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What GCSE's are needed to become a doctor?

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August 25, 2010 12:50AM

Amongst many many other qualifications and traits needed to be a doctor, you will need the following GCSE's:

Maths at a grade of C or above

Chemistry and Biology at a grade of C and above

And of course, you need at least 5 GCSE's of C and above to gain entry into A levels.

Please Note!

These may be "minimum requirements" stated: in reality, without A*- A grades at GCSE in English, Maths & Sciences, you will not stand a snowball's hope in a blast furnace of your application getting past stage 1 - "wickerwork filing cabinet"! Unless, there are exceptional circumstances, of course.

Additionally, without 3 full A Levels (usually at A grade), taken in one sitting, including Chemistry & Biology, you'll be equally stuffed! Then there are the aptitude tests (BMAT etc), & without good knowledge/ understanding of maths and biological & physical sciences the chances of a candidate turning in an adequate performance are asymptotic to zero!

Sorry if this disillusions some, but it's the hard reality. Yes, there are courses in some medical school for "non traditional" applicants/ people from "disadvantaged communities" etc, which have much lower requirements. But it must be remembered that such individuals are being admitted to foundation courses to bring them up to the required standard in English, Maths, Science to then enter the medical degree course proper. They're remedial courses for those who've been in some way educationally disadvantaged - not a "back door" into medical school for those who've had their chances & failed, through inability or lack of effort, to come up with the goods.

Mainstream candidates for medical school should be under no illusions: if you don't get excellent GCSEs in 7+ subjects (a broad & balanced general education also being another key selection criteria), which must include higher grades (ie A*- A) in Maths & Science (preferably 3 separate sciences, but it's accepted that many schools don't offer this, so "Double Award" is okay - "Combined Science" is not!), & at least a B (but preferably A*- A) in English, then you really will not cut it. When filtering applications most medical schools look for around 50 ALIS points obtained in 7-8 GCSEs at first attempt: GCSE grade A*= 8; A= 7; B= 6; C = 5... go figure!

There may be the odd exception here & there (usually for specific personal reasons - eg the refugee who only arrived in the UK aged 14; someone whose parents were killed in a car crash the week before GCSEs; the candidate who took exams whilst undergoing chemotherapy etc), but these are exceptions not the norm. Most successful candidates for medical school are academically excellent, and have been throughout their secondary school careers.