How to get into Medical School UK with bad grades

How to get into Medical School UK with bad grades

How to get into medical school UK with bad grades
How to get into medical school UK with bad grades
Colette Tolley
2nd-year Medical Student at University of Oxford
July 10, 2021

Getting into UK Medical School with bad grades

You’ve missed your A-Level grades, it’s a painful experience. But once again it’s not the end of the world. There is still a way how to get into UK Medical School with bad grades if you are still dedicated to doing so. But like anything, it won’t be easy and will require hard work and continuous dedication to get there. In this article I will be discussing the different routes now available and how to go about it.

How to get into Medical School UK with bad grades – options

  • Ring up your insurance universities
  • Apply for clearing
  • Re-take your A-Levels
  • Consider GEM (GEP)
  • Consider studying Medicine abroad

Ring up your firm and insurance universities

First, if you missed, your A-level/IB requirements for medicine on results day, the first thing to do is to ring up your firm and then insurance universities and ask if it’s possible to still secure your place. Although it’s rare, many universities will still accept students who have missed their grades and have got AAB/ABB.

Universities that I’ve heard which have allowed students are BSMS, Southampton, and Newcastle, to name a few. So, there’s no harm in trying and you may regret it if you don’t. But if it’s a no from your chosen universities, continue below for options to consider.

Did you get the standard medicine offer?

If you missed your offer for medicine as it was higher than the standard offer of AAA or 36 points (IB) and find yourself unplaced but still scored AAA at least, consider either applying to Medical Schools that are in clearing or take a gap year and reapply. Yes, medicine can be in clearing!

St Georges University, Lancaster university have been a few to have spots available. However, if you scored less than AAA/36points, you will need to consider other options.

Consider retaking

There is always the possibility of retaking some of your A-level units, to improve your grade overall, to get the requirements for Medicine. But I would say only do this route if you believe that you underperformed in your exams and that you are very confident that you will be able to meet the offer after, studying for another year in the particular subject.

However, it is important to realise, that many Medical Schools do not allow A-levels that have been done over 3 years. And the ones that do accept them, will often need extenuating circumstances, to give you an offer. So, make sure you do your research before applying. 

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Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM)

Several applicants who miss the medicine entry requirements, often decide to take their 5th choice option which tends to be a similar three-year course such as biomedical science, biochemistry or pharmacology. After completing the course, you can then apply to medicine as a graduate through the GEM or Graduate Entry Programme (GEP).

This tends to be an accelerated programme over 4 years, with the result of becoming a doctor afterwards. The benefit of this is that some GEM/GEP Medical Schools don’t look at A-level grades closely so this could be a route if you fail to make the grades as well as you will be studying a course you like while developing independence and maturity.

The problems with this route are that it’s overall a longer way to becoming a doctor (on average 3 years longer), GEM/GEP tends to be more competitive than the undergraduate route and you will need to fund a fair portion of the course yourself, so it will be expensive. 

Study Abroad

Another potential option is to look at European Medical Schools where they tend to have lower entry requirements than UK medical schools. Many of these will teach medicine in English, although you will have to learn the country language for your clinical years (basically you need to be able to speak to patients which English may not be their first language.)

The perks of this option are that you can experience studying in a different country with a different culture and you may learn about how to treat a variety of medical conditions that you may not see often in UK hospitals. However, if you wish to study abroad in a European Medical School and plan to come back to the UK to work, ensure to check that the course is accredited by the GMC.

However, since Brexit, this can be very difficult to arrange and will require extensive research. 


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