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Should I swap A-Level Biology for Physics?

My current A-Level options are Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Further Maths and I would like to study Medicine. However, I can’t help but think of physics (one of my favourite subjects) and I am in two minds about swapping biology for physics. I have heard that you NEED biology to survive med school however I cannot stand the cell and plant biology which seems to make up a large part of the course- I was wondering if I took physics, could I still get into med school and cope? (Part of me has not yet fully decided between going into medicine or medical physics). I am hoping to go to Cambridge or Manchester uni and am starting my A-Levels in September. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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You don’t absolutely need biology for med school but if you don’t take it at a level, you have way fewer med schools to choose and apply to. Why don’t you switch maths and physics instead bevause in this case maths is technically the 3rd optional subject
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 3
Original post by marble arch
You don’t absolutely need biology for med school but if you don’t take it at a level, you have way fewer med schools to choose and apply to. Why don’t you switch maths and physics instead bevause in this case maths is technically the 3rd optional subject

Unfortunately my school doesn’t allow further maths taken without maths and they are my favourite subjects :/
Original post by Erudite2021
Unfortunately my school doesn’t allow further maths taken without maths and they are my favourite subjects :/

Ah ok, didnt see that you take further maths too. Have you done any medical work experience to confirm whether medicine is for you as I know your also interested in medical physics
Reply 5
Original post by marble arch
Ah ok, didnt see that you take further maths too. Have you done any medical work experience to confirm whether medicine is for you as I know your also interested in medical physics


Not yet, but I have some planned however, this is taking place once my a-levels have began due to high demand.
Original post by Erudite2021
My current A-Level options are Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Further Maths and I would like to study Medicine. However, I can’t help but think of physics (one of my favourite subjects) and I am in two minds about swapping biology for physics. I have heard that you NEED biology to survive med school however I cannot stand the cell and plant biology which seems to make up a large part of the course- I was wondering if I took physics, could I still get into med school and cope? (Part of me has not yet fully decided between going into medicine or medical physics). I am hoping to go to Cambridge or Manchester uni and am starting my A-Levels in September. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Only about 1/3 of medical schools require A-level Biology for admission, and if they don't require it for admission purposes then they are perfectly happy to take those with other subject(s) and have structured their course in such a way that it does not presuppose that content.
Original post by Erudite2021
Not yet, but I have some planned however, this is taking place once my a-levels have began due to high demand.


after some research it actually turns out most medical schools dont require biology.its chemistry which is essential then its usually one of maths/physics/biology or any other subject so apologies for my first reply! since that is the case, I'd swap bio for physics if I was you. Ithe only medical schools which require biology are:
aston
birmingham
bsms
cardiff
edge hill
yea
exeter
pretty sure all the London ones excluding qmul
leeds
Lincoln
notts
and I think that is it? (double check this though as I just did a rough flick through this:https://www.medschools.ac.uk/studying-medicine/making-an-application/entry-requirements-for-2024-start?page=4). so you have alot of choice from the remaining medical schools.
Reply 8
Original post by marble arch
after some research it actually turns out most medical schools dont require biology.its chemistry which is essential then its usually one of maths/physics/biology or any other subject so apologies for my first reply! since that is the case, I'd swap bio for physics if I was you. Ithe only medical schools which require biology are:
aston
birmingham
bsms
cardiff
edge hill
yea
exeter
pretty sure all the London ones excluding qmul
leeds
Lincoln
notts
and I think that is it? (double check this though as I just did a rough flick through this:https://www.medschools.ac.uk/studying-medicine/making-an-application/entry-requirements-for-2024-start?page=4). so you have alot of choice from the remaining medical schools.


