The A-levels needed for medicine studies are just one part of a very complex application process to secure a spot for studying. With less than 16% of applications to study medicine in 2022 resulting in an offered place, the application process is very highly competitive. Studying to become a medical professional has always been a challenging process, but given the financial strains imposed by the government and limited places, it is more complex than ever before.
On average, there are around 8700 places offered each year to study medicine in the UK. This far exceeds the number of hopefuls who have worked hard to meet the criteria but just miss out at the last moment for one of many reasons.
At The Future Medic, we have created a mentoring programme with a 1 in 10 success rate for universities across the UK. We make it simple to create a professional personal statement, ace the UCAT exam, and stand out during the competitive interview process. Whilst we can help you nail all those parts of the application, one thing completely in your control is the A-Level results you bring to the table.
What is the requirement of A-Levels needed to study medicine? Keep reading to find out!
What Are The Subjects at A-Level Needed for Medicine?
So, you have decided that you want to study the rewarding field of medicine, congratulations! It would be best if you now considered the subjects you must choose to study at either college or sixth form as these will impact your application’s success.
The subjects you need to hold will differ depending on your choice of university, but as a rule, you will need A-Levels in chemistry, biology and either maths or physics. You will also need to achieve high results, with most expecting a clean sweep or A’s and A*’s at a minimum.
Chemistry is an essential qualification as the formulas used relate directly to drugs and interactions that may be experienced when applied to a medical field. Whilst you will not be expected to understand medical components at your time of application, an understanding of intermolecular forces, acids, and oxidation form the bases of medical equations.
Having a mind for mathematical equations is essential for anyone who works in medicine as it, quite simply, is one of the biggest parts of daily life for medical professionals. It is also not just the skill of being able to work out complex equations but also the intrinsic understanding of how answers are derived, which is important. These are the skills being looked for during the other parts of the medical application process.
Physics is also popular as it relates to the diagnostic portion of medical treatments. This is covered during medical studies, but most universities will look for a base level of understanding that is needed to comprehend the complex subject matter that students will be expected to work with.
What A-Level Results Do I Need to Get Into Medical School?
As we mentioned, you will typically need top marks to get into medical school. Aiming for perfection is therefore your best route to gaining entry to the medical school of your choice.
Below we have listed the top ten medical schools in the UK along with their entry requirements to give you a better idea of what grades you will need to achieve to achieve your dreams.
- University of Cambridge – A*A*A in Chemistry and one in Biology, Physics, Mathematics.
- University of Oxford – A*AA in both Chemistry and at least one of Biology, Physics or Mathematics.
- University of Glasgow – AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics.
- The University of Edinburgh – AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics.
- University of Bristol – AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Further Mathematics.
- Imperial College London – AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics.
- University of Leicester – AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics.
- University of Dundee – AAA in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics. The other three Highers can be your own choice and this choice of subjects will not influence the assessment.
- University of St Andrews – ABB in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics.
- Queens University Belfast – A*A*A in Chemistry and one in Biology, Physics, Mathematics.
Whilst the requirements for many courses will likely fluctuate over the years, this is not the case for medical schools, which tend to have a regimented set of requirements. This also sets a different precedent for how A-Levels are assessed compared to most other further education requirements. For many other courses, a culmination of the correct amount of UCAS points is needed, which can be from any course. Medicine stands out as it requires both set grades and a regimented set of courses to have been studied, highlighting the importance of starting the application process as early as possible.
What Else Do You Need to Study Medicine?
Once you have a clear understanding of what A-Levels you will need to excel in, it is also important to consider the other aspects you need to tick off the list. This will reflect how you split your time when you are studying your pre-university sources.
Alongside a score of strong A-Level results, you will also need to consider:
Additional Qualifications That Can Be Studied Alongside Your Mandatory A-Levels
Whilst we don’t advise taking time away from the essential studies, it is also vital to include real-life experience on applications that show you are thinking about every aspect of what it means to be a medical professional. Volunteering for St Johns Ambulance or helping with local causes are great ways to strengthen your experience.
Depending on your place of study, you may also be able to apply for additional curriculum points from activities such as mentoring. Whilst this will not directly impact your A-Level suitability, it will again show that you are willing to work hard and that you are brilliant at multi-tasking, which is essential for any medical position.
How You Can Make Your Personal Statement Strong and Authentic
Alongside studying for your A-Levels, you should also consider how to make your personal statement strong. This is the first impression prospective medical schools will have of you, so it’s the ideal time to put your best foot forward. Your academic results are the final puzzle piece, so it’s important not to just focus all your time on that. Want to know more about what should be included in the perfect personal statement? Check out this blog post.
How You Can Come Across Confidently at Your University Interviews
Whilst not all universities require an interview section of the applications, all medical schools will need this. One of the reasons that medicine is so competitive is because admission teams are not just looking for people who can academically undertake the course but ones who fit in terms of personality, drive, and ambition. An interview is essential for getting offers on the table. They are also crucial as it lets the applicant decide where they wish to study as it should be a two-way decision.
Interviews will take place at the start of the application process after your first year of studies at college or sixth form. This means you will need to be able to take along strong predicated grades and deliver a compelling performance showing you understand the various character facets needed to excel in the medical field. You can find out more about our advice on preparing for a medical school interview in our blog post by clicking here.
Studying for the UCAT Exam Alongside Your A-Level Studies
Finally, you will also need to pass the UCAT exam. The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is one of the many forms of admissions tests used by a selection of Universities in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The test was first launched in 2016 as UKCAT but was rebranded in 2019 to UCAT as part of its launch into New Zealand and Australia.
The UCAT is designed to unlock other areas of an individual’s skill set to give a more detailed look at their capabilities. The test covers numerical, spatial, abstract, verbal, and ethical areas which directly impact a medical professional’s ability to do their job correctly. This means that you must also be studying for this essential exam alongside A-Level qualifications. This exam can be taken anytime during the academic year in the run-up to entry and should be planned so that it does not directly impact A-Level final exams.
Do You Feel More Confident About the A-Levels Needed for Medicine Studies?
Hopefully, we have made things a lot clearer for you and given you food for thought in terms of preparing your medical school application. For more information on what you can do at A-level needed for medicine, please check out our services or contact us with any outstanding questions.
Planning for the future does not have to be overwhelming with The Future Medic.