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Medical Schools With Low GCSE Requirements

Medical Schools With Low GCSE Requirements

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.

Which medical schools have low GCSE requirements? You can definitely still get into medical school with bad GCSEs. And in this article, I’m going to show you how.

The medical schools you should consider applying to if you’ve got low GCSEs are:

  • Brighton & Sussex Medical School
  • The University of Exeter
  • Imperial College London
  • The University of Glasgow
  • The University of Central Lancashire
  • The University of Buckingham
  • The University of Newcastle

Read on to find out not only what each of these medical schools’ exact GCSE requirements are, but also how they use them in the application process.

Alternatively, you can find a list of medical schools with high GCSE requirements here.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School

GCSEs

You simply need both maths and English, each at grade 6 (or a B)

A-Levels

Three A grades at A-level (including Biology and Chemistry)

Brighton and Sussex Medical School is a great pick if your GCSEs don’t represent you as an applicant.

They only need you to have two: English and maths.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School even go so far as to specifically note they don’t take any other GSCEs into consideration during their admissions process.

If you do end up as a student there, you’ll almost certainly have a fantastic time- they won my award for best medical school for student satisfaction.

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. Applications are reviewed to make sure they meet Brighton and Sussex’s academic requirements
  2. Applications meeting these standards will then be ranked by their BMAT score
  3. They score the BMAT out of 28 (9 marks for Section 1, 9 marks for Section 2 and 5 marks for each element of Section 3)
  4. The top ranking candidates are then invited to interview

Want to learn more about the BMAT? Check out my article ‘BMAT Complete Beginner’s Guide’

So who would Brighton and Sussex be a good choice for?

If you’ve got at least a grade 6 (or B) in English and maths and are confident you can perform well in the BMAT

University of Exeter

GCSEs

You need a minimum GCSE grade 4 (or C) in English Language

A-Levels

Three A grades at A-level (including Biology and Chemistry)

The University of Exeter is another excellent choice if you feel your GCSEs might be slightly letting you down.

They literally just need you to have a decent grade in English Language.

Situated on the south coast, Exeter students have placements across the South West Peninsula over their five year course.

There’s no better place if outdoor activities such as surfing, SUPing, or wild swimming are your thing.

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. Exeter’s admissions team first assess applications to check they meet their academic requirements
  2. Applicants who meet these requirements then have their UCAT and academic qualifications weighted in order to assign a score
  3. Weightings are calculated with 25% for your UCAT score and 75% for your A-level grades
  4. All candidates are then ranked on this score with the top 500 or so invited to interview

So who would Exeter be a good choice for?

If you’ve got the required English Language grade and think you can bag a great set of A-levels (while giving the UCAT a good shot too)

Imperial College London

GCSEs

You need a minimum of GCSE grade 6 (or B) in English Language

A-Levels

Three A grades at A-level (including Biology and Chemistry)

Imperial College London might not have been your first thought when imagining which medical schools might have low GCSE requirements.

However, following a recent change in policy there is no longer any other GCSE or Scottish Nationals requirements apart from English Language.

Now, this doesn’t mean admission to medicine at Imperial isn’t highly competitive.

They receive well over 2,400 applications for entry and interview about 850 candidates.

They then make approximately 600 offers.

The medicine course at Imperial is six years long compared to the standard five.

That’s because it’s a dual award degree- you’ll walk away with both an MBBS in medicine and an additional BSc.

This can make you a more competitive candidate when it comes to applying for jobs after university.

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. Applications are first reviewed to make sure they meet Imperial’s academic requirements
  2. Candidates are then ranked in order of their BMAT score
  3. BMAT cut-off scores are calculated each year depending on the number of interview spots available and quality of applicants
  4. If you’re above this BMAT cut-off, you’re then invited to interview

So who would Imperial be a good choice for?

If you think you can perform well in the BMAT and are interested in the longer intercalated degree (while having the required English GCSE)

University of Glasgow

GCSEs

You need a minimum of GCSE grade 6 (or B) in English Language

A-Levels

Three A grades at A-level (including Chemistry + Biology/Physics/Maths)

The University of Glasgow consistently performs excellently in the UK medical school rankings.

It was ranked second by The Complete University Guide in 2021 and remains in their top 10 for 2022.

Because of this, whatever your GCSEs I think the University of Glasgow is worth considering.

It’s worth noting also that Glasgow doesn’t require an A-level in Biology- potentially a very handy feature if you’ve decided to try and study medicine after making your A-level choices.

One unusual aspect of the curriculum at Glasgow is that you get two electives!

These two four week blocks, one at the end of third year and one after fourth year, allow you to go out and organise your own clinical experiences.

They’re great opportunities for exploring your interests in medicine in greater depth- I personally went to Nepal and found it incredibly insightful to see the differences in their healthcare system compared to the NHS.

