Medicine offers slashed by Queen's amid predicted rise in top A-level grades
A PREDICTED rise in top A-level grades has caused the number of offers made to potential medicine students to be slashed.
Queen's University Belfast has made about 150 fewer offers to students hoping to start later this year.
The system is somewhat complicated as universities must make decisions before any exam results are known.
Typically there are more offers made than there are places available for any course, to allow for students who may fail to make the grade requirements.
Anyone that meets the entrance requirements and is offered a place must be admitted.
With A-levels cancelled last summer and calculated grades used instead, there was a massive increase in the proportion achieving A*-A.
There is expected to be a similar proportion of top grades awarded again in August.
Queen's said it cut the number of offers as it did not want to exceed the 236 places it has available.
This means several pupils who are predicted to achieve straight A*s have been left disappointed.
In 2020, more students achieved the grades needed for medicine than there were places available.
The university was given an extra 80 places but some students deferred entry until this year.
Queen's confirmed that this year it had made 282 offers, a fall from 435 in 2020. A total of 1,125 pupils applied.
The recent change in format for the summer 2021 examinations must be taken into account in relation to offers, the university said.
"The education departments in Great Britain and Northern Ireland announced the cancellation of formal written examinations this summer," it said.
"A-level grades, for example, will now be based on centre-determined grades. Experience of this procedure in summer 2020 meant that many more applicants with offers for a medical place met their entry requirements than in previous years.
"To ensure that the medical school does not exceed the 236 places for Home/EU (Republic of Ireland)/EU (other - those who have settled or pre-settled status under Brexit legislation) applicants, we must monitor the number of offers awarded very carefully. This means unfortunately there will initially be a reduction in the number of offers made."
Queen's said this was in line with practices at most medical schools in the UK adding that more offers may be available as the admissions cycle progresses.
"The number of medical student places is set by the Department of Health along with stringent criteria for entry in line with their workforce planning requirements," it added.