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How to get into medicine?

Hi, I don’t think I stand a chance of getting into undergrad medicine but it’s my dream to get into gynaecology. I really want to make the system better with conditions that affect women.
Unfortunately, my mental health caused me to not take my GCSEs seriously and I hated education as I didn’t have any aspirations because I was in a different world.
However, now I have got better and have the ability to re take my GCSEs and study A-Levels.
I got inspired from a friend on tiktok and they’re 18 doing their GCSEs and then doing A-Levels after.
These are my GCSEs (I never revised or listened in class or tried and these were predictions from covid). I also HATED science but ever since learning about biology online throughout covid and going to college to study level 2 health and social care (this course was just a random choice but it has helped me find a passion). I have absolutely LOVED it. I’m also very caring too, so if med does not work out, other healthcare professions could be also a good route. I could then go for a Grad route but then I know it’s more competitive.

I’m 19, so worried about the age but I was thinking about getting a healthcare job part-time whilst studying to get some experience alongside? Can I get flexible hours?
Anyone got any ideas?! I really want to quit my mc Donald's job because I need to focus! But I also need money lol!

English- 4
Maths - 4
Health and social care - Level 2 Merit
Geography- 2
Science - 2-3
Film studies- 4
Drama - 3
English Lit - 3

I’m thinking of starting in September and doing these GCSEs and could I do exams in June?
English Language (I have re taken this two times but had anxiety attacks in the exams because I have trauma because I have adhd and dyslexia so reading HUGE stories makes me panic but I was in top set at school so I’m going to watch Mr Bruff and actually TRY) but I aim for : 6-7
Maths - I re took this once and only self studied this a few weeks before the exam when I was mentally ill (very mentally ill) and got a 4 so I will be hoping to get a 6 and do a higher paper.
When I was re taking English Lang and Maths I was utterly mentally ill. I regret doing so badly and I am capable of doing better as I loved school before bullying occurred and ruined my health. However, I’m not sure how Med schools would think about this?

Double Science IGCSE or Triple science - with 6s or 7s
Human Biology IGCSE - 7
And more Gcses :smile:

Are these GCSEs enough? What other GCSEs should I do? Also will my geography, drama and english literature matter?

Then for a-levels next year, what a-levels do you recommend I do?
Unfortunately, I was going to choose Biology, Psychology and something else but I have previously studied psychology a-level but decided to stop as I want to study GCSEs first and then start A-Levels. Would my application look bad with doing this?
Also how do I get predicted grades?

Thank you to anyone who read this and/or helps me:smile:
(edited 9 months ago)
Hey there, thanks for posting a question in the Medicine forum. :biggrin:

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Megathreads
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The "Which Medical School Should I Apply To?" Uberthread
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Medicine A-Level subjects queries
Work Experience and Voluntary Work

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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
Medicine Interview discussion 2023 Entry
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Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

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UCAT 2024 Entry Discussions Megathread

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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

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Bump :smile:
Original post by futuremedgirl
Hi, I don’t think I stand a chance of getting into undergrad medicine but it’s my dream to get into gynaecology. I really want to make the system better with conditions that affect women.
Unfortunately, my mental health caused me to not take my GCSEs seriously and I hated education as I didn’t have any aspirations because I was in a different world.
However, now I have got better and have the ability to re take my GCSEs and study A-Levels.
I got inspired from a friend on tiktok and they’re 18 doing their GCSEs and then doing A-Levels after.
These are my GCSEs (I never revised or listened in class or tried and these were predictions from covid). I also HATED science but ever since learning about biology online throughout covid and going to college to study level 2 health and social care (this course was just a random choice but it has helped me find a passion). I have absolutely LOVED it. I’m also very caring too, so if med does not work out, other healthcare professions could be also a good route. I could then go for a Grad route but then I know it’s more competitive.

I’m 19, so worried about the age but I was thinking about getting a healthcare job part-time whilst studying to get some experience alongside? Can I get flexible hours?
Anyone got any ideas?! I really want to quit my mc Donald's job because I need to focus! But I also need money lol!

