The Student Room Group

Has anyone got in with psych instead of physics/maths?

is bio chem psych good or will they not let me in as they prefer people doing maths and physics?
Yes, it's fine for every medical school except Cambridge. See here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5611422

Other medical schools don't care what your third subject is and do not "prefer" one subject over another for the third one.
Original post by artful_lounger
Yes, it's fine for every medical school except Cambridge. See here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5611422

Other medical schools don't care what your third subject is and do not "prefer" one subject over another for the third one.


are you sure? why would people bother to do 4 a levels then?
Original post by Cinnaroll18
are you sure? why would people bother to do 4 a levels then?


Because they think they have figured out a "magic bullet" to get into medical school, then realise it makes no difference. Also some schools require students start with 4 A-levels.

Medical schools are extremely transparent about their admissions policies, as any lack of transparency is immediately seized upon as potentially discriminatory to applicants who are not aware of such "hidden knowledge". To avoid this, they make sure to make it absolutely clear what they are looking for.

Additionally, the subjects taken are just a tick box in the medical admissions process - they check you have the required subjects, if you do then you tick that box and they continue assessing the other parts of the application. They end up with a lot of information and data from all applicants to decide upon so something as arbitrary as whether they're taking maths or physics is an unnecessary point at which to distinguish between applicants compared to e.g. UCAT/BMAT scores and interview performance.

Cambridge just require it because their course heavily emphasises the basic sciences and in third year all Cambridge medics have to do the third year of one of the natural sciences course options, and since all natsci students have to do three sciences/maths subjects, the medics would be at a disadvantage for that year if they didn't have an equivalent background. Also some of the second year medicine lectures I think are shared with some of the natsci papers available I think? But in any case, that is why they are the exception.
Original post by Cinnaroll18
are you sure? why would people bother to do 4 a levels then?


Many people do it simply to take a subject they are interested in, but doing an extra A-level certainly won't decrease your chances compared to doing 3 - even if they are too bothered about particular knowledge*, it at the very least shows you can manage a large workload.

* Maths/Chem/Bio/Physics will obviously be preferred to Maths/Chem/Bio, even if its just a little
Original post by artful_lounger
Because they think they have figured out a "magic bullet" to get into medical school, then realise it makes no difference. Also some schools require students start with 4 A-levels.

Medical schools are extremely transparent about their admissions policies, as any lack of transparency is immediately seized upon as potentially discriminatory to applicants who are not aware of such "hidden knowledge". To avoid this, they make sure to make it absolutely clear what they are looking for.

Additionally, the subjects taken are just a tick box in the medical admissions process - they check you have the required subjects, if you do then you tick that box and they continue assessing the other parts of the application. They end up with a lot of information and data from all applicants to decide upon so something as arbitrary as whether they're taking maths or physics is an unnecessary point at which to distinguish between applicants compared to e.g. UCAT/BMAT scores and interview performance.

Cambridge just require it because their course heavily emphasises the basic sciences and in third year all Cambridge medics have to do the third year of one of the natural sciences course options, and since all natsci students have to do three sciences/maths subjects, the medics would be at a disadvantage for that year if they didn't have an equivalent background. Also some of the second year medicine lectures I think are shared with some of the natsci papers available I think? But in any case, that is why they are the exception.


oh is Cambridge an integrated degree with nat sci then?

also thanks !!
Original post by Cinnaroll18
oh is Cambridge an integrated degree with nat sci then?

also thanks !!


Yes, all medics at Cambridge have to intercalate (unless they are graduates of another degree when they start, in which case the requirement is waived), and I gather nowadays they pretty much exclusively intercalate in natsci options or the biological anthropology option available to natsci-ers as well. Previously I think it was possible for them to do Part II (the intercalated year) in other subjects, but this seems to no longer be standard.
Original post by artful_lounger

Cambridge just require it because their course heavily emphasises the basic sciences and in third year all Cambridge medics have to do the third year of one of the natural sciences course options, and since all natsci students have to do three sciences/maths subjects, the medics would be at a disadvantage for that year if they didn't have an equivalent background. Also some of the second year medicine lectures I think are shared with some of the natsci papers available I think? But in any case, that is why they are the exception.

Jumping in here - this isn't entirely true. While it's absolutely the case that Cambridge students do a sort of intercalated third year, it doesn't have to be in Natural Sciences. Most Cambridge students do indeed choose Natural Sciences options, but in the last couple of years at Peterhouse I've known students study Linguistics, Archaeology and even Law in their third year. Intercalating in non-Natural Sciences options is still very much alive and well here, although I think - anecdotally - you're right that it's less common at other colleges than it used to be

We also don't require a third science. However, success in our application process correlates strongly with applicants who have three sciences. That's not because we rule out people who don't or favour those who do, but applicants with three or more science A Levels tend to perform better both in the BMAT and at interview.
Original post by newtonscat
Many people do it simply to take a subject they are interested in, but doing an extra A-level certainly won't decrease your chances compared to doing 3 - even if they are too bothered about particular knowledge*, it at the very least shows you can manage a large workload.

* Maths/Chem/Bio/Physics will obviously be preferred to Maths/Chem/Bio, even if its just a little

This is not true, on both counts.

Doing 4 A-levels is not preferred of 3, and unis are very clear about that - I think there might be one medical school that scores additional A/AS levels still (QUB, I think?), but the others do not. Unis are in general now very careful about not privileging those who were able to take 4 A-levels, because not all schools are able to offer 4 A-levels to their students, and usually it's the underperforming ones with low progression to HE that aren't able to offer 4 A-levels to anyone under any circumstances. Again, they absolutely do not want to be seen to be discriminating against applicants from those backgrounds implicitly with such an admissions policy.

It also can decrease your chances because you run the risk of spreading yourself to thin over your subjects and not getting the three excellent grades you need (which is all you need) and getting 4 more mediocre grades. A*A*A would give you the option of any medical school purely in terms of A-level grade requirements. A*ABB would give you FAR fewer options.
Original post by Peterhouse Admissions
Jumping in here - this isn't entirely true. While it's absolutely the case that Cambridge students do a sort of intercalated third year, it doesn't have to be in Natural Sciences. Most Cambridge students do indeed choose Natural Sciences options, but in the last couple of years at Peterhouse I've known students study Linguistics, Archaeology and even Law in their third year. Intercalating in non-Natural Sciences options is still very much alive and well here, although I think - anecdotally - you're right that it's less common at other colleges than it used to be

We also don't require a third science. However, success in our application process correlates strongly with applicants who have three sciences. That's not because we rule out people who don't or favour those who do, but applicants with three or more science A Levels tend to perform better both in the BMAT and at interview.


That's interesting, I'd heard that the case of students doing non natsci options for Part II had fallen out over recent years. Which was a shame as the otherwise flexibility afforded by the tripos system seemed to be a great bonus I would have imagined!

I had taken it more to be an implicit requirement to be doing 3 STEM subjects at A-level to be competitive for Cambridge, parallel to the functional requirement to do e.g. maths for PPE at Oxford or FM for economics at LSE, simply because statistically the odds seemed stacked against applicants not taking it. I assumed it was more of a clause to allow the colleges to consider students who might not have had that available to them, rather than routinely doing so? But I guess it's just a matter of how well that background prepares them for the rest of it.

I'm not sure I'd personally recommend someone not doing 3 STEM subjects at A-level to apply to Cambridge medicine though - it seems a pretty big gamble given how competitive medicine is across the board with something like 60% of applicants not getting any offers, and only having 4 choices to start with :redface:

I guess it's good to know for those who have other options potentially though or are really set on Cambridge or bust though...?
(edited 1 year ago)

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