What A Levels for Medicine: Best Picks for Aspiring Docs

What A Levels for Medicine: Best Picks for Aspiring Docs

February 14, 2024 | 3months | General

Choosing the right A-Levels is a crucial step for any aspiring doctor. Your A-level choices can determine your eligibility for medical school, the subjects you will study during your degree, and even your future career options.

So, you may wonder, "what A-levels should I take to enter medicine school"? And what are the best A-Levels to complement the mandatory subjects? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key subjects that will pave your path to becoming a successful doctor.

What A Levels do you need for Medicine?

When it comes to A-Levels for medicine, there are no strict requirements set in stone. However, most medical schools in the UK have preferences for specific subjects. These subjects are seen as the foundation for medical study and provide students with essential knowledge and skills needed for their future profession.

The core subjects that are highly recommended for aspiring doctors are Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. Let's delve deeper into these subjects to understand their importance and relevance in the medical field.

What are the best A-Levels for Medicine?

The list of subjects that can be beneficial for entering medicine school includes core subjects and optional, or desirable ones. The most important universities require having Chemistry at A-level, and other science subjects students can choose from, including Biology, Physics, and Maths. Apart from these, students can select other subjects that will provide them with skills they will find useful and that will enhance their applications.

Core subjects

Core subjects are those which are mandatory to enter university courses, and which will grant you with all the necessary knowledge to enter this path.


This is a key subject for aspiring doctors. It helps students develop a deep understanding of chemical reactions and how substances interact with each other. In medicine, this knowledge is crucial for understanding drug actions, metabolism, and biochemistry.

When studying the A-level Chemistry online course, you will learn all you need to know about physical, organic, and inorganic chemistry. The syllabus will provide you with all the knowledge you need about the structure and function of molecules found in living organisms, setting the path for medicine and pharmacology.

Chemistry is the most compulsory subject in the entry requirements of prestigious universities.


This is a fundamental subject for medicine. It explores the intricate workings of the human body, from the smallest cells to complex organ systems.

When studying the A Level Biology online course at CloudLearn, you will delve into the fascinating world of cells, learning about their structure and function. You will explore the different organ systems of the human body, understanding how they work together to maintain homeostasis. Additionally, you will learn about genetics, inheritance patterns, and genes' role in health and disease.

If you want to study medicine but are not very keen on this subject, we highly suggest revising for biology extra hard, as you will need it for your future.


Physics plays a crucial role in understanding the principles of medical imaging, such as X-rays and ultrasound. Additionally, physics concepts, such as forces and motion, can be applied to biomechanics, which studies the movement of the human body.

When studying Physics A-Level, you will explore the laws that govern the physical world, such as Newton's laws of motion and the principles of energy and electricity. You will learn about the properties of light and sound, and understand how they can be used in medical imaging techniques.

Additionally, you will gain knowledge about the mechanics of the human body, learning about the forces involved in walking, running, and other physical activities, and even how these can affect human health positively or negatively.


Mathematics may not be a core A-level requirement for all medical schools, but it is highly recommended. It helps develop problem-solving skills and logical reasoning, which are essential in medicine. Mathematics is particularly relevant in understanding medical statistics, drug dosage calculations, and complex data analysis.

When studying the maths A-level course, you will explore various branches of the subject, such as algebra, calculus, and statistics. You will learn how to solve complex equations, analyse data, and interpret graphs. This knowledge will be applied to medical scenarios, where you will calculate drug dosages, examine patient data, and interpret research findings.

Useful subjects for your application

In addition to the core subjects, other A-level subjects can enhance your medical school application and broaden your knowledge base too. They may not be mandatory or the first options to consider, but they can demonstrate your multidisciplinary aptitude and passion for healthcare in combination with core subjects.


Studying psychology can provide valuable insights into human actions and mental processes. It can help aspiring doctors understand the psychological aspects of patient care, from communication to mental health disorders.

When studying psychology A-level, you will explore various topics, such as cognitive processes, social behaviour, and abnormal psychology. You will gain an understanding of how the mind works and how it influences behaviour. This knowledge will be invaluable in developing empathy, communication skills, and a holistic approach to patient care.


Sociology explores the social systems and structures that shape individuals and societies. Understanding sociological concepts can be valuable in dealing with healthcare inequalities, cultural competency, and ethical dilemmas in medical practice.

When studying Sociology A-Level course, you will explore how socialization impacts health culture. You will gain insights into the social determinants, with factors such as gender, social class, and economic status, affecting people's access to health and their behaviour within the healthcare system (treatment adhesion, illness prevention, sexual education, etc.).

This knowledge will enable you to approach healthcare with a broader perspective, understanding the social factors that influence health outcomes.


