Candidates retaking one or more subjects
If a candidate is not satisfied with the grade they have achieved in one or more subjects, or for TOK or the EE requirement, the candidate may take the subject(s) again. This can be in the examination session six months later or, in principle, after any period of time. However, when a subject is taken again, if significant new curriculum or assessment requirements have been introduced, the candidate must comply with those new requirements. Also, it is important to check whether the subject/level/response language is available in the targeted session.
A school is under no obligation to register a candidate who wishes to take one or more subjects again, regardless of whether the candidate was a diploma or course candidate, or did or did not previously attend the school. Registering a candidate to retake one or more subjects involves accepting all academic and administrative responsibilities for that candidate, regardless of whether the candidate previously attended a different school.
If a diploma candidate retakes a subject at the same level and in the same response language, the highest grade will contribute to the diploma. Therefore, when registering a retake candidate, IBIS will not indicate that the subject and its grade from the previous session is not included.
If the grade is the same, it is the date of the latest examination session that will appear on the results document. In the case of a course candidate taking the same subject/level again, another DP Course Results document will be issued, regardless of whether the grade has changed.
If a candidate is taking one or more subjects again, use the retake (R) category for a diploma candidate and the course (C) category for a course candidate. (The retake category must not be used for a course candidate.)
Responsibilities of the school
A candidate who wishes to take one or more subjects again does not have to register in the same school where the subject was originally taken. If a school accepts a candidate who wishes to retake one or more subjects, the school must assume all academic and administrative responsibilities for that candidate. No distinction is made between diploma or course candidates in this respect. It is emphasized that the school is not simply adopting the role of a “retake centre”; the school must demonstrate a commitment to the candidate and provide him or her with all necessary support, both before and after the examinations.
Responsibilities include, but are not confined to:
registering the candidate using their personal code
checking the candidate’s personal and subject registration details
collecting and paying fees to the IB
offering the candidate the opportunity to submit new or revised work for IA and non-examination components
confirming the authenticity of work submitted by the candidate
communicating with the IB on behalf of the candidate and their legal guardians
advising the IB of any adverse circumstances or inclusive access arrangements affecting the candidate
investigating any instance of alleged academic misconduct
confirming the identity of the candidate
communicating results to the candidate
offering the opportunity for an enquiry upon results.
Subject to the approval of the coordinator, a candidate retaking subjects in a different school is not obliged to follow the new school’s courses of study for any subject.
A candidate taking a subject again is not required to attend classes if they have already received the recommended number of teaching hours. However, coordinators are strongly advised to consider whether the candidate requires additional teaching before taking the examinations or other forms of assessment. Because the candidate has not achieved the desired grade in the subject(s) being retaken, it is highly likely that additional tuition will be required.
If there have been changes to the requirements of a subject’s curriculum and/or its assessment, the candidate must comply with the new requirements. This includes changes to the IA. The candidate must be advised of the changes and given appropriate support.
Retaking a subject after six months
Candidates have the opportunity to retake one or more subjects after six months if the subject, level and response language are available. (Such candidates are usually referred to as “six-month retake candidates”.) For diploma candidates this includes the opportunity to resubmit a TOK essay and the EE. The following restrictions apply.
If a candidate is registered for the session six months after their diploma session, the subject(s) for which they are registering must have already been taken in the diploma session. However, this restriction does not apply to the EE.
A candidate is not permitted to change from SL to HL in a subject being retaken after six months. However, a candidate is permitted to change from HL to SL, if the diploma requirements allow such a change.
Pilot and school-based syllabus (SBS) subjects cannot be taken six months after a candidate’s diploma (D) session. Similarly, a course (C) candidate cannot retake a pilot or SBS after six months.
The registration of a six-month retake candidate is accepted after the “six-month retake deadline” of 29 January/29 July. However, if the outcome of an enquiry upon results category 1 re-mark is pending, to avoid paying the higher registration fees the coordinator must register the candidate before this deadline. Please refer to section “C2.2.2” Candidate Registration and Entries for further information on retake candidates with outstanding enquiry upon results requests.
A language A: literature, language A: language and literature, or language B subject cannot be retaken six months after the previous diploma or retake session as a language ab initio subject.
Carrying over marks
A candidate taking a subject again may carry over their result for a non-examination component, assuming there have been no significant changes to the curriculum and/or assessment requirements. A mark cannot be carried over from:
a written examination (that is, paper 1, 2 or 3)
the TOK essay.
If a candidate wishes to carry over a mark, the coordinator must indicate this on IBIS after registering the candidate for the examination session. If IBIS does not indicate the opportunity to carry over marks, this is normally because a carry-over is not permitted owing to changes in the subject’s curriculum and/or assessment. The carry-over of a result can be indicated using the Candidate >Candidate registrations > Post registration > Bring forward mark(s) and predicted grade(s) option. Any queries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retake candidates carrying forward their result for a non-examination component will carry forward their component grade (and the position within that grade) rather than their mark. Where the component grade boundaries stay the same from the main session to the retake session, there will be no change to the mark carried forward. Where the component grade boundaries change, the mark will be adjusted to ensure the same component grade is awarded in the retake session.
This is to ensure that candidates carrying forward their results are not disadvantaged or advantaged by changes to grade boundaries that take place after the main session.
An anticipated or diploma candidate may normally carry over the result for a non-examination component from a subject previously taken as a course candidate if the subject requirements have not changed. This can be done on IBIS.
For further information on carrying forward marks, see Library > User guides >Carrying forward marks user guide.
Resubmitting work for internal assessment or another non-examination component
If a candidate wishes to resubmit work for IA or for any other non-examination component, the candidate must attend classes at the school where they are registered for the retake session. This is because the subject teacher must provide academic guidance, mark work for IA and confirm that all work is authentic.
It is not sufficient for the candidate to make minor changes to the work previously submitted, regardless of whether the coursework was internally or externally assessed. In principle, entirely different work should be submitted for assessment. However, the IB recognizes that for very substantial coursework tasks (for example, artwork for visual arts, the design project for design technology) this may not be feasible given the time constraints. In such cases, substantial modification of the original work is acceptable. If modified work is submitted, it will be marked as new; the candidate must accept that the work may attract a lower mark. For the EE, six-month and 12-month retake candidates wishing to improve the grade for their EE may submit either a revised or a new EE (see section “D7.2” The Extended Essay) for more information).
Changing the level and response language of a subject
For a candidate retaking a subject but changing level, contact email@example.com to enquire whether the mark can be transferred. Identify the candidate by name, personal code and previous session number, stating the subject and component(s) for which the candidate wishes to change level.
It is permissible to change the response language of a subject, but all new components must be in the same response language. This includes the IA if the candidate is submitting new work. However, a candidate may carry forward the IA result achieved with a different response language from a previous session.
Changes to history HL
If a candidate retakes history HL and changes their regional option (for example, from Europe to the Americas), this is considered a change of subject and, therefore, the highest grade will not necessarily contribute to the diploma.
Changes to mathematics SL/HL
If a candidate retakes mathematics SL or HL and changes the option (for example, from mathematics: analysis and approaches to mathematics: applications and interpretation), this is considered a change of subject and, therefore, the highest grade will not necessarily contribute to the diploma.
Source: Diploma Program Assessment Procedures 2024, Last update: 13/11/2023