Studying medicine

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Applying to medical school for school leavers

ARM 2016 widening participation

If you are a school leaver in the UK, use the BMJ med school selector tool to enter your GCSE and A-Level grades to find out which medical schools you are eligible to apply to.

Use the Medical School Selector

The tool also includes helpful profiles of medical schools, information on teaching styles, application requirements and entry ratios.

See our handy map of UK medical schools and take a look at the list of medical school courses compiled by the Medical Schools Council.

For applicants who are not school leavers, read our guide for graduates, mature aged and foundation students.

  • Subjects you need to study medicine

    For students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all UK medical schools accept applications that demonstrate:

    • a combination of GCSEs, AS levels and A levels
    • the majority will require good grades in science subjects as these form the foundation of the medical curriculum
    • good GCSE passes in English and mathematics

    Medical schools generally seek a good grades in:

    • chemistry at A level and often A level biology
    • One other science subject is often required, for example, physics (or physical science), or mathematics.
    • A good A level grade in an arts subject such as history or a modern language will usually be accepted as a third A level.

    Students with mainly non-science A levels are normally required to study a foundation course, which will add a year to the standard five year undergraduate course.

    Read more about foundation courses and entering medicine as a graduate

  • What is not accepted by medical schools

    The majority of medical schools will not accept A level general studies and an increasing number of medical schools are not accepting A level critical thinking as relevant qualifications.

    In addition, most medical schools will not give an advantage to applicants who have a qualification in Key Skills. A small number of medical schools will accept a vocational A level (AVCE) but only when combined with a traditional A Level (GCE) and only in a limited number of subjects (typically health and social care, and information and communication technology).

    Requirements vary between medical schools, so it is important to check with the individual schools you are thinking of applying to for the most up to date information.

  • Scottish based school students

    Scottish students who apply to medical schools both within Scotland and the rest of the UK, will be accepted on results in Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers. The majority of medical schools will accept a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers and generally look for high grades in science subjects such as chemistry and biology.

  • International baccalaureate and other qualifications

    Applicants to UK medical schools with other qualifications, such as an international baccalaureate, should contact the individual medical schools or UCAS for details on equivalent entry requirements.

  • Useful resources

    The Student Room: forums, information and insights for students, by students.

    Future doctors on BMA communities: Hear from current med students about the issues that matter to them.

    Student BMJ: News articles, personal stories and more for med students. Free to register.

    Health Careers: Information for those interested in a career in the healthcare sector