English- 4
Maths - 4
Health and social care - Level 2 Merit
Geography- 2
Science - 2-3
Film studies- 4
Drama - 3
English Lit - 3

I’m thinking of starting in September and doing these GCSEs and could I do exams in June?
English Language (I have re taken this two times but had anxiety attacks in the exams because I have trauma because I have adhd and dyslexia so reading HUGE stories makes me panic but I was in top set at school so I’m going to watch Mr Bruff and actually TRY) but I aim for : 6-7
Maths - I re took this once and only self studied this a few weeks before the exam when I was mentally ill (very mentally ill) and got a 4 so I will be hoping to get a 6 and do a higher paper.
When I was re taking English Lang and Maths I was utterly mentally ill. I regret doing so badly and I am capable of doing better as I loved school before bullying occurred and ruined my health. However, I’m not sure how Med schools would think about this?

Double Science IGCSE or Triple science - with 6s or 7s
Human Biology IGCSE - 7
And more Gcses :smile:

Are these GCSEs enough? What other GCSEs should I do? Also will my geography, drama and english literature matter?

Then for a-levels next year, what a-levels do you recommend I do?
Unfortunately, I was going to choose Biology, Psychology and something else but I have previously studied psychology a-level but decided to stop as I want to study GCSEs first and then start A-Levels. Would my application look bad with doing this?
Also how do I get predicted grades?

Thank you to anyone who read this and/or helps me:smile:


Hey @futuremedgirl

I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling. It sounds like you've got really good reasons to want to do medicine, and it's great that you're so motivated to get a place. Please try not to worry about being significantly older when you start- there are always quite a few people who have decided on a career change or start medical school after taking 5+ years out.

At Lancaster, these are the GCSE requirements:

GCSE: Minimum score of 13 points from 8 subjects (A or A* or 7-9 = 2 points; B or 6 = 1 point). The 8 subjects must include Core & Additional Science (or Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Maths and English Language (grade B/6 or above). If Biology or Chemistry is not studied at A-level, then GCSE must be at least grade A/7

You can find the full list of criteria here:https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/medicine-and-surgery-mbchb-a100/2023/#course-entry

In terms of part-time jobs, you could apply to work as a HCA in your local trust, which a lot of people also do whilst they're in medical school. It would be great work experience as it involves direct patient contact, and most of my friends who've done it found it to be fairly flexible. Alternatively, you could look into working in a care home, which would also look good on a medicine personal statement.

I hope this helps, and best of luck with your applications!

Nellie (Third Year Medical Student)
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hey @futuremedgirl

I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling. It sounds like you've got really good reasons to want to do medicine, and it's great that you're so motivated to get a place. Please try not to worry about being significantly older when you start- there are always quite a few people who have decided on a career change or start medical school after taking 5+ years out.

At Lancaster, these are the GCSE requirements:

GCSE: Minimum score of 13 points from 8 subjects (A or A* or 7-9 = 2 points; B or 6 = 1 point). The 8 subjects must include Core & Additional Science (or Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Maths and English Language (grade B/6 or above). If Biology or Chemistry is not studied at A-level, then GCSE must be at least grade A/7

You can find the full list of criteria here:https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/medicine-and-surgery-mbchb-a100/2023/#course-entry

In terms of part-time jobs, you could apply to work as a HCA in your local trust, which a lot of people also do whilst they're in medical school. It would be great work experience as it involves direct patient contact, and most of my friends who've done it found it to be fairly flexible. Alternatively, you could look into working in a care home, which would also look good on a medicine personal statement.

I hope this helps, and best of luck with your applications!

Nellie (Third Year Medical Student)

Hi Nellie,
I haven’t told anyone around me about me considering medicine because of the fact that I don’t know how people will react but I have decided to surprise my family with doing my GCSEs and A-Levels alone but of course, I’ll tell my boyfriend:smile:. I just still feel awkward about my age! I hope everything works out!

