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Doing A-Levels over 4 years

Hello, I'm student who was predicted A*AA and got BBB, missing offers from LSE, UCL, Durham and KCL.

I am currently a resit student who has offers again, but I am realising I want to go a different pathway, which would require me picking up an extra A-Level, which I would be doing in a year. Do you think I would be accepted considering that I'm doing extra new A-Levels within only one year to compensate for the fact it'll have taken me 4 years to get my achievements. Thank you.
It wont be a problem. If you are above 21 you will be considered as an matured student thats it
Reply 2
Original post by riik112233
It wont be a problem. If you are above 21 you will be considered as an matured student thats it

Do you think I should resit my A-Levels this year, or just focus on picking up my new A-Levels next year? I'm afraid if I don't get significantly better grades, it'll look bad on my reapplication next year.
Original post by amemiya
Do you think I should resit my A-Levels this year, or just focus on picking up my new A-Levels next year? I'm afraid if I don't get significantly better grades, it'll look bad on my reapplication next year.

not really honestly. I am doing the same coz my grades are so worse in A2... like in AS in got 3A and 1B.. but in A2 I got 3D 1C.. So I have to resit for it and make it 2B1C so that I can apply to unis... I dont think it will be wise for u to do so.. coz man its hectic + the mental trauma and stress I undergo everyday is just unbearable. Watching all my friends completing Alevels and here I am... U did great, dont resit, u will regret it. And with 3Bs there are plethora of options and opportunities to choose from.. Good luck
Original post by amemiya
Hello, I'm student who was predicted A*AA and got BBB, missing offers from LSE, UCL, Durham and KCL.

I am currently a resit student who has offers again, but I am realising I want to go a different pathway, which would require me picking up an extra A-Level, which I would be doing in a year. Do you think I would be accepted considering that I'm doing extra new A-Levels within only one year to compensate for the fact it'll have taken me 4 years to get my achievements. Thank you.


What new course do you want to study?
Reply 5
Took some time out and doing the same as you with A-Level Maths. Feel free to dm
Reply 6
Original post by normaw
What new course do you want to study?

English w a year abroad, Philosophy or Pharmacy
Reply 7
Original post by amemiya
Can I dm you on a social media? I can't pm you

I've dropped you a message
Original post by amemiya
English w a year abroad, Philosophy or Pharmacy


These are completely different courses. Most philosophy courses don't have any subject requirements so it's unclear why you would need to take another gap year to take another A-level for a philosophy degree.

English lit degrees only require A-level English lit so if you already have that then again, unnecessary and pointless to take extra years doing extra A-levels.

What A-levels have you acctually done?
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger
These are completely different courses. Most philosophy courses don't have any subject requirements so it's unclear why you would need to take another gap year to take another A-level for a philosophy degree.
English lit degrees only require A-level English lit so if you already have that then again, unnecessary and pointless to take extra years doing extra A-levels.
What A-levels have you acctually done?

I did English Lit, Biology, Politics which I got BBB in, I achieved these 2023. I want to do Pharmacy or a STEM subject, which would require me to pick up Chemistry A-Level.

I currently have offers for English and Comparative Lit, but due to rise in grade boundaries and circumstances, I don't think I'll be able to meet them this year and I don't want to settle for any university through clearing. So I would rather withdraw and do it next year/Or do a different path subject than have a failed resit on my record. I picked up an extra A-Level which is Psychology which I am doing in a year, and if I solely focus on that and not my resits I can get an A/B.

I can withdraw from exams completely (or just withdraw from resits and only do psychology, but I don't know if I can this year it off as a gap year)
A) Next year do Chemistry in one year, get a good grade and show I can do well in A-Levels a short time frame. I feel this will be possible even if I did it resits from my old A-Levels at the same time, it's just a matter of how much I study a day (I used to study 16 hours a day in the past). Then apply to pharmacology or my same subject.

