What Are The Entry Requirements For Medical School?
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 aptitude test score (whether UKCAT or BMAT). As well as this, there are less specific requirements, like relevant work experience, and a strong personal statement.
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. For detailed information on this, you can either call the admissions teams of the universities you are interested in, or you can look up tables of Medical School GCSE requirements online.
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.
Within this, many universities ask for specific marks within the Sciences, so it is very wise to look up the requirements of each of your potential choices. Some universities even have differing policies on the point value of different grades (For example, a 4 (old C) at University College London counts as 5 points, while most other universities count it as a 4! This could well make the difference in point based universities that require a minimum total point score from GCSEs!) Check that what your chosen university asks of you in their medical school entry requirements.
Which GCSEs 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.
It’s important to check the A-level requirements of your chosen universities. Luckily we have written a great article with a comprehensive table for every university in the UK which you can access here. 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?
University policy on the mandatory aptitude tests (most commonly the ukcat, though some require the alternative BMAT) varies considerably. Some universities like Edinburgh place a heavy emphasis on the aptitude test, taking only the top scoring third of the country. Other universities like Cardiff or Exeter only take this score into account when they are having trouble deciding between applicants. Either way, make sure you have registered in time to sit the aptitude test that is relevant to you!
We have written an extensive list of articles about the UCAT and BMAT which you can access here. But to get you started here’s an article comparing the two aptitude tests to help you decide which one to take:
Are personal Statements and work experience important for a medicine application?
No university explicitly states that previous work experience is a specific medicine entry requirement, however, it is a strong component to any medical CV. Many universities ‘strongly advise’ that the applicant has had some experience working in health-related areas. This is also undoubtedly helpful for any interviews you might be called in for, as it will give you an idea of how medicine works, the language used in it, and make you stand out as a passionate student! Here’s an example of a fantastic personal statement written for medicine admission at Cambridge:
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 medicine 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 you you’re registered for all the necessary exams and fit the age/health requirements that medical schools insist on.
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