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Applying to Medicine is a complex and lengthy process, especially if you’re looking to study in the UK and apply via UCAS. It’s important that you understand the process – and the pathways into Medicine – if you’re seriously thinking about deciding on Medicine and becoming a Doctor.

9 Steps In Applying To Medicine

There are 9 key milestones in your Medicine application journey:

  1. Decide if it’s the right career path for you
  2. Make sure you’re taking the right A-Levels
  3. Do work experience and/or volunteering
  4. Choose a Medical School – you can apply to four Med Schools in total (you also get a fifth UCAS choice which you can use as a back-up option)
  5. Sit the UCAT test if you’re applying to UCAT unis
  6. Take the BMAT test if you’re applying to BMAT unis
  7. Write your Personal Statement for Medicine
  8. Stand out at your Medicine interview and securing an offer to study Medicine
  9. Survive your first year of Med School and beyond…

1. Decide on Medicine

An Undergraduate Medicine course at university involves five or six years of study, plus extra training. It’s a big commitment, so it’s important that you spend some time deciding if Medicine is the right path for you. Being a Doctor is incredibly rewarding – but it’s also incredibly challenging. Research different medical degrees and find out what the day-to-day life of a Doctor involves to discover if this is the right option for you.

2. Choose Your A-Levels

Different Med Schools have different A-Level entry requirements. Some want you to be taking A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology, whereas some will accept applicants with just one of these. Your predicted grades may also affect which Med Schools you can apply to. You can check entry requirements on university websites – or in our Med School Comparison Tool.

3. Start Gaining Experience

Work experience is crucial if you want to study Medicine, as it allows you to build a portfolio of experience to draw on in your Personal Statement and at interviews.

Securing hospital placements or GP work experience can be very competitive. Volunteering is just as relevant to your Medicine application and can be easier to obtain. 

When it comes to work experience, Medical Schools prefer quality over quantity: it’s about what you have learned, rather than listing an impressive list of placements. That’s why reflection is the most important aspect of this stage.

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4. Choose Your Medical Schools

Most degrees last three years, but your Medicine course will last five or six, so it’s important that you choose the right one for you. Take a look at each university’s entry requirements. Which subjects and grades do they require at A-Level, and does that align with what you’re studying and what your predicted grades are? Do they require the UCAT or the BMAT? Make sure you research the course structure too. Is it an integrated or traditional course? Do they use Problem-Based Learning? Make a note of the universities that most appeal to you, and a list of open days to attend over the summer.

5. Sit the UCAT

Most Medical Schools require that you take the UCAT exam. The UCAT testing period is typically July-September, and you can only sit the test once during this period. It’s recommended that you spend around 6-8 weeks preparing for the UCAT test

Universities want to know that you possess the skills to study Medicine and become a great Doctor, so the UCAT has five sections: Situational Judgement, Abstract Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making.

UCAT universities will take your UCAT score into account when selecting candidates for interview – so it’s essential you prepare well.

6. Take the BMAT

If you’re applying to BMAT universities, you’ll need to sit the BMAT exam. It’s designed to test your problem-solving, mathematic and scientific skills, as well as your ability to think critically and to form a logical argument – and BMAT preparation is key to a good BMAT score.

Unlike the UCAT, there is typically just one BMAT test date each year and it’s usually in October or November. This means you won’t know your BMAT score until after you’ve chosen your four Medical Schools and submitted your UCAS application.

7. Write your Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement is your chance to show universities that you are a perfect candidate for Medicine.

You’ll need to cover the following three questions:

  • Why do you want to study Medicine?
  • How have you explored your interest in Medicine?
  • Why are you a strong candidate?

It’s important to describe your personal motivation for Medicine, and how you have explored this interest through work experience or volunteering, as well as any wider reading or research you’ve done. You can find out more in our Personal Statement guide. And don’t forget that the UCAS deadline for Medicine is typically in mid October, which is earlier than other courses.

8. Stand Out At Interview

If you get shortlisted by a Med School, you’ll be invited to interview – but you might not get a lot of notice. That’s why we encourage you to begin preparing for interviews as soon as you submit your UCAS application for Medicine. To find out more, check out our guide on how to prepare for interviews.

9. Get Ready for Medical School

If you receive any offers after interview, you’ll just need to meet the A-Level grade requirements specified in your offer to secure your Med School place.

Getting into Medical School is a huge achievement! Have a look at our guide to surviving your first year of Med School so you can make the most of the experience.

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