Summer exams help rise in Easter revision courses

Demand for A-level top-up sessions is increasing, says James Wardrobe

The last ever A-level exams available to be taken in January have now been completed. From this June onwards, AS and A2 modules will only be examined in summer sessions. This is already having a noticeable impact on some students' attitudes towards their A-level studies.

Providers of structured Easter revision courses, which have become increasingly popular in recent years, are seeing a significant rise in enquiries and early bookings for their intensive, one-week holiday courses in March and April. Genevieve Dear, general manager of Oxford Science Studies, explains why: "There's already been an increase in enquiries this year from A-level students who are particularly keen to achieve their best grades this summer, knowing that if they don't they won't be able to retake until summer 2014. Whereas in past years they might have been a little blasé, thinking they could retake in January and still have the rest of the academic year to enjoy gap year travels, this year they know they must do their best in summer 2013 or else go to a lower-ranked university or forfeit a year in order to do retakes. They'd rather work really hard over Easter this year than risk that."

According to Chris Kraft, principal of Duff Miller College in Kensington, which has run intensive one-week Easter revision courses since the 1980s, it is not only the Year 13 A2 pupils who are showing greater drive to get their best grades in June. He explains: "Our enquiries for Easter revision courses are up by 40 per cent over last year and the key group are the Year 12s. They are preparing for AS modules and they really don't want to have to resit them in a year's time when they need to concentrate on their A2s. Previously they knew that they had a January retake opportunity. This used to affect their performance and motivation to keep working through to the AS summer exams, but not any more."

Not everyone agrees that the surge in interest in these courses is mainly due to the demise of the January exam sessions. Mike Kirby, principal of Ashbourne College, a specialist A-level and GCSE college, says: "There is a general trend whereby pupils and their parents are realising that, left to their own devices, more and more modern teenagers lack the organisational skills to revise intensively in the school holidays without external help. So they are turning in increasing numbers to structured revision courses, whether at a sixth form college or with a private tutor."

At Lansdowne College in Notting Hill, one of the first London providers of Easter revision courses, John Southworth, principal, sums up the current situation: "The withdrawal of January exams is definitely making an impact, but this simply adds to the general increase in demand from students who know that it is imperative to be fully prepared for A-levels if they want to enter the more sought-after universities." Kraft adds that over recent years many more students who have been predicted top grades and who in the past would never have felt the need for a revision course now enrol. He says: "With many UK universities now demanding A*s for at least some of their undergraduate courses, the best students, often encouraged by nervous parents, are opting for what they see as an insurance policy against failure by taking Easter revision courses. From the parents' point of view, it's a relatively cheap investment in their children's future, compared with the cost of full-time private education."

More students are enquiring and booking earlier than ever before for the best courses. The most popular subject is mathematics, followed by the sciences, and then by economics and business studies. Courses are reasonably affordable, generally costing in the region of £400 for 15 hours' A-level tuition and £300 for GCSE (around £200 more if residential). You can find out more from the adverts appearing in the national press, or go to the website (www.cife.org.uk) of the Council for Independent Education (CIFE), which lists its member colleges offering Easter courses. It also gives some advice about planning your own revision. Some of the major public schools – such as Harrow School, Wellington College, Clifton College in Bristol and Magdalen College School in Oxford – also run day and residential courses.

In the end, the best advice if you want a structured course is don't leave enquiries until the end of term.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary Teaching Assistant

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: A good primary school in ...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary Teaching Assistant

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: A good and improving scho...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer - Entry Level

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

Guru Careers: Graduate Print Producer / Account Executive

£18 - 25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Graduate Print Producer / Account Execut...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen