Where To Apply With Low GCSE Grades?

With the limitation of applying to only 4 medical schools, it is important to tactically consider your options. Most universities consider an applicant’s A-level and GCSE grades, as well as their required aptitude test score. One shortfall for many students is the GCSE requirements of some medical schools. These GCSE requirements between universities can vary significantly, making it difficult to navigate. To add to the confusion, with the new number grading system there is a discrepancy between some universities’ requirements. For example, some universities express wanting grade B or 5 whereas others state grade B or 6.

Some universities place a lesser or even no emphasis on the number of GCSEs and the grades required for consideration. These options would be more suitable for candidates with low or in some cases, no GCSE grades.

In this article, we will be looking at universities requiring low GCSE grades, however, if you want to find out where to apply with average GCSE grades, have a look at this article. 

Medical Schools GCSE requirements
Brighton and Sussex Medical School Must have:

  • 6 / B in English language OR English literature
  • 6 / B in Maths

Notes:

Once minimum academic requirements are met, interview selection is based solely on your BMAT score.

University of Bristol Medical School Must have:

  • 7 / A in Maths
  • 4 / C in English language OR English literature

Notes:

Once minimum academic requirements are met, interview selection is based solely on UCAT score.

University of Buckingham Medical School Must have:

  • C in English language
  • C in Maths
  • B in Biology if not taken at A-level
  • B in Chemistry if not taken at A-level

Notes:

The numerical grade requirement is not stated. The selection process states that academic achievement should be at the highest level, and comparable to entrants to other medical schools in the United Kingdom. Applicants meeting the academic threshold are invited to sit an admissions test.

University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine No GCSE requirements.

Notes:

GCSE results are looked at as a performance indicator but within the context of the performance of the school/college where they were achieved. Most successful applicants ultimately exceed the conditions of their offer.

University of Dundee School of Medicine  Must have:

  • 6 / B in English if not studied at A-level (A2)
  • 6 / B in Maths if not studied at A-level (A2)
  • 6 / B in Biology if not studied at A-level (A2)

Notes:

Achievement at GCSE and AS Level will also be taken into account during the selection process. The academic score is weighted at 60% and 40% for the UCAT score.

University of Exeter Medical School Must have:

  • English language: 4 (C)

Notes:

Applicants meeting published requirements will be scored on their UCAT and academic achievement. Weightings will be 25% UCAT and 75% Academic achievement.

University of Glasgow School of Medicine Must have:

  • 6 / B in English

Notes:

Once minimum academic requirements are met, interview selection is based solely on UCAT score.

Imperial College London Faculty of Medicine Must have:

  • 6 / B in English language

Notes:

No other GCSE requirements are stated. Once minimum academic requirements are met, interview selection is based solely on your BMAT score.

King’s College London GKT School of Medical Education Must have:

  • 6 / B in English language
  • 6 / B in Maths

Notes:

GCSE, A-levels, personal statements, references, and UCAT scores are used for interview shortlisting. Weighting is not specified, although examination results and UCAT are the most important factors. Application is viewed holistically. Contextual information is taken into account, however, contextual offers are not made.

Newcastle University School of Medical Education No specific requirements.

Notes:

Once minimum academic requirements are met, interview selection is based solely on UCAT score.

University of Oxford Medical Sciences Division No formal requirements. However, If Biology, Physics or Maths have not been taken to A-level, applicants will need to have received a basic education in those subjects, for example, at least grade 4 / C at GCSE.

Notes:

A combination of contextualised GCSE performance and BMAT score is used for selection criteria. If you have GCSE qualifications, admissions will take into account the circumstances under which your grades were awarded.

In 2020, the mean number of 8-9 / A* at GCSE for shortlisted applicants was 10.2 and the mean number of total GCSEs was 10.1.

Queen’s University Belfast School of Medicine Must have:

  • 4 / C in Maths
  • 4 / C in Physics OR 44 / CC in double science award if not offered at AS/A-level

Notes:

Academic achievement and UCAT used for the selection process. Scoring system for best 9 GCSE subjects. 4 points awarded for grade 9 / A*, 3 points for grade 7-8 / A, 2 points for grade 6 / B and 1 point for grade 4-5 / C*/C. Please note that only GCSEs completed in Year 11 and Year 12 (Year 10 and Year 11 in England and Wales) will be counted for scoring purposes.

Swansea University Medical School Graduate only programme
University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine This programme has limited spaces for UK students residing in specific areas. Please check their website for details.

No specific requirements stated. However, applicants must have evidence of sustained academic achievement with a broad study of Science and Maths up to 16 and GCSE English Language.

Notes:

Once minimum academic requirements are achieved, applicants are given an academic score and passed to the selection panel. The selection panel pays particular attention to your personal statement and references when shortlisting for interviews.

University College London Medical School Must have:

  • 6 / B in English language
  • 6 / B in Maths

Notes:

An overall ‘priority’ score is assigned based on the following criteria: Predicted and actual grades, evidence of independent learning skills (e.g. EPQ), previous experience, demonstration of motivation to study medicine, other interests (e.g. music, sports), evidence of teamwork, leadership, and communication skills, referee’s assessment, and BMAT score. Weighting for each criteria is not specified. Applicants are invited to interview in order of priority.

University of Warwick Medical School

 

Graduate only programme
Brunel University London, Brunel Medical School This programme is only open to international students.

Must have:

  • C in Maths (B for 2023/24 entry)
  • C in English language

Notes:

Once minimum academic achievement is met, applications will be assessed solely on their personal statements and references, giving a ranked score according to BMS academic ranking criteria

Ulster University, School of Medicine  Graduate only programme
University of Chester Medical School Graduate programme for international students only

 

Achieving the minimum GCSE grades outlined in the table above will be enough for any student to be considered for interview selection. However, some universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, despite having no formal requirements, place great emphasis on academic achievement. Therefore, students with higher GCSE grades would be more competitive than those with lower GCSE grades. Other medical schools rank applicants purely on their aptitude test score (UCAT or BMAT) once the minimum academic criteria are met. Such medical schools include Glasgow and Bristol, making them more suitable for applicants with low GCSEs.

The requirements of medical schools can vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, some universities reduce grade requirements if contextual factors apply such as socio-economic and educational disadvantages. It is therefore always important to contact medical school admissions directly if you are unsure of their entry criteria or if such circumstances apply to you. More information on GCSE entry criteria can be found on the respective university web page and on the Medical School Council website.

We go through this with our Elite Programme FutureDoc students in-depth when we help them with their medical school applications. If you would like to find out more about the Elite Programme, you can apply here.

 

Written by Mohamed Morgan