UEA don't require bio, it's an either or.
Plus Southampton, Plymouth and HYMS do need it.
Lancaster would also be ruled out with OP's combination of subjects
Chemistry is not essential, either, though - there are 13 med schools that do not need it
Reply 9
Just be aware that entry requirements can change. I’ve just found out that the medical school I’m going to now requires biology in addition to chemistry and it didn’t even last year. I’m presuming it may have something to do with the BMAT being dropped from the entry requirements. But it shows that medical schools can change requirements fairly arbitrarily. Theoretically, you could find yourself with fewer options next year than you thought you had.

Chemistry and biology together will give you the most options for application. I do get why you would want to focus on your favourite subject and there’s definitely an argument for doing that if you think it will get you the best grades. But as your UCAT result nearly always narrows your choices somewhat, giving yourself the most options is always a sensible choice in theory alone.
Reply 10
Original post by TMTDRN
Just be aware that entry requirements can change. I’ve just found out that the medical school I’m going to now requires biology in addition to chemistry and it didn’t even last year. I’m presuming it may have something to do with the BMAT being dropped from the entry requirements. But it shows that medical schools can change requirements fairly arbitrarily. Theoretically, you could find yourself with fewer options next year than you thought you had.

Chemistry and biology together will give you the most options for application. I do get why you would want to focus on your favourite subject and there’s definitely an argument for doing that if you think it will get you the best grades. But as your UCAT result nearly always narrows your choices somewhat, giving yourself the most options is always a sensible choice in theory alone.

Almost all med school have now published 2024 entry requirements, and only Leeds have changed A level policies so far - though some have changed grade requirements!
But you are right, med shcools have been known to alter their policies even shortly before the UCAS deadline, so people should always check their information is current
Reply 11
Original post by GANFYD
Almost all med school have now published 2024 entry requirements, and only Leeds have changed A level policies so far - though some have changed grade requirements!
But you are right, med shcools have been known to alter their policies even shortly before the UCAS deadline, so people should always check their information is current


But this would be for 2025 entry wouldn’t it?
Reply 12
Original post by TMTDRN
But this would be for 2025 entry wouldn’t it?


Yes, but that is one of only about 3 or 4 subject requirement changes I can remember in 10 years of doing this, and OP can only use the information currently available as a guide.
You are right, and information needs to be confirmed nearer the time
Reply 13
Original post by GANFYD
Yes, but that is one of only about 3 or 4 subject requirement changes I can remember in 10 years of doing this, and OP can only use the information currently available as a guide.
You are right, and information needs to be confirmed nearer the time

I suppose I would always advocate keeping as many options open as you can. There are a number of people myself included who face real restrictions in where they can apply due to geography, family circumstances, UCAT scores etc and I just feel compelled to encourage people who have genuine freedom from these constraints not to end up imposing further constraints on themselves.

Medical school applications are so strategic and as someone who did my first degree with a wide open field of options where I could freely choose the course I liked and the university that I loved, I can say that not being able to do that is a bit depressing. Given how much medical school courses can vary in format, delivery methods and structure, placement quality etc., you would surely want to give yourself that choice if you could. I see so many stories online of people who really hated where they ended up and it being just a really bad fit. It’s definitely worth trying to give yourself the best possible range of choices.
Reply 14
Original post by TMTDRN
I suppose I would always advocate keeping as many options open as you can. There are a number of people myself included who face real restrictions in where they can apply due to geography, family circumstances, UCAT scores etc and I just feel compelled to encourage people who have genuine freedom from these constraints not to end up imposing further constraints on themselves.

Medical school applications are so strategic and as someone who did my first degree with a wide open field of options where I could freely choose the course I liked and the university that I loved, I can say that not being able to do that is a bit depressing. Given how much medical school courses can vary in format, delivery methods and structure, placement quality etc., you would surely want to give yourself that choice if you could. I see so many stories online of people who really hated where they ended up and it being just a really bad fit. It’s definitely worth trying to give yourself the best possible range of choices.


I also advocate keeping options open.
Except AAB including chem and bio closes far more doors than AAA not including biology.
The key issue is achieving at least AAA at A level. Everything else can be worked round. And most med schools will not take FM into consideration if maths is being counted

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