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I'm worried I won't get into Medicine! Reapplying, Clearing and more...

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

This year has been a tumultuous year for GCSE and A level candidates. Anxiety is through the roof as students wait for the unknown. A lot of students have university offers riding on what they achieve (some without ever actually having sat the exam)! Therefore, I thought I would write a blog post collating all the relevant resources regarding what to do on Results Day tomorrow, medical schools in clearing, and interview practice sessions for the last-minute interviews you may have to sit if you want to get your clearing offer!

Although I did not enter Medicine through clearing myself, I did attempt to get into St. George's before going on my gap year. This is what I would recommend doing tomorrow:

8am: UCAS Track will be updated and shortly after, your schools should be emailing you your results (a few schools are allowing people to come in). I would save time and just focus on UCAS Track as this will be the earliest update you get - you can worry about your grades later!

After you receive your Track Update:

Bad news? Not want you wanted? - DON'T PANIC (but feel free to have a little cry if you need it).

Take a moment to think:

(a) Do I want to go through clearing and perhaps, not go for a medical school I originally considered? I don't really mind... I just want to do Medicine!

*** By the way: most universities will still require AAA, A*AA grades and beyond. If you received lower than this, Clearing will NOT be suitable for you. Maybe think more towards option (b) ***

(b) Would I prefer to retake the exams in autumn to try and get better grades, then reapply to my desired medical schools again during my gap year?

If you're thinking (a), do not rely on UCAS search for medicine courses in clearing, go directly on University websites. This is because UCAS is slow on the uptake for updates!

Key points for applying through Clearing:

  1. Each university may have a slightly different submissions process but it will not be through UCAS. For example, some universities may use a Word document or pdf form that you fill in and email back to their admissions email address whereas others may have a direct online application form. If you're worried about whether your Clearing application was received or not, give them a quick call to confirm if they got your details.

  2. All offers are still given AFTER an interview. Therefore, there is still just as much, if not more, competition for a place. I will be offering free practice on a first come first serve basis. The criteria to get an interview in clearing is the same as it was during that application cycle or in some cases higher. Whether these interviews will be via video call platforms or if you will be invited into the university will be at the discretion of the institution due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  3. You still need your current UCAT score for medicine in clearing. The better the score, the better the chance of you getting an interview invite (as in the normal application process).

Applying to Medicine through Clearing is SPEEDY (which the major difference compared to the traditional process).

  • Interview invites are usually sent out quite quickly (e.g. 2-3 days) after submitting your details (but this can vary).

  • Offers can be given around a week after your initial Clearing application (but again, this can vary)

  • They will then rank your interview scores as they usually would in the traditional application cycle and give out offers to those with the highest scores.

Also for anyone who does achieve the required grades for Medicine (i.e. As & A*s) and was unlucky during clearing, this is not the end! Depending on how far you got in the process, you are still worthy of studying the degree. Take a gap year (which I had to do), retake any exams if you feel they would strengthen your application, and reapply. See my blog post on what I did during my gap year here.

So what medical schools are usually in Clearing?

  • The Medic Portal has a Clearing guide every year that they update during this time

  • StudentRoom is the perfect forum to find out which medical schools are in clearing in real-time and are updated as they close (although less accurate than the university's direct webpages)

  • The Medic Portal Foundation courses guide - you can have a look at some medical schools and think of reapplying to some of these next year if you missed your grades

For now, I would advise directly calling universities TODAY to find out if they are going to open Clearing tomorrow.

If phone lines have closed, create a list of medical schools you really want to go to and their official websites. You will need to wake up early tomorrow and comb through these one by one to see if they spontaneously open Clearing!

Below are some sources that are posting great updates on the process:

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