Ahhh, I’m thinking of studying GCSE English Language, Maths, Triple / Double science, Sociology, Human Biology (does that GCSE count even though it’s similar to Biology?) , Religious studies and some other GCSE that I’ll look for… maybe Media?

Thanksss for the link! I’m either going to study A-Level Biology, Chemistry and is Environmental science accepted for medicine? I would like to do A-Level psychology but I already studied it for 6 months previously and not studying anymore as now doing GCSEs and then doing A-Levels that are science based.
So, doing a two year programme with it would mean 2 years and 6 months and I’m not sure if that’s allowed unless I start psychology a-level later to the other A-Levels? But then it’s not 3 years so I’m sure it’s okay?
Or I could do an Access course to Medicine as that’s a quicker way and probably a good choice…. what would you think is better for me? I’ll be 20 when starting the Level 3 qualifications.

Yes, I’ll see if I can work in a carehome and my mum works in one so I could easily get a job.

Also, what work experience do you need to do?
Thank you ever so much :smile:
(edited 9 months ago)
Hi there, so in little steps:

If I understood you correctly, you want to resit Maths, English language and then a selection of other GCSEs. That ought to be fine since there's only a requirement for getting a minimum grade in Maths and English GCSE in several universities. It'll be good to study the others though to give you some basic knowledge for your A-Levels (although they're probably not stricly necessary).

You can sit your GCSEs in June if you wish and think you'll be ready! Just remember to register for them with your school or an exam centre.

I honestly don't know how the universities could react to your re-sitting. Medical schools are unusually funny (in a bad way) about letting applicants resit examinations, with most med schools having some sort of restriction on resits, be that that you need to have achieved a minimum grade to be able to resit or have extenuating circumstances, which you do. However, all these policies I've only ever really read in the context of A-Level resits and so the resit policy might be a bit more lenient for GCSE and you definitely seem to have several grounds for extenuating circumstances. You should probably message the admissions department of a couple of universities for clarification.

Jobs! The care sector is perpetually hiring in this country so you shouldn't struggle to find a job. You might consider being a care assistant, in a care home or if you want something a bit more flexible, a domiciliary care assistant, since they are 0-hour contracts and so you get to set your own working hours. However, having spent this last year doing just that I think 0-hour contracts are immoral, evil stuff and that they should be outlawed. You have no guaranteed paid, you won't be paid for travel time (or not enough), and the companies that use them tend to have some questionable business practices and tend to undervalue their workers. Care work is also hard, you'll be required to do some not so nice things, and when your clients come and then go (usually to hospital, never to be seen again)... it hits you like the emotional equivalent of a brick to the face. Despite all of what I just said, it's probably your best job option. Med schools will like that you did it, the zero-hourness of it means that you can fit it around your studies (try to, say, work mornings, study afternoons; or work two, three full days a week and then study the rest of the week. Up to you really!), and despite the unpleasant things you'll have to do and the emotional burden of it, it is a truly magnificent job that'll teach you a lot about humanity, kindness and life, and it's just a nice feeling knowing that you made a difference to the people that you take care for.

Don't worry about your age. I said in some other post that age is but an illusion in young adults :biggrin: Nobody will notice nor care, and uni is full of people of different ages so truly, it's not going to be a problem.

A-Levels: you need Chemistry. There are only like a grand total of 3 universities or some other crazy low number that will accept applicants without Chemistry at A-Level so you really need to take it to give you more options as to where to apply. Having dropped Psychology might look bad in many places since they like applicants that study and sit A-Levels in two years or less. But then again, you have some pretty compelling extenuating circumstances so who knows. Ask about this as well on that email you're going to send to unis asking about GCSE resits (I think you'll be fine on both accounts in enough med schools to apply due to your story but I don't know so please check with the people that do know - the unis themselves!).

Predictions: your reference provider should provide them for you. They might be OK to put whatever predicted you tell them but if they want some proof (they probably will), there are places that you can sit preliminary exams to generate predicted grades and your referee can use these to provide them.

