The Student Room Group

Do universities accept a levels taken outside of the 2 year period?

Do universities like UCL, Imperial, Oxbridge, Manchester etc. accept a levels taken, for example, during a gap year?
In what context?

If you mean that you are taking an additional A-level in a gap year because you were missing a required/desirable subject (e.g. FM to apply to a maths degree) but already did 3 full A-levels in one sitting with good results then yes, most seem to have no issues with this.

If you mean that you did fewer than 3 A-levels in one sitting over 2 years and are taking a third in a gap year then while they will recognise it they will usually have an issue with you not having done the standard 3 A-levels over 2 years.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
In what context?

If you mean that you are taking an additional A-level in a gap year because you were missing a required/desirable subject (e.g. FM to apply to a maths degree) but already did 3 full A-levels in one sitting with good results then yes, most seem to have no issues with this.

If you mean that you did fewer than 3 A-levels in one sitting over 2 years and are taking a third in a gap year then while they will recognise it they will usually have an issue with you not having done the standard 3 A-levels over 2 years.

The former. Are there any universities which would not allow that or would disadvantage me because of it?
Original post by lanky_giraffe
The former. Are there any universities which would not allow that or would disadvantage me because of it?

I think the only courses where it might be a bit variable would be for medicine/dentistry (maybe vet med). Some might be more or less amenable to that.

For pretty much everything else...I've not really heard any issues. For example I know Imperial told someone a couple years ago they had no issues with them doing FM in a gap year to apply to JMC. I don't think it's uncommon for Oxbridge either (at least outside medicine - not sure how that course feels about it, or vet med at Cambridge).

Would probably help to know what course you want to apply to, what A-levels you originally did, and what A-level(s) you are doing in the gap year.
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
I think the only courses where it might be a bit variable would be for medicine/dentistry (maybe vet med). Some might be more or less amenable to that.

For pretty much everything else...I've not really heard any issues. For example I know Imperial told someone a couple years ago they had no issues with them doing FM in a gap year to apply to JMC. I don't think it's uncommon for Oxbridge either (at least outside medicine - not sure how that course feels about it, or vet med at Cambridge).

Would probably help to know what course you want to apply to, what A-levels you originally did, and what A-level(s) you are doing in the gap year.

Sorry, u have helped me on another thread not too long ago about whether it would be okay to apply to a course without a predicted grade (thank you for your help, by the way!). I am currently taking: Geography (A*), Chemistry (A*) and Biology (A*), and I have achieved an A* in epq. I orginally applied for medicine but got four post-interview rejections because of my lack of work experience. I was encouraged to reapply, but with work experience from two of my univerisities; however, my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, and I dont know whether I will be able to cope with studying medicine for 5 years with all of this going on (I guess the interviewers may have noticed that :frown: ). I am also tempted with vet med. However, I am also incredibly interested in chemical engineering (specifically hydrogen and carbon capture), so I am considering taking A level maths during my gap year and apply to that. However, I don't know whether universities will consider me.

My GCSEs also let me down (9766666665), partly because of covid and my mums first diagnosis, and so I don't feel those grades that my teachers gave me accurately depict what i was capable of (and that is mentioned in my reference from my tutor). Also, my whole year cheated; can I just not put my GCSEs? So its equal consideration.

Any advice?
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 5
Bath and Bristol - neither have a problem with 3-year A levels, either extra subjects or resits.
Original post by lanky_giraffe
Sorry, u have helped me on another thread not too long ago about whether it would be okay to apply to a course without a predicted grade (thank you for your help, by the way!). I am currently taking: Geography (A*), Chemistry (A*) and Biology (A*), and I have achieved an A* in epq. I orginally applied for medicine but got four post-interview rejections because of my lack of work experience. I was encouraged to reapply, but with work experience from two of my univerisities; however, my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, and I dont know whether I will be able to cope with studying medicine for 5 years with all of this going on (I guess the interviewers may have noticed that :frown: ). I am also tempted with vet med. However, I am also incredibly interested in chemical engineering (specifically hydrogen and carbon capture), so I am considering taking A level maths during my gap year and apply to that. However, I don't know whether universities will consider me.

My GCSEs also let me down (9766666665), partly because of covid and my mums first diagnosis, and so I don't feel those grades that my teachers gave me accurately depict what i was capable of (and that is mentioned in my reference from my tutor). Also, my whole year cheated; can I just not put my GCSEs? So its equal consideration.

Any advice?

So, a lot to unpack here.

First and foremost, you must declare all qualifications taken when applying through UCAS. Failure to do so will lead your application to be marked as fradulent, and offers you hold free for the universities to void them, and you may also be excluded from that and potentially future application cycles by UCAS. You absolutely can not just not put your GCSEs. Also most universities care very little about GCSEs anyway as long as you meet their entry criteria. Also bear in mind that COVID affected the entire country and universities will be taking that into account for any cohorts affected.

Secondly, you should apply for extenuating circumstances as appropriate regarding your mothers diagnosis. You should have already done so for your GCSEs, and should do so for your A-levels now before sitting the exams if it's still an ongoing matter. Normally universities will expect you to apply for extenuating circumstances to the exam boards directly and will just accept their decision - it's uncommon that they will apply it separately to avoid "double dipping" if you also had adjustments through the exam board.

