Do Universities (Russell Group and Otherwise) Accept A-Level Resits?

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As students, we’re often reminded again and again that A-Levels are important. When it comes to exams, sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. If you end up not getting the grades that you wanted or needed for your next steps, you may find that you need to resit your exams. If you’re thinking about going to university, but don’t have the grades for it, you might be wondering if resitting your A-Levels would actually give you another chance.

In short, yes, the majority of universities in the UK will accept A-Level resits. This is including the Russell Group universities, even both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. However, each university will have their own specific requirements and policies on A-Level resits and so how this might affect your chances can depend on the university.

Continue reading to learn more about what universities think about A-Level resits. This article will take you through how different kinds of university view them and whether resitting your A-Levels will affect your chances of getting in.

Do universities accept A-Level resists?

If you want to go to university but didn’t get the grades that you needed to get in, it’s important for you to know if universities accept A-Level resits. This is because it can help you to decide what your next steps should be.

In the UK, there are over 160 universities, which you can learn more about by clicking on this article by SI UK. While these universities will all have slightly different policies, the vast majority of them do accept A-Level resits.

Of course, this will generally be in the case that you have improved upon your original results. Also, you will need to meet their entry requirements to be able to get in, regardless of whether you have resat your A-Levels or not. 

For more information about if universities accept A-Level resists, check out this article by Tutor Chase.

Do Russell Group universities accept A-Level resists?

While the vast majority of universities in the UK do accept A-Level resits, you might find that not all universities actually do. In the UK, the most likely group of universities to not accept A-Level resits are the selection of universities known as the Russell Group.

The Russell Group universities are a collection of 24 universities across the UK that are seen as the most prestigious and are often seen as the best. What links these universities together is that they’re all strongly focused on research and as of 2023, together they produce 2/3 of the world’s leading research. For more information about the Russell Group universities, check out this Think Student article.

The Russell Group universities are included in the vast majority that do accept A-Level resits. This is because retaking A-Levels can be quite common and while the Russell Group are seen as particularly prestigious, they’re not entirely exclusive.

However, as previously mentioned, Russell Group universities are more prestigious and so can naturally be harder to get into. Due to this, while they may still accept your application even if you resat your A-Levels, you might find that it can still be harder to get into university with this resit. For more information about this, check out this article by Academic Underdogs.

Do Oxbridge accept A-Level resits?

While the Russell Group universities are the most prestigious collection of universities in the UK, the absolute most prestigious universities are the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, collectively known as the Oxbridge universities. Due to this, to get a better idea of the extent of universities that accept A-Level resists, it’s important to consider these two.

Officially, both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge do accept students who have done A-Level resists. However, like with the Russell Group universities, as these universities are so prestigious, it can affect your chances of getting in.

Also, for both Oxbridge universities, applicants will most likely have to state why they needed to resit their exams to be properly considered. They will need to present and explain their extenuating circumstances, which may be due to bereavement, serious illness or something school-related, such as discontinuity of teachers or having changed school. For more information about this, check out this article by Oxbridge Applications.

Do A-Level retakes affect your chances of getting into university?

As previously mentioned, yes, retaking your A-Levels may affect your chances of getting into university. This is because the universities you apply to will be aware that you have retaken that A-Level. With the more prestigious universities, such as the Russell Group universities and particularly the Oxbridge universities, your chances of getting in are more likely to be affected.

This is because these universities are all incredibly competitive and as a result will often have quite high entry requirements and have to be quite selective. This is particularly the case for both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge as they have notoriously low acceptance rates and difficult application processes.

In fact, in 2019, the University of Oxford has an acceptance rate of 16.9% and the University of Cambridge’s acceptance rate was at 24.2%. To learn more about these figures and just how hard it is to get into either one of the Oxbridge universities, check out this Think Student article.

While your application may be looked at less favourably due to your A-Level retakes, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, going through the process to improve your grades can show that you’re hardworking, committed and dedicated. This might instead give your application a boost, especially if you needed to resit due to extenuating circumstances.

For more information about how your application might be affected by retaking your A-Levels, please refer to this guide by Oxbridge Home Learning.

Is resitting A-Levels a good idea?

Resitting your A-Levels may be a good idea, or they may not be depending on your situation. While I can’t give you a definite answer, I can give you some pointers to help you make your own decision.

First of all, resitting your A-Levels can be good as they allow you to improve your grades. This can be good for multiple reasons, including just to prove it to yourself. However, particularly when considering what universities think of A-Level resists, one of the main bonuses is that resitting may enable you to get the grades you need for the course you want to study.

Also, you can boost different applications, such as your CV by improving your A-Levels grades. This can be particularly useful if you’re considering taking an apprenticeship or getting a job, where you need specific grades in your A-Levels.

However, there is no guarantee that you will improve your grades by resitting the exam. Also, as mentioned above, there’s no guarantee that you will still get into university. Due to this, you might find that it’s not worth it, particularly if it’s not something you definitely need.

Moreover, retaking your A-Levels can be time-consuming as well as quite costly. Therefore, if you have other commitments, such as a full-time job, you might find that it wouldn’t be a good idea as you would be spreading yourself quite thin.

To learn more about the pros and cons of retaking your A-Level exams and more about the entire process of retaking, check out this Think Student article.

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