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 you understand the process – and the pathways and routes into Medicine – if you’re seriously thinking of deciding on Medicine and becoming a Doctor.

9 Steps In Applying To Medicine

There are nine key milestones on your journey of applying to Medicine:

  1. Deciding if it’s the right career path for you
  2. Sitting your GCSEs and making sure you meet the grade requirements for Medicine
  3. Gaining work experience or volunteering placements
  4. Choosing the four Medical Schools you can apply to with UCAS
  5. Sitting the UCAT test
  6. Writing your Personal Statement for Medicine
  7. Taking the BMAT test
  8. Standing out at your Medicine interview and securing an offer to study Medicine
  9. Surviving your first year of Med School and beyond…

1. Decide on Medicine

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

2. Choose your GCSEs

Most medical schools will require you to have A*- C GCSE grades, with a minimum of grade B in English and Maths – so it’s important you work hard and revise for your exams thoroughly. You can check different medical schools’ GCSE requirements on their websites – or in our Med School Comparison Tool.

3. Start Gaining Experience

Completing work experience is a crucial if you want to study Medicine, as it will allow you to build a portfolio of experience to draw on in your Personal Statement.

Securing hospital placements or GP work experience can be very competitive – and are still rare because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many aspiring Medics have turned to volunteering in the last 18 months as a way to gain experience.

If you can’t find many placements, don’t worry. Medical Schools prefer quality over quantity: it’s about what you have learned, rather than listing an impressive list of hospital placements. That’s why reflection is the most important aspect of this stage.


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4. Choose your A-Levels

Choosing the right A-Levels is an important step if you want to study Medicine. Most medical schools in the UK require that candidates study Chemistry and Biology to A-Level, with the most competitive schools requiring A* grades. The third subject preference varies between universities (some encourage Maths or Physics), so it’s best to check that with each medical school individually – or use our Comparison Tool.

5. Sit your UCAT

Most Medical Schools require that you take the UCAT exam. These UCAT universities will take your overall score into account when selecting candidates for interview – so it’s essential you revise well.

The UCAT can be sat any time between early July and early October. It’s recommended that you spend around four weeks regularly revising for the exam and then two weeks of intense revision and practice questions under timed conditions. From there, you can identify which sections you are struggling with and then focus on those. 

Universities want to know that you possess the skills to be a great doctor, and the UCAT has five sections: Situational Judgement, Abstract Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making.

Registering for the UCAT and sitting the exam is an important step in demonstrating that you are the perfect candidate to study Medicine.

6. Choose Your Medical Schools

Most degrees last three years, but your Medicine course will last five or six, so it’s important you choose the right one for you. Take a look at each university’s entry requirements: which grades do they require at A-Level and does that align with your predicted grades? Do they require the BMAT? Make sure you research the course structure: 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.

7. Write your Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your chance to show the universities you apply to 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?
  • Why are you a great fit?

It’s important to detail your personal motivation for medicine, how you have explored this interest through work experience or volunteering, as well as any wider reading you’ve done. Don’t forget that the UCAS deadline for Medicine is much earlier than other courses – 15th October instead of January!

9. Sit your BMAT

If you’re applying to BMAT universities, you’ll need to sit the BMAT. 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.

For the last couple of years, the BMAT could only be sat in November – but in previous years you could also choose to sit it in September. 

10. Prepare To Stand Out At Interview

If you get shortlisted by a Med School, you’ll be invited to interview – but you often don’t get much notice. That’s why we encourage people to begin preparing as soon as they submit their application for Medicine. Take a look at our guide on how to prepare for interviews to discover the best way to do this.

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