London - A Level Courses

MPW offers the most comprehensive suite of A level options that you will find in any academic institution in the UK with 43 different subjects offered over six different course durations (including retake durations) and with no restrictions on combinations of subjects or course lengths. MPW London has over 450 students studying in its sixth form.

Retake Courses at A Level

MPW London has a larger intake of retake students each year than any other sixth form in the independent sector. We have unrivalled expertise in helping retake students make carefully planned and successful applications to the highest quality institutions in UCAS, including Oxbridge applications and applications for Medicine.

Read about MPW’s approach to the new A level curriculum.

Study routes for A level retakes

There have been no domestic January sittings permitted since January 2013 at AS or A2. Students who might have previously spent the Autumn term improving just one or two units in a given subject prior to examination in January must now defer the examination to June (with the option of top-up revision either at Easter or the beginning of the Summer term) or take the revision course itself from January to June. There may often be an interaction, which should be discussed fully at interview, between the UCAS re-application cycle and the decision on retake course duration.

To accommodate this change we offer multiple study routes for retake students, best understood by reference to the following five Study Periods (SPs) over which the academic year can be subdivided:

  • SP1: start of academic year to half term of Autumn term
  • SP2: second half of Autumn term
  • SP3: first half of Spring term
  • SP4: second half of Spring term
  • SP5: the short Summer term in the run-up to exams

Study Routes

The study routes themselves are as follows:

Full-year retake course

September to June (full-year study): SPs 1,2,3,4,5

For students who have fallen substantially short of their target grades and require thorough revision of multiple A2 units (Legacy subjects) and also the default option for Reformed subjects where retake students need to revise and take all papers again and where most students will require full-year study.

View full list of A Level subjects.

Short retake courses

September to June (split-year study) Route A: SPs 1,2,5

The closest cousin of the old “January Retake Course” prior to the abolition for domestic exam boards of the January sitting. Students cover the syllabus intensively during the Autumn term, complete their UCAS applications and take gap year activities in the Spring term before returning to college for syllabus revision and final exam practice in the short Summer term.

September to June (split-year study) Route B: SPs 1,4,5

Students start the year with preparatory work, especially, for example, where Science coursework is involved, and focus on making early UCAS applications around half term. This suits students whose UCAS applications as retake students do not need to evidence the academic progress that they have made in the retake year prior to re-application. Students rejoin the college at Spring half term after any gap year activities and have a sustained period of study through to the Summer exams.

January to June: SPs 3,4,5

Students start these courses after their UCAS forms have been submitted; they may or may not have already been studying on September to June courses in other subjects. For students starting all their subjects in January, the UCAS application clearly must not depend on being able to evidence the academic progress that they have made in the retake year, but in the appropriate circumstances January to June courses allow students to undertake at least part of the gap year activities they may already have planned to start in the Autumn term.

All short retake courses involving combinations of 3 of the 5 Study Periods above are priced at the same fees. In addition, it is not uncommon for students on these courses to require retakes of only a small subset of units (Legacy subjects only), in which case the required contact hours and course fees are reduced pro rata.

November Retake Course with CIE: SP1

MPW is an exam centre for Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), which offers linear syllabuses with a sitting around or shortly after Autumn half term. Many leading independent schools offer CIE either for IGCSE, for some of their mainstream A level subjects or both. As well as being clearly suitable for such students, our SP1 intensive course is also suitable for certain students converting from other syllabuses who require to complete all exams prior to extensive gap year activities after Christmas for example. This question must be discussed thoroughly at interview. Students should be aware that they are required to take the entire exam and cannot carry over unit scores from another exam board. 

View full list of A Level subjects.

Russell Group placements

Competition for top universities is always a bit tougher for retake students than for first-time students and securing improved grades is only half the battle. Just as important is securing renewed, new or sometimes even more interesting offers from leading universities so that students feel that their retake experience has been a positive addition to their sixth-form careers and perhaps opened doors that were not available to them when they made their first applications.

MPW prides itself on the expertise it has accumulated over many generations in helping retake students in this crucial area. Of the 143 MPW London A level retake students who applied to at least one Russell Group University (RGU) for 2017 entry, 143 (96%) were successful in being offered a place by at least one RGU. These figures have been highly consistent over many years.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Royal Veterinary College (Veterinary Medicine)

"I have loved MPW. The class sizes are very small and it is easy to ask questions. The teaching is really interactive and they all care so much about the students. My Director of Studies helped a lot with my UCAS statement, suggesting what to include and perfecting it with me. I honestly don’t think I would have go any university offers without her help."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Bristol (Law)

"I’ve had three fantastic years at MPW: I’ve had a happy time; I’ve met some amazing people; and, most importantly, I’ve left school knowing that I have fulfilled my potential, leaving with GCSE and A Level grades that I can be proud of. I feel that the teachers and Directors of Studies all care deeply about their students' futures and performance."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Edinburgh (History and Politics)

"All of my teachers have been great; they are experienced, friendly and treat us all like adults rather than teenagers. I’ve also enjoyed being in a city. There is so much to do and we’ve been on a lot of theatre trips after school which is something I hadn’t been able to do before. My favourite thing about MPW has been the people I have met."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King's College London (Biology)

"I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers. Everyone at MPW has been so warm towards me and my teachers are so friendly and willing. They also adapt to learning styles and have been sensitive about responding to my needs; they provide extra help when I need it but also give me space to absorb new topics or information when I need that."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Bath (Mechanical Engineering)

"One of my favourite things about MPW is the people I have met, who are all really nice and really fun to be with. My Director of Studies was really enthusiastic which rubbed off on me. She also helped enormously with UCAS, taking the time to clearly explain what I needed to do and supporting me."