Can I Resit My National 5 Exams?


  1. What happens if I fail my Nat 5?
  2. Talk to your teachers
  3. Retake the subject
  4. Check-in with UCAS
  5. Explore other options
  6. If you fail Nat 5, you can still succeed


There are three letters every Scottish student dreads: SQA. Standing for the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the national accreditation and awarding body for Scotland. The SQA’s National 5 exams can be especially nerve-wracking!

It’s normal to be nervous about qualifications. And if your exams don’t go quite as planned, you may be concerned about what happens next. If you fail you National 5 exam though, you’re not doomed! We’re here to fill you in on all your options. Read on to learn more.exam-people

What happens if I fail my Nat 5?


If you fail your Nat 5, it’s normal not to know how to feel or what to do. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate it alone.  Here’s what to do if you don’t get the marks you want on your Nat 5.

Talk to your teachers

It’s normal to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you fail Nat 5. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling, though—keeping it bottled up won’t help. Sharing your disappointment with others can help you gain perspective and recognise that you can still accomplish amazing things, even if you fail Nat 5!

It may feel like you’re the only one who failed, but you’re not alone. Nearly a quarter of students sitting Nat 5’s don’t pass. Your teachers and school counsellors are there to help you. Talk to them about your feelings and see what your next steps can be.

If your parents are worried, your teachers can also give them some insight. Remember: your teachers and school counsellors helped many students before you, and they can help you, too!

Retake the subject 

If you fail Nat 5, resits are available for any subject you wish to retake. If you're in 4th year, you can do National 5 resits in 5th year. That extra year of learning can really make a difference and ensure you get a pass mark on your Nat 5 resits!! If you’re already in 5th year, many schools will still allow you to take Highers in 6th year without a Nat 5 qualification. Your teachers can give you more insights if you’re unsure. If you’re a school-leaver, you can also retake your Highers at college.

So don’t fret: if you need your Nat 5 in a particular subject for university, you have more chances to get that qualification! 

Work with a tutor 

Sometimes, a little extra help is all you need to get the grade you want if you fail Nat 5. Working with a tutor is a great way to get personalised support for subjects you find the most challenging. And fortunately, finding the best tutors is easy!

GoStudent’s wonderful tutors will work directly with you to help you get the marks you want on your Nat 5 resit, all from the comfort of your home! Talk with your parents, and sign up for a free trial lesson today.

Check-in with UCAS 

You’re likely worried about what failing your Nat 5 means for your university acceptance, especially if you have a conditional offer. Fortunately, UCAS can provide more insight.

In some instances, you can still be accepted onto a university course even if you didn’t meet all the offer conditions. Admissions representatives at the university of your choice can also give you details on your options. 

There’s also the Clearing process, where universities offer places that still need to be filled on different courses. Through Clearing, there’s still a chance you could get into your first-choice university. And even if you don’t get into your first-choice university, you can still have a fantastic experience at university, and start a great career afterwards.

Explore other options

While you can continue your education even if you fail Nat 5, remember: you don’t have to follow the same path everyone else does. 

It’s okay if you decide University isn’t for you, or you decide to take a gap year. Look into different employment options. A career advisor can be a great resource here, as can browsing different job sites!

You can also look into apprenticeships. Skills Development Scotland offers many resources on apprenticeships and outlines how to pursue these opportunities.  If you’re not quite sure what you want to do, start taking courses at your local college. This is an excellent way to explore your interests and skills. Maybe you’ll end up on a career path you never even imagined!


If you fail Nat 5, you can still succeed


It’s normal to be worried if you fail Nat 5. However, you still have plenty of options to find success!  There’s no one path to success, and you don’t have to do what everyone else does. But if you do want to resit your Nat 5, GoStudent’s expert tutors will empower you to get the best grade possible. Check out our National 5 tutoring today!