched upon above, using a calendar or diary to effectively countdown to a tuition session, the date of an exam or the start of the exam period in general can be a great way of making what is a nerve-racking experience more positive.
As soon as you are given your final timetable, which will most likely be 1-2 terms in advance, be sure to give a copy to your parent or guardian so that they can support you in your efforts to get yourself organised. Knowing everything they need to know about your exams can also help them to understand and manage your moods, as they will be able to fully comprehend why you are feeling uneasy on certain days.
Find out where to find A level Maths past papers with our blog, here.