What are the Medical School Entry Requirements in the UK?

Applying to Medical School is a big step to take, which is why it is important to know all the entry requirements to ensure your preparations start as early as possible.

Author: Zayra Morales

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If you are planning on applying to study Medicine, knowing what components make up your application is essential to crafting it. 

A lot of different things are taken into account for a Medical School application, but the official Medical School entry requirements are based on your GCSEs, A-Levels (or predicted A-Levels), and your Admissions Test score (either the UCAT or the BMAT).

As well as this, there are less specific requirements, like relevant work experience, a strong Personal Statement, and Interview. If you are an international student, we have more information in our guide to international entry requirements

Each university has its own specific requirements, but to get a better idea, let’s go through these Medical entry requirements one by one to get a general overview.

Which GCSEs do I need for Medical School in the UK?

Most universities ask for at least five 9s or 8s (old A* and A) grades, though this is entirely variable. Oxford, for example, has no specific GCSE requirements, but state that most successful applicants will have largely obtained 9s and 8s at the GCSE level. Some universities are more specific and require minimum grades in certain subjects. 

All medical schools require GCSEs in English, Sciences, and Maths. Almost all of them require at least a 6 (old B) in these subjects. Again, this varies from university to university but, as an underlying rule, this is a good baseline when looking at the Medicine entry requirements.

English Language

Around 28 of the Medical Schools specify that you need to achieve a grade 6 or above in GCSE English Language to be able to apply there. Bristol, Exeter and Leeds accept applicants who achieved a grade 4, and St Andrews allows grade 5. 

As for English Literature, Birmingham is the only Medical School that makes any mention of it stating it is not required but is one of the identified subjects they will score. 

Maths

The overwhelming majority of Medical Schools say that you will need grade 6 or above in GCSE Maths. The only Medical Schools which accept applications with a grade 4 are Leeds and Queen’s Belfast. St Andrews states grade 5. 

You may find that certain Medical Schools have different GCSE Maths requirements if you are taking the subject at A-Level. 

Sciences

Medical Schools expect applicants to be taking at least one science subject at A-Level, and subsequently, their GCSE science requirements are less specific. Some do not specify a GCSE requirement for Chemistry/Biology because they expect you to be taking them at A-Level. 

They might ask for a higher grade in any science subjects that you are not taking for A-Level, e.g., Lancaster says that if you are not taking A-Level Chemistry then your GCSE Chemistry must be at least grade 7. 

Around 14 Medical Schools state they require a grade 6 or above in Chemistry, two ask for grade 7 (Lincoln and Nottingham), and one says at least grade 4 (Leeds). 

As for Biology, around 15 Medical Schools mention a requirement of grade 6 or above, two specify grade 7 (Lincoln and Nottingham), one says at least grade 5 (St Andrews), and one asks for a minimum grade of 4 (Leeds). 

A small number mention GCSE Physics – five want you to have a grade 6 or above (Keele, Kent Medway, Lancaster, Liverpool and Sunderland), and one asks for grade 4 (Queen’s Belfast). 

If you haven’t studied individual sciences at GCSE, around 21 Medical Schools mention that they will accept Dual Award/Double Science instead. 

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Which A-Levels do I need for Medical School in the UK?

As part of the Medical School entry requirements, a university will typically ask for a minimum of 3 A-Levels at AAA or AAB. These must usually be in Chemistry and either Biology, Physics, or Maths. Many, such as Imperial or Southampton require Chemistry and Biology, along with another lab science or Maths.

Of the UK Medical Schools, 24 of them state that Chemistry A-Level is an essential requirement, and 13 schools specify that you need to have A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology. If you do not take A-Level Biology, around 19 Medical Schools say they will consider you with Chemistry plus Physics or Maths.

For around 16 Medical Schools, A-Level Chemistry is not an absolute essential requirement and they will consider your application with Biology plus another science subject or Maths. Some schools, eight in total, will accept Psychology as a second science. 

Do I Need To Study Chemistry And Biology?

The following Medical Schools require you to take A-Level Chemistry and Biology:

Which Other Medical Schools Require Chemistry?

The following Medical Schools require you to take A-Level Chemistry and a second subject that is either Biology, Physics or Maths:

Which Medical Schools Is Chemistry Not Essential?

The Medical Schools below will consider you with Chemistry or Biology A-Level: 

The following schools ask for Chemistry or Biology A-Level, plus a second subject that is either Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Maths: 

*These Medical Schools also consider Psychology as a second science subject. Keele will consider Economics too.

Which Medical Schools Require Biology?

These Medical Schools consider Biology A-Level to be essential:

As for your third A-Level, most Medical Schools do not specify a preference for what you take. However, for example, Cambridge mentions that most of their applicants are studying A-Levels in Chemistry plus two of Biology/Physics/Maths.

In contrast, Brighton and Sussex say that applicants who study a third subject outside of Science or Maths are welcomed because these subjects are considered to broaden academic horizons. 

It is important to check the A-Level requirements of your chosen universities. Universities are often less flexible about the A-Level specifications than they might be about your GCSEs so keep this in mind when you apply. 

Do I Need To Take The UCAT Or BMAT For Medicine?

As a Medicine applicant, there are two Admissions Tests for you to be aware of – the UCAT and the BMAT.

The general advice is that all Medical students should sit the UCAT, as you know your results as soon as the test is over. This allows you to apply more tactically. 

For those applying to BMAT universities, you will sit it after applying so there is a greater risk. However, this can be a good alternative to the UCAT if you did not score highly in it. 

The UCAT Universities

The BMAT Universities

How Important Is Work Experience?

Medical Schools require applicants to have an understanding of what a career in Medicine involves. It is therefore essential that applicants gain people-focused experience of providing care or service before submitting their application.

It is important to remember that work experience can take many forms. While shadowing a doctor can be useful Medical Schools recognise that this is not attainable for everyone. 

They see volunteering in a residential care home as just as good a source of experience. 

What type of person are medical schools looking for?

Medicine is a very challenging path to take, with a significantly longer time spent in higher education and continuous training in the subject after becoming a doctor. It takes hard academic work and determination, alongside compassion and strong people skills.

All of which you are required to demonstrate in the entry requirements for each Medical School. At the end of the day, your job is to look after people and help them using your broad knowledge, which not everyone is cut out for.

If these Medicine entry requirements fit you, and you feel up to the challenge, then give it a go. Make sure you are registered for all the necessary exams and fit the age/health requirements that Medical Schools insist on.

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