What GCSEs Do You Need to Be a Doctor in the UK?


  1. What GCSEs do you need to be a doctor?
  2. What are the best GCSE choices for being a doctor?
  3. What other GCSE subjects should you choose?
  4. What GCSE subjects are needed for medicine?


If you’re asking yourself “What GCSE grade do I need to become a cardiologist?”, “What GCSEs do you need to be a doctor?", or “Can I become a doctor with doubles science?” then you’re already laying a good foundation for a successful career in medicine. Getting into medical school can be a tough nut to crack, so focusing on choosing the right subjects at GCSE is a smart move. Becoming a doctor requires a lot of dedication and hard work and in many ways, it starts with your GCSE choices. Read on to find out how to make the right decisions to set you on the road to medical school. 🩺 student studying to be a doctor

What GCSEs do you need to be a doctor?


Your application to medical school will be decided according to several factors:

  • Your A-Level results
  • Your predicted grades
  • Your results from your University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
  • Your GCSEs

The competition for places in medicine courses is fierce. According to UCAS, out of the 76,940 people applying early to start university in autumn 2021, a whopping 28,690 of them applied to study medicine! That’s an increase of 4,970 on the number the year before. 🌊

Due to so much competition, the number of offers for medicine can be quite low, with, for example, Oxford University taking only 9 per cent of applicants.

This all means that the entry requirements for medical schools in the UK are some of the toughest out of all university courses and you really need to stand out from the crowd to get accepted. 

So, not only will universities be looking for students with excellent A-Levels, but they’ll also be looking at your GCSE results and subject choices, which makes “What GCSEs do you need to be a doctor?” a really important question. 

There are a few reasons why this is the case. 

With so many highly qualified candidates with possibly identical A-Level scores to choose from, universities need to look for other ways to select medical students. By looking at your GCSE subject choices, they can judge how dedicated you are to your career path. 

Also, at GCSE level, you learn many of the fundamental skills and concepts necessary for medicine. If the universities can see you doing well in the most relevant subjects even at the age of 15 or 16, they’re going to be more confident that you’re a good candidate when it comes to your UCAS applications. 🎓

Getting high marks at GCSE and continuing to achieve high marks at A-Level will show that they can trust you to be a hard-working, capable student who can cut the mustard at medical school. When it comes to applying for a medical course, you may not yet have your official A-Level results, so the university has to make a decision based on your predicted grades and they can also use your GCSEs as a guide to how you’ll do.

In many cases, your performance at GCSE may be the thing that convinces your target medical school to give you an interview and allow you to get your foot in the door.


What are the best GCSE choices for being a doctor?


Universities all have their own admissions procedures and so they will evaluate your GCSEs in different ways and some will have higher standards than others. If you have any particular unis in mind, you can check their requirements websites or get in touch with their admissions office by email or phone and ask for their criteria.

Your best bet is just to aim for the highest marks you can achieve, particularly in science and science-based subjects.

According to most entry requirements, the minimum number of GCSEs you can do and still have a chance is five, although nine or more is a better choice. These must include the compulsory subjects of English Language and Maths as well as Science. These are the most important subjects to study to be a doctor.

Setting GCSEs aside for a moment, remember that A-Levels are the most significant factor in your quest to study medicine at uni. 🏫

To get onto a medical course, you’ll need at least three A-Levels with most universities requiring Chemistry in combination with Biology, Maths or Physics. Many, such as Imperial and King's College London, require both Chemistry and Biology A-Levels. 

Choosing the right GCSEs is also important because these can determine which A-Levels you’re allowed to study and where.

So, to maximise your options at A-Level and uni, you should definitely choose to study Chemistry and Biology for GCSE. 

Many people ask “Is Physics necessary to become a doctor?”. The answer is that Physics is not compulsory, but it is widely accepted by medical schools in conjunction with Chemistry, so it’s also a good choice. 

It’s possible to take Chemistry plus Biology and/or Physics in the form of Double Award Science or, even better, Triple Award.

A grade 6 or B in these subjects might be acceptable to move on to A-Levels, but to apply to become a doctor 7-9 is often required and you should really be aiming as high as possible. At the very least, five of your GCSE results should be 7-9. But remember, this is the minimum requirement!


What other GCSE subjects should you choose?


Now that we’ve answered the question, “What GCSEs do you need to be a doctor?” and you have your science requirements met on your GCSE subjects list, you have a bit more freedom as to your other options. 🕊

If you’re really looking to fill a slot with another subject that could help in medicine, you could consider studying Latin. Although it’s no longer required for medical courses, a lot of medical vocabulary is Latin-based and studying it could give you a bit of a head start on your classmates. It’s also not a common choice these days, so it could make your application stand out just enough to get noticed. 

As for the rest, the best advice is to do subjects that you are good at and that you enjoy. Chances are you’ll do well in these exams and improve your scores across the board. Also, remember that if you’re serious about pursuing a medical career, your future is going to be heavy on STEM subjects, so this could be your last chance to sample a little of what an Arts and Humanities education has to offer. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for advice about your options. You’re going to make some really important decisions and your teachers will want to help you choose correctly. Go to the teachers of the subjects you’re considering and find out what the course will involve. Then decide if it sounds like something you will enjoy spending two years studying. 


What GCSE subjects are needed for medicine?


So, in a nutshell, to become a doctor you want to get as many high grades in as many GCSEs as you can manage. Nine GCSEs at grade 9 is your best target. If you can get close to this, a couple of 7s or 8s here or there isn’t the end of the world. They’re still very good grades and once you have them under your belt you can focus on your A-Levels.

If you’re dead set on a career as a doctor, you’ll need every advantage to rack up those grades. 

Here at GoStudent, we have professional tutors available to guide and support you through GCSE science subjects like Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Physics. Our experts can help you by making complicated concepts understandable and help you out with practical revision advice and valuable exam strategies. Hit this link to try out a free trial class today!