Medicine is one of the most competitive university courses offered regardless of which university you are looking at. Not only is it in high demand, it usually also has very rigid entry requirements with high grades and specific subjects meaning that if you want to go into medicine, you usually have to make that choice when it comes to choosing your A Levels. But which A Levels are the best ones to take for going into medicine?
First of all, you definitely have to do chemistry. As far as we're aware almost all (maybe all) medical schools require you to have chemistry at A Level in order to do the course so without a doubt you have to do it. Most medical schools are not picky about you having biology and would prefer you to have chemistry for some reason (we don’t know why).
2. Another science subject
They often also ask for another science on top of that. What is classed as a ‘science’ varies from medical school to medical school. For some this is just biology/human biology, physics and chemistry but for others it also includes psychology or maths/further maths. Some are specific about which you should take, such as Birmingham which asks for biology as well as chemistry, but most do not have a preference as long as you fill the requirement of a second science based subject.
3. Watch out any overlapping subjects
However, be wary of overlapping subjects. Many schools will not accept maths and further maths as separate A Levels due to their similarity. This is also the case with human biology, biology and PE. You should try to avoid this at all costs as it could severely limit your options when it comes to applying to medical schools due to the fact that they may not count your results at all.
4. Avoid critical thinking or general studies
Another thing is that most medical schools will not accept A Levels like critical thinking or general studies, so do not count on them to form part of your offer as it is likely that it will not count. If you are taking one of these then it is probably best that you take it alongside three other A Levels that do fit the criteria so you are not dependent on it as part of your application.
5. The final two choices depend on the medical school requirements
For your final two choices it really depends on where you want to apply too. Top schools like Cambridge may ask for three sciences and doing this will mean that you fit the criteria for every medical school in the country- something you should consider if you don’t have a specific place in mind for where you want to go. However, some medical schools- like Hull York Medical School- look for more rounded applicants. In this case, consider doing a humanities subject or a language alongside your sciences, which could also act as backups if you ever did change your mind about doing medicine further along the line.
Before choosing your A Levels we would definitely look at medical schools that you’d personally be interested in applying to. This can help you shape which subjects you take so that it fits their specific requirements. If you’re still not sure then your best bet is to definitely take three ‘science’ subjects as it will keep your options completely open when you do eventually come to apply for university, something which you will probably be grateful for.