For most UK universities, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade 4 or 5 (including English and mathematics) or above is a mandatory requirement. Students should have attained this standard before beginning A-Levels.
Those needing to retake GCSE subjects should use their existent GCSE grades as a guide; a grade 3 or 4 that is near to a grade 4 or 5 in a subject where a winter exam sitting is available should provide encouragement for a short retake course to be completed. However, other factors need to be considered such as knowledge and aptitude in and enjoyment of the subject, the amount of preparation required and other work priorities. GCSE coursework is also a factor, as this may be carried forward or resubmitted, but is not transferable to a different examining board. A very low grade 4 or below and a one year retake course is unquestionably the right option.