Last year some 55,000 students gained a place at university through clearing, and if you don’t have a place on results day, it’s up to you to find a university that is prepared to accept you. For most students, this might mean changing course slightly or going to a university further away than they had planned to, but it’s very possible to get a place somewhere.
Medicine is one of the most heavily applied to subjects to study at university, and thousands of students apply to each university every year when only a few hundred spaces are available. Unfortunately, this means that some medical schools don’t have any spaces available through clearing. There are approximately 6,600 first year places on medical courses in 31 medical schools across the country, and last year there were fewer than 100 places on medicine courses that were given through clearing. It can be done, but places are snapped up very quickly, and because of the different ways that medical schools interview and select students, it has to be a university you applied to in the first place.
No one can fully predict how many students are going to get their target grades on A level results day, so of course medical schools have no way of knowing who will achieve the required grades, or who will be claiming a place that is their insurance choice. It’s not until results day that numbers can be known, so every medical school needs a system that allows them to fill up all of the places available.
Some medical schools have a waiting list of students who were interviewed but just missed out on a place, so to fill spaces they will look at the people on that list, find out how well they did in their A levels and perhaps offer them a place. Unlike other degree courses, if you miss out on A level grades you’re very unlikely to get a place on a medical course unless there are exceptional circumstances, or if someone very narrowly misses the grades but did exceptionally well in their interview.
If you do miss out on the grades you need, it’s clear the re-sitting A-levels is not really a secure option, as most, if not all, medical and dental school no longer consider re-take or re-sit candidates. However, there are several options still available to you via Medipathways. You can still apply for their 2-year BSc.(Hons) in Biomedical Science, which allows you to re-apply to UK medical or dental schools as a graduate in just two years. They have also recently formed linked with overseas medical schools offering 4-year degree courses for graduates, allowing their BSc graduates to continue onto their medical degree course, if UK applications do not work out. This is a very interesting option as many students are considering this 2+4 articulation route, rather then embarking on a 6-year medical degree course abroad this September.