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How to get into medical school

Understand the process of medical school admissions

Before Applying: Entry Requirements

As a prospective UK medical student, it's essential to be aware of the application process as it is considerably different to all other University degree applications. There are extra steps, including the admissions tests, and an earlier application submission which need to be adhered to.

If you've decided to study medicine or dentistry, and don't know which medical schools to apply to, our Medical School Matcher allows for you to search for universities based on your predicted A Level grades and subjects. Most medical schools require a minimum of AAA for entry, however not all of them state Biology or Chemistry as a requirement.

Below is a snapshot of what you should pay close attention to (or prepare for) before sending off your UCAS application to medical school.

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After Applying: Interviews

After submitting your application to medical school, the next step in the process is the interview, which take place in two steps as outlined below. As the number of students applying to medical school is so high, it's a competitive process and this is an extra stage which universities use to select which students will be granted a place on their Medicine programme.

GCSEs (or equivalent)

Whilst these are taken into consideration, they are less important than your A-level Grades. Generally medical schools will require passes in English Language and Maths.

A-Levels and equivalent

Minimum A-Level Grades are AAA, but not all courses require Biology and Chemistry. Universities also accept A Level equivalent qualifications such as Scottish Highers and the International Baccalaureate from applicants. There are also graduate entry routes into medicine. Enter your grades/predicted grades into our Medical School Matcher to see which universities you can apply to.

Admissions Tests

You will be required to sit an admissions test - either the UCAT and/or BMAT, depending on the University. These are standardised tests designed as an extra step in the application process to level the level playing field for applicants, whilst also creating another measure by which universities can narrow down their very large medical school applicant pools.

There is no set entry requirement score that is set by all the universities that require these tests, as average results vary each year depending on the cohort's overall performance. As a general guide, aiming for a score higher than the average results of the previous application cohort is a good goal to set yourself. You can preview the previous year's average UCAT scores and average BMAT scores.

To find out more about these tests, visit our UCAT information and BMAT information websites.

Learn about our UCAT course options and BMAT courses for proven score-raising preparation for test-day success!

Universities requiring UCAT Universities requiring BMAT
Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin, Aston, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, East Anglia, Edge Hill, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull York Medical School, Keele, Kent and Medway Medical School, King’s College London, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Queen Mary- University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton, Sunderland, St. Andrew’s, St. George’s London and Warwick (grad only). Brighton & Sussex Medical School, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Keele University, Lancaster University, Leeds' School of Medicine, University of Oxford Medical School, University College London

UCAS & Personal Statement

This part of the application process is the stage which is similar to most other degree applications. UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) are the body who administer university applications in the UK, and as such they administer those for medical schools. You will not need to send applications directly to the medical schools that you wish to apply to - however, as a student applying to study medicine or dentistry, you will need to submit your UCAS application on 15th October (this is much earlier than the UCAS deadline for most other degree programmes in January).

As with all other applications, medical schools will also need to know about your background and motivation to study medicine. Demonstrating clinical work experience or exposure to this is quite advantageous in a personal statement. Another thing to bear in mind with personal statements for medical schools is that often the key highlights and learning points mentioned within it will be brought up for discussion at interviews. Sign up for a Personal Statement Review service to avoid common pitfalls in expression and strengthen your personal statement.

Traditional Panel Interview

If you meet the above entry requirements, you will then go though a rigorous review process where Universities will select those who will be invited for interview, and then considered for a place. Panel interviews are usually led by a combination of university faculty staff, tutors and medical school students.

The interview usually lasts around 15 -20 minutes and in terms of questions to expect, the interviewers will usually ask to learn more about academic achievements, work experience, and your motivation for applying. It's likely that some of the points mentioned in your personal statement may appear at your interview.

Try some sample Interview Preparation questions to familiarise yourself with the different interview question styles, or sign up to attend an Interview Prep course to be fully prepared.

I had high expectations about Kaplan's Med School Interview Prep course, and I have not been disappointed!
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Whilst the traditional panel interview is still very common, many medical schools are using Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) instead as a further level of assessment of their applicants. These are very different in structure and style to panel interviews as applicants pass through various interview stations until they complete a circuit of interviews.

These interviews usually last around 2 hours, depending on the number of stations. Each station lasts around 10 minutes with 8-10 per circuit (depending on the university), and they are usually led by medical school admissions staff and students, with professional actors enlisted too. In terms of what to expect from each station, they are designed to assess your response to settings which mirror medical school student and practicing doctor experiences.

We provide free MMI sample questions to familiarise with the types of questions to expect. Alternatively, you can book to attend a 1-day MMI class to prepare thoroughly for these interviews and feel confident on the day of your MMIs.

To find out more about the medical school application process from the perspective of medical school students themselves, you may want to read the following blogs:
6 ways to know which medical school is best for you, 7 secrets for getting into Medical school and medical school application do's and dont's.