a level retakesa level retakes for dentistry

“There were times during the A level resit year I thought about giving up and choosing an alternative course but I’m glad I persevered. I know I wouldn’t have been happy with anything else.”
shahab sarwar, joined RIC for a level retakes from rochester maths school, now at leeds university studying dentistry


Most UK Dental Schools will not consider applications from students resitting their A levels unless you are a previous applicant who narrowly missed your conditional offer from them first time around and there are serious extenuating circumstances.

Module repeats within the normal two-year period between GCSE and A-level though do not place applicants at any disadvantage at most of the sixteen dental schools and so students sometimes opt to transfer to RIC for their year 13 to maximise their chances of achieving top grades first time around and avoiding having to apply as a resit student.

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 dental school websites in July 2013 but is not exhaustive and you should always check with the dental schools directly for the most up to date information.


Manchester: “Applications from students who are re-sitting their A-Levels will be considered for 2013 entry. Applicants who have taken three A levels are expected to have obtained a minimum of Grade C in each subject at the first sitting. Re-sitting candidates are expected to achieve Grades A*AA in the A level subjects specified above with the A* in Biology or Chemistry.”

Newcastle: “Applicants who are retaking or who have retaken A or AS levels are not normally considered except where they were disadvantaged at their first attempt (for example, if they were suffering illness or overcoming a family bereavement).”

Sheffield: “The minimum requirement for applicants who are retaking is the standard AAA. However, all other circumstances being equal, applicants completing in one sitting may be given preference over applicants who are taking longer than the normal two years to complete their A-levels. Those applicants retaking modules within the normal two years will not be considered as retake applicants. Amongst retake applicants, priority is given to those who applied to Sheffield the previous year.”

Leeds:  “The Leeds Dental Institute accepts applications from those undertaking a second attempt at an entry qualification; however, the academic entry requirement may be higher for such students. Any such applicant having previously held an offer of a place on the programme should be aware that no guarantee can be given that another offer will be made. These applications are only likely to be successful in exceptional circumstances. Applications will not normally be considered from those undertaking a third attempt at an academic entry qualification. Re-applications from candidates who failed to obtain a dentistry place, but who have achieved the required grades at first attempt, will be assessed in competition with all the other applications.”

recent a level retake dentistry success stories

a level retakesHarriet Morse joined the College from Newstead Wood Grammar School for Girls initially intending to just retake her Biology and Psychology. Recognising the need to demonstrate to the dental schools that she was using her retake year imaginatively and to better prepare her for her chosen course she took up an extra A level and an extra AS and won a dream dentistry place. By adding additional relevant subjects and extra work experience to a student’s portfolio the disadvantages of applying as a retaker can be countered. Harriet blogs on her exhausting, exhilarating and unexpected journey into Dentistry here.

Typical of the A level resit students who come to RIC is Matthew Sarstedt from Cheshire who was adamant disappointing A level grades would not hold him back: “On results day I knew I had to resit my A levels – I was determined to study dentistry rather than going through Clearing.” He continues:

“When you do A level resits, a lot of universities raise their entrance criteria, so I had to get AAA. To get that extra edge, I also took two more AS levels. If you are planning to resit, you have to go above and beyond, and give something extra.”


First time round Matthew was rejected from all the Dental schools without interview. Applying from RIC as an A level resit student- when it should have been harder to get in- he received offers, achieved his grades and started at Sheffield University in September 2010. Joining Matthew at Sheffield in September 2012 are two RIC boarding students. Anna Lee and Yalda NassehiAnna and Yalda both boarded in our halls of residence while at Rochester. Anna applied successfully to Dentistry as a retake student.

Matthew adds: “I chose Rochester Independent College to retake my A levels for dentistry because I thought it was the nicest independent sixth form tutorial college, and it seemed very friendly. It had a boarding facility unlike other private retake colleges I looked at, which appealed to me. I wanted to go away because my friends had gone away to university – I would have had no life if I’d stayed at home. Going to Rochester to resit my A levels for dentistry gave me the chance to meet people retaking their A levels in subjects like Chemistry who were in the same boat as me.”

a level retakes dentistryPeter Shepherd formerly of Dane Court Grammar School was devastated after receiving his A level results. It seemed that his dreams of becoming a dentist had been dashed after failing to meet the terms of his offer. It is notoriously difficult to get a place at Dental School, even more so as a retake student applying second time around. Determined not to give up Peter enrolled on a 1 year A level retake programme at Rochester Independent College. To strengthen his application he took an additional A level- Sociology- from scratch in a year as well as an AS course in Ceramics to demonstrate his manual dexterity. Peter is pictured with fellow student George Matthews, formerly of Maidstone Grammar School who celebrated grades of AAAC and a Vet Science place at Nottingham University. George is the third brother in his high achieving family to leave RIC with a place on a top course. Tom Matthews won a place studying Dentistry, Edward Matthews a place at medical school.

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