B) Just resit next year and be successful and having passing criteria without having a failed resit before, and apply to uncompetitive course in UCL/KCL (English and Morden languages, Comparative Literature)

I am very unsure on what to do and unexperienced, hence why this is very messy and I'm kind of desperate for a viable plan or sense of security.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 10
Original post by dcb3
I've dropped you a message

I can't reply I commented on your profile I think
Original post by amemiya
I did English and Comparative Lit, Biology, Politics which I got BBB in, I achieved these 2023. I want to do Pharmacy or a STEM subject, which would require me to pick up Chemistry A-Level.

I currently have offers for English Lit, but due to rise in grade boundaries and circumstances, I don't think I'll be able to meet them this year and I don't want to settle for any university through clearing. So I would rather withdraw and do it next year/Or do a different path subject than have a failed resit on my record. I picked up an extra A-Level which is Psychology which I am doing in a year, and if I solely focus on that and not my resits I can get an A/B.

I can withdraw from exams completely (or just withdraw from resits and only do psychology, but I don't know if I can this year it off as a gap year)
A) Next year do Chemistry in one year, get a good grade and show I can do well in A-Levels a short time frame. I feel this will be possible even if I did it resits from my old A-Levels at the same time, it's just a matter of how much I study a day (I used to study 16 hours a day in the past). Then apply to pharmacology or my same subject.

B) Just resit next year and be successful and having passing criteria without having a failed resit before, and apply to uncompetitive course in UCL/KCL (English and Morden languages, Comparative Literature)

I am very unsure on what to do and unexperienced, hence why this is very messy and I'm kind of desperate for a viable plan or sense of security.


The first thing is you need to decide if you want to pursue pharmacy or something similar, or stick with your current plans. Note that STEM subjects do not have "better employability" or anything, as research has shown STEM graduates have equivalent career outcomes to non-STEM graduates over the 10 years after graduating: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421

So decide if you want to do pharmacy or what you're currently aiming for, but bear in mind ultimately employability depends on you and what you do to make yourself employable at uni by aggressively pursuing internship/work experience/vacation schemes/placements etc, by taking on leadership positions in societies to develop transferable skills to use as examples in interview, and by preparing yourself for assessment centre activities and the psychometric tests most grad schemes use for filtering applicants these days. Don't do it just because you think it'll give you a free job - because that's not how it works in reality. Do it if you have a genuine interest in the profession and subject area.

Note that KCL is regularly in clearing so I don't know what you mean that you "don't want to settle for any uni in clearing" since that's one of the unis you're considering. Also to note, which uni you go to for pharmacy is completely irrelevant as they only care that you have an accredited pharmacy course and are a registered pharmacist after your pre-reg year. Notions of "prestige" are meaningless. They're also generally not that important for employment purposes outside of investment banking or management consulting which are a very small number of graduate roles available to start with anyway.

I would suggest you take your resits (since it seems you are resitting this year) and see how those go before making any firm decisions. You can't predict what the grade boundaries will be this year, and you may well do much better than you think. I would recommend you focus now on preparing for those exams and not about the rest of this. Then depending on the outcome think about your options. If you don't end up going where you want to go after the resits then think about whether to take another gap year. However if you decide either way you want to go into a STEM subject or pharmacy, I would honestly suggest looking at foundation year options in clearing if possible rather than taking another year out.
Reply 12
Original post by artful_lounger
The first thing is you need to decide if you want to pursue pharmacy or something similar, or stick with your current plans. Note that STEM subjects do not have "better employability" or anything, as research has shown STEM graduates have equivalent career outcomes to non-STEM graduates over the 10 years after graduating: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421
So decide if you want to do pharmacy or what you're currently aiming for, but bear in mind ultimately employability depends on you and what you do to make yourself employable at uni by aggressively pursuing internship/work experience/vacation schemes/placements etc, by taking on leadership positions in societies to develop transferable skills to use as examples in interview, and by preparing yourself for assessment centre activities and the psychometric tests most grad schemes use for filtering applicants these days. Don't do it just because you think it'll give you a free job - because that's not how it works in reality. Do it if you have a genuine interest in the profession and subject area.
Note that KCL is regularly in clearing so I don't know what you mean that you "don't want to settle for any uni in clearing" since that's one of the unis you're considering. Also to note, which uni you go to for pharmacy is completely irrelevant as they only care that you have an accredited pharmacy course and are a registered pharmacist after your pre-reg year. Notions of "prestige" are meaningless. They're also generally not that important for employment purposes outside of investment banking or management consulting which are a very small number of graduate roles available to start with anyway.
I would suggest you take your resits (since it seems you are resitting this year) and see how those go before making any firm decisions. You can't predict what the grade boundaries will be this year, and you may well do much better than you think. I would recommend you focus now on preparing for those exams and not about the rest of this. Then depending on the outcome think about your options. If you don't end up going where you want to go after the resits then think about whether to take another gap year. However if you decide either way you want to go into a STEM subject or pharmacy, I would honestly suggest looking at foundation year options in clearing if possible rather than taking another year out.

