What are the UK Medical School Academic Requirements?

What do you need to study to get into medicine in the United Kingdom?

Everyone knows that getting into medical school is hard. But just how hard is it? The exact academic requirements for each university differ, but most medical schools have the same basic entry needs.

Below I will go through the standard educational prerequisites. These do vary by medical school, so I recommend using the sites I have linked at the bottom to view the most up to date information for each university.

I have chosen not to talk about the medical entry exams, they will be the focus of another post in the near future.

To learn more about the extracurricular requirements of medical school, check out this post.

GCSE:
Medical School Academic Requirements GCSE

The most basic GCSE requirements, that the majority of UK medical schools ask for is English and Maths, and Double or Triple Award science. Anyone now choosing their GCSE subjects should take this information and do the proper research first. As crazy as it is that choices we make at 14 years old dictate our odds of getting into medical school, it is the world we live in.

A minimum Grade of 6 is the common cut off for UK Medical Schools in English and Maths.

Aside from English and Maths, it is very common for universities to ask for Grades 5-9 in science subjects (Biology, Physics and Chemistry or Dual Award Science). There are exceptions to this rule, Brighton and Sussex, Bristol, Glasgow and KCL all only ask for minimum Grades in English and Maths. However, they all require a minimum number of GCSE passes, and these should include at least Double Award science for anyone hoping to study medicine.

In general, many schools necessitate a minimum of 6/7 GCSE Grades of 7 or 6. This is only a minimum and should only be treated as a benchmark to reach. Obviously, every person sitting their GCSEs should aim to get the best grades they are able to. I would say that when applying to medical schools, if you have above the minimum entry requirements, GCSE grades will not be a deciding factor in your application compared to your A Level grades. On the other hand, when a medical school must make a choice between two people with the same A Levels, I’m sure GCSEs will be considered

For more information on the GCSE requirements of medical schools, visit this page.

A-Levels:
Medical School Academic Requirements A Level

What A Levels should you take to get into medical school? What A Levels should you definitely not take to study medicine?

Avoid:
  • Critical Thinking
  • General Studies
  • Citizenship Studies
  • Thinking Skills
  • Global Perspectives

These subjects are not accepted by most UK medical schools, so when applying they will not even be considered. Therefore, if you are planning on applying for medicine, I would boycott these subjects.

It is worth noting that subjects which cover the same content, such as Biology and Human Biology, will only be considered as a single discipline. Maths and Further Maths, as well as PE and Biology, are commonly not counted as separate grades.

Take:
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

These two subjects are a requirement for most medical schools in the UK. While some universities, such as Aberdeen, will allow you to swap Human Biology for Biology, this will limit you to only applying for those that don’t specifically require the latter.

The most common third subject taken at A2 by applicants is probably Physics. This is an obvious choice as it connects very well with the previous two and will also provide you with some of the Maths skills that the other two subjects may not.

Alternatively, medical schools often don’t specify which subject applicants have to have taken for their third choice. You may find that a humanities subject or a language allows you to stand out from the crowd; and is actually preferred by Brighton and Sussex.

Before choosing your A Levels it is a really good idea to have a look around at the current requirements of medical schools you want to apply for. The Medic Portal have a rundown of current medical school A Level requirements here.

Researching medical school entry requirements

There are a few good medical school academic requirement comparison tools available online. I would highly recommend The Medic Portal’s Which Medial School is Right for Me page, which lets you view up to 4 universities side by side. This tools also provides you with contact information for each university, and I would recommend contacting the schools’ admissions teams directly if you have specific questions, its what they’re there for!

Thanks for taking your time to read this post. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. As always, contact me here. To find out about the extracurricular aspects of medical school requirements try reading this post.

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