Shadowing a DoctorJune 18, 2013
All medical schools in the United Kingdom generally require you to gain a minimum of 3 A’s at A Level. Which A Levels they are will depend on the University that you are considering.
Irrespective of which university it is, the A Levels will have to be strictly based on the sciences, which include Biology, Physics and Chemistry – Maths can also be included. Of course, it is not just your A Level grades that will determine whether you get admission into a University of your choice, the interview is also a vital part of the process. Based on the statistics for 2012, these are the results that leading medical schools in the UK expect from you:
A Level Subjects
Many students mistakenly believe that you need 3 Science A Levels to gain admission to a medical school. However, this is not entirely true. Most universities will expect that you have 2 Science A Levels and will accept most other subjects as the third choice. When you choose your A level subjects, the following is what you should be taking into account:
Biology: Most medical schools require Biology at AS level. However, some medical schools require A2 Biology so it is best checking with the particular medical schools you may have in mind. It is recommended that you at least take AS Biology.
Chemistry: Almost all medical schools will require Chemistry at AS level. The colleges that ask only for AS instead of A2 will generally require that you take Biology to full A2, instead. However, if you opt not to take A2 Chemistry, it will limit your options. Thus it is recommended that Chemistry be taken as a full A Level.
Maths and Further Maths: Universities generally accept Maths or even Further Maths as an A Level. However, do not complete both together as most medical schools state that only one of these subjects will be considered.
General Studies: At this point, no medical school accepts General Studies. You have the choice to do a General Studies A Level but you are still required to do 3 other A Level subjects and achieve the right grades in order to be accepted at the medical school.
Critical Thinking: Some medical schools will not consider Critical Thinking just for the purpose of making an offer. This again means that you will have to complete a minimum of 3 other A Level subjects if you are hoping to go to medical school.
Other Subjects: Generally, most other subjects are accepted as the third A level choice. If you opt for Biology and Chemistry to A2 you can generally opt for any other subject you prefer (the exceptions that have been mentioned above will apply). However, all medical schools have different requirements and it is best to check the university/college website or even contact the admissions team if you want to make sure.
In short, there are 2 options for those who wish to study A levels:
Courses that are based at FE Schools or Colleges:
To find the college closest to you check the learndirect website or hotcourses website. If you are unable to find the courses that you need, in your area, search the yellow pages website for colleges and contact them directly.
Distant Learning Courses:
There are numerous distance learning courses that offer A Levels. However, you must keep in mind that most courses also require you to take practical exams. Since it is not possible to take practical exams remotely, you will have to look for a school or college that will permit you to take practical exams at their respective centre. If you decide to take up a distance learning course, ensure that you arrange the practical sessions before you actually sign up for the course just in case!