UCAS: Clearing

Tamsin Dyer

Tamsin Dyer

Senior Writer at Medic Mind

Whenever anyone mentions clearing it sounds scary. But don’t sweat it, it isn’t as bad as it sounds! In this article we aim to address some common questions about clearing.

What is clearing?

Clearing is the term used for when you have missed the grades you needed to qualify for your accepted offer at university. Hopefully you have met your second choice of accepted offers, however, if you didn’t or you no longer want to go to that university to do that course then you will enter clearing. In clearing you contact universities directly to apply for space places on their courses.

What do you mean ‘miss your grades’?

If you get an offer to study medicine, after doing the UCAT/BMAT and having an interview, the university will usually specify that you need to get certain grades in your A-level – e.g. A*AA. On results day, if your grades are AAA, you unfortunately have ‘missed your grades’. You should still call up the universities, as they may have a space open for you. Alternatively, you could secure your back-up university. 

Can I find medicine in clearing?

Unfortunately, medicine is normally not available through clearing or adjustment (we will explain this in a second). But you will be able to find bioscience degrees and foundation degrees, which will allow you to re-apply for medicine either the following year or once you are a graduate.

Can I find medicine in adjustment?

On very rare occasions, and it is important that we emphasise this is a very rare occurrence, there may be a space available in adjustment for medicine. Adjustment is where you overachieve your predicted grades, and therefore have the ability to apply to courses that you wouldn’t have been able to before.

Should I be in the UK for results day?

We recommend being in the country for results day. You may be called for an interview though clearing or adjustment. However, if you did achieve fantastic grades and have no offers, it might be more practical to take a gap year and apply in the next application cycle. 

In summary, clearing is definitely not something to worry about, and often presents fantastic opportunities, and it definitely doesn’t mean your dream of studying medicine is over!

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