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Top 5 Easiest UK Medical Schools To Get Into

Top 5 Easiest UK Medical Schools To Get Into

Updated on: December 3, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

What is the easiest medical school to get into in the UK?

It’s what we’ve all thought about at one point or another in our medical school application journey.

The easiest UK medical school to get into is Queen’s University Belfast. The fact Queen’s boasts intakes of over 350 students each year, coupled with below-average applicant numbers, means Queen’s University Belfast has very favourable competition ratios compared to other UK medical schools.

I’m not afraid to admit that when I was applying to medical school I wasn’t all too fussed about where I got in.

I just wanted to get in!

There is a lot more to the answer than just Queen’s though.

In this guide, I’ve broken down what I think are the five easiest UK medical schools to get into in five different categories.

Which UK Medical School Has The Lowest Academic Requirements?

The first category I want to look at is academic requirements.

Medicine has notoriously high academic standards.

Most people think that to have any shot of getting into medical school you need to have nearly all 8s or 9s at GCSE and at least three A’s at A-level.

Now I’m not going to argue that you don’t need good grades to get into medicine- because for the majority of medical schools, you do.

But some medical schools do have lower academic requirements than others.

When it comes to A-levels, it’s fairly uniform across the board- you will, unfortunately, generally need three A’s.

The only way around this is if you qualify for a medical school’s widening participation programme.

One of my best friends at school did scrape in with AAB on results day, but that is absolutely not the norm!

A few medical schools, such as Oxford, Cambridge, and UCL will actually require higher than three A’s, so do watch out.

Bicycles chained to the fence by the University of Oxford’s Radcliffe Camera

When it comes to GCSEs however, there is a bit more wiggle room.

Medical schools’ GCSE requirements range from the University of Liverpool’s minimum of nine passes (including the sciences and English) all the way down to none at all!

If you’ve not got the world’s greatest clutch of GCSEs, then you might want to check out my dedicated article on medical schools with low GCSE requirements.

#5 The University Of Buckingham

A very unique medical school is the University of Buckingham.

They’re one of only a very small handful of medical schools that don’t require three A’s at A-level and don’t have any specific GCSE requirements!

To get into the University of Buckingham you’ll simply need ABB, including Chemistry or Biology.

There is sadly a downside.

They’re an independent medical school- which means they don’t benefit from any government subsidies…

Meaning their tuition comes in at £38,000 per year.

However, their academic requirements do still secure them my number 5 spot for easiest UK medical school to get into!

If academics aren’t your thing, then you might want to read this guide on how to get into medicine with low grades.

UK Medical School Competition Ratios

Another way of looking at how easy a medical school might be to get into would be to consider how many applicants it receives.

If a medical school receives fewer applicants, then it should be easier for you to stand out.

The UK medical schools with the smallest number of applicants are:

Medical SchoolNumber of Applicants
Buckingham500 (estimate)
St Andrews652
Queen’s Belfast1019

Now, this data is a couple of years old (it was the most recent I could find) but it should act as a guide for numbers in this year’s application cycle.

While it can be useful, you might also want to know which medical schools have the most number of places available.

In this 2022-23 application cycle these were:

Medical SchoolSpots Available
King’s College London430
Queen’s Belfast371

Now by combining these two data sets we can calculate the number of applicants per place available.

This number then represents an indirect estimate of your chances of getting an offer- i.e. the competition ratio.

The medical schools with the lowest competition ratios from the 2019/20 application cycle were:

Medical SchoolApplicants Per Place
University of Lincoln4.0
University of Sunderland4.0
Queen’s Belfast4.5
University of Glasgow4.7
Imperial College London5.0

Again, unfortunately this data is slightly out of date, but it’s unlikely there have been any massive changes.

#4 The University Of Sunderland

Despite having the same competition ratio, the University of Sunderland edges out the University of Lincoln for my number 4 spot.

That’s because of how they handle one very important aspect of your medical school application:

Your UCAT.

For the University of Sunderland, all you have to do is score in the top 8 deciles. I.e. don’t be in the bottom 20% of test takers.

The University of Lincoln meanwhile, being partnered with the University of Nottingham, draws from their UCAT process- a rather stringent scoring system for each of the UCAT’s sections.

The University of Sunderland is partnered with Keele University’s School of Medicine, delivering a problem-based learning spiral curriculum over five years.

Sunderland’s first intake of students was only in 2019, meaning they’re one of the UK’s newest medical schools.

However, don’t let novelty put you off.

With their favourable competition ratios and low UCAT requirements, Sunderland could be an excellent choice for those trying to swing the odds in their favour.

Which UK Medical School Has The Fewest Applicants Per Interview?

It would be very reasonable to argue that it’s all well and good considering overall competition ratios, but if you don’t manage to secure an interview, there is a 0% chance of you getting an offer.

