What A-levels do you need to study medicine?

There can be a great deal of confusion when it comes down to the medicine A level entry requirements. It might be a daunting prospect having to choose subjects that could guide your future career.

Fortunately, most medical schools have clear information on what they require, so we’ll discuss these medicine A level entry requirements in this blog post, as well as how to go about choosing how many A levels to take and how to go about picking your other subjects.

How many A level subjects should you do?

Choosing the number of A level subjects to take should be a balance between having enough to meet the medicine A level entry requirements but doing no more than you can manage, in a way that won’t be detrimental to your other subjects.

This number is usually three or four A level subjects, and most medical school offers will be AAA to AAAB, depending on the number of subjects you have taken. Taking four A-levels may be a way to demonstrate your academic ability but don’t take on more than three if any more will impinge on how well you can perform. Ultimately, your grades are far more important than taking more A levels than is necessary.

Which subjects are compulsory medicine A level entry requirements?

Taking A level chemistry is a must in terms of medicine A level entry requirements.

Most medical schools also state that your second A level should be either biology/human biology, physics or maths.

(It’s a good idea to also check what exams you need to check and if there are any subjects you need to take for those exams.)

Note that taking either A level biology or A level human biology is also either compulsory at some medical schools, or at least very strongly recommended, given any medical degree places a great deal of importance on concepts from these A levels.

Not taking biology could have a negative impact on how you find the start of a medical degree and could be something that you get asked about at an interview. It could also affect your chances of getting into medical school – so think carefully if you are not sure about taking this subject.

A complete list is in the table at the end of the post and for further information see the list of requirements for medical schools.

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How should you choose your third or fourth subject?

For these subjects, any subject is appropriate, ranging anywhere from another science to a humanities/arts subject such as history or music. For your third (or fourth) subject, science subjects are not given any preference over non-science subjects. The most important factor to consider here is which subjects you enjoy the most. This will ultimately be the best indicator of how much you will want to learn about the subjects to the depth of A level, and will affect how well you can do.

 

Which subjects may not be applicable?

Critical Thinking and General Studies are two A levels that may not be considered full A levels by medical schools in terms of medicine A level entry requirements, although they may be helpful additions to your A level study if compulsory at your school.

Further maths may not be considered a separate A level to maths by some universities. Similarly, BTECs may not be looked on as full A level subjects. For these, see each medical school website for further information.

Don’t forget it’s worth to keep in mind that other requirements are needed when applying to study medicine such as the UKCAT, so make sure you know what makes a good UKCAT score.

A complete list of medicine A Level requirements for universities in the UK:

UK Medical School Compulsory Other subject requirements Standard offer

Aberdeen

Chemistry One of biology/human biology or maths or physics

AAA

Birmingham

Chemistry & Biology

A*AA

Brighton & Sussex

Chemistry & Biology

AAA

Bristol

Chemistry One other lab-based science

AAA

Cambridge

Chemistry Two of biology/human biology or maths or physics A*A*A
Cardiff Chemistry & Biology

AAA

Dundee

Chemistry One more science AAA
Norwich Biology One more science (usually chemistry or physics) AAA
Edinburgh Chemistry One of biology (preferred), maths, physics AAA
Exeter Biology & Chemistry A*AA-AAA
Glasgow Biology to at least AS & Chemistry One of biology, maths, physics

AAA

Hull York

Chemistry & Biology AAA
Imperial College London Chemistry & Biology A*AA
Keele Either Chemistry or Biology plus a second science A*AA or AAA
King’s College London Biology & Chemistry A*AA
Lancaster Biology & Chemistry AAAb-A*AA
Leeds Chemistry AAA
Leicester Biology to at least AS level & Chemistry

AAA

Liverpool

Biology & Chemistry AAA
Manchester Chemistry or Biology/Human Biology plus second science

AAA

Newcastle

Biology to at least AS level & Chemistry

AAA

Nottingham

Biology & Chemistry

AAA

Oxford

Chemistry One of Biology, Physics or Maths

A*AA

Plymouth Chemistry & Biology A*AA-AAA
Queen Mary, London Chemistry or Biology plus second science AAA
Queen’s, Belfast Chemistry & at least a B grade in AS Biology if not offered at A level AAA
Sheffield Chemistry One of Biology, Maths, Physics or Psychology AAA
Southampton Chemistry & Biology AAA
St Andrew’s Chemistry One of Biology, Maths or Physics AAA
St George’s Chemistry & Biology/Human Biology AAA
UCL Biology & Chemistry

A*AA

Summary

Although there is a vast array of information about medicine A level entry requirements, the message is clear – chemistry and biology/human biology should be two of your subjects. For the other subject(s) you must choose, the most important factor should be that these are the ones that you enjoy and are excited to learn in greater depth about.

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Further reading

MUST READ: Find out the A level grades and more needed for Cambridge University

Further reading

MUST READ: Find out the A level grades and more needed for Cambridge University

Further reading

MUST READ: What to do if you have a low UKCAT score

Further reading

MUST READ: What to do if you have a low UKCAT score