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Torn between where to apply?

Hi everyone,
I am applying to medicine very soon, but I’m really not sure where to apply, especially for the UCAT unis. My school have said I need to decide very soon but I’m not sure.
My grades are: 11 9s at GCSE (including AQA L2 further maths so not sure if it’s 10 or 11 GCSEs), 4 A* predictions in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. My UCAT was 3310 and I have a pretty good personal statement.

My current thinking is between a few different sets: (Oxford, UCL, KCL, Cardiff or (Oxford) UCL, QMUL, Bristol/St George), or maybe a different 4th choice to Cardiff or St George.

Does anyone know the best medical schools to apply to for backup safety 4th slot, I was thinking Cardiff but it’s a bit far from where I live in East London. Also, is applying to 3 hard medical schools advisable or too risky?

I would really appreciate any help!
Hey there, thanks for posting a question in the Medicine forum. :biggrin:

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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
Medicine Interview discussion 2023 Entry
2023 entry A100 / A101 Medicine fastest and slowest offer senders
Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

2024 Applicants :
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2024 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2024 Entry
GAMSAT 2024 / 2025 entry discussions megathread
UCAT 2024 Entry Discussions Megathread

Other application years:
Graduate Entry Medicine 2025 Entry
Official Undergraduate 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 Mrmedicine23
Hi everyone,
I am applying to medicine very soon, but I’m really not sure where to apply, especially for the UCAT unis. My school have said I need to decide very soon but I’m not sure.
My grades are: 11 9s at GCSE (including AQA L2 further maths so not sure if it’s 10 or 11 GCSEs), 4 A* predictions in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. My UCAT was 3310 and I have a pretty good personal statement.

My current thinking is between a few different sets: (Oxford, UCL, KCL, Cardiff or (Oxford) UCL, QMUL, Bristol/St George), or maybe a different 4th choice to Cardiff or St George.

Does anyone know the best medical schools to apply to for backup safety 4th slot, I was thinking Cardiff but it’s a bit far from where I live in East London. Also, is applying to 3 hard medical schools advisable or too risky?

I would really appreciate any help!

The places you cannot guarantee an interview are any BMAT med school, Cardiff, and unless a B1 SJT, Edinburgh and just possibly Nottingham. So I would certainly not pick 3 of those in any set. All will make decisions about offers from interview performance, so also depends a bit how you think you would perform at interview?
I would want 3 safe choices for interview, without worrying whether I am ill on BMAT day, or have IT issues, but if you are happy to accept this risk, your stats suggest you should do well.
I am also not sure what you mean by "hard medical schools"? You either meet requirements for an interview, or you don't, and for most UCAT med schools, you will make the shortlist. Oxford has a lowish interview to offer ratio of about 38%, but this is better than many and historically, UCL have had a high interview to offer ratio - though I am not sure what happened through the covid debacle!

If it were me, I would be looking at 1 BMAT, at most 2 and then 2 or 3 safe UCAT options - which is not Cardiff! Kings, Barts, Bristol, SGUL should all be fine, but UEA will use your UCAT as 50% of post interview scoring, as would Aberdeen, and if you have a B1, Edinburgh do the same and have a very high interview to offer ratio, usually, for RUK applicants, meaning you would have a headstart at these med schools for an offer.
Reply 3
Hi there,

Thanks so much for your reply - it’s greatly appreciated and has really helped me calm down a little :smile:

Can I just ask why you advised against applying to Cardiff, it is because they favour Welsh students or something else? To be honest, I think I’m going to try really hard for BMAT to give me a good chance at Oxford and UCL, and after you said kings was a good option I think that will be my third. The question comes down to the last option. I know there’s only so many medical schools but are you aware of any others that would guarantee me an interview with my UCAT and also have a high interview:redface:ffer ratio (ideally being pretty close to London as well). I’m considering Bristol, SGUL and Cardiff as my main options (probably not Cardiff any more though) and to a lesser extent, Southampton and UEA as well (after you mentioned they use UCAT post-interview). Are there any other medical schools you would recommend?

Once again, many thanks in advance for all your help it’s so appreciated!

p.s (I did manage a band 1 SJT if that helps narrow things down)
Reply 4
Original post by Mrmedicine23
Hi there,

Thanks so much for your reply - it’s greatly appreciated and has really helped me calm down a little :smile:

Can I just ask why you advised against applying to Cardiff, it is because they favour Welsh students or something else? To be honest, I think I’m going to try really hard for BMAT to give me a good chance at Oxford and UCL, and after you said kings was a good option I think that will be my third. The question comes down to the last option. I know there’s only so many medical schools but are you aware of any others that would guarantee me an interview with my UCAT and also have a high interview:redface:ffer ratio (ideally being pretty close to London as well). I’m considering Bristol, SGUL and Cardiff as my main options (probably not Cardiff any more though) and to a lesser extent, Southampton and UEA as well (after you mentioned they use UCAT post-interview). Are there any other medical schools you would recommend?

Once again, many thanks in advance for all your help it’s so appreciated!

p.s (I did manage a band 1 SJT if that helps narrow things down)


Cardiff use GCSEs and PS as their shortlisting criteria with UCAT as a tiebreaker, and the latter is very subjective, with lots of people with full GCSE marks and high UCATs who believe they have a good PS being rejected every year. I think they use contextual points pretty heavily and favour Welsh applicants.

I would be looking at UEA or Edinburgh (direct train) as you will have a lot of the 50% pre-interview scoring they use for making an offer. But Edinburgh may be a bit far away.
Literally, anywhere but Cardiff, Keele and Sunderland should interview you (and they may, but not guaranteed), of the UCAT med schools, so any of Bristol, SGUL, Soton would be fine - choose the one you like best.
Good luck :crossedf:
Reply 5
Original post by GANFYD
Cardiff use GCSEs and PS as their shortlisting criteria with UCAT as a tiebreaker, and the latter is very subjective, with lots of people with full GCSE marks and high UCATs who believe they have a good PS being rejected every year. I think they use contextual points pretty heavily and favour Welsh applicants.

I would be looking at UEA or Edinburgh (direct train) as you will have a lot of the 50% pre-interview scoring they use for making an offer. But Edinburgh may be a bit far away.
Literally, anywhere but Cardiff, Keele and Sunderland should interview you (and they may, but not guaranteed), of the UCAT med schools, so any of Bristol, SGUL, Soton would be fine - choose the one you like best.
Good luck :crossedf:

Thanks so much for all your help, I’ve just looked up the FOI for Bristol A100 in 2023, and they made 595 offers from 830 interviews, which is pretty high. Seeing as they also use UCAT to rank applicants I’ve got a better chance than other selection processes. Your advice has been really helpful thanks so much and let’s hope it goes well!
Reply 6
Original post by Mrmedicine23
Thanks so much for all your help, I’ve just looked up the FOI for Bristol A100 in 2023, and they made 595 offers from 830 interviews, which is pretty high. Seeing as they also use UCAT to rank applicants I’ve got a better chance than other selection processes. Your advice has been really helpful thanks so much and let’s hope it goes well!


You are fine getting an interview anywhere, except the 3 listed, trust me. At UEA 91% of people with a UCAT >3000 got an offer a couple of years ago.....

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