13th August 12
Virtually all Medical Schools in the UK require you get at least 3 As at A Level. This is a given. What those A Levels actually are depends on the University in question but you can almost guarantee that they need to be based firmly in the sciences – Biology, Chemistry and Physics – oh, and Maths too. A lot will also hinge on how your interview with them goes, and what offer they make you. But going on last year’s statistics, this is what sort of results the country’s leading medical schools to expect from you.
University of Cambridge – A typical offer from Cambridge will be A*AA in three of Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths and an A2 in Biology or Chemistry is highly desirable.
University of Oxford – Expect to be asked for three As at A Level, an AS Level in Chemistry and one of Maths, Biology or Physics in there as well.
University of Edinburgh – Most likely you will be asked for three As and at least one B grade at A Level, an AS in Chemistry and to have an AS Level in Maths, Biology or Physics in your locker too.
UCL Medical School – You’ll need at least three As and one B grade or higher. UCL also like AS Levels in Biology AND Chemistry as a minimum requirement.
Imperial College – requirements for Imperial last year ranger from three As and a B to three As and a C at A Level. You’ll also need to find AS or A2 levels in Chemistry and/or Biology.
That was the easy bit. It takes about ten years to become a fully qualified doctor. You’ll spend a minimum of five years studying, after which you will be qualified to practise medicine. The first couple of years at medical school will be dominated by lectures and theory as you develop your skills and they get you ready for your first hospital placements…which usually begins in your third year. During this time you’ll spend quite a lot of time learning on the job in NHS hospitals all over the country.
Third year studies will most likely cover surgery and medicine. The fourth year will focus on even more complex medical procedures such as oncology and respiratory medicine. The fifth year will see you specialising in areas such as Gynaecology, A&E and Obstetrics.
Once you graduate there’s a paid compulsory two year foundation programme you need to complete, after which a GP will probably need to put in another three years paid study. Once you’ve qualified, if you want to specialise in other forms of medicine you’ll need to study even more. In reality, medical knowledge is constantly advancing and doctors are learning on the job all the time and for the rest of their careers.
Loads. By the time you graduate you will have experienced hundreds of hours of on the job training, and should be able to assess and diagnose patients and manage their treatment. You will have knowledge and understanding of all the legal and moral issues that come with a career in medicine. And you will have developed a superhuman ability to go days and days without sleep and yet still be able to operate at an incredibly professional level.
I know what you’re thinking: all these NHS cuts are going to affect your job prospects right? Wrong. Being a doctor is a job for life. People will always be ill, and they will always need people to tent to them.