How to get into Medical School

shutterstock_244305520 (1).jpg


Entry requirements:

Most medical schools require at least a minimum of 3 A’s at A-Levels typically in chemistry and biology, while some schools prefer a third science or maths related subject.  When applying for your chosen medical school, it is best to check what they require as it can vary between schools and be different from the year before.  In addition, you will need at least 5 GCSEs A-C including Science, English and Maths but check what is required from your chosen universities as some may require 7 A’s at GCSE.  You can check entry requirements for your chosen universities on the UCAS website.  You will also need to have experience and you can check our advice on how to organise work experience.

A small handful of universities offer a foundation year (known as a 'gateway year') for medicine.  These are for applicants who don’t achieve the grades required or hold the appropriate A level subjects.  This is normally aimed at those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or from families that do not have a tradition of entering higher education.  For a gateway year, they have different entry requirements, such as achieving BBB/BBC/ABB at A-level.  More information can be found here

Applying for medical school:

Applicants are only able to apply to up to four medical courses and applications must be made under one year in advance and before the deadline of the 15th October.  If successful, you will then begin the course in September the following year.  Remember, medical schools set their own entry requirements and they change each year.  Please check the universities entry requirements before starting your application on the UCAS website

When applying for medical school, it is best to research the different medical schools to find the best fit for you.  Have a look at the curriculum, assignments and how the course is structured for example, to see if you like the sound of the course.  It’s also a good idea sign up for an open day as it allows you to see:

  • The campus
  • The location
  • The tutors which will allow you to see what their teaching style is
  • Student accommodation
  • Current medical students and tutors and ask questions. 

It is best to start your application for medical school early.  You can start applying from mid-September.  Ask your referee as soon as possible as this will allow them to write and submit your reference before the 15th October deadline.  All applications must be made through UCAS and they will guide you through the application process.  You will need to provide your:

Personal details

You will be asked for your full name, address, contact email and date of birth.  More details will be required and UCAS offer a step-by-step guide.  You can find the link here.

Your qualifications (academic and non-academic)

This information includes all qualifications from secondary school onwards.  Please make sure that you enter the correct information as this will allow universities to see if you meet the entry requirements.  If you are waiting for your grades, you must put pending on your application.  UCAS has some helpful information on what to put for your qualifications.  You can find the link here

Employment history (including full-time and part-time jobs and your work experience)

Having your CV will be helpful filling in this section.  You can add up to five employers.  These can be paid full-time or part-time jobs.  You will need to include the company name, address, job description, and start/finish date for all five of your employers.  Any unpaid or volunteering positions cannot be added here.  On the UCAS website you can find all the information that you need to complete your application.

Personal statement

This is a very important part to your application as you are able to add more details to your experience.  Here you can also add information like work experience that you may not have been able to add in your employment history.  Check to see if the personal statement has a word count.  When writing your personal statement, we recommend that you:

  • Write a draft and go back and edit it.  You could also have someone proof read it as it’s good to have a second pair of eyes reading it.
  • Do not lie or exaggerate – keep to the facts as anything you mention may come up at your interview.
  • Triple check spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Try and tailor your personal statement to the content of the course.  This may be difficult if you are applying to more than one medical school.

Here are some useful websites on writing a personal statement:

Reference

Your reference should be written by someone who knows you academically and can talk about your work ethic, interaction with other students and your suitability for higher education or a future career.  If you’re a recent school leaver, you could ask, your tutor, teacher or head teacher for example.  If you left education a few years ago, you can ask your employer, for example.  You must not ask family, close friends or partners as this could cause your application to be cancelled.  You only need one reference.  Whoever you ask, make sure you give them plenty of time to write your reference – ask as soon as you start writing your application!

Admissions Tests

After applying through UCAS, most medical schools require applicants to take admission tests.  When choosing your university check the UCAS website to see the entry requirements and admission tests, which are the UCAT, BMAT and The GAMSAT.  More information on these tests are below:
•    UCAT
•    BMAT
•    The GAMSAT

The Medical School Council and the NHS website also provide useful information on the admission exams.  They can be found here:

•    The Medical School Council
•    NHS

Interview

If successful, you will then be asked to attend an interview.  These will normally be at the medical school and you will talk to one or more people.  Be honest and prepared as they may ask questions regarding your application and the things you talked about in your personal statement, like your voluntary work, interests and background.  It may take a while for you to hear back regarding your interview.  Some may hear before you – just keep an eye on your junk folder!  If you are successful, you will be offered a conditional place based upon your A-Level grades.