Start Early!

Medicine is a highly competitive course in the UK, even more so than an application to Oxford or Cambridge.  You need to be well-prepared.

That means having a game plan in place even before you complete your I/GCSEs:

  • Ideally, you should be planning for your application from Year 10 (first year of I/GCSEs).
  • Work towards achieving top grades at IGCSE, particularly in the sciences and Mathematics.
  • Make sure that your subjects in Sixth Form allow you to apply for Medicine/ Medicine-related courses at your chosen universities.

In addition to having top grades at I/GCSE and high predicted grades at A Level or IB, you need to have a good score in the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test), particularly the SJT (Situational Judgement Test).

You also need to show evidence of real commitment to your chosen profession, through relevant volunteering, shadowing and work experience.

Components of Application Process


  • Information about you and your academic record, including any extenuating circumstances (speak to your Head of Sixth Form/ Personal Tutor)
  • 4 Medicine/ Medicine-related choices + 1 other, usually related choice (e.g. Biomedical Sciences)
  • Personal Statement, geared towards the Medicine/ Medicine-related choice
  • Reference – provided by school/ college
  • Predicted grades – provided by school/ college

UCAS application for Medicine courses is early in Year 13, mid-October.  (Check on UCAS website below for timeline.)

Complete your application well before the deadline, so that staff at your school/ college can check it in good time and support you to make any improvements before sending it.

Think about these points as you prepare for your application:

Work experience/ volunteering/ shadowing:

  • This will demonstrate your commitment to your chosen course, and show your people skills.
  • Try to do some regular voluntary work. Working every Sunday afternoon in a care home for six months will be more impressive than shadowing a consultant for three days.
  • It can be difficult to get to work/ volunteer in a medical environment due to safeguarding requirements, so try to do some voluntary work in your school/ college, such as mentoring younger pupils on a regular basis. Talk to your Head of Sixth Form/ Head of Careers for ideas.
  • Aspiring veterinarians will need to gain a range of different kinds of relevant experience (see link below)
  • Doing the Duke of Edinburgh Awards or similar will also allow you to demonstrate:
    • skills of leadership and negotiation
    • the capacity to make decisions under pressure
    • the ability to communicate clearly and effectively
  • Model United Nations, debating, other extra- and super-curricular activities can also be excellent ways of developing the skills and qualities that a future medic will need

Choices of courses:

  • Use the UCAS Course Search tool and Medical Schools Council website (see below) for preliminary research, to find the basic information about the course and about entry requirements.
  • Then look at the information on the website of each university for precise and detailed information, and for guidance on the application process.
  • You will be taking a range of issues into account: course structure; teaching and assessment styles; entry requirements; weighting of UCAT; types of interviews in selection process; as well as location, cost of living, etc.
  • Think carefully about the fifth choice, so that, if you do not get any offers for Medicine/ Medicine-related course, you have a viable choice of degree course.
  • You may apply for the fifth, related course by the later application deadline, in January of Year 13. Check the universities’ websites carefully, however.
  • Remember, Medicine/ Medicine-related courses are very competitive and you may well be competing with older applicants who are applying for a second time and/or who already have a degree in Biomedical Sciences/ similar.
  • It is not uncommon for applicants who are unsuccessful on a first application to do better second time round, after a GAP Year spent doing something relevant to their chosen course.
  • You may wish to look at some of the various rankings of universities, but be cautious…

Personal Statement:

  • This is your opportunity to convey your suitability for your chosen degree programme, showcasing your:
    • academic aptitude
    • knowledge of the profession
    • commitment
    • resilience and essential personal qualities for future medic
    • wider reading of serious literature related to the field, e.g British Medical Journal, the Lancet (not just the medical digest of The Week!)
  • It needs to be informed, well-written and engaging
  • Avoid exaggeration, vagueness and cliché
  • Be direct, informative, sincere and detailed

UCAS Reference:

  • Your UCAS Reference needs to dovetail with your Personal Statement, to support it in full.
  • Talk to the member of staff responsible for producing the UCAS Reference. Make sure they have relevant information about your achievements, interests, personal qualities.
  • There may be some information that is better in the UCAS Reference than in the Personal Statement. For instance, your referee should be the one to say how impressive you are when you mentor younger pupils!
  • You should be able to read the reference and discuss it with your referee. In the UK, according to data protection, you have a right to see your UCAS Reference.

Predicted Grades:

  • Predicted grades need to be at least in line with entry requirements (check university websites for the specific requirements of each course).
  • Because the application is so early in Year 13, you need to make sure that you have used Year 12 to work hard to get the predictions you need. There is no point applying with predicted grades that are lower than the entry requirements.


  • UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is a computer-based admissions test to select candidates for medical and dental degree programmes
  • There are five sections to the test:
    • Verbal Reasoning
    • Decision Making
    • Quantitative Reasoning
    • Abstract Reasoning
    • Situational Judgement (SJT)
  • You may sit this test once only per application cycle
  • Create UCAT account from mid-May (14 May – 19 September 2024) before submitting the application. It may take 24 hours to confirm your account, so do not do this on the last day, as this is the last day for bookings.
  • Book test – as early as possible – from mid-June (18 June – 19 September 2024) through your UCAT account
  • The UCAT score may well be used in different ways by different universities. Some universities give greater weight to the SJT (Situational Judgement Test) component of the UCAT than others do. If you under-perform on the SJT, you may well be rejected outright, no matter how well you perform on the other sections.
  • Use the Preparation Advice and Resources on the UCAT website (see below).


  • If your UCAS application and UCAT score make you a competitive candidate, you will be invited for interview. Interviews usually take place in the Lent Term, but may start as early as November, so make sure you are prepared.
  • Interviews are really important, so prepare for them as you would for an examination. Research likely questions and prepare answers to them.
  • There are different types of interviews. MMI (Multiple Mini Interviews) ask you to move around a series of ‘stations’ where you will be asked different questions and/or set tasks by different interviewers.  Panel interviews involve being interviewed by a group of people.  You may be sent an article before the interview so that you can prepare for a discussion.
  • See link below for guidance.


  • Decisions regarding offers for Medicine tend to arrive later than those for other courses, so don’t panic. The Scottish universities in particular tend to communicate their decisions very late.

Consult these websites for further information and guidance: