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How do I decide which medical schools to apply to?

I am currently a first year A-level student studying Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and an EPQ in which I am pursuing my own personal medical research.
At GCSE I achieved:
Chemistry- 9
Biology - 9
Physics - 9
Maths - 8
English Language - 9
English literature - 9
Religious studies - 9
Geography - 9
French - 8
Economics - 8

A-level targeted grades:
Chemistry-A*
Biology-A*
Mathematics-A

I have done work towards the UCAT and I have already done voluntary geriatric care for a week in France, current volunteering within a care home and work experience lined up for 2 GP practices, 1 hospital and I am currently looking for either work experience in a research centre or to perhaps conduct my own medical research (Which I am doing to an extent in my EPQ). Furthermore, I am enrolled in programmes which I help children with learning difficulties to do well in Mathematics and English and have begun making my way through the Oxford university recommended reading list for medicine.

I have a vast range of extra curricular activities, I have been a competitive swimmer since the age of 5 qualifying up to a regional level and representing my county, Lancashire. As well as this I have advanced to the national finals in public speaking competitions, to name but a few.

Under the (hopeful) stipulation that I achieve my A level grades, a highly successful UCAT and BMAT and curate a very strong personal statement, which universities should I apply to?

My personal "dream" line up of universities would be Oxford, St Andrews, UCL, Imperial but I am aware that this is a highly risky and implausible set of universities. I am strongly drawn to the Scottish and London universities but have no strong obligation to studying anywhere and I also have a strong desire to intercalate into Biochemistry or Biomedical science. My question, thus, is either a) what trend of universities should I apply to ie.
1) Risky
2) Safe
3) Safe
4) Dream
b) any personal recommendations of universities based on my brief overview and c) whether I should apply to Oxford (my dream uni) All help would be widely appreciated thank you very much
Hey there, thanks for posting a question in the Medicine forum. :biggrin:

The Medicine forum gets a high volume of questions being posted, and some of these are already answered by the resources and Megathreads that members of the community and volunteers have created. This is an automatic post which is designed to highlight these resources. Below is a list of threads and articles that could answer your question - or may be a better place to post your question. If your query is answered by one of the Megathreads or articles linked below, and you would like us to close this thread for you, please reply to this thread with just the words "thank you". A member of our team will then get it locked.

Megathreads
(Please read the first post, before then posting any further questions you have within that thread.)
The "Which Medical School Should I Apply To?" Uberthread
The Ultimate 'Am I Good Enough For Medicine?' Angst Thread
Medicine A-Level subjects queries
Work Experience and Voluntary Work

2023 Applicants:
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2023 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2023 Entry
Medicine 2023 entry for resit / retake / gap year applicants
A100 Medicine for International Students 2023 Entry
Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

2023 Admissions Tests:
UCAT 2023 Discussion
BMAT 2023 Discussion
GAMSAT 2023 Discussion
UCAT 2023 Results

Other application years:
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2024 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2024 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2025 Entry

Useful Articles:
GCSE Requirements for Medicine
Everything you need to know about the BMAT
Work Experience as a Graduate or Mature student
Medicine Personal Statement Advice
Medicine Personal Statement Advice (Graduate Entry)
Interview Frequently Asked Questions
MMI Medicine Interview Tips
What to do after an unsuccessful first application

If your query is answered by one of the Megathreads or articles linked above, and you would like us to close this thread for you, please reply to this thread with just the words "thank you". A member of our team will then get it locked.
Reply 2
Original post by y0sef
I am currently a first year A-level student studying Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and an EPQ in which I am pursuing my own personal medical research.
At GCSE I achieved:
Chemistry- 9
Biology - 9
Physics - 9
Maths - 8
English Language - 9
English literature - 9
Religious studies - 9
Geography - 9
French - 8
Economics - 8

A-level targeted grades:
Chemistry-A*
Biology-A*
Mathematics-A

I have done work towards the UCAT and I have already done voluntary geriatric care for a week in France, current volunteering within a care home and work experience lined up for 2 GP practices, 1 hospital and I am currently looking for either work experience in a research centre or to perhaps conduct my own medical research (Which I am doing to an extent in my EPQ). Furthermore, I am enrolled in programmes which I help children with learning difficulties to do well in Mathematics and English and have begun making my way through the Oxford university recommended reading list for medicine.

I have a vast range of extra curricular activities, I have been a competitive swimmer since the age of 5 qualifying up to a regional level and representing my county, Lancashire. As well as this I have advanced to the national finals in public speaking competitions, to name but a few.

Under the (hopeful) stipulation that I achieve my A level grades, a highly successful UCAT and BMAT and curate a very strong personal statement, which universities should I apply to?

My personal "dream" line up of universities would be Oxford, St Andrews, UCL, Imperial but I am aware that this is a highly risky and implausible set of universities. I am strongly drawn to the Scottish and London universities but have no strong obligation to studying anywhere and I also have a strong desire to intercalate into Biochemistry or Biomedical science. My question, thus, is either a) what trend of universities should I apply to ie.
1) Risky
2) Safe
3) Safe
4) Dream
b) any personal recommendations of universities based on my brief overview and c) whether I should apply to Oxford (my dream uni) All help would be widely appreciated thank you very much


Your GCSEs are perfect. Your A Level target grades are great, so make sure you achieve them at least. EPQ will give you an edge especially in terms of personal statement and interview. UCL like EPQ a lot. Take it easy on the UCAT for now. You only need about 5 weeks of revision. More is NOT better. People burn out so easily when preparing for the UCAT, even the students that are used to working ridiculously hard for school exams. The UCAT is a mind game and needs to be revised for tactfully, so don't worry about it yet.

You seem very interested in research (like me :smile:), so universities like Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and UCL would be idea. There are probably more, but those are the ones i can name off the top of my head. You should make your uni choices AFTER getting your UCAT result. It can hugely alter your decisions. I would not advise applying to 3 BMAT unis, unless your UCAT is too low to apply to any UCAT unis. This is because you sit your BMAT in October/November, which is AFTER you submit your UCAS application. Also do keep in mind that some Scottish unis strongly prioritise scottish applicants over english ones.

Other than oxbridge, 'risk' only applies until you get to interview. Once you have an interview, you have to do well regardless of the uni. After you start BMAT prep, if it's feeling good, totally apply to two out of Oxford, Imperial, UCL. If it isn't looking too good, apply to one of either UCL or Imperial, as their cut offs are lower than Oxford. Don't know much about St Andrews, but if you do very well in your UCAT, King's College London is a very good option, especially considering your GCSEs. Since you're interested in London unis, St George's could be a good safety choice.

For now though, don't worry about this too much. Focus on your predicted grades and EPQ, as well as doing volunteering and work experience. Reflect as much as you can. Once you've done your UCAT, you'll be able to make these decisions. I'm applying this year, so if you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I hope this helps
Reply 3
Original post by a._5
Your GCSEs are perfect. Your A Level target grades are great, so make sure you achieve them at least. EPQ will give you an edge especially in terms of personal statement and interview. UCL like EPQ a lot. Take it easy on the UCAT for now. You only need about 5 weeks of revision. More is NOT better. People burn out so easily when preparing for the UCAT, even the students that are used to working ridiculously hard for school exams. The UCAT is a mind game and needs to be revised for tactfully, so don't worry about it yet.

You seem very interested in research (like me :smile:), so universities like Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and UCL would be idea. There are probably more, but those are the ones i can name off the top of my head. You should make your uni choices AFTER getting your UCAT result. It can hugely alter your decisions. I would not advise applying to 3 BMAT unis, unless your UCAT is too low to apply to any UCAT unis. This is because you sit your BMAT in October/November, which is AFTER you submit your UCAS application. Also do keep in mind that some Scottish unis strongly prioritise scottish applicants over english ones.

