“Are my GCSE’s/AS Levels/A Levels good enough?”

I can’t believe that I didn’t do this post sooner, but the big question of ‘are my GCSE’s/AS Levels/A Levels good enough to do Medicine?’ is something I think all prospective medics ask, so here is my take on things.

GCSE’s

  • First of all, you don’t need all A*’s to get into medicine. If you have then well done, if not don’t worry about it. Apply to the medical schools that don’t put an emphasis on GCSE’s in selecting their students.
  • It is though crucial that you have strong science (Double science is suffice, my school didn’t even do triple science!), English language and maths GCSE’s. Many schools specify what grade is appropriate in these GCSE subjects.
  • Regarding the other subjects you take, it doesn’t really matter but be aware that some medical schools do not accept short courses in their entry requirements so be sure to check that out! 
  • A great resource: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Medical_School_GCSE_Requirements

A Levels
AS Levels

  • With AS levels it is more important that you do well than that of GCSE’s as in most schools they form the basis of your A2 predictions which medical schools use significantly in selecting their applicants.
  • You do NOT need to do all sciences and maths contrary to popular belief. It is a good idea to do both Chemistry and Biology though to give yourself more options. Some medical schools prefer contrasting subjects as it shows ‘a rounded individual’ but again, look at what the medical schools you’re interested in require.
  • If you do not do as well as you hoped in AS levels, if you can still get at least 3A predictions then all is not lost! You can just apply to schools that do not use your AS levels in selection.
  • If you do not do as well as you hoped and can’t get 3A predictions, but still think you can achieve 3A’s, think about leaving it a year and applying in the next cycle if you achieve 3A’s.
  • If you do not do as well as you hoped and can’t get 3A predictions, and don’t achieve 3A’s, you could  resit and apply to medical schools that allow A2 resits in the next cycle, look at access to medicine courses, medicine with a foundation year, or do an undergraduate degree in an accepted subject that allows you to apply to graduate medicine.

A2 

  • These are the bad boys! You pretty much need to get your 3A’s first time in an ideal world!
  • If  you don’t get your 3A’s then you could  resit and apply to medical schools that allow A2 resits in the next cycle, look at access to medicine courses, medicine with a foundation year, or do an undergraduate degree in an accepted subject that allows you to apply to graduate medicine, or a course that allows transfer to a medical school in year 3 or something along those lines.
  • http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Medical_School_A_Level_Requirements

Resits

  • GCSE resits are not usually allowed as far as my understanding goes, but that is easy to work around  by applying to medical schools that don’t emphasise GCSE’s in their selection criteria.
  • AS resits are usually permitted provided that both your AS and A2 grades are achieved within two years ie. you resit AS modules in year 13, not retake the whole AS year. There are a few exceptions such as UCL, and Nottingham allow only 1 module resit per subject.
  • A2 resits are usually frowned upon as it means it takes more than two years to complete your A levels, but I believe UEA allow these providing you get something like BBB first time,
  • Check this out http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Medical_School_Resit_Policies and also the medical school directly.

Miscellaneous

  • You don’t have to take extra AS, A2 or GCSE subjects if not necessary  Some schools don’t even take the extras into account so you have no advantage.
  • Having perfect academics will not often guarantee you a place at medical school, personal statement, and admissions tests also play a role so if these are strong whilst academics are slightly weaker, you can still apply to medicine.
  • Finally, I know I keep saying this but I can’t emphasise enough how weaker areas of your application don’t necessarily need to be an obstacle in applying to medical school. Just apply to your strengths!

I hope this is useful!

Until next time…

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