For many people, the dream of becoming a doctor starts at a young age. Knowing that you want to pursue such a specialised and specific path means that it is very important to choose your secondary school subjects carefully to ensure you meet the requirements to get into the UK medical school of your choice.
Different medical schools have different entry requirements. If you know which school you wish to apply to, it’s worth making sure you are tailor-making your subject choices to your preferred school. The UCAS website will guide you to the entry requirements for specific medical schools as well as the schools’ individual websites.
In general, UK medical schools will require you to have at least 6-8 GCSEs at A or A* level including Mathematics and English. Many secondary schools now use the new, numerically graded GCSES and so this means grades 6-7 or above in these subjects. IGCSEs also use a numerical system and similarly, you need at least 6-8 qualifications at grade 6 or above. For most schools, you must achieve a grade B or grade 6 or above in a science subject for both GCSEs and IGCSEs. Chemistry is usually a must and Biology is often recommended or required, especially if it does not form part of a double science GCSE.
For Scottish students, a typical medical degree applicant has a minimum of grade B at National Grade 5 (the new term for Standard Grades) in Mathematics and English. Biology and Physics are often required at grade B or above as well but in general, A and B grades at National Grade 5, particularly in science subjects are recommended.
Remember that these are just the minimum requirements so it always best to aim high, especially when entering such a highly a competitive field as medicine. Doing well in your GCSEs, IGCSEs or National 5s will enable you to refine your education further during your last two years of secondary school and pick subjects which will create the gateway to the medical school of your choice. Bear in mind that for each place at the major medical schools in the UK, there are often around 10 applicants from within the EU and in some cases, around 20 applicants per place for international students.
You need to be putting maximum effort into these exams as it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that your GCSEs, IGCSEs or National 5s are not all that important but for a medical degree, they are taken into account and they also affect which subjects you will excel in whilst in the sixth form. Once again, if you already know which medical school you would like to attend, make sure you pick your GCSEs, IGCSEs and National Grade 5s carefully to ensure that you are fulfilling the often-strict entry criteria. With careful planning, hard work and dedication to achieving the required grades, there is no reason why you won’t stand a chance of getting into the university of your choice and have a long and rewarding career as a doctor.
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