by Gerens Curnow August 29, 2019 8 min read

The unthinkable has happened. You have opened your AS or A2 results, and have failed to achieve what you expected. There are a whole host of reasons why an applicant may not achieve the required grades, and we know that even the brightest and best can have a few off days that can lead to a lower final grade. We often hear from people who have missed their offer, or not achieved what they needed to at AS, and are devastated that they won’t be able to get into medical school. They have heard from Sandra, who was told by Charlie, who was told by John at the Post Office that medical schools don’t accept A-level resits. Never mind, better luck next time, find something else to do.  However, let me make it clear now that THIS IS NOT THE CASE!

If you have the desire to study Medicine, there are still many options available to you. This blog will expel some of the myths surrounding this topic, and give some clear and practical advice for applicants who have not met their required grades and are considering resitting. 


Clarifying terms

First, it is important to note that this blog is for applicants who would be required to resit their A-levels WITHOUT mitigating circumstances. While each school of medicine will judge what constitutes mitigating circumstances, a few examples are listed below. If one of these applies to you, or if some other major event has led to you not achieving the grades you were anticipating, then your chances of being accepted without disadvantage at almost all UK medical schools are high. You may wish to contact the medical school on question directly, as they will be able to give more information on your specific circumstances.

  • Close family bereavement before or during study
  • Debilitating illness
  • Change of school or system, or other educational disruption
  • Adverse domestic circumstances

Further, resitting individual exams within the 2-year period of study will generally not inhibit entry to any medical school in the UK. The exception here is if many resits are required, as this may indicate that the applicant is not going to be able to keep apace with the requirements of a medical degree.

This blog is only true for applicants applying to undergraduate medicine, i.e. A100 courses, not postgraduate A101 courses. 


Where are my chances highest?

Disclaimer: Each medical school has its own academic entry requirements, and so each has its own policy on A-level resits. We have compiled information from every medical school in the UK, both from their websites and from calling the admissions offices, to provide you with details of their medicine resit policy as of August 2019. While we are confident in the accuracy of this information, it is important to note that this is a dynamic environment, and schools can and frequently do update their selection process information. You are advised to confirm before applying.

There are currently four medical schools in the UK who accept applicants from applicants who have resat one year of their A-levels without any disadvantage. This means that the grades achieved by these resit applicants are considered equally with students who did not resit their A-levels, and therefore these schools may increase the likelihood that these applicants will receive an offer. Note that this does not cover applicants who have been forced to resit two or more years of study. These schools are:

  • Aston Medical School - applications from students who resit their A Level or equivalent examinations once will be accepted. Applicants who are required to resit more than once will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • University of Exeter Medical School
  • University of Sheffield Medical School - resit applications are permitted. Any and all A Level resits must be taken in the same sitting and only one resit per A Level is permitted.  
  • Southampton Medical School - applicants who are retaking their A-levels will be considered for our programmes. However, if applicants have retaken the same subjects more than once, these applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

On top of these four schools, there are a further 15 who will accept applications provided that certain criteria are met, or may otherwise disadvantage resit applicants in the admissions process. These schools are:

  • Brighton and Sussex - Student retaking their AS level year can apply if their predicted A-level grades are AAA including Biology and Chemistry. If you are retaking your A2, they will only consider applications from applicants who have slipped a grade in one subject and obtained a grade B (i.e. achieved A levels AAB/A*AB/A*A*B but have a predicted grade A in the re-sat subject).  Anyone below grades AAB after two years of study, or who is not predicted a grade A in your re-sit, would only be eligible to apply once receiving grades AAA including Biology and Chemistry after 3 years of study.
  • University of Bristol - A maximum of one resit is allowed in any one subject.
  • Hull York Medical School- Provided applicants did not achieve lower than BBB in their first sitting, resit results are accepted without discrimination. Any lower than this and evidence of extenuating circumstances will be required.
  • Keele University School of Medicine - If you are resitting your A levels, or have taken more than two years to complete them, you must wait until you have your final grades before applying to Keele, i.e. you will not be eligible to apply before the 2020 entry round. They will, however, consider a candidate who has already achieved the required grades but is taking additional subjects. For example, an applicant with achieved grades of AAA but with only one science would be considered if currently taking an additional science A level.
  • King’s College London - Resits are acceptable. However, non-resit applicants are considered as more competitive applications.
  • Lancaster University Medical School - Applications from applicants who have taken longer than two years to achieve the required grades at A Level are considered if the applicant otherwise meets the GCSE criteria and the non-academic entry requirements. In the absence of mitigating circumstances, students must have achieved at least ABB in their first attempt. All resit applicants must achieve the required grades after three years of study.
  • University of Liverpool - Resits are accepted but the offer may be conditional on higher A-level grades than the typical offer (e.g. minimum A*AA, rather than AAA). Applicants must have scored a minimum of ABB in their first sitting and must reflect on this in their personal statement. For help on this, why not use ourPersonal Statement Service! 
  • University of Manchester – While Manchester do welcome applications from those re-sitting, applicants may only re-sit one of either Year 12 or Year 13. Where A-levels have been attempted in Year 13, applicants are expected to have obtained a minimum of grade B in each subject at the first sitting for the resit grades to be considered. Grades A*AA are required for resitting applicants, with an A* in one of the science subjects. 
  • University of East Anglia - Any applicant resitting all or part of an A level is required to include their original grade on the UCAS application form. A level resits will only be considered if a minimum of ABB or AAC was achieved in the first sitting. 
  • University of Plymouth, Peninsula Medical School - Applications from resit applicants are welcome providing a minimum of ABB has been achieved at the first attempt. 
  • Queen’s University Belfast - Resit candidates are only considered if they previously held an offer from Queen’s at the first attempt and made it their conditional firm choice. In addition, they must have achieved A*AB/AAA at A-level or AAB at A-level plus A in a fourth AS-level at first attempt. The offer for repeat candidates is currently either A*AA or AAA at A-level plus A in a fourth AS level. Only two attempts at A-levels are allowed.
  • University of Leicester - For 2020 entry, in the absence of mitigating circumstances, applicants who attain AAB at their first A-level attempt can apply with a resit in one subject
  • University of Nottingham - Resits of no more than 2 A-levels will be considered under the following conditions: 1) A-levels have been completed in the last 12 months; 2) At least ABB was obtained in the first attempt; 2) One A is currently in Biology/Human Biology or Chemistry; 3) AAA is predicted and must be achieved after the resit. 
  • Anglia Ruskin University - A Level resit grades at AAA will be accepted taken within two academic years prior to the time of application.
  • University of Sunderland -  A Level resits are accepted under certain circumstances: Where an applicant has been awarded AAB, the applicant is only required to re-sit the B grade subjector Where an applicant has been awarded less than AAB, they are then required to re-sit all 3 A Levels in the same sitting in order to be considered.
  • University of Lancaster -A Level resits are considered if the applicant meets the GCSE criteria and the non-academic entry requirements. Students must have achieved at least ABB in their A-Levels at the first attempt and all resit applicants must achieve the required grades after three years of study.


Where are my chances lowest?

Of the 39 medical schools currently offering medical degrees in the UK, 20 of them will not accept applications from applicants who have had to resit a year of their a-levels, without extenuating circumstances. These therefore represent schools that applicants without these circumstances should avoid applying for, to ensure they do not waste an application. These schools are:

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Queen Mary University of London)
  • University of Birmingham
  • Buckingham Medical School
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Leeds
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Oxford
  • University of St Andrews
  • St George’s Hospital Medical School
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University College London
  • Edge Hill University
  • University of Lincoln

What about applying as a graduate, instead?

If you have missed your grades and do not want to resit a year, there is always the option of undertaking a different degree and then applying to Medicine as a graduate. While this is an attractive option in many ways, as it shows you are capable of studying at degree level and gives you more time to fill your CV with medical work experience, it should be noted that some medical schools require graduate applicants to have obtained certain A-level grades, too.

Medical School Resit Policies: Sources of information


University Source of information Date gathered
University of Aberdeen University website 24/08/2019
Aston Medical School University website 24/08/2019
Barts and the London
University website 24/08/2019
University of Birmingham University website 24/08/2019
Brighton and Sussex
University website 24/08/2019
University of Bristol University website 24/08/2019
Buckingham Medical School Phone call with admission office 28/08/2019
University of Cambridge University website 24/08/2019
Cardiff University University website 24/08/2019
University of Dundee University website 24/08/2019
University of Edinburgh University website 24/08/2019
University of Exeter University website 24/08/2019
University of Glasgow

University website

Hull York University website 24/08/2019
Imperial College London University website 24/08/2019
Keele University University website 24/08/2019
King's College London University website 24/08/2019
Lancaster University University website 24/08/2019
University of Leeds University website 24/08/2019
University of Leicester University website 24/08/2019
University of Liverpool University website 24/08/2019

University of Manchester

University website 24/08/2019
Newcastle University University website 24/08/2019
University of East Anglia
University website 24/08/2019
University of Nottingham University website 24/08/2019
University of Oxford University website 24/08/2019
Plymouth University University website 24/08/2019
Queen's University University website 24/08/2019
University of Sheffield University website 24/08/2019
Southampton Medical School University website 24/08/2019
University of St Andrews University website 24/08/2019
St George's University website 24/08/2019

University of Central Lancashire

Emailed senior admissions tutor 30/08/2019
University College London University website 24/08/2019
Anglia Ruskin University University website 24/08/2019
Edge Hull University University website 24/08/2019
University of Lancaster
University website 30/08/2019
University of Sunderland University website 24/08/2019
University of Lincoln University website 24/08/2019


We hope that you have found this information for medical school resit policies helpful, if you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us at

Gerens Curnow
Gerens Curnow

Mr. Gerens Curnow is a Medical Student from the University of Exeter. He is the winner of two medical education grants from the Association for the study of Medical Education. He has given lectures to 70-100 A-level students on medical school applications. Additionally, he is the author of three of our Medical School Application Guidebooks.

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