Other than oxbridge, 'risk' only applies until you get to interview. Once you have an interview, you have to do well regardless of the uni. After you start BMAT prep, if it's feeling good, totally apply to two out of Oxford, Imperial, UCL. If it isn't looking too good, apply to one of either UCL or Imperial, as their cut offs are lower than Oxford. Don't know much about St Andrews, but if you do very well in your UCAT, King's College London is a very good option, especially considering your GCSEs. Since you're interested in London unis, St George's could be a good safety choice.

For now though, don't worry about this too much. Focus on your predicted grades and EPQ, as well as doing volunteering and work experience. Reflect as much as you can. Once you've done your UCAT, you'll be able to make these decisions. I'm applying this year, so if you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I hope this helps

Thank you very much this was extremely helpful. Do you think that applying to two BMAT two UCAT is a good idea? And if given the choice would you apply to imperial or would you apply to UCL ?
Reply 4
Original post by y0sef
Thank you very much this was extremely helpful. Do you think that applying to two BMAT two UCAT is a good idea? And if given the choice would you apply to imperial or would you apply to UCL ?

Yeah I'm applying to 2 BMAT and 2 UCAT unis, even though my UCAT was pretty good. I chose UCL over Imperial, because the work life balance is better at UCL according to people I've spoken to. Also, the campus is nicer and UCL has a wider variety of courses, so I won't be friends with just STEM students. The quality of research, ability of students studying there etc is all very similar. I don't hugely care about reputation, but according to the QS rankings, UCL is 3rd in the UK for medicine, while Imperial is 4th. So overall, they are very similar unis.

Best thing to do is visit both in the summer. Getting a feel for the unis makes choosing way easier.
Reply 5
Original post by a._5
Yeah I'm applying to 2 BMAT and 2 UCAT unis, even though my UCAT was pretty good. I chose UCL over Imperial, because the work life balance is better at UCL according to people I've spoken to. Also, the campus is nicer and UCL has a wider variety of courses, so I won't be friends with just STEM students. The quality of research, ability of students studying there etc is all very similar. I don't hugely care about reputation, but according to the QS rankings, UCL is 3rd in the UK for medicine, while Imperial is 4th. So overall, they are very similar unis.

Best thing to do is visit both in the summer. Getting a feel for the unis makes choosing way easier.


brilliant, thank you very much. Which schools are you applying to if you dont mind me asking
Reply 6
Original post by y0sef
brilliant, thank you very much. Which schools are you applying to if you dont mind me asking


Happy to help!
UCL, Oxford, King's, St George's
Reply 7
Original post by a._5
Happy to help!
UCL, Oxford, King's, St George's

I am struggling to chose between UCL and Leeds.
GCSE I got
Chemistry 9
Physics 9
Biology 9
Maths 8
Arts 9
English language 7
English literature 9
RS 8
Spanish 7
EPQ A*
Predicted A -A*AA
UCAT 2480
SJT 2
I have a good PS work experience , voluntary work in a hospice . Good extra curricular
Since I got low UCAT I am thinking of going for 2BMAT and 2UCAT unis
Thinking of going for Lancaster , Keele ,Sunderland . And Leeds or UCL
I am not able to decide which one to go for between Leeds and UCL can you please advise
Reply 8
Original post by A U
I am struggling to chose between UCL and Leeds.
GCSE I got
Chemistry 9
Physics 9
Biology 9
Maths 8
Arts 9
English language 7
English literature 9
RS 8
Spanish 7
EPQ A*
Predicted A -A*AA
UCAT 2480
SJT 2
I have a good PS work experience , voluntary work in a hospice . Good extra curricular
Since I got low UCAT I am thinking of going for 2BMAT and 2UCAT unis
Thinking of going for Lancaster , Keele ,Sunderland . And Leeds or UCL
I am not able to decide which one to go for between Leeds and UCL can you please advise


What are your subjects for your predicted grades? I think UCL need an A* in either Biology or Chemistry. I'm applying this year too, so if you want more experienced advice, post your stats here - https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7102578&page=405
Some universities offer a reduced offer for talented sports men / woman. Have a look at Nottingham who offer AAB under the elite athlete umbrella. Look at their admissions policy. Its in there.

Ditto Edinburgh and Newcastle that I know off

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