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. For Glasgow the first step is meeting their minimum academic requirements
  2. Glasgow however also check that your reference and personal statement are both satisfactory too
  3. They then rank all suitable applicants by their UCAT score
  4. A top portion from this ranked list is then invited to interview

So who would Glasgow be a good choice for?

If you’ve achieved a high UCAT score and are confident that your personal statement and references won’t let you down

University of Central Lancashire

GCSEs

They have no specific requirements

A-Levels

AAB in at least two science subjects including Chemistry

The University of Central Lancashire is my first of three medical schools that don’t state any specific requirements for your GCSE grades!

They simply say you need:

Evidence of sustained academic achievement with broad study of Science, English and Maths up to 16

The University of Central Lancashire offer a five year MBBS course at their campus in Preston.

Unfortunately, their low GCSE and A-level requirements aren’t available to everyone…

If you’re a UK applicant, you have to live in the North West of England.

That’s right, their MBBS programme only has a small number of places available for UK students, restricted to residents of the North West.

If you are a resident of the North West however, read on!

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. The University of Central Lancashire doesn’t require you to sit any entrance exams to apply!
  2. Instead, you need to submit a transferable skills statement with your application
  3. This is used in conjunction with your personal statement and academic reference to shortlist applicants for interview
  4. Shortlisted applicants are then invited to an MMI interview

So who would the University of Central Lancashire be a good choice for?

If you’re a resident of the North West of England and took at least two science subjects at A-level

University of Buckingham

GCSEs

They have no specific requirements

A-Levels

Minimum of grades ABB, including Chemistry or Biology

The University of Buckingham has to be on your radar if you’re considering medical schools that don’t care about GCSEs.

They also have no specific requirements when it comes to GCSEs and give offers out at a considerably lower level than other medical schools.

There’s one other feature of Buckingham’s application process that might make it your dream medical school:

You don’t have to take the UCAT or BMAT to apply!

That’s right, no GCSE requirements and no need to sweat it over any entrance exams.

You can find out which other medical schools don’t require the UCAT here.

Unfortunately, there is a catch.

The University of Buckingham is an independent medical school. That means they receive no government subsidies.

Because of this, the cost is unfortunately passed on to you.

Tuition fees for the 2022 intake will be Β£38,000 per annum for both UK and overseas students.

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. You can apply to the University of Buckingham either through UCAS or to them directly
  2. You simply need to meet their minimum academic requirements for A-levels
  3. This is a minimum of grades ABB, including Chemistry or Biology
  4. Achieving this, you are then automatically invited to an MMI selection event held throughout the year

So who would Buckingham be a good choice for?

If you’re on track to bag the required A-levels and aren’t put off by the higher fees needed!

University Of Newcastle

GCSEs

They have no specific requirements

A-Levels

Three A grades at A-level (any subjects)

The University of Newcastle is my final medical school that doesn’t demand any specific GCSE requirements from their applicants.

They’re also incredibly generous with their A-level requirements.

You still need to get three As, but these can be in any subject (excluding a small handful).

Newcastle therefore could be a great choice if you haven’t taken the traditional sciences at A-level and now want to study medicine.

Renowned for it’s vibrant city with an incredibly social student body, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good experience if you’re accepted by Newcastle.

Selection Process For Interviews

  1. Newcastle first check all applications to make sure candidates fulfill the academic criteria for entry
  2. Applicants who meet the academic threshold are then ranked based on their UCAT scores
  3. A UCAT threshold is then set depending on the number of interviews to be held
  4. Everyone above this threshold is invited to interview. In 2021 this was over 1,100 applicants

So who would Newcastle be a good choice for?

If you can achieve a top score in the UCAT you can bag an interview at Newcastle regardless of your GCSEs or A-level choices

How To Resit Your GCSEs To Get Into Medical School

If your GCSEs aren’t a feather in your application’s cap you do have some other options open to you.

You don’t just have to apply to medical schools that have low GCSE requirements.

Choosing to resit your GCSEs can be a life changing choice if done well.

You can sit them either at your school/college or even online.

Students sitting a GCSE examination

You can target the specific subjects you might need better grades in for particular medical schools.

If you do choose to resit your GCSEs you can usually take them alongside any A-levels you’re doing at the same time.

This means you won’t be held back at all by your decision to resit.

And if you take the personal study/online route, you can mould your revision timetable around you.

Finals Thoughts

You should now have a solid understanding of which medical schools have low GCSE requirements. I selected these seven medical schools not only because they had low GCSE thresholds, but also because of their selection methods for interviews.

There’s no point applying to a medical school that technically allows you to with rubbish GCSEs if they then go on to use only a candidate’s GCSE score to choose who to interview.

Before selecting a medical school make sure you know exactly how they’re going to use your UCAS data to whittle down applicants.

Play to your strengths and you’ll give yourself the best chance of becoming a doctor.

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.