Therefore, it may be sensible to keep one eye on the competition ratio for interviews.

A student undergoing an interview for medical school

I recently took a deep dive into the data, to figure out how hard it is to actually get a medicine interview.

The results were quite surprising- approximately 1 in 2 applicants to a medical school are invited to interview, with figures ranging from 24% all the way to 81%!

#3 The University Of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia gets my number 3 spot as a result of having the fewest applicants per interview it gives out.

In the 2019/20 application cycle, UEA had:

  • 1155 applicants
  • It gave out 937 interviews
  • I.e. it interviewed 81% of all applicants!

This incredibly high figure may be somewhat explained by UEA’s rather unique selection process:

  1. Applications are first screened to ensure they meet the minimum academic requirements
  2. If they do, the applicant is then eligible to be invited to interview
  3. If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of interview spots UEA has available, candidates are invited by order of their UCAT score
  4. Following the interview, offers are then given out from a combination of both interview and UCAT scores

From this process it could be inferred that if only a small number of people applied to UEA one year they’d aim to interview them all!

A second important metric to consider then is the percentage of successful interviews.

As great practice as it would be being invited to loads of medical school interviews, they’re not going to do you much good if each of the universities only gives 1% of its interviewed applicants an offer…

To find out where you’ve got the best chance of having a successful interview, check out this guide where I try and pin down how difficult medical school interviews really are.

Which UK Medical School Has The Lowest UCAT Requirements?

The UCAT is a massive part of modern medicine applications.

A fair chunk of universities simply rank applicants by their UCAT score to decide who gets to come to interview- with no regard for extra-curricular activities, personal statements or work experience.

Many others incorporate it into a scoring system that evaluates your grades, UCAT score and occasionally, personal statement.

Therefore, for many people, a medical school with low UCAT requirements would be substantially easier to get into.

#2 Cardiff Medical School

That’s why Cardiff Medical School secures my number 2 spot for easiest UK medical school to get into.

Cardiff barely look at your UCAT at all!

This can be an absolute blessing if you things didn’t go your way on UCAT day.

Instead, Cardiff select applicants for interviews using a points-based grading system.

For your GCSEs you get:

  • 9 or an 8 or an A* = 3 points
  • 7/A = 2 points
  • 6/B = 1 point

For your A-levels you get:

  • A* = 3 points
  • A = 2 points

The maximum number of points you can score is 27. The cut-off score for interviews then varies each year depending on the competitiveness of all the applications.

Due to the heavy weighting Cardiff put on grades, it’s not one to apply to if academics aren’t your thing.

However, if living in one of the cheapest student cities in the UK and attending a world-class research institution appeals to you, then it’s certainly one to consider.

I can also vouch for their delicious cheeseburgers in the student union- having had one on the day I attended for my interview there!

Hint: check out this article if you want to learn more about where you should be applying with your UCAT score.

What Is The Easiest Medical School To Get Into In The UK Overall?

So, all things considered, who comes out top?

For this final selection, I’ve tried to take into account all the different factors we’ve covered so far.

From academic requirements to competition ratios to how they use the UCAT… The exact opposite of what I did when researching the hardest medical school to get into in fact.

#1 Queen’s University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast are my winner for the overall easiest medical school to get into!

Queen’s is an excellent pick for a number of different reasons:

First of all, they’re a medical school that places a relatively small focus on the UCAT- great news if the strange shapes and stranger questions got the better of you on test day.

It’s not that they don’t consider it at all- they do.

But rather as part of their scoring system, they only assign a measly 6 points to it- compared to the 36 points on offer for your academic profile.

Secondly, they’ve got a lot of places going!

For the 2022-23 application cycle they’re aiming to accept 371 new medical students- giving Queen’s the fifth-biggest intake per year out of all UK medical schools.

Queen’s University Belfast

With such a large year group you’d be sure to find plenty of like-minded individuals as well as a vast selection of thriving medical societies.

Lastly, these places aren’t being too fiercely fought over!

Queen’s University Belfast regularly gets far below the average number of applicants for a UK medical school.

This combination of plenty of spots on offer and not many applicants gave it a competition ratio of 4.5 applicants per place in 2019/20.

Only just higher than our winner in that category of the University of Lincoln at 4.0.

Because of these evidence-based criteria, I have to say Queen’s University Belfast is a worthy winner of the easiest UK medical school to get into.

Final Thoughts

How easy a medical school is to get into is incredibly dependent on the applicant.

For example, if you actually have a fairly decent UCAT score, applying to Cardiff just because it won my pick for having a low UCAT threshold isn’t going to help you out much!

Although entirely reasonable to take the five categories we’ve covered into account, I wouldn’t base your whole application around them.

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to spend five years studying somewhere, so you need to be happy with where you’ve chosen.

It’s not going to be much good to you if you only applied because you thought you had a good chance of getting in.

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.