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Can I get into imperial/ucl/Cambridge/oxford MEDICINE with bad gcse grades

My grades are
Maths biology German - 6
English lit/lang - 7
Physics/chem- 7
Religious studies/geog - 8
Tech - 9
Imperial, UCL, and Cambridge yes. Imperial and UCL just require minimum grades in English and for UCL, maths, and thereafter don't score GCSEs. Cambridge do consider GCSEs but review them holistically and in context with the rest of your application so it would be possible.

Oxford however shortlist entirely on the basis of GCSEs and BMAT score, and without all 8/9 grades across the board you wouldn't be competitive for Oxford. But as above, there are plenty of medical schools that just have minimum GCSE requirements and don't score GCSEs otherwise you can apply to.
Reply 2
Original post by imbambob
My grades are
Maths biology German - 6
English lit/lang - 7
Physics/chem- 7
Religious studies/geog - 8
Tech - 9

Yes you can, as they meet the requirements BUT, with only a 6 in Biology, it is going to be a tall order to get an A/A* in A-level Biology, plus why are you asking about these particular unis for medicine, as all medical schools are equal. There is no good/bad medical school.
Reply 3
Original post by lalexm
Yes you can, as they meet the requirements BUT, with only a 6 in Biology, it is going to be a tall order to get an A/A* in A-level Biology, plus why are you asking about these particular unis for medicine, as all medical schools are equal. There is no good/bad medical school.

It’s just that I want to try and push myself further if I’m interested to apply to a Russel group, and there’s not very many universities near me that offer medicine and ones in London are quite suitable for me to travel to. I’m on the south coast so there’s not a lot of opportunity here. I was asking about my grades in gcse mainly because I was told they weren’t very good overall.
Thank you for responding and I’ll try my best to get A/A* in biology I appreciate it
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
Imperial, UCL, and Cambridge yes. Imperial and UCL just require minimum grades in English and for UCL, maths, and thereafter don't score GCSEs. Cambridge do consider GCSEs but review them holistically and in context with the rest of your application so it would be possible.

Oxford however shortlist entirely on the basis of GCSEs and BMAT score, and without all 8/9 grades across the board you wouldn't be competitive for Oxford. But as above, there are plenty of medical schools that just have minimum GCSE requirements and don't score GCSEs otherwise you can apply to.

What does it mean if a university reviews it holistically? Sorry I’m quite new to this uni stuff.
Thank you for responding I appreciate it :smile:
Reply 5
Original post by artful_lounger
Imperial, UCL, and Cambridge yes. Imperial and UCL just require minimum grades in English and for UCL, maths, and thereafter don't score GCSEs. Cambridge do consider GCSEs but review them holistically and in context with the rest of your application so it would be possible.

Oxford however shortlist entirely on the basis of GCSEs and BMAT score, and without all 8/9 grades across the board you wouldn't be competitive for Oxford. But as above, there are plenty of medical schools that just have minimum GCSE requirements and don't score GCSEs otherwise you can apply to.


If I were to apply to Cambridge would you say I could work hard in my a levels, admission test, do a good personal statement with work experience? And they’d be able to consider me at least for an interview?
Reply 6
Original post by imbambob
What does it mean if a university reviews it holistically? Sorry I’m quite new to this uni stuff.
Thank you for responding I appreciate it :smile:

You might be referring to Cambridge as that is a term they use a lot. Basically it means they consider all the evidence they have on you e.g GCSE, A-levels, personal statement, school references, entrance exams, interview etc and then make a decision based on that as a whole. They don’t have any specific ranking or weighting on each individual piece, so you can maybe do less well on one thing if you do really well in the others.
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by imbambob
If I were to apply to Cambridge would you say I could work hard in my a levels, admission test, do a good personal statement with work experience? And they’d be able to consider me at least for an interview?


In principle yes. Cambridge generally view an "upwards trajectory in grades" favourably. Note though that Cambridge have a higher than usual standard offer for medicine (A*A*A) and unlike other medical schools, in order to achieve a competitive score for them in interview and in the BMAT, you realistically need to be doing three STEM subjects at A-level (i.e. chemistry plus two from biology/physics/maths).

Original post by imbambob
What does it mean if a university reviews it holistically? Sorry I’m quite new to this uni stuff.
Thank you for responding I appreciate it :smile:

As above, it means they look at the entire application when reviewing things, whereas a lot of medical schools shortlist on only one or two aspects and just have minimum standards in other areas that if you meet them, you tick that box and you move on in the process. UCL also considers things holistically although I believe they have stated before they don't score GCSEs (perhaps at least for shortlisting for interviews).
Reply 8
Original post by artful_lounger
In principle yes. Cambridge generally view an "upwards trajectory in grades" favourably. Note though that Cambridge have a higher than usual standard offer for medicine (A*A*A) and unlike other medical schools, in order to achieve a competitive score for them in interview and in the BMAT, you realistically need to be doing three STEM subjects at A-level (i.e. chemistry plus two from biology/physics/maths).


