Are retakes looked down upon by universities? Is a gap year worth it to re-apply? Watch

chandmeister
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Last year my AS results were ABBC in History, Economics, Maths and Chem respectively. As a result of these grades I couldn't apply to the places I originally wanted to go to for Economics (Oxbridge, Warwick etc). I retook two papers from Maths and one paper from Economics and ended up with A*A*A in History, Economics and Maths respectively. Even though I have an offer from Nottingham for Economics, both friends and teachers have asked whether I've considered looking at a gap year and reapplying. It seemed tempting and I can't lie, it still is. However, I'm concerned that if I were to re-apply to places like Cambridge, Warwick, Durham etc for Econ then they would think my application is a lot weaker than other candidates. Furthermore, with places like Cambridge who look at UMS, they'll look at the AS result rather than the retakes. As well as this, the A2 maths papers' UMS weren't as great as they should have been, which worries me more.

So would re-applying mean that the universities will think my application is weaker than the others? Is taking a gap year with my current grades worth it?
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whydoidothis?
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If you did your A levels in 2 years they won't care, at all.
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hattie_creese
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If you retake any exams, your better mark is picked and this will go towards your final grade. They actually probably respect you more for doing retakes on top of A-levels!! Don't get yourself down about it. Take a gap year but only if you have good ideas in mind - universities will credit students who do things that 'widen their experience', so go travelling, meet new people, teach English to foreign children, learn new skills and have fun!! Don't just have a gap year because you're worrying about applying to university. Good luck with everything! Hattie
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username1408342
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On first read I thought you should definitely take a year out and re-apply, as A*A*A is pretty impressive, especially considering you did all those re-takes within 2 years. However, the fact that you only got an A in maths would pretty much rule you out of Cambridge/ UCL/ LSE (idk about Durham). Your best bet is Oxford or Warwick. It's best first emailing their admissions to see their position on re-takes, as I got rejected by Warwick pretty much solely on the grounds of my initial grades. Alternatively, you could re-sit some maths modules and maybe pick up further maths in your gap year, so that your Cambridge/ UCL/ LSE application could be realistic.
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chandmeister
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(Original post by ChrisP97)
On first read I thought you should definitely take a year out and re-apply, as A*A*A is pretty impressive, especially considering you did all those re-takes within 2 years. However, the fact that you only got an A in maths would pretty much rule you out of Cambridge/ UCL/ LSE (idk about Durham). Your best bet is Oxford or Warwick. It's best first emailing their admissions to see their position on re-takes, as I got rejected by Warwick pretty much solely on the grounds of my initial grades. Alternatively, you could re-sit some maths modules and maybe pick up further maths in your gap year, so that your Cambridge/ UCL/ LSE application could be realistic.
I emailed LSE and UCL and they pretty much said what you said. Cambridge have said that I've met their conditions and that they'd be happy to consider me. They've also said that they would encourage any student who have met their conditions to apply. It's also worth noting that due to the recent changes in A/AS levels, Cambridge have brought out a new entrance examination for Economics as well, which I'd have to do if I applied there.

When I emailed Warwick about it they just said that they'll consider all parts of my application, and didn't really answer my question on retakes. Also Durham's offer for Economics is the same as Warwick's (A*AA). Haven't really thought about Oxford, but as they don't do straight Economics like Cambridge I don't really want to apply there.

Either I stick with Economics or apply to another course like Law or something.
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aadil10
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(Original post by chandmeister)
Last year my AS results were ABBC in History, Economics, Maths and Chem respectively. As a result of these grades I couldn't apply to the places I originally wanted to go to for Economics (Oxbridge, Warwick etc). I retook two papers from Maths and one paper from Economics and ended up with A*A*A in History, Economics and Maths respectively. Even though I have an offer from Nottingham for Economics, both friends and teachers have asked whether I've considered looking at a gap year and reapplying. It seemed tempting and I can't lie, it still is. However, I'm concerned that if I were to re-apply to places like Cambridge, Warwick, Durham etc for Econ then they would think my application is a lot weaker than other candidates. Furthermore, with places like Cambridge who look at UMS, they'll look at the AS result rather than the retakes. As well as this, the A2 maths papers' UMS weren't as great as they should have been, which worries me more.

So would re-applying mean that the universities will think my application is weaker than the others? Is taking a gap year with my current grades worth it?
wow that's amazing! I got ABB(C) this year in my subjects, with Further Maths as one of the Bs so I'm gonna have to retake two modules next year to make in an A. You've given me hope that I can still achieve A/A* next year :P
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