International Baccalaureate Retakes

Frequently Asked Questions

You might have found yourself in a position where you are needing to Retake, or possibly, you just want to prove that you can gain those extra few marks. We understand that this can be a challenging and confusing time, and there certainly isn’t enough information out there for students! At Elite IB we’ve been working for several years as the lead provider of Retake courses and focused support.

Retake FAQ Videos

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You can watch our IB Retakes FAQ as a video series here. In each video, Bella explains the key information you need to know as a student resitting in the IB.

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You can retake all six of your academic subjects, as well as the core components, or any combination of these, if your subject(s) are offered by your IB World School and they are happy for you to sit each subject or component through them. Candidates can Retake a subject up to three times, in three different exam sessions. If you took your exams in May originally, this gives you November of the same year, and May and November of the following year to sit the exams, although not all subjects are available in both May and November sessions. You should refer to the IBDP general regulations.

You can also revise or complete a new Extended Essay. A new Extended Essay can be registered in the same or in a different Diploma subject. However, if you are submitting a new or revised Extended Essay in the session six months after your EE was submitted (November, for May graduates), it must be registered in the same diploma subject.

This depends on what your plans are for university and how quickly you think you can reach the level you want. For example, if you are going to university in Australia, South Africa or most countries in the Southern hemisphere, it would be best to do your retakes in November as the university academic year starts in February. This way you will not have to take a year and a half out before university, but rather just 6 months or so.

Also, please remember that the UCAS application deadline is January 15th, and the November session results are released on January 6th. Therefore, you will be able to apply to university with your concrete Retake results, further boosting your chances! (Although, you will need to weigh this against preparing your application correctly – we can help with that also through our Consulting team.) If the academic year for your universities of choice begins in September, then it all depends on considering your current academic level, aims for your Retake subject(s), and commitment to working hard over the coming months and deciding if you feel that you will be able to make enough progress before November to achieve the required grade(s). If you are not confident that the time between May and November will be enough, you should consider resitting in May of the following year.

For November retakes, candidates must be registered by 29th July if they want to pay the lower registration fees. All candidates that register after 29th July will have to pay higher registration fee, including a late subject fee for each subject or core element registered. The IB will not accept any candidate registrations after the final deadline of the 15th October.

The deadlines for May Retakes differ from the November Retake deadlines. If you are resitting in May, you need to register by 29th January to attract lower registration fees. The equivalent IB final deadlines for May Retake sessions is 15th April.

For students looking to Retake an exam six months after their last attempt (in November of the same year for May exam students, for instance), the final registration deadline is July 29th for November exams and January 29th for May exams- the later October/April deadline is not applicable to six-month retake students.

However, you should consider your school’s final internal deadline for registration will vary, and may be much earlier; remember, also, that schools, and therefore IB Coordinators, are often not accessible throughout the summer, and therefore aiming to finalise your plans with the school before the summer holidays begin is strongly recommended. As always, then, it is best not to leave it to the last minute!

Candidates must be registered through an IB World School – this is vital! The school you have previously sat your exams with is the most obvious choice, but if you have moved or found yourself otherwise unable to retake through your school, it is your responsibility to find a school who will let you Retake through them. Elite IB can provide all the tuition for your Retake, but we cannot submit your exams, register you as a candidate, or supervise your IA or other non-examined work. You should make speaking with your school’s IB Coordinator a matter of top priority if you decide to Retake.

You do not have to retake all the assessed aspects of your retake subject; you may just sit the exams and not change your Internal Assessments. Alternatively, your school may offer you the option of revising or redoing your IAs. In this case, your teacher will be responsible for marking the new IA(s), and must be able to confirm that it is all your own work and that it is significantly different to any previously submitted work. In order to be able to guarantee this to the IBO, students re-submitting an IA or any other non-examination-based work must attend classes at the school they will sit the retake through, making some schools wary of taking on new students who wish to resubmit their IAs in addition to sitting the final exam papers.

Most universities do not officially state that they do not accept Retake candidates. However, in the cases of many top UK universities, the Retake marks must be significantly above the points required for an offer. We would also recommend having firm plans for the remainder of your time before your university studies would commence, linked to your course or industry. This shows that not only have you exceeded their entrance requirements, but that you are aware of how best to use your time.

You can find a list of all IB World Schools and the exam session(s) in which they participate on the IB website. Please note that not all schools offer retake sessions, and that schools are not obliged to take on Retake candidates. You should consult with your current Diploma Programme Coordinator.

If you're looking for information about remarks for the International Baccalaureate, you can find additional information in our Remarks FAQ here

Your examiners will not know that you are a Retake candidate, and so the re-marking process is the same for you as for any other student taking their exams that session. Do be aware that the deadline for re-marking exam papers is very soon after the release of results though! Also remember that your IB Coordinator must request the re-mark for you, and as you will have left your school, they may ask for you to pay the fee up-front.

Your school can offer you a wide range of support, from merely helping with administration and marking, to offering a full scheme of study- the IB state that any World School must not “simply adopt the role of a “retake centre””, and so must support each candidate, whether they are sitting for the first, second, or third session in a subject. Whatever your circumstance, Elite IB Tutors are here to help. We have a wonderful team of experienced tutors who can provide guidance and support every step of the way.

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We're happy to answer your questions about the Retakes Revision Course. You can get in touch using the form below, or call us on +44(0)20 3302 3868.