Examinations are a stressful time for every student, so you aren’t alone if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed during exam season. Sometimes, life just gets in the way and on Results Day, you might not get the results you were hoping for. If you’re hoping to attend university, especially a competitive university like Oxford, this can be a pretty big deal — but does the University of Oxford accept resits?
Yes, the University of Oxford does accept resits for your A-Level exams. However, these are only if you failed an A-Level due to extenuating circumstances (i.e., beyond your control), and you must inform the university of these circumstances as soon as possible. The case is slightly different for Medicine students. The University of Oxford does still accept resits, but you must achieve all your grades in one sitting — so if you only failed one A-Level, you’d still have to resit all three/four.
Don’t worry if things are still unclear right now. This article has all the information you need about whether Oxford accepts A-Level resits.
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Does the University of Oxford accept resits?
The answer to this question is yes — the University of Oxford does accept resits. However, this is not without some caveats.
As stated on the University of Oxford website, linked here, “we recognise that students sometimes fail to achieve their potential on their first attempt at school or college because of circumstances beyond their control, and would always take such circumstances into account if they are brought to our attention.”
This means that if you failed your A-Levels for reasons beyond your control, you should inform the university of this. They can then take this into account and look over your application again, and let know if they will accept your resit grade (provided it meets the offer conditions).
If you have extenuating circumstances, you are able to inform Oxford by email after you have filled out a form. Your school can also fill out and send this form on your behalf, if you don’t have time to do it yourself!
For more information, check out this page of the University of Oxford website.
This rule is slightly different for if you’re hoping to study Medicine at Oxford, however.
The website states that “applicants for Medicine need to achieve all the requirements of their conditional offer in a single examination sitting, so you would need to retake all your qualifications and not just the one(s) in which you have missed your grade.”
This means that even if you only fail one of your A-Levels, you will have to resit all three or four of them again if you want to progress onto your course.
Oxford also has the right to ask you to reapply, rather than automatically be accepted if you get the grades in your resit.
Be mindful that you are not allowed an infinite number of resits; you will only be allowed to resit once, so make sure you try your hardest!
Can Oxford decline your place if you have to resit your exams?
Yes, it is possible for the University of Oxford to decline your place if you have to resit your exams.
As mentioned previously in this article, the University of Oxford does accept A-Level resits, but this is only if you had to resit due to extenuating circumstances.
This means any circumstances that were beyond your control, such as (but not limited to) a serious injury before or during your exams, or you or an immediate family member contracted a serious illness before or during your exams.
To find out more about which universities (including Oxford) accept A-Level resits, you should read this Think Student article.
If you failed your A-Level exams for a reason that was “within your control”, then unfortunately the University of Oxford will still decline your place. For example, maybe you just got unlucky with the kinds of questions that appeared on the exam.
It’s important to note that if you have special educational needs, you are entitled to exam adjustments! This includes students who are neurodiverse, or who have a diagnosed mental health condition that makes it difficult to complete exams in the same conditions as other students.
Do universities know if you resit?
Yes, your universities will know if you resit your exams. This is because you have to put all your qualifications on your UCAS application, even if you then retook the exam.
Universities also have access to your academic history, and therefore even if you try to avoid declaring that you resat your exams, your universities (including Oxford) will be able to check.
If you are planning on resitting your exams because of extenuating circumstances, then it is absolutely vital you inform the university by contacting them directly. This is so that they know not to reject your place straight after Results Day.
However, they do have the right to change their decision and reject your application if you tell them you want to resit. For instance, they may be more likely to let you resit if you only missed your target by one grade, rather than several.
It’s up to you to contact them, and they can then assess your application and grades.
If you’d like to know more about what universities think of resat A-Levels, I’d recommend checking out this Think Student article.
However, it is not worth trying to ‘cover up’ any resits or lying to the universities you’ve applied to, because they will be able to find out regardless.
Think of it like this: it will look much worse if you lie about resits than to declare you have resat your exams, and your chances of being rejected will be much higher if you try to cover it up!
Do you have to declare your resits?
Yes, you will have to declare any examinations that you resat/intend to resit.
When you fill out your UCAS application, you must declare all of the academic qualifications you have, such as GCSEs and A-Levels.
If you are a student who has already sat their A-Levels, and had to resit one or more of your exams, then you must declare which A-Level(s) you resat. You will have to state your initial grade and then the grade you achieved in your exam resit.
As mentioned earlier in this article, if you resat your A-Level(s) because of extenuating circumstances, you may still be accepted into the University of Oxford. Oxford will have to reassess your application and let you know if they are happy with a resit, and your new grades will still need to meet admissions requirements.
It is your responsibility to declare any exams you resat, and not doing so means your application can potentially be considered fraudulent, and rejected by your universities/UCAS.
If you are a student who has yet to sit their A-Levels, then you must declare to the university as soon as you receive your results that you will be resitting one or more of your A-Levels.
Again, these will only be considered valid by the University of Oxford if you are resitting due to circumstances beyond your control.