How to Retake GCSE Biology Online | GCSEs for Adults & Teens
GCSE Biology can be more important for your future than you might think. Don’t let failing it on your first attempt hold you back.
If you failed GCSE Biology at school, you might find that you need to retake it so you can move on to the next stage of your career, or if you want to move into an entirely different profession (like Kathryn and Alex).
It can be particularly useful if you want to work in fields such as nursing, midwifery, education, medicine, dentistry, health, conservation, or STEM subjects.
You can now resit your GCSE Biology online, which means you can study at your own pace and in an environment that’s comfortable for you. You’ll be able to control how you learn and spend more time on the topics you find especially challenging.
Whether you’re resitting after one year or twenty, online learning can be your key to bagging the grade you need.
So, how do you go about resitting online?
Do you choose a GCSE or an IGCSE?
One of the first things you’ll be confronted with when preparing to retake GCSE Biology is whether you want to study it as a GCSE or an IGCSE. Don’t panic, it’s not a huge choice to make as the end qualifications are internationally recognised as the same (the ‘I’ in IGCSE actually stands for International).
The difference comes down to coursework which is a requirement of most GCSEs but is not required at all for IGCSEs. This means that IGCSEs are more suited to being taught online so you might find that most online providers only offer the IGCSE.
Choose the right course provider
A quick online search will show you that there are a lot of providers offering online GCSE Biology courses. Many of these will be able to offer you a great service, but before you hand over any money you should always be 100% sure that what you’re purchasing will suit your needs.
You should make sure that the course has been accredited by a recognised exam board such as AQA or Pearson Edexcel. This ensures that the course syllabus has been designed to properly prepare you for the exam and the materials you receive are of high quality.
The next thing you’ll need to find out is whether the course comes with a personal Biology tutor that can be on hand to help when you run into difficulty. Having someone on hand to explain problems to you when needed can be the difference between giving up and getting that all-important pass.
Take note of the other support on offer such as student forums, practice tests and mock exams. You should compare what each provider offers and make sure you get the most for your money.
The final thing to consider is the structure of the course. Some providers will only allow you to enrol at set times of the year or insist that you log a set amount of study hours per week. Other providers, like us, take a much more flexible approach that lets you set your own schedule and work at your own pace.
You should have a think about what your other commitments are and how much flexibility you would like in your studies and find a course that works for your needs.
Start planning your studies
Start as you mean to go on with a clear plan for your studies. Getting organised soon after you enrol will boost your motivation and keep you focused on the journey ahead.
The first thing to do is pick a good study spot. As you’re studying online, you’ll need to make sure your space has a reliable Wi-Fi connection. You should also choose somewhere that doesn’t have too many distractions so that you can fully concentrate on the task at hand.
Now it’s time to create your study plan. If you start off with a clear plan, you’re much more likely to stay on track. The great thing about studying GCSE Biology online as opposed to in a classroom is that you’re not restricted to a set class timetable, so you can work through the course as quickly or as slowly as you want.
Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve. Setting yourself impossible targets is just setting yourself up to fail.
Use past papers to get exam ready
Past papers are a vital part of your revision as they let you get a feel for the format of the paper, practice your timing and spot gaps in your knowledge.
Which papers you’ll need will depend on which awarding body the course you’ve opted to study is accredited by so make sure you’re using the right papers.
If you’re sitting the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE Biology exam, you’ll sit 2 written exam papers; you’ll be given 2 hours to complete Paper 1 and 1 hour 15 mins to complete Paper 2.
Both papers will be made up of a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions.
When using your past papers, you should time yourself like you’re really in the exam and put away your study notes. This way you’ll get timing practice and learn which areas you’re struggling with and you can ask your tutor to help.
Book your exam
Even though you can study 100% online, you’ll still need to sit your exam in person. GCSE and IGCSE exams are nationally set, so you’ll sit your exam at the same time as all the other students in the UK.
Biology exams are usually in June, though have been cancelled for June 2020 due to circumstances related to coronavirus. However, if you’ve chosen an IGCSE course you should be able to sit the exam in January.
We recommend you choose your exam centre and book your exam place about 6 months in advance of your chosen exam date.
Exam centres are usually schools or colleges that are already presenting their own students for the exam.
If you’re sitting an Edexcel exam, you can use this search tool to find exam centres near you; however, this won’t cover every centre, so we recommend getting in touch with local schools and colleges to check if they accept private candidates.
If you have a special relationship with a school, such as it being your old school or your child’s school, they might accept you even if their policy is against private candidates.
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.
Once you’ve resat your exam, all that’s left to do is to sit back and impatiently await your results!
Ready to resit Biology online? Find out more about our flexible online IGCSE Biology course with unlimited 1:1 tutor support.