A – Level resists are no more – almost. It used to be possible to take an A – Level module exam five times. Some students would take the first A – Level maths module exam, C1, in their GCSE exam year, and could then retake it twice in their AS year (January and June)and twice in their A2 year. Up to 50% of students would retake at least one A – Level module exam.
There are no January module exams any more, so that same C1 exam can only be retaken twice, and most other module exams can only be retaken once.
Most universities do not take into account the number of A – Level resits a student takes. Some take resits into account to decide between students when courses are full -London School of Economics, Imperial College and Cambridge. Some Universities take resists into account only when applying for specific courses – especially medicine – and some universities (Edinburgh, Birmingham, Sheffield and University College London) do not consider students retaking entire A – Levels.
Students at University retaking exams in the first second or third year of their Degree are penlaized often as a matter of policy. The grade for an individual resit may be capped at a pass, and even the class of degree awarded may be classed for resits in year three.
Is this fair? Probably. It costs a lot of money for someone to attend University. Medicine especially, is an intensive course and students taking resits every year are less likely to pass. If they can be weeded out at the A – Level stage, they can be free to look at better options, more likely to suit them. They may also be induced to work harder, so that they they pass their exams first time and avoid the need for resits.