How much chemistry is needed for medicine?

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lmnpp
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#1
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I'm interested in medicine but am very weak on the chemistry side, with biology being my main strong point. Is it possible to do medicine without an A level in chemistry? How much chemistry is practiced in modules for medicine?

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The Wavefunction
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My good friend does medicine and I do chemistry. You really don't have much to worry about. It would be a requirement if it was that intense.
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BioChemWizard
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A-Level Chemistry is required by almost every medical school in the UK, if not all. Most likely you'll need at least an A grade in it. Chemistry is quite important in medicine, we need the knowledge to make drugs, explain the action of drugs and how the body works on a chemical level. Pharmacology is a medical field which requires a lot of chemistry knowledge and application. Chemistry after all is able to explain almost all biology.
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username2694491
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(Original post by BioChemWizard)
A-Level Chemistry is required by almost every medical school in the UK, if not all. Most likely you'll need at least an A grade in it. Chemistry is quite important in medicine, we need the knowledge to make drugs, explain the action of drugs and how the body works on a chemical level. Pharmacology is a medical field which requires a lot of chemistry knowledge and application. Chemistry after all is able to explain almost all biology.
Agree with a lot of what you're saying but a level Chem definitely did nothing to help me majorly bar perhaps the Henderson Hasselbach eqn for renal acid base stuff! Nearly all of it can be taught at uni and the Chem needed is almost all application. Nearly all of pharmacology is new knowledge and very little a level knowledge transfers over, I doubt many a level students are aware of allosteric GABA receptor agonists or log dose response curves.

Appreciation for Chem and an understanding is needed, A level Chem isn't necessarily the best indicator of the above!
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BioChemWizard
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(Original post by Zygomaticus)
Agree with a lot of what you're saying but a level Chem definitely did nothing to help me majorly bar perhaps the Henderson Hasselbach eqn for renal acid base stuff! Nearly all of it can be taught at uni and the Chem needed is almost all application. Nearly all of pharmacology is new knowledge and very little a level knowledge transfers over, I doubt many a level students are aware of allosteric GABA receptor agonists or log dose response curves.

Appreciation for Chem and an understanding is needed, A level Chem isn't necessarily the best indicator of the above!
Ah right, that's quite interesting what you're saying actually - I imagined A-level chemistry knowledge would prepare you quite well for the content at medical school. I guess human biology is probably more useful given the anatomy modules and well as the biomedical science basis. Are you are medical student? I will be starting this September, I was actually wondering whether I should do a little bit of A-level Chemistry and Biology revision, haha!

I do agree with at least having some familiarity of chemical concepts and basic principles for sure.

Well at least I'll be prepared for the Henderson Hasselbach equation!
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(Original post by BioChemWizard)
Ah right, that's quite interesting what you're saying actually - I imagined A-level chemistry knowledge would prepare you quite well for the content at medical school. I guess human biology is probably more useful given the anatomy modules and well as the biomedical science basis. Are you are medical student? I will be starting this September, I was actually wondering whether I should do a little bit of A-level Chemistry and Biology revision, haha!

I do agree with at least having some familiarity of chemical concepts and basic principles for sure.

Well at least I'll be prepared for the Henderson Hasselbach equation!
4th year Some human biology is important, but in total honesty everything you'll learn is new and it's a great experience! The reason I say prior stuff is kinda useless is because you'll do anatomy, pharmacology, physiology etc in much greater depth and detail than anyone will have ever previously encountered so everybody gets taught from the basics up! They know that people have done IB, A levels, Welsh Bacc etc etc so they kinda assume little prior knowledge.

As for the content, it's different to a level sciences and maths etc because it's much more oriented on the human body and what can go wrong, take for example the TCA/ Krebs cycle. You'll learn it in supreme detail but the emphasis will be on certain enzyme deficiencies and what conditions people can get if things go wrong. Different to A levels and much better!

Best thing for you to do is relax and have a cracking summer. They get shorter the older you get and trust me, medschool will cover the stuff anyway or so I'd hope
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BioChemWizard
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(Original post by Zygomaticus)
4th year Some human biology is important, but in total honesty everything you'll learn is new and it's a great experience! The reason I say prior stuff is kinda useless is because you'll do anatomy, pharmacology, physiology etc in much greater depth and detail than anyone will have ever previously encountered so everybody gets taught from the basics up! They know that people have done IB, A levels, Welsh Bacc etc etc so they kinda assume little prior knowledge.

As for the content, it's different to a level sciences and maths etc because it's much more oriented on the human body and what can go wrong, take for example the TCA/ Krebs cycle. You'll learn it in supreme detail but the emphasis will be on certain enzyme deficiencies and what conditions people can get if things go wrong. Different to A levels and much better!