Thank you for your extremely detailed response.

If I decide I don't want to do pharmacy or STEM, wouldn't me withdrawing be more preferable as I wouldn't be applying with an unsuccessful resit than if I took this year off and resat for the first time next year with high grades? E.g. UCL stated they don't mind resits but dislikes multiple resits

I would be happy to do a foundation year, but I feel A-Level resits are cheaper and I feel like I haven't achieved my potential and won't be with this little time left with a significant lack of resources and circumstances that affected me.

Even if I do wanna go Pharmacy, I feel a failed resit will significant affect me than simply a gap year and sitting next year. It is annoying that'll I'll take time out, but I'd rather do that an significantly shooting myself in the foot with a failed resit.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by amemiya
Thank you for your extremely detailed response.

If I decide I don't want to do pharmacy or STEM, wouldn't me withdrawing be more preferable as I wouldn't be applying with an unsuccessful resit than if I took this year off and resat for the first time next year with high grades? I would be happy to do a foundation year, but I feel A-Level resits are cheaper and I feel like I haven't achieved my potential and won't be with this little time left with a significant lack of resources and circumstances that affected me.

Even if I do wanna go Pharmacy, I feel a failed resit will significant affect me than simply a gap year and sitting next year. It is annoying that'll I'll take time out, but I'd rather do that an significantly shooting myself in the foot with a failed resit.

I think firstly it's important to distinguish between doing a new A-level in a gap year and resitting. The two are not the same thing, conceptually or as far as uni admissions are concerned to my understanding.

In any event, doing a new science A-level in a gap year may or may not be cheaper - bear in mind unis normally expect applicants doing a science A-level to do the science endorsement (practicals) which are usually very expensive for those taking the exam externally (I think most places offer it for around £1000 per science). This is especially considering the foundation year doesn't represent any immediate cost to you (and bear in mind due to how student loans and repayments work, the "debt" should be a non-factor since you'll never be out of pocket as a result of it, and it gets written off after 40 years currently anyway).

You are assuming you are going to fail the resits but I don't know why this is the case. You did reasonably well your first time around, yes not as high as your predicted grades but nowhere near a fail to start with, so I think its pretty unlikely you would fail these resits.

This feels more related to anxiety over your upcoming exams rather than anything else.
Reply 14
Original post by artful_lounger
I think firstly it's important to distinguish between doing a new A-level in a gap year and resitting. The two are not the same thing, conceptually or as far as uni admissions are concerned to my understanding.
In any event, doing a new science A-level in a gap year may or may not be cheaper - bear in mind unis normally expect applicants doing a science A-level to do the science endorsement (practicals) which are usually very expensive for those taking the exam externally (I think most places offer it for around £1000 per science). This is especially considering the foundation year doesn't represent any immediate cost to you (and bear in mind due to how student loans and repayments work, the "debt" should be a non-factor since you'll never be out of pocket as a result of it, and it gets written off after 40 years currently anyway).
You are assuming you are going to fail the resits but I don't know why this is the case. You did reasonably well your first time around, yes not as high as your predicted grades but nowhere near a fail to start with, so I think its pretty unlikely you would fail these resits.
This feels more related to anxiety over your upcoming exams rather than anything else.