I hope that covers everything... sorry for the long post:colondollar: let me know if I missed anything. Good luck!
(edited 9 months ago)
Original post by Scotland Yard
Hi there, so in little steps:

If I understood you correctly, you want to resit Maths, English language and then a selection of other GCSEs. That ought to be fine since there's only a requirement for getting a minimum grade in Maths and English GCSE in several universities. It'll be good to study the others though to give you some basic knowledge for your A-Levels (although they're probably not stricly necessary).

You can sit your GCSEs in June if you wish and think you'll be ready! Just remember to register for them with your school or an exam centre.

I honestly don't know how the universities could react to your re-sitting. Medical schools are unusually funny (in a bad way) about letting applicants resit examinations, with most med schools having some sort of restriction on resits, be that that you need to have achieved a minimum grade to be able to resit or have extenuating circumstances, which you do. However, all these policies I've only ever really read in the context of A-Level resits and so the resit policy might be a bit more lenient for GCSE and you definitely seem to have several grounds for extenuating circumstances. You should probably message the admissions department of a couple of universities for clarification.

Jobs! The care sector is perpetually hiring in this country so you shouldn't struggle to find a job. You might consider being a care assistant, in a care home or if you want something a bit more flexible, a domiciliary care assistant, since they are 0-hour contracts and so you get to set your own working hours. However, having spent this last year doing just that I think 0-hour contracts are immoral, evil stuff and that they should be outlawed. You have no guaranteed paid, you won't be paid for travel time (or not enough), and the companies that use them tend to have some questionable business practices and tend to undervalue their workers. Care work is also hard, you'll be required to do some not so nice things, and when your clients come and then go (usually to hospital, never to be seen again)... it hits you like the emotional equivalent of a brick to the face. Despite all of what I just said, it's probably your best job option. Med schools will like that you did it, the zero-hourness of it means that you can fit it around your studies (try to, say, work mornings, study afternoons; or work two, three full days a week and then study the rest of the week. Up to you really!), and despite the unpleasant things you'll have to do and the emotional burden of it, it is a truly magnificent job that'll teach you a lot about humanity, kindness and life, and it's just a nice feeling knowing that you made a difference to the people that you take care for.

Don't worry about your age. I said in some other post that age is but an illusion in young adults :biggrin: Nobody will notice nor care, and uni is full of people of different ages so truly, it's not going to be a problem.

A-Levels: you need Chemistry. There are only like a grand total of 3 universities or some other crazy low number that will accept applicants without Chemistry at A-Level so you really need to take it to give you more options as to where to apply. Having dropped Psychology might look bad in many places since they like applicants that study and sit A-Levels in two years or less. But then again, you have some pretty compelling extenuating circumstances so who knows. Ask about this as well on that email you're going to send to unis asking about GCSE resits (I think you'll be fine on both accounts in enough med schools to apply due to your story but I don't know so please check with the people that do know - the unis themselves!).

Predictions: your reference provider should provide them for you. They might be OK to put whatever predicted you tell them but if they want some proof (they probably will), there are places that you can sit preliminary exams to generate predicted grades and your referee can use these to provide them.

I hope that covers everything... sorry for the long post:colondollar: let me know if I missed anything. Good luck!

Hi there,
Yes, I’m going to take GCSE English Language, maths, triple or double science, sociology, religious studies, human biology (looks sooo interesting and an easy grade:h:), media studies or psychology… We will see.

I honestly fear for the re sitting policies but I have looked at GCSE requirements for some unis and I haven’t seen anything about re sitting so perhaps I should contact unis that I think I would like to go to. I could always take a foundation year but then they could be the same about re sits… I haven’t been diagnosed with anything so I’m not sure if they’d consider me and the re sits… I could just ask them if I would need a diagnosis or something. But I can’t give them evidence of me being bullied or suffering at school which is a shame.

Yes, the 0 contract hours seems like a good thing for me as I won’t need to stick to strict hours and work schedules so that is a good choice. It will also look good on work experience :smile:. I’ll definitely look into that! Thank you!!

