The Student Room Group

How to pick universities?

I want to study medicine and I'm very set on Exeter Uni- but obviously I know that I need more than 1 option. However, since Exeter is so perfect for me (I want to join the Navy and all my training would be in the South West, the course looks perfect, I love the closeness to the sea, the city itself is amazing etc) every other uni doesn't appeal to me at all. Any advice?
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The "Which Medical School Should I Apply To?" Uberthread
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A100 Medicine for International Students 2023 Entry
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Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

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Medicine is very different to most courses. You can of course choose to apply to any med school if you wish to, because you like the idea of it. However this is often likely to result in failure unfortunately.

The absolute best way to get a medicine offer is to make a strategic application based on your GCSEs grades/ A level subjects and most importantly, your UCAT score as this is the thing that is likely to make the biggest difference to which med schools you will be recommended to apply for.

So learn about the UCAT, think about when you wish to sit it and plan your summer a bit. The more time after your UCAT the more time you have to work out the best strategy for you. But you will also need to give yourself some time to do plenty of revision.

Once you have your scores then post your information in the which med school megathread and hopefully people will be able to give you some hints. Fingers crossed Exeter is one they suggest.

Have a look at the current megathread and see how much the UCAT affects it in the meantime.

Read the first post to see what info is required.
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 3
Original post by University of Bath

It’s great to hear that you have a clear goal for where you want to be but yes, you do need some other options too so definitely try to keep an open mind. Here is some advice/ an approach you could consider:

There are only ~40 medical schools across the whole UK so this narrows down your options greatly. I would make a list/ table of all of these and eliminate based on preferences that you really want. You could consider course rankings which can be found on the complete university guide here: Medicine Rankings 2024 ( Also, the National students survey gathers anonymised student opinions on the quality of their course and compare lots of aspects of university life which could help your decision. I would also look at course structure, graduate prospects, facilities, and opportunities that are offered and move to the top of your list accordingly. Another important thing to consider is the entry requirements i.e. is a UKCAT required. Ensure that you have an insurance choice with lower entry requirements than your firm choice in case it doesn’t quite go to plan on results day!

Once you have some good options, you can then consider attending their open days to find out more about the course and student life. The Complete University Guide offers some great further advice and a good checklist on how to choose the right university for you, here: A student's guide to choosing the right UK university (

I hope this helps!

Sharon (3rd year student)

Sorry, but this is absolutely how not to make choices as to where to study medicine.

Course rankings are irrelevant for uk clinical medicine - any job application is blinded wrt which med school people attended, so it has no impact on prospects or career, hence graduate prospects are identical, wherever you study.

As mentioned above, people need to apply to somewhere that suits their stats - strategic application is key. OP mentions Exeter, well currently, you need 3 A*s at A level plus a high UCAT to even be considered.
Med schools shortlist in lots of different ways, and someone with 12 x 9s GCSE and an average UCAT should apply somewhere very different to someone with 5 x 6s at GCSE and a top decile UCAT. Very few people are lucky enough to have masses of options.
The same comes with Firm and Insurance as the majority of med schools need the same grade, so it is not always possible to Insure one with a lower grade.

As advised, OP should obtain all their stats then come look for advice on where to apply or start their own spreadsheet based on where they are likely to be shortlisted. If there are enough options, these can then be ranked in terms of preference

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