As above, it means they look at the entire application when reviewing things, whereas a lot of medical schools shortlist on only one or two aspects and just have minimum standards in other areas that if you meet them, you tick that box and you move on in the process. UCL also considers things holistically although I believe they have stated before they don't score GCSEs (perhaps at least for shortlisting for interviews).


UCL now just BMAT ranking for shortlisting for interview and only interview performance for an offer :smile:
Original post by GANFYD
UCL now just BMAT ranking for shortlisting for interview and only interview performance for an offer :smile:

Thanks! That's good to know :smile:

I guess simplifies things for would be applicants to a point, although BMAT is even more of a gamble then!
Reply 10
Original post by artful_lounger
Thanks! That's good to know :smile:

I guess simplifies things for would be applicants to a point, although BMAT is even more of a gamble then!


Just for this year..... :lol:
Original post by GANFYD
Just for this year..... :lol:

PRSOM :biggrin:
Reply 12
Original post by artful_lounger
In principle yes. Cambridge generally view an "upwards trajectory in grades" favourably. Note though that Cambridge have a higher than usual standard offer for medicine (A*A*A) and unlike other medical schools, in order to achieve a competitive score for them in interview and in the BMAT, you realistically need to be doing three STEM subjects at A-level (i.e. chemistry plus two from biology/physics/maths).


As above, it means they look at the entire application when reviewing things, whereas a lot of medical schools shortlist on only one or two aspects and just have minimum standards in other areas that if you meet them, you tick that box and you move on in the process. UCL also considers things holistically although I believe they have stated before they don't score GCSEs (perhaps at least for shortlisting for interviews).


Do you know what imperial shortlist for interviews?
I’m taking psychology as a third which isn’t ideal for Cambridge and the chances are close to 0. Could I take maths or physics? I know that taking both would be beneficial both ways. I can work hard in maths but I know it will be extremely challenging for me. Is there any other subject that I could take maybe geography? I’ve heard it’s good for medicine also and is similar to stem. Other than that, what other universities are good? I’m thinking of applying to Southampton but I don’t know if I’m able to since it’s also Russel group.

I’m doing EPQ as well related to medicine, could that change my chances of getting an interview for Cambridge? Or would doing stem competitions/Olympiad’s be more helpful? Or any other suggestions?
Sorry for many questions but I’m very grateful for your responses.
Original post by imbambob
Do you know what imperial shortlist for interviews?
I’m taking psychology as a third which isn’t ideal for Cambridge and the chances are close to 0. Could I take maths or physics? I know that taking both would be beneficial both ways. I can work hard in maths but I know it will be extremely challenging for me. Is there any other subject that I could take maybe geography? I’ve heard it’s good for medicine also and is similar to stem. Other than that, what other universities are good? I’m thinking of applying to Southampton but I don’t know if I’m able to since it’s also Russel group.

I’m doing EPQ as well related to medicine, could that change my chances of getting an interview for Cambridge? Or would doing stem competitions/Olympiad’s be more helpful? Or any other suggestions?
Sorry for many questions but I’m very grateful for your responses.

I'd say just don't apply to Cambridge.

An EPQ is not likely to form part of an offer, although some medical schools may consider it. It may be something which is relevant to discuss in certain interview scenarios, but there would be other ways to approach the same question anyway. Olympiads or STEM competitions are unlikely to make a difference relative to not having a third STEM subject at Cambridge, although are likely to be welcomed there otherwise.

Ultimately which medical school you go to will not directly affect your career as a doctor in the UK, as the GMC considers all medical schools they accredit equal, and the NHS is the only provider of graduate medical training posts and takes the GMC stance, and also blinds recruiters to your medical school to ensure there is no bias. As a result there are not really any such thing as "good" or "bad" medical schools in the UK, and whether a medical school is in the Russell Group or not is of no relevance whatsoever.

In terms of Imperial shortlisting, you can find this information on their website (this is in fact true of all UK medicine courses as they are very transparent about their processes, and should be your first step in preparing a medicine application): https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate/medicine/

For the sake of completeness, their shortlisting is as follows:

"The selection panel is comprised of teachers in undergraduate education with experience in the admissions process, who will decide whether to offer the candidate an interview.

These decisions are ratified by one of the admissions tutors. The following criteria may be considered when assessing your application:

A-level or equivalent predicted (or achieved) grades
BMAT scores
Evidence of commitment to the values of the NHS Constitution
Motivation and understanding of medicine as a career
Community activities
Leadership and teamwork
Extracurricular interests
Referee’s report"
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 14
Thanks a lot for this I appreciate it, do you know if it’s recommended for me to apply for University of Southampton which is the nearest for me that offers medicine? And can I still apply to UCL with psychology as a third?
And is the admission for ICL the UCAT now?
Please recommend some universities that may offer me an interview in terms of these grades also if you can, thank you :smile:

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