I did well the first time round yes.

However, this year I am struggling significantly. I have little to no recollection as I spent majority of my year focusing on my full time job, assuming I'd remember everything because I preformed well last time, only to realise I've forgotten everything. I've been studying and I have no tutor I can currently afford to mark my essay papers so I have no idea of checking if I'm even at the level of getting a good grade. I have no academic support from my resists. I also had a few circumstances that affected my learning. I feel if I had the full year to study again I'd bypass all this as mentioned I used to be an extremely hard worker studying over 10 hours a day, I just didn't do that this year.

I honestly am really scared of being unsuccessful (not meeting required grades) during my resit and tarnishing my record as UCL stated they dislike multiple resitting and KCL already dislikes resits. As you said a gap year is very different to resitting in their eyes. I feel if I'd have an easier time getting in next year than if I did badly this year. I am honestly lost on what to do. It's between risking my chances of getting in and preventing future applications or wasting a year. I feel like I utterly wasted my potential. Sorry for dragging this on, I can't seem to make a decision and am convinced being unsuccessful this year will doom me so I have little no motivation for the future. I have been studying hard, there's no way I'm going to do better this time round than last year I had all my content memorised with resources and support from teachers and managed to be unsuccessful.
Reply 15
Original post by amemiya
I can't reply I commented on your profile I think

Ah no worries sent you a message on there
Original post by amemiya
I did well the first time round yes.

However, this year I am struggling significantly. I have little to no recollection as I spent majority of my year focusing on my full time job, assuming I'd remember everything because I preformed well last time, only to realise I've forgotten everything. I've been studying and I have no tutor I can currently afford to mark my essay papers so I have no idea of checking if I'm even at the level of getting a good grade. I have no academic support from my resists. I also had a few circumstances that affected my learning. I feel if I had the full year to study again I'd bypass all this as mentioned I used to be an extremely hard worker studying over 10 hours a day, I just didn't do that this year.

I honestly am really scared of being unsuccessful (not meeting required grades) during my resit and tarnishing my record as UCL stated they dislike multiple resitting and KCL already dislikes resits. As you said a gap year is very different to resitting in their eyes. I feel if I'd have an easier time getting in next year than if I did badly this year. I am honestly lost on what to do. It's between risking my chances of getting in and preventing future applications or wasting a year. I feel like I utterly wasted my potential. Sorry for dragging this on, I can't seem to make a decision and am convinced being unsuccessful this year will doom me so I have little no motivation for the future. I have been studying hard, there's no way I'm going to do better this time round than last year I had all my content memorised with resources and support from teachers and managed to be unsuccessful.

Well as above for pharmacy it doesn't matter where you go anyway so it's neither here nor there.

Ultimately whether to withdraw from your exam entries is a personal choice - but make sure you are making it for the right reasons.

That said I'm not sure if you need to declare withdrawn A-level entries on your UCAS application after a certain point. @Admit-One or @PQ may know on that front?
You need to enter a complete education history showing where you were enrolled each year.

If you withdraw from a subject and aren’t awarded any grade, then there’s no requirement to list it under your qualifications.
Reply 18
Original post by artful_lounger
Well as above for pharmacy it doesn't matter where you go anyway so it's neither here nor there.
Ultimately whether to withdraw from your exam entries is a personal choice - but make sure you are making it for the right reasons.
That said I'm not sure if you need to declare withdrawn A-level entries on your UCAS application after a certain point. @Admit-One or @PQ may know on that front?

I think I've decided to email my universities to switch me to a similar course that has lower offers with a similar subject. E.g. English to English w Modern Languages or Comparative Literature. I hope this doesn't affect my career pathway to law subject wise, which to be honest seems quite grim with my A-Levels even with university prestige or even getting a first. If anything happens such as me disliking the change, which I doubt since they seem interesting, I'll transfer subjects once I get in, if thats possible of course.
(edited 1 month ago)

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