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What A-levels do you need to become a doctor?

Are you an aspiring medic? If you’re planning to study medicine at university, make sure your A-level line-up keeps your options open when it comes to applying to medical schools…

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If you want to study medicine, it’s crucial that you pick the right A-levels. Entry requirements do vary, but to get a medical degree you must study chemistry at A-level

There are also certain other essential qualifications you should be looking at depending on the particular university you want to go to. For example, some unis require you to have a biology A-Level too.

Your grades in these subjects are usually going to have to be high as well – medicine is highly competitive. These will vary depending on the uni, but generally you need to be looking at AAA. 


Medicine not quite right? The above information will apply to other medicine-related subjects such as veterinary medicine, dentistry or nursing; but it’s best to check out our subject guides for more detailed information.

A-level subjects to study medicine

What A-levels are essential to study medicine?

As mentioned, chemistry is a must-have. 

Other must-haves depend on the uni, but it makes sense to assume you’ll need to have studied another science. Here’s a good idea of what might work:
  • chemistry, biology and either maths or physics (or both) will keep all the medical schools open to you
  • if you don’t take maths or physics but do take chemistry and biology, it will keep open the vast majority
  • if you don’t take biology, but do take chemistry and one from maths or physics, fewer medical schools will accept you.

What A-levels are useful to have to study medicine?

Critical thinking will help with section three of the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT), but it is better to take this as a fifth AS-level rather than as a replacement for biology, maths or physics. Read more about the BMAT and other admissions tests further ahead.

Take a look at individual medicine courses here on The Uni Guide to find out the most popular subjects students studied before taking their degree in medicine or see where your A-levels will take you before it’s too late by trying our A-Level explorer tool.

Read more: medicine entry requirements: five things you should know

Alternative qualifications to study medicine

If you're studying Scottish Highers or International Baccalaureate, entry requirements will be communicated slightly differently. Meanewhile, the Welsh Baccalaureate is slightly more divisive – it might be a good idea to speak to the university you want to apply to, to see what their stance is. 

Examples of university entry requirements for medicine

Below are a range of Bachelor of Medicine courses offered by different universities and the A-level requirements they ask for, for September 2022 entrants (as of November 2021).

You should always check the entry requirements of your chosen university course when you come to apply, but this gives you a good idea of what to expect. You'll generally have to achieve the highest grades to study medicine.

University of BirminghamA*AA at A-level, including chemistry and biology. Predicted AAA at A-level. 

University of CambridgeA*A*A at A-level. Applicants must have A-level passes in chemistry and one of biology, physics or mathematics. Most applicants have at least three science/mathematics A-levels and some Colleges might ask for this or for particular subjects. 

Lancaster UniversityAAA or AAB plus EPQ. Must include two of biology, chemistry or psychology. 

Search for a course now to see what entry requirements you need to meet
 

A doctor’s words of wisdom for applicants

Make sure you have some work experience in the medical field to show that you know what you're getting yourself into. 

Don't forget extracurricular activities to show that you're a wonderful, well-rounded human being too.

Interviews were painful, so if you're the type of person who gets nervous for these, prep well! Jodie Nguyen | Doctor

Admissions tests for medicine

UCAT, BMAT and GAMSAT are admissions tests you might be required to take to successfully apply to a medicine course at a university. As mentioned above, medicine is a highly competitive subject so admissions teams will use these results to help distinguish between the strongest candidates.

Different universities will ask for different tests, so make sure you know which one you'll need to take.

Where could your A-levels take you?

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