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What to do if you don’t get the A-level requirements for Medicine

Student who hasn't received the a-level requirements for medicine

Now that you’ve finished those tough A-level exams, you can finally relax and enjoy that fantastic summer you’ve been looking forward to for so long! Sadly, as it gets closer to A-level results day, anxiety begins to set in and you find yourself asking the question, “What if I don’t get the A-level requirements for medicine?” Hopefully this blog will help you to feel a little more relaxed (if that’s possible!) on 15th August and ensure you have a back-up plan if things don’t go the way you want them to.

read our reapplying to med school guide

Try to secure your place

If you unfortunately miss your A-level requirements for medicine on results day, the first thing to do is to ring up your firm and then insurance universities and ask if there is any way that they can still secure your place. Although it is rare, some universities do occasionally accept students who achieved different A-level results, such as AAB or ABB, especially if they did well at interview, so there’s no harm in trying! It is also useful to look at your A2 UMS marks; if you’re only a few UMS off an A, you could apply for a priority re-mark. It would be a good idea to inform the university of this decision and ask if they could hold your place while you wait for the results of your re-mark.

Read Not made it to medical school? Your next steps

Apply for a different course and then apply for medicine as a graduate

Many people who miss the A-level requirements for medicine often apply for a similar three year course such as biomedical science, biochemistry or pharmacology. You can apply for such courses through Clearing or take a gap year before you apply for them. After completing your chosen course, you can then apply to medicine as a graduate through the Graduate Entry Programme (GEP) or Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM). Alternatively, you can apply as an undergraduate, which is less competitive and gives you a greater variety of universities to choose from, however, it is a longer course than GEM courses.

The disadvantage of this route is that, in most cases, you need to complete the three year course before applying to medicine, which may not be feasible in terms of time or money. However, at some universities, you can study a course such as biomedical sciences for a year and then transfer to the medicine course at the same university, although this can be quite competitive. The advantage of applying for a different but related course to medicine is that you’ll still be studying a course you love while developing your independence and maturity.

Read Reapplying to medical school

Apply for Medicine abroad with your A-level results

Universities in several countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Spain offer medicine courses which some UK students apply to, especially if they have missed the A-level requirements for medicine at UK universities. In this case, it is essential to check the entry requirements of the medicine courses abroad to ensure the A-level results achieved meet the requirements. Applying for medicine abroad will allow you to experience studying in a different country with a different culture, and you will learn how to treat a variety of medical conditions that you might not see very often in the UK, possibly learning another language along the way. However, if you wish to study abroad and then return to practice as a doctor in the UK, you should check whether the course is accredited by the GMC. If you choose this option, make sure you don’t get homesick easily!

Read Studying medicine abroad

Retake to get the A-level requirements for medicine

There is always the possibility of retaking some of your AS or A2 units to ensure you get the A-level requirements for medicine. You should only choose this route if you feel that you under-performed in your exams and are confident you can do better in the same exams after working for another year on the particular subject.

Unfortunately, few universities accept students who have completed their A-levels over three years (as opposed to two years) to obtain AAA unless there are extenuating circumstances involved. It would be best to first check with your chosen universities.

Read Medical school A-level resit policies 

It’s important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each route before you make your final decision. Make sure you have a back-up plan for results day if you don’t get the grades you’re hoping for.

Good luck for results day and enjoy the rest of your action-packed summer!

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