Best thing for you to do is relax and have a cracking summer. They get shorter the older you get and trust me, medschool will cover the stuff anyway or so I'd hope
That's very useful, thank you - I look forward to learning much more but for now I'll make sure to enjoy my summer
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usycool1
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You'll pretty much need an A-Level in Chemistry to study Medicine. That's about it though - none of it has really helped me in any way through Medicine.
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Mutmit287
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#9
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(Original post by lmnpp)
I'm interested in medicine but am very weak on the chemistry side, with biology being my main strong point. Is it possible to do medicine without an A level in chemistry? How much chemistry is practiced in modules for medicine?

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You will not be able to apply to medicine at 90% of medical schools unless you have an A in A2 chemistry, so unfortunately if you are really set on medicine you will have to bump up your chemistry skills.

As for how much chemistry is in medicine, very little on my course. Yes there is some biochemistry and pharmacology but other than that we need to know literally no pure chemistry at all. I think medical schools require chemistry because it is a rigorous subject which involves a lot of critical thinking and problem solving, all of which are skills required of a doctor. lets face it if you memorise the textbook for biology you will be fine, so chemistry is a much better indicator of whether someone is suitable for a medical degree.
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Ghotay
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The reason that chemistry is a requirement for medical school is becit is difficult not because it is relevant. It is to prove your academic ability. And yes, you need at A in A2 chemistry to study medicine
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6med
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#11
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Hey

Most medical schools require Chemistry at A-Level just because it has harder concepts and demonstrates that students who score an 'A' are able to understand new and harder concepts. Medicine is full of lots of little facts and new concepts and this is where it parallels with Chemistry. There's very little chemistry in Medicine in contrast with the amount of biology and anatomy. As some people have been saying, it really comes up up just a bit with drug interactions for pharmacology but again this is a small part of the syllabus and you won't really need A-level knowledge to be able to understand it.

If you have any qns about med school let us know
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Mimir
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#12
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Pretty much none - I don't remember using any of it. General understanding sometimes helps but if you can't find it in "Martini Anatomy and Physiology", Kumar & Clark, Ganong, Wood's Immunology, or Weller's, then you probably don't need to know it in your pre-clinical years.
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Democracy
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This is legit all the pure chemistry in the course:

Image

They are not going to start quizzing you on bond angles and orbitals.
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ceilele
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#14
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Chemistry is (on the whole) the only compulsary A-Level for Uni Med applicants. If you struggle, it's probably best to get a tutor in Chemistry as well as brush up your maths skills as that's usually what makes Chemistry hard
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Mutmit287
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(Original post by Democracy)
This is legit all the pure chemistry in the course:

Image

They are not going to start quizzing you on bond angles and orbitals.
this is actually so true its unreal :laugh::laugh::laugh:
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lmnpp
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#16
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Thanks for all the replies everyone. It's something I've always wanted to go into but didn't think was possible, so was wondering. I've currently done the first year of a radiography course and I'm enjoying it very much, but you do wonder 'what if' lol.

in all honesty I'd love to switch to medicine, But know it's not as simple to enrolled or switch course, especially if a subject like chemistry is difficult for yourself. Thanks once again for all your replies, its a great insight!

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UniAdmissions
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#17
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(Original post by lmnpp)
I'm interested in medicine but am very weak on the chemistry side, with biology being my main strong point. Is it possible to do medicine without an A level in chemistry? How much chemistry is practiced in modules for medicine?

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Hi lmnpp

As others have already said, it is not really possible to do medicine without a Chemistry A-level. Biology is also strongly recommended.

Are you choosing your A-levels at the moment?

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lmnpp
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#18
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(Original post by UniAdmissions)
Hi lmnpp

As others have already said, it is not really possible to do medicine without a Chemistry A-level. Biology is also strongly recommended.

Are you choosing your A-levels at the moment?

UniAdmissions
Thank you, it's good to confirm if it's possible or not.

I'm not choosing my a A levels. I did them 6 years ago with biology as the only science subject (didn't do well overall). Since then I did a health science access course last year, which allowed me to do radiography, for which I am about to begin my second year.

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Mimir
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(Original post by Democracy)
This is legit all the pure chemistry in the course:

Image

They are not going to start quizzing you on bond angles and orbitals.
Spot on.
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tcameron
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#20
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Only up to A level Chemistry is needed. You won't be doing core chemistry during your course as the basis of A level chemistry gets you through the understanding of the biology you'll be learning in the course.
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