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Deferred entry - medicine

I am in year 12. I definitely want to do medicine but I want to take a gap year after my a-levels. How does deferred entry work? Do I just put 2026 in my UCAS application or do I wait till I after I get offers then defer them (feel like this would be risky though). I really want to take the gap year with assurance that I will be starting my course in 2026 .Are deferred entries risky or are they fool-proof (as in you will definitely have a spot reserved for you, regardless of other applicants)

Please help as I don’t know what to do or even how to approach my teachers about this.
Hey there, thanks for posting a question in the Medicine forum. :biggrin:

The Medicine forum gets a high volume of questions being posted, and some of these are already answered by the resources and Megathreads that members of the community and volunteers have created. This is an automatic post which is designed to highlight these resources. Below is a list of threads and articles that could answer your question (you should be looking in the original post of the megathreads). If one of the below threads is a more relevant place to ask your question, please post a reply in that thread to ask your question. If your query is answered by one of the Megathreads or articles linked below, and you would like us to close this thread for you, please reply to this thread with just the words "thank you". A member of our team will then get it locked.

Megathreads
(Please read the first post, before then posting any further questions you have within that thread.)
The "Which Medical School Should I Apply To?" Uberthread
The Ultimate 'Am I Good Enough For Medicine?' Angst Thread
Medicine A-Level subjects queries
Work Experience and Voluntary Work

2023 Applicants:
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2023 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2023 Entry
Medicine 2023 entry for resit / retake / gap year applicants
A100 Medicine for International Students 2023 Entry
Medicine Interview discussion 2023 Entry
2023 entry A100 / A101 Medicine fastest and slowest offer senders
Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

2024 Applicants :
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2024 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2024 Entry
GAMSAT 2024 / 2025 entry discussions megathread
UCAT 2024 Entry Discussions Megathread
Medicine 2024 entry for resit / retake / gap year applicants
A100 Medicine for International Students 2024 Entry
Medicine Interview Discussion 2024 Entry
2024 entry A100 / A101 Medicine fastest and slowest offer senders
Medical Schools Index 2024 Entry

2025 Applicants :
Official Thread: (Undergraduate) Medicine 2025 entry
Official Thread: Graduate Entry Medicine 2025 Entry
GAMSAT 2025 / 2026 entry discussions megathread
UCAT 2025 Entry Discussions Megathread


Other application years:
Official Thread: (Undergraduate) Medicine 2026 entry
Official Thread: Graduate Entry Medicine 2026 Entry

Useful Articles:
GCSE Requirements for Medicine
Everything you need to know about the BMAT
Work Experience as a Graduate or Mature student
Medicine Personal Statement Advice
Medicine Personal Statement Advice (Graduate Entry)
Interview Frequently Asked Questions
MMI Medicine Interview Tips
What to do after an unsuccessful first application
Funding medicine as a second degree

If your query is answered by one of the Megathreads or articles linked above, and you would like us to close this thread for you, please reply to this thread with just the words "thank you". A member of our team will then get it locked.
You notify universities via your UCAS application. Whilst entering an option, you may choose '2026 starting year'. Do be careful, some medical schools only accept deferred entry in exceptional circumstances and some not at all, so do check with the schools you have in mind.
Original post by R.als
I am in year 12. I definitely want to do medicine but I want to take a gap year after my a-levels. How does deferred entry work? Do I just put 2026 in my UCAS application or do I wait till I after I get offers then defer them (feel like this would be risky though). I really want to take the gap year with assurance that I will be starting my course in 2026 .Are deferred entries risky or are they fool-proof (as in you will definitely have a spot reserved for you, regardless of other applicants)

Please help as I don’t know what to do or even how to approach my teachers about this.

As above, you indicate your preference at the time of application. You should not apply for next year entry if you wish to defer, as there is no guarantee they will allow you to defer after giving you an offer for next year entry - especially for medicine due to the fact it has quota'd numbers of students that unis can take on. Also as noted above, I understand not all medical schools accept deferred applications in all cases. So I'd suggest checking this for the unis you wish to apply to.

However otherwise yes it is a guaranteed matter, assuming you meet the requirements of your offer - as then the university are contractually obligated through their relationship with UCAS to offer you a space on that course in that year. This is also why medical schools are sometimes a bit stricter about how and when they accept deferred applications - because they need to forecast against the cap of students they can take (unlike other degrees which have no cap).

Note you still need to meet the requirements of the offer in the year you are made it (you can't miss your offer requirements in the year of application then try and meet them in the gap year). If you missed the offer requirements you would no longer hold a deferred offer and would need to reapply in the next application cycle. Equally you can't reapply if you are holding a deferred offer (so you can't get a deferred offer then try and "trade up" to other universities by reapplying in the gap year - you'd have to reject your offer to reapply).

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