Can I Still Apply for Medicine If I Resit My A Levels?

What happens if you don't achieve the A level grades required for Medicine? Is it possible to resit your A level exams?

August 2021
Sana Khan (Blogger)
Aston University - 1st Year Medical Student

Can I still apply for medicine if I resit my A levels?

Yes - some universities will accept resits! However, there are different policies at different universities...

The following universities will usually accept resits:

  1. Anglia Ruskin University: You will be considered for a place after resitting if you achieved at least AAB the first time around.
  2. Brighton & Sussex Medical School: Resits are usually considered for one slipped grade at a previous attempt.
  3. University of Bristol: Yes, resits are allowed but only once.
  4. University of Buckingham: If you receive at least BBB the first time around then you can apply with a resit.
  5. Edge Hill University: Resits are accepted.
  6. University of Exeter: Resits are accepted.
  7. Hull York Medical School: Resits are accepted if at least BBB has been achieved in the first sitting.
  8. Keele University: Resits are accepted.
  9. King’s College London: Resits are acceptable but non-resit applicants are considered as more competitive applications.
  10. Lancaster University: Resits are accepted. In the absence of mitigating circumstances, students must have achieved at least ABB in the first attempt.
  11. University of Leicester: Resits are accepted if you got AAB or ABB in the first sitting.
  12. University of Lincoln: Resits are accepted if you achieved at least ABB in the first sitting.
  13. University of Manchester: Resits are accepted, but you must have achieved at least a minimum of BBB the first time round. All resitting applicants must obtain A*AA.
  14. Newcastle University: One subject may be resat and the grade requirement for that subject will also go up, i.e. A* instead of an A.
  15. Norwich Medical School: Resits are accepted if you achieved ABB/AAC in the first sitting.
  16. University of Nottingham: Resits are accepted if you achieved at least ABB in the first sitting.
  17. University of Plymouth: Yes, resits are accepted, but only if you obtained ABB in the first sitting.
  18. Queen’s University Belfast: One subject may be resat and the grade requirement for that subject will also go up, i.e. A* instead of an A.
  19. University of Sheffield: Yes, resits are accepted, but there can only be one resit per A level.
  20. University of Southampton: Yes, resits are accepted, but not more than once per subject.
  21. University of Sunderland: You may resit the B grade if you achieved AAB.

The following universities will accept resits under certain circumstances:

  1. University of Aberdeen: AS module resits are permitted, only if you sit all your A levels simultaneously (i.e. all of them in year 13). As for A level resits, they are only considered under extenuating circumstances.
  2. Aston Medical School: Considered under extenuating circumstances. 1 resit year attempt only (as is the case with most medical schools).
  3. Barts (Queen Mary): Resits accepted if you’re protected under the Equality and Diversity Act 2010.
  4. University of Birmingham: Resits are only considered in extenuating circumstances.
  5. University of Cambridge: Resits are only considered in extenuating circumstances.
  6. University of Central Lancashire: Resits are only considered in extenuating circumstances. If they give you an offer but you miss the grades, they’ll allow you to join the foundation pathway.
  7. University of Dundee: Resits may only be accepted in extenuating circumstances.
  8. University of Edinburgh: Resits will only be accepted in extenuating circumstances.
  9. Imperial College London: Resits are considered only under extenuating circumstances.
  10. University of Leeds: Resits are only accepted in extenuating circumstances.
  11. Oxford University: Resits are accepted in extenuating circumstances.
  12. University of St Andrews: Resits are only accepted in extenuating circumstances.

The following universities will not accept resits:

  1. Cardiff University: Resits are not accepted.
  2. University College London: Resits are not accepted.
  3. St George’s: Resits are not accepted.

How can I make my application stand out if I’m reapplying after resitting my A levels?

As you already know, the grades are what matters the most when you are resitting your A levels, and it is therefore of utmost importance to make sure that you obtain the required grades the second time around. The key to making sure this happens is by reflecting upon the year - what went well and what you could do to improve. Ask yourself: “What prevented me from obtaining the grades I needed?” Once you have established this, make an action plan so that you can best organise your time and efforts into achieving your goal.

May I also add that it’s a phenomenal achievement in itself that you have found a profession that you are so passionate about, you are willing to give your time and effort to obtain the grades it requires, the second time around. I’m a medical student and so, just like you, I know what a bumpy road it is to get into Medicine. But every stumble teaches you something new. You must go on with self-belief and determination, because if YOU believe that you can achieve something then it is possible, no matter what others believe.

Saying this, there are a couple of things you can do to make your application stand out.

  1. Get as much work experience as you can. For more information on getting work experience, I would recommend checking out some of our other posts: 'How To Write an Email Asking for Work Experience', 'How to Reflect on your Work Experience for Medicine' guide, and 'What Work Experience is Useful for Medicine'.
  2. Ask the interview panels at the universities you applied to previously, to give you feedback on your performance in your interviews for the previous application cycle. They may be able to give you points of improvement.
  3. Reflect on other aspects of your first application, particularly with regard to admissions tests. For example, did you struggle with UCAT and/or BMAT? If so, it may be beneficial to dedicate more time for preparation the second time around so you achieve a higher score.

Is it worth resitting my A levels if I miss my grades/don’t achieve the grades required for medicine?

If for some reason you do not achieve the grades required for medicine, your first call of action should be to ring up the university/universities that had given you an offer and ask them whether they will still accept you, or if they will hold your space should you choose to appeal a grade.  In this situation, they will either accept you, grant you an offer for their ‘Gateway to medicine course’ or they won’t accept you at all.

The foremost situation is the most ideal, of course. But what if this doesn’t happen? Well, Gateway to medicine is a great option because not only will it take the same amount of time as it would with resitting A levels, but it offers more certainty because it means that you will have technically already started your medical degree. Moreover, you will learn useful content that will help create a foundation for your first year. Alternatively, if you are presented with the least favourable situation of the three, the university rejecting you, you should apply strategically and find out which universities will accept you if you resit your A levels.

Can I ‘resit’ 2021 A-levels?

The pandemic has meant that the allocation of A level grades this year and last has been very different to normal ie. with the majority of individuals not taking actual A level exams and grades being teacher-assessed. Therefore some of the information in this article may not be entirely relevant for those cohorts - so please do check on university websites or get in touch with them directly to double-check! Also, do check out our blog post ‘What is Happening with A Levels in 2021?’ for more information regarding this, including appealing grades and the potential to take actual exams in the Autumn.

Author: Sana Khan

Editor: Allegra Wisking

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