What A-Levels Do You Need to Be a Doctor?

Updated on 17/01/2024 in
A-Levels to Study Medicine

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Becoming a doctor is a journey, and selecting the right A-Levels is perhaps the first step a student should take. While there is some room for flexibility, future doctors should keep several subjects in mind.

What A-Levels Do You Need to Study Medicine?

Selecting the right A-levels has several components which should be examined with a cool mind and realistic expectations. The decision must include the entry requirements for medical universities, the academic ability of the students, and, last but not least, their personal interests.

What A-Levels Do Universities Require to Study Medicine?

A-levels in chemistry and biology will open most universities’ doors. The remaining schools require a third A-level in Physics or Mathematics. Therefore, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths are the safest choices that guarantee eligibility for any medical university. 

Two subjects are essential for a medical programme: Biology and Chemistry. Students will have fewer universities to choose from if they skip either.

How Many A-Levels Should Students Take to Study Medicine?

A-levels are demanding and stressful for students, though not everyone will admit it. Teachers and parents often unintentionally set a high bar for the youth, and young people may put more pressure on themselves than they can handle. The results could be demotivation and even burnout.

There is also the peculiar case of Chemistry. A survey among students and teachers has found it the most challenging A-level subject. It is both difficult to study and to get good grades. And it is a vital part of studying medicine.

Thus, three subjects are usually safe, and most students can handle it. Four A-levels would be a challenge for everyone but the academically gifted. Therefore, students, parents, and teachers should make this decision together.

What A-Levels Should Students Elect to Study Medicine?

Students often have interests that are not necessarily competitive for medical schools. Psychology is such a subject, and it is an excellent choice for a future psychiatrist. Still, medical schools have no explicit requirement for it, and it might seem like a less-than-optimal choice for admission.

However, if students cover Biology and Chemistry, they still have a broad choice of available universities. Young minds should pursue their interests even if they don’t serve an immediate purpose. That’s how character is built.

What are the Best A-Levels for Medicine?

Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Math maximise students' chances of attending medical universities. The first two have greater weight with admission offices, while the latter is not as required.

Biology is good because it prepares students for subjects like anatomy, the “backbone” of medicine. Chemistry introduces aspiring doctors to the effects of medications on the human body. Math teaches universal problem-solving skills, and physics provides insight into medical practices and technologies. 

There is no knowledge that is not power.

What Grades Do You Need to Study Medicine?

UK medical schools usually require AAA at A-levels; the most preferred subjects are Biology and Chemistry. Physics or Maths are also required in a few schools.

Grade requirements can reach A*AA or even A*A*A, as they are for Cambridge. Few schools allow A*AB. University requirements for medicine are highly competitive, and more than 9,000 students don’t make it to the admission lists each year. 

What A-Levels Do You Need to Study Medicine Abroad?

European universities are a lot more flexible in their entry requirements for A-levels. While Biology and Chemistry are top selections, the grade requirements are not as competitive as in the UK. 

Furthermore, many European universities accept students with only A-levels, GCSEs, or BTECs. There are no entry examinations nor stressful interviews, and many students choose to study in Europe.

Medlink Students have helped thousands of doctors and dentists to get their degrees abroad. The comprehensive service includes:

  • Help with the application process
  • General support in living abroad
  • Support for registration with the General Medical/Dental Council
Article written by Dr Sam El Mais
Dr Sam El Mais, MD, MSc, BSc, graduated from a renowned medical school in Romania in 2019. He uses his professional knowledge and personal experience to guide students on crucial aspects such as university selection, admissions processes, and cultural adjustments.
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