Biology 8844

A level retakes and veterinary science

There are only eight UK vet schools so competition for places is intense, even first time round. The universities offering RCVS approved veterinary degrees are Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and London. The degree courses are five years in length (six years at some schools). The newest vet school is Surrey which will become fully accredited in 2019.

You can still realistically retake your A levels and get a place at some Vet Schools- if you are committed to strengthening your application, going the extra mile and improving your work experience portfolio as well as your grades.

Options for retaking and aiming for vet science

You need to pay close attention to university policies on resitting and reapplying as these are subject to change. The information below is taken from university vet school websites in April 2016 but it is not exhaustive and you should always check with the vet schools directly for the most upto date information.

Nottingham: We will normally only recognise the marks achieved at the first complete sitting of the A Level (A2). However, we will consider applicants who have re-sat A Levels, although these will be viewed against the pool of applicants. We will require applicants to attain AAA on their second attempt, rather than our standard offer of AAB (grade A in chemistry and biology). We do not consider any further resits after the second attempt.

We will consider a reapplication if you applied to us one year and were not interviewed. We will consider a reapplication following failure to gain an offer after interview only once you have completed a subsequent undergraduate degree. We will consider a reapplication if you gained an offer but failed to meet the grades. We will not consider a third application.

RVC: The RVC admissions policy is to accept re-taken grades or modules at GCSE, A-Level or equivalent without penalty. However, if you do re-sit any qualifications you will be expected to meet our grade requirements on second sitting (for example, AAA at A-level), and we also specify that you must have achieved minimum grades on your first sitting (BBC at A-level, with B in Biology). Also: You may, but in view of the large number and high quality of new candidates coming forward each year, the RVC is normally unable to consider more than one repeat application.

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Please would you pass on my thanks to all the staff at RIC who have given Isabella so much help, advice and support with her A Levels – what a difference a year makes!  We are absolutely thrilled that she will be starting her vet medicine course in September. Kind regards.


Isabella joined RIC from The Judd School Tonbridge, retook her Chemistry and Biology A level and completed A level Sociology on an intensive one year course. She won a place at the Royal Veterinary College.

Liverpool: We accept reapplications (including from applicants who are resitting exams, from one module to a complete subject) without prejudice provided the application has been strengthened in accordance with our admissions criteria. A total of two applications will be considered from a candidate. Should a second application be unsuccessful (regardless of the stage at which the application is rejected), further applications will not be considered.

Bristol: We will consider applicants who are completing resits of GCSEs and/or A-levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications). A maximum of one resit is allowed in any one subject. We will only make an exception to this where there are mitigating personal circumstances, the decision to allow an exception will be made at the discretion of the University.

Surrey: We do consider applications from students who have re-sat A level modules or whole A levels. We will consider applications from those who have applied once before, including applicants that were held in a waiting list following interview. We do not consider re-applications from those who were unsuccessful at interview.

Edinburgh: Candidates must achieve our minimum entry requirements in one sitting and at the first attempt. Candidates applying with resit examinations (unless there are extenuating circumstances which can be supported by documentary evidence) will not be considered. A level candidates: please note that a resit of an AS module is normally acceptable provided A2 level examinations are gained within the normal 2-year period.

From RIC to RVC

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Amelia, joined from King's Canterbury, now at RVC

I’ve just finished my first week of vet lectures and I just wanted to thank you for getting me here; I wouldn’t have had a chance without your help. We managed more in that one term than I had done in my whole two years of chemistry and you can definitely take the credit for that. On results day last year we had a big family discussion and we looked at the options for retaking. If you are willing to work hard then the teachers will give you all the help you need. I don’t think anyone goes on a resit course to slack though!

Amelia, joined from King's Canterbury, now at RVC