How to Get into Medical School in 2023

Applying to medical school in the United Kingdom can be a complex and challenging process. With so many requirements and competition, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the application process and what is expected of you as a prospective student.

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on applying to medical school in the UK, including key deadlines, requirements, and tips for success.

medical school 2023
Applying to medical school is a complex process.
Image credit: Gustavo Bring

Step 1: Choose the Right Medical Schools to Apply to

The first step in applying to medical school is to decide which schools to apply to. There are currently 38 medical schools in the UK, and each has its specific requirements, teaching methods, and student culture.

Before you begin the application process, it’s crucial to do your research on the various medical schools and understand their unique attributes. Consider factors such as location, curriculum, research opportunities, and the student population to determine which schools best fit you.

To help you narrow down your options, you can use the Medical Schools Council website, which provides a comprehensive list of all UK medical schools and their admission requirements.

Step 2: Check the Entry Requirements

Once you have decided on the medical schools you want to apply to, you must ensure that you meet the entry requirements for each school. Admission requirements can vary significantly between medical schools, so reviewing each school’s criteria carefully is essential.

Most medical schools in the UK require applicants to have completed A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including biology and chemistry. Some schools may also require additional subjects such as maths or physics. Additionally, many medical schools have minimum grade requirements that must be met, often requiring grades of A or A*.

In addition to academic qualifications, medical schools in the UK typically require applicants to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

These standardised tests assess an applicant’s cognitive abilities and scientific knowledge.

It’s important to note that some medical schools may require additional tests or assessments, such as medical interviews or work experience, so be sure to check each school’s specific requirements.

Filling out your UCAS medical school application requires thought and preparation.
Image credit: Artem Podrez

Step 3: Begin Your UCAS Application

Once you have determined which medical schools to apply to and have confirmed that you meet their admission requirements, the next step is to begin your application through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

UCAS is the central organisation responsible for managing applications to undergraduate degree programs in the UK, including medical school. All UK medical schools require applicants to apply through UCAS, which allows you to submit one application that can be sent to up to four medical schools.

The UCAS application typically opens in early September and closes in mid-October. It’s important to note that some medical schools may have earlier deadlines, so be sure to check each school’s specific application deadlines.

When completing your UCAS application, you will need to provide personal information, academic qualifications, and a personal statement. The personal statement is a critical component of your application and allows you to showcase your motivation, experience, and skills to the medical schools you are applying to.

Your personal statement should demonstrate your passion for medicine and understanding of the profession. It should also highlight any relevant work experience, extracurricular activities, or volunteering you have done. Make sure to proofread your personal statement carefully and have others review it as well to ensure it is well-written and error-free.

Medic Mind offers a free Free Applying for Medicine Course, which covers everything from the UCAS application to medical interviews so why not sign up for FREE?!

medicine MMI circuit
Medicine MMI Circuits
Experience real-life medicine MMIs, with individual feedback on each station to prefect your answers

Step 4: Prepare for the UCAT or BMAT

As mentioned earlier, most medical schools in the UK require applicants to take the UCAT or BMAT. These standardised tests assess an applicant’s cognitive abilities and scientific knowledge and are used to evaluate an applicant’s suitability for medical school.

The UCAT is a computer-based test that assesses critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. The test is divided into five sections, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, decision-making, and situational judgment. 

Students wanting to apply to medical school will be required to take the UCAT or BMAT as an admission exam.
Image credit: Mikhail Nilov

The BMAT, on the other hand, is a pen-and-paper test that assesses scientific knowledge, mathematical ability, and critical thinking skills.

It’s essential to prepare for these tests in advance to give yourself the best chance of success. Several online resources are available to help you prepare, including practice tests, study guides, and online courses. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the tests and to practice under timed conditions to improve your speed and accuracy.

1-1 UCAT Tutoring
UCAT Tutoring with personalised plans to support you in increasing your UCAT score by up to 30%

Step 5: Attend Interviews

After submitting your UCAS application and completing the UCAT or BMAT, you may be invited to attend interviews at the medical schools you have applied to. Interviews are typically held between December and March and may take the form of panel interviews, multiple mini-interviews (MMIs), or a combination of both.

Interviews allow medical schools to assess your suitability for the profession and evaluate your communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. It’s important to prepare for interviews in advance by researching the school, practising common interview questions, and developing thoughtful responses that demonstrate your knowledge and experience.

