Getting into medical school is tough business and intensely competitive. As we’ve looked at recently, many students unfortunately don’t get the place that they want for a number of reasons. It is one of the most over-subscribed courses in the country, and there simply aren’t enough places for everyone, which is often the reason why people don’t get in. However, what can you do to improve your application?
Firstly, you need to make the right choices at A level. Chemistry, biology and maths are what people usually go for, however the requirements for universities are different. Chemistry is always a good choice, you can’t really get into medical school without it, and biology is a good second choice, although some universities will require one out of biology, human biology, maths or physics. Depending on the university, your third choice could be another science, or a non-science subject.
Be aware that many medical schools consider maths and further maths to be one subject, so there’s not that much point in doing further maths if you’re set on studying medicine. Critical thinking and general studies are generally not accepted, and some medical schools aren’t keen on vocational subjects or applied subjects. At the very least, you will need AAB at A level to be considered for a place, but AAA is the standard requirement.
You might also need to pass an entrance exam, which could be the UKCAT or the BMAT. Both of these test your general intelligence and aptitude, not your knowledge or experience. For many universities, this is a compulsory requirement, so have a look at what you have to do to get in.
Work experience is also vital in getting a place, you have to have experience in a position of care. It can be at a doctor’s surgery, hospital, residential home or with the NHS trust. It will usually be voluntary work, but it looks great to medical schools as it demonstrates a commitment and focus. Don’t focus so much on work experience that your grades suffer, you’ll need a balance of the two.
If you get through the application stage and pass your clinical aptitude test, you will next be invited for an interview. Try not to get too nervous, they’re just people! Do your research on the course and the university and find out what to expect, read all about how to prepare for your interview here.
Alternatively, you don’t have to follow the traditional route to get into medical school, you could do a 1 year Pre-Med first or could choose to do a different, but related degree first. Our 2+4 articulation route allows you to study towards a BSc. (Hons) in biomedical science for two years before going on to study medicine at a European university for four years. This can be a fantastic way to become a doctor, and is a much easier, less competitive route to take.