Thirdly, you don't need to take any other A-levels in a gap year for medicine...you meet the A-level subject (and grade) requirements for every medical school except Cambridge. So if that is your goal then no issues there. Likewise vet med, although you really need to do more work experience in both (especially vet med - where work experience is very important and you've missed lambing season this year already) both to confirm if you want to study either area, and to meet the requirements.

Finally chemical engineering is very different to the other subjects you've considered and seems a bit of a random choice - you should be aware has very little chemistry in it. It's mostly maths and physics. You'd really want to be doing both in a gap year both to give yourself more options, and to get an idea of what the course is actually like...although maths and chemistry will suffice for many courses. It's like 70% maths, 20% physics and 10% chemistry though, so unless you really like solving differential equations all day long, may not be suitable. Also there's no need to take a gap year for that as you could just apply to courses with a foundation year directly (and without FM or physics that will be all the courses you could apply to through doing maths in a gap year regardless).

I would suggest you pursue medical and/or veterinary work experience actively for now to confirm or deny an interest in applying to medicine. You can always apply for deferred entry if our mother is still being treated. This will help you decide on that front - and if you're certain you don't want to pursue a clinical course then you can figure out what you do want to apply for (in a gap year or through clearing). Bear in mind that medicine courses do come up in clearing sometimes, and so you may want to do more work experience between now and then as you might actually be able to get a place through clearing if that's still of interest too.
Reply 7
Original post by artful_lounger
So, a lot to unpack here.

First and foremost, you must declare all qualifications taken when applying through UCAS. Failure to do so will lead your application to be marked as fradulent, and offers you hold free for the universities to void them, and you may also be excluded from that and potentially future application cycles by UCAS. You absolutely can not just not put your GCSEs. Also most universities care very little about GCSEs anyway as long as you meet their entry criteria. Also bear in mind that COVID affected the entire country and universities will be taking that into account for any cohorts affected.

Secondly, you should apply for extenuating circumstances as appropriate regarding your mothers diagnosis. You should have already done so for your GCSEs, and should do so for your A-levels now before sitting the exams if it's still an ongoing matter. Normally universities will expect you to apply for extenuating circumstances to the exam boards directly and will just accept their decision - it's uncommon that they will apply it separately to avoid "double dipping" if you also had adjustments through the exam board.

Thirdly, you don't need to take any other A-levels in a gap year for medicine...you meet the A-level subject (and grade) requirements for every medical school except Cambridge. So if that is your goal then no issues there. Likewise vet med, although you really need to do more work experience in both (especially vet med - where work experience is very important and you've missed lambing season this year already) both to confirm if you want to study either area, and to meet the requirements.

Finally chemical engineering is very different to the other subjects you've considered and seems a bit of a random choice - you should be aware has very little chemistry in it. It's mostly maths and physics. You'd really want to be doing both in a gap year both to give yourself more options, and to get an idea of what the course is actually like...although maths and chemistry will suffice for many courses. It's like 70% maths, 20% physics and 10% chemistry though, so unless you really like solving differential equations all day long, may not be suitable. Also there's no need to take a gap year for that as you could just apply to courses with a foundation year directly (and without FM or physics that will be all the courses you could apply to through doing maths in a gap year regardless).

I would suggest you pursue medical and/or veterinary work experience actively for now to confirm or deny an interest in applying to medicine. You can always apply for deferred entry if our mother is still being treated. This will help you decide on that front - and if you're certain you don't want to pursue a clinical course then you can figure out what you do want to apply for (in a gap year or through clearing). Bear in mind that medicine courses do come up in clearing sometimes, and so you may want to do more work experience between now and then as you might actually be able to get a place through clearing if that's still of interest too.

Sorry, that last question was a joke.

How do I apply for extenuating circumstances? Do I apply through my school or directly?

Oh okay, yeah, chemical engineering is out of the question then. It’s just I know how competitive medicine is and if I don’t get in next cycle or if the ucat doesn’t go to plan this year, I’m trying to think of a back up. Maybe something like Biotechnology? I’d love to still be involved in healthcare.

But yeah, I definitely need to get some work experience for veterinary medicine and medicine.

Thank you!!! :smile:
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by lanky_giraffe
Sorry, that last question was a joke.

How do I apply for extenuating circumstances? Do I apply through my school or directly?

Oh okay, yeah, chemical engineering is out of the question then. It’s just I know how competitive medicine is and if I don’t get in next cycle or if the ucat doesn’t go to plan this year, I’m trying to think of a back up. Maybe something like Biotechnology? I’d love to still be involved in healthcare.

But yeah, I definitely need to get some work experience for veterinary medicine and medicine.

Thank you!!! :smile:

You would need to discuss about extenuating circumstances with your school's exams officer (or at the least, your teacher(s) who can direct you to the relevant individual) - they should be able to help you do that. I would get in touch ASAP.

Your main goal seems to be working in healthcare so honestly I'd just recommend focusing on improving your medicine application. Your academics are as good as they can be on paper (assuming you avoid GCSE heavy medical schools) so you'd really just need to aim to do well on the UCAT/BMAT and get relevant work experience and prepare for the interviews. And prepare for clearing so if any medicine courses are available in clearing, you are ready to call them first thing to apply (as the med courses that do end up in clearing very quickly get filled up)!

I don't really think "biotechnology" as a subject is that explicitly tied to healthcare. Really more of a research area and area of interest for biopharmaceutical companies (which isn't really "healthcare" as you're completely removed from the clinical/patient side of the picture).

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