It’s also important to dress professionally, arrive early, and be courteous and respectful to the interviewers and other candidates. Remember to be yourself and express your passion for medicine and your commitment to pursuing a career in the field.

Download Free UCAT Questions

    Step 6: Receive Offers and Make Your Decision

    After attending interviews, medical schools will decide whether to offer you a place in their programme. Offers are typically made in January and February and may be conditional or unconditional.

    A conditional offer means you must meet specific requirements, such as achieving certain grades or completing additional exams, before the offer becomes final. An unconditional offer means you have been accepted into the program without further conditions.

    If you receive multiple offers, you will need to decide which school to attend. It’s important to consider factors such as location, curriculum, research opportunities, and student culture, as well as any specific requirements or conditions attached to the offers.

    Once you have decided, you must respond to the schools through UCAS by the deadline provided. If you accept an offer, you will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place.

    medical student looking at a tablet with a picture of the skeletal structure of a human
    Prospective medical students will be required to have excellent results at A Level, including Biology and possibly Chemistry.
    Image credit: RF._.studio

    Tips for Success

    Applying to medical school in the UK can be a challenging process, but there are several things you can do to increase your chances of success.

    1. First, start preparing early. Research the medical schools you are interested in, familiarise yourself with the application requirements and begin preparing for the UCAT or BMAT well in advance of the testing dates.
    1. Second, focus on your academic performance. Medical schools in the UK are highly competitive, and grades are a critical factor in the admission process. Make sure you are performing well in your A-levels or equivalent qualifications and take any additional exams or courses that may be required.
    1. Third, gain relevant medical work experience. Medical schools value applicants who have experience in the field, whether through volunteering, internships, or shadowing opportunities. Look for opportunities to gain experience in a hospital or clinical setting or through community service organisations.
    1. Fourth, write a strong personal statement. Your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your passion for medicine and your qualifications for the profession. Make sure your statement is well-written, error-free, and highlights your experience, skills, and motivation.
    1. Finally, prepare for interviews. Interviews are a critical component of the application process, and preparation is key. Research the school, practice common interview questions and develop thoughtful responses that demonstrate your knowledge and experience.

    Conclusion

    Applying to medical school in the UK can be a complex and challenging process, but with the right preparation and effort, you can succeed in securing a seat in medicine school. It’s important to understand the application process and the requirements for each school, including the academic qualifications, personal statement, and admission tests. 

    Additionally, gaining relevant work experience and preparing for interviews are also essential components of a successful application.

    The admissions process is highly competitive, and many qualified candidates apply for a limited number of spots each year. It’s important to put in the effort and preparation to give yourself the best chance of success.

    Remember that the pursuit of a career in medicine is not just about gaining admission to medical school but also about the years of study and training that follow. It’s a long and challenging journey, but one that can be highly rewarding for those who are passionate about helping others and making a difference in the world.

    FAQs

    Can I apply to more than four medical schools through UCAS?

    No, UCAS allows you to apply to up to four medical schools. You can apply to an extra course through UCAS as a backup plan just in case. However, if you are unsuccessful in securing an offer from these schools, you may be able to apply to additional schools through UCAS Extra.

    Is there an age limit for applying to medical school through UCAS?

    No, there is no age limit for applying to medical school through UCAS. However, most medical schools require applicants to have completed A-levels or equivalent qualifications, which typically take two years to complete. Most medical schools require students to be 18 years of age when they start their medical course.

    Can I change my UCAS application after I have submitted it?

    Yes, you can make changes to your UCAS application after you have submitted it, but only before the application deadline. You can make changes to your personal details, course choices, and educational qualifications. However, you cannot change your personal statement once it has been submitted.

    Can I apply to medical schools through UCAS if I have already completed a degree?

    Yes, you can apply to medical schools through UCAS if you have already completed a degree, but you will need to meet the admission requirements for each school, which may include additional qualifications or tests. It’s important to check each school’s specific requirements before applying.

    When do I need to submit my UCAS application for medical school?

    The deadline for applying to medical schools through UCAS is usually earlier than the general UCAS deadline. The deadline for applying to medical schools is usually in mid-October, a few weeks earlier than the general UCAS deadline. It is recommended to check the UCAS website for the exact deadline for the current application cycle.

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