With over 21,000 applicants each year it’s safe to say that Medicine is one of the most popular degree options for undergraduate students. This also means that it’s one of the most competitive degree choices for students, so you’ll have to work hard to ensure you’re successful.
There are 33 medical schools across the UK, all with their own set of entry requirements, however they will all need you to have high grades in order to be considered.
It’s crucial that you have high grades, both for your AS and A levels, and you may even find that your GCSE marks are taken into consideration if admissions tutors are trying to choose between you and another candidate with the same A level grades.
If you want to become a medical professional it’s important to ask yourself early on, what grades do I need to study Medicine?
There are certain A levels that are essential to any student that wants to study Medicine at university. Chemistry is the obvious essential subject but there are some other subjects that you’ll need to study in order to be considered by medical schools:
The A levels you choose will impact on the number of medical schools that will take your application. For example – if you take Chemistry and Biology, but not Maths or Physics, the majority of medical schools will consider you.
In contrast, if you take Chemistry, and Maths or Physics, but not Biology you’ll find the number of medical schools that will consider your application very limited.
As well as the above A level subjects there are some other subjects that you may find useful for your future career in medicine.
For example, Critical Thinking could be helpful for the admissions tests (BMAT or UKCAT) used by most medical schools to assess the aptitude of potential students.
All potential medical students know that you need very high grades to study Medicine.
In fact, the majority of medical schools require AAA grades at A level for students to be considered. This needs to include Chemistry and/or Biology. The third A level can be anything but it’s generally wise to choose something that will help your application.
In equivalent qualifications this works out as an IB score of 38 or IELTS score of 7.0 if you’re an international student as the academic standard expected for medical school applicants.
Check with each medical school that you want to apply to for their individual entry requirements and to clarify their application process. Applications will need to be made via the UCAS website and then the medical school will contact you regarding an aptitude test and/or interview.
As we mentioned above, as well as showing your academic excellence you’ll also usually need to take an aptitude test – the majority of medical schools use the BMAT or UKCAT tests – and you’ll usually also be asked to attend an interview.
Work experience is another key requirement for any potential medical student. This doesn’t have to be in a hospital – many applicants volunteer at care homes or have part time jobs in pharmacies or doctor’s surgeries to gain the relevant experience before submitting their applications.
Finally, a strong personal statement is vital as this could be the deciding factor between you getting a place and the place going to another student.
Your personal statement should discuss your reasons behind wanting to study medicine, your work experience, your knowledge of medicine, any areas you want to specialise in, future career plans, and your interests outside of your academic life.
Admissions tutors are looking for well-rounded students with good interpersonal and communication skills in addition to their academic achievements.
Remember, you should be prepared to talk about everything you write about in your personal statement in your interview. This means you shouldn’t be tempted to lie, exaggerate or bend the truth.
If something goes wrong on the day of your exams and you unfortunately don’t get the grades you need to study Medicine for that academic year you have a few options.
Very few medical schools have vacancies during Clearing as competition is so fierce, but you may be lucky and get a place with lower grades.
If you don’t make it to Clearing then the most sensible option is to take a gap year and use the time to retake your exams and get the grades you need to apply to medical school for the next academic year.