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Second chance success for future doctors

Study Medicine at University with Medicine A level Retake Course at Rochester College, Kent

RIC Biology0079a

Empowering the doctors of tomorrow to find a place to study today

Getting into Medical School is not a quick and easy process and students approach it in many different ways. For the lucky few, an impeccable background of academic success leads faultlessly to acceptance at Medical School. For many, life just isn’t that straightforward and they have to change course and find a new direction. 

Rochester Independent College has been helping prepare students for medical school entry since 1984. Many of our early students are now successful practitioners who won their places after retaking their A levels. Students aiming for UK medical schools and considering retaking their A levels today though need to be aware that successfully following this route is now very hard and that even when grades are achieved places are not guaranteed. Retaking A levels is tough, it's challenging, and it's easy to lose your way particularly when applying for the most competitive courses. 

With that made clear, we are though happy to report that RIC students who need to retake demonstrate every year that it can be achieved. But it's not just about finding your way; it's about forging your path and making it your own. What gives Rochester’s A level retake students the competitive edge is that they often add new subjects as one year intensive courses alongside resits. In 2023 Mahinden from Maidstone Grammar retook two subjects and added Sociology, gaining AAA. He says: “My RIC journey has been amazing, my dream of studying  Medicine at Sheffield is now a reality.” Also retaking for Medicine this year was Fatima from King’s Canterbury who added one year A level English to her Science resits resulting in another A. One of Fatima’s set poets was Keats who trained in Medicine at Guy’s Hospital at the age of 14 and whose statue sits on the campus. Fatima will study at Newcastle University. 

Can I resit my A levels and still get a place at medical school? 

Yes you can, although it’s a tough route.

Click below for the most up to date information about university medical schools admissions policies for students retaking A levels from our Dukes Education partner at The Medic Portal:

Not every medical school will consider resit students and you need to audit carefully which ones do each year as it does change. there are still a wide range of universities who do. Some Medical Schools simply won’t accept applications from students who resit their A-Levels unless there are serious mitigating circumstances or you have a recognised disability under the equality act. To give you examples Bristol, Sheffield, Southampton and Exeter currently all consider retakes, others will do but only if you achieve certain grades first time around, so for example Manchester and Hull York welcome applications as long as you have BBB already, Leicester if you have ABB. 

Some universities will consider your application but raise the bar for retakers- Newcastle and Liverpool for example asking for A*s rather than As in subjects resat whereas at Keele you have to secure your retake grades first and then reapply- you can’t apply on the basis of predicted grades in your retake year. In all these cases you have to watch the GCSE requirements as you would do first time around and if anything UCAT performance is even more crucial when applying second time around. 

Ralph was at Oundle School reapplied to medicine this year through RIC and has a place at Aberdeen. Ralph actually got more offers as an A level retake student than when he was applying first time around with offers from Aberdeen and Anglia Ruskin. 

How can I prepare for reapplication to medical school? 

Ian Pay who runs the medical programme at RIC says: "Students attending medical prep sessions are advised about all aspects of the application process such as the need for work experience, voluntary work, reading, hobbies, the aptitude tests and university choices. They also cover relevant topics such as medical ethics and good medical practice or its equivalent. All RIC students have access to support from our Dukes Education partners The Medic Portal.” 

Transfer to Year 13 for Medical School Success

But it's not just about finding your way; it's about forging your path and making it your own. At RIC we now see more prospective medics who transfer into our Year 13 after disappointing year 12 performance  elsewhere who need to maximise their chances of securing the required entry grades of AAA within the crucial standard two years of sixth form. Obviously students with uneven performance in internal exams need to concentrate on securing their grades in their year 13 and are sometimes not in a position to apply to medical school. Students in this position are sometimes encouraged to make a post results application. 

RIC's Flying Doctors

Congratulations to two of RIC’s newest flying doctors! Abi Wong and George Hales retook their A levels together at RIC and won matching places at Exeter University. 

We bumped into George last at the Kent County Show and were thrilled to hear that he and Abi have now graduated and are preparing to start practicing as fully fledged doctors!