I’m definitely going to pick Biology and Chem but I could do Environmental science (if that’s accepted into med school), instead of re studying Psychology but I feel like I’d get a good grade in that because I enjoyed it. But Environmental Science also looks interesting to me but not sure if that’s a weird subject for medicine lol and I’d also need to find field work.

Or an Access to medicine? But that’s probably not accepted in most universities.

I just feel ever so old and silly for choosing medicine. I know I’m not old but I just need to stop comparing myself to others around me. I’m planning on studying GCSEs and A-Levels to surprise my family and I’m just going to say I’m studying GCSEs for fun and A-Levels for fun but if I can get into Medicine, that will be a surprise and I won’t mention it to them until I ever get an offer!! :h: I do need to tell my boyfriend though but I honestly don’t know how his parents or he will react I just have the feeling of embarrassment for being so behind as his parents don’t know my mental health issues from the past as that’s not something I really want to share as it’s quite a touchy subject and my boyfriend kind of knows I struggled but he doesn’t know how or what (we are new in the relationship) and I find it hard because I don’t know if they’ll get me. I’ll be fine though and I’ll decide before talking to him about it 🤣… He does know I have PCOS and struggle with pain (possible Endometriosis) and I just really want to work as a Gynaecologist or Radiologist with imaging and ultrasounds 🙏🏼… I always research things and I always post awareness posts or research I have found on my instagram story and I just really want to support people.
Is it normal to overthink like this?

I’ll give them an email to see what they think and say about my circumstances. Hopefully it’s all fine!! 🤞🏼

But for the GCSEs, I’m going to take them all in June :smile: I hope I can get the content covered and revised in time. I’m sure GCSEs aren’t as content heavy as A-Levels so it should be ok. Do you think it’s achievable?

I may look into an online college provider. Are these worth it? Like Open Study college? Not sure if they’re actually good though so I’ll do some research.

Honestly, you have been a massive help and your post was amazing so I appreciate that sooo much :u:
(edited 9 months ago)
Original post by futuremedgirl
Hi Nellie,
I haven’t told anyone around me about me considering medicine because of the fact that I don’t know how people will react but I have decided to surprise my family with doing my GCSEs and A-Levels alone but of course, I’ll tell my boyfriend:smile:. I just still feel awkward about my age! I hope everything works out!

Ahhh, I’m thinking of studying GCSE English Language, Maths, Triple / Double science, Sociology, Human Biology (does that GCSE count even though it’s similar to Biology?) , Religious studies and some other GCSE that I’ll look for… maybe Media?

Thanksss for the link! I’m either going to study A-Level Biology, Chemistry and is Environmental science accepted for medicine? I would like to do A-Level psychology but I already studied it for 6 months previously and not studying anymore as now doing GCSEs and then doing A-Levels that are science based.
So, doing a two year programme with it would mean 2 years and 6 months and I’m not sure if that’s allowed unless I start psychology a-level later to the other A-Levels? But then it’s not 3 years so I’m sure it’s okay?
Or I could do an Access course to Medicine as that’s a quicker way and probably a good choice…. what would you think is better for me? I’ll be 20 when starting the Level 3 qualifications.

Yes, I’ll see if I can work in a carehome and my mum works in one so I could easily get a job.

Also, what work experience do you need to do?
Thank you ever so much :smile:


@futuremedgirl I'd agree with @Scotland Yard that it would be a good idea to get in contact with the admissions teams for the unis that you're considering directly as their probably best placed to help you specifically with which subjects to take. You can ask about their resit policy and it might also be worth finding out if you meet their contextual criteria, and what your mitigating circumstances mean for your application to them.

Work experience requirements were different in my year because of COVID but if you've worked in a care home for a few months, that will be more than enough. It's less about what you've actually done and more to do with how you talk about it in your personal statement and at interview- don't worry about finding a doctor to shadow.

In terms of your age, it probably feels like a big deal at the moment but please try not to worry about this! So many people start uni when they're a bit older and have the same experience as everyone else. My flatmate is 6 years older than the rest of us doing the same course, and we always forget that she didn't finish college at the same time we did!

Hope this helps!

Nellie

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