Strong communication skills are essential for doctors. Studying this subject can help you develop your written and verbal communication abilities, which are crucial for writing reports, communicating with patients, and presenting research findings.

When studying English A-Level, you will develop your reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. You will analyse texts, explore different writing styles, and learn how to effectively communicate ideas. This knowledge will be invaluable in your medical career, where clear and concise communication is essential for building rapport with patients and effectively conveying complex medical information.

Non-accepted subjects

While there are recommended and useful subjects for aspiring doctors, there are also subjects that are generally not accepted or do not add significant value to your medical school application. These subjects include General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, Global Perspectives, and similar courses that are too general. It's always best to consult with medical schools directly regarding their specific subject requirements, as these may vary from one school to another.

Extracurricular activities

Apart from A-level subjects, extracurricular activities can greatly enhance your medical school application. Participating in activities related to healthcare, such as volunteering at hospitals, shadowing doctors, or conducting medical research, demonstrates your dedication and passion for medicine.

Engaging in sports, leadership roles, and community service can also showcase your well-rounded personality and transferable skills.

By engaging in extracurricular activities, you will demonstrate your commitment to the field of medicine and showcase qualities such as teamwork, leadership, and empathy. These experiences will not only enhance your application but also contribute to your personal and professional growth.

Best A-level combination for medicine

Choosing the best A Level combination for medicine depends on your interests, strengths, and aspirations. Although there is no definitive answer, a popular combination among aspiring doctors is Biology, Chemistry, and either Physics or Mathematics.

These combinations cover the core subjects while allowing you to explore the fields of biology and physical sciences in depth. However, always consider your strengths and passion when making your A-level choices.

Let's not forget that the final goal of achieving A-levels is entering university, so let's take a look at which are the prerequisites and the most important A-level subjects to enter the top medicine schools. This information has been compiled from the universities' official websites, but we recommend checking them yourself for updated details.

Oxford University

To enter the medicine course at Oxford University, you need to achieve at least A*AA grades (excluding Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills, and General Studies). These grades must be achieved for Chemistry and either Maths, Further Maths, Biology or Physics. Apart from these, there are no recommendations regarding suggested additional subjects or courses.

Additionally, students need to sit for the Biomedical Admissions Tests (BMAT), which evaluates their ability to apply their knowledge in these subjects to the medical area.

Cambridge University

As you may know, Cambridge University is made up of different colleges, and each of them has its own entry restrictions. For specific details, you can enter each of their websites, but the general recommendations include achieving A*A*A in Chemistry and one in Biology, Physics, and Mathematics (basic or further). Students also need to sit for the BMAT.

University of St. Andrew's Medicine School

In St. Andrew's, the entry requirements to enter university school include having an Upper First or Second Honours degree in Science within the previous 3 years before entry, a B grade in Chemistry A-levels, and B grades in Biology, English and Mathematics at GCSE.

Minimum Grades Is Chemistry compulsory? Other requisites
Oxford A*AA Maths, Further Maths, Biology or Physics + BMAT
Cambridge A*A*A Biology, Physics, Mathematics (basic or Further) + BMAT
St. Andrew's B Not specified
Birmingham A*AA Biology + Predicted AAA A-levels
Lancaster AAA or AAB Two of Biology, Chemistry or Psychology + EPQ

Setting your budget? You might be interested in our guide on How Much Do Private A Levels Cost?

Unlock your Medicine journey with CloudLearn courses!

If you're looking for online courses to prepare for A-levels and, eventually, enter medicine school, CloudLearn offers all the main subjects included in the entry requirements. From Biology and Chemistry to Maths and Physics, CloudLearn's A-Level courses provide in-depth knowledge and support to help you excel in your journey toward medical school while being able to study at your own pace, fast-track courses, and adjust your schedule as needed. Enrol today!

If you are still in doubt, have a look at Abi's journey to find out how to get AAA in A levels. This way, you can understand how to set up a monthly study plan to reach your goals and achieve the grades you need to enter your top university choices.

Achieve A-Level Excellence!
We can guarantee exam success at CloudLearn.


How many A-levels are required for Medicine?

Typically, medical schools in the UK require students to have three A Levels, with Chemistry being mandatory and the other two Science subjects being optional. It's essential to check the specific requirements of each medical school you are interested in applying to.

Can you study medicine in the UK without A-levels?

While A-levels are the traditional route for studying medicine in the UK, there are alternative pathways available. Some medical schools accept alternative qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Access to Medicine courses. Conduct your own research about specific entry requirements for your desired university, as some only accept A-levels, and others have a more open view of varied options.

How do you get into medical school with bad A-levels?

Some medical schools may consider contextual admissions, taking into account your personal circumstances and educational background. In such cases, it's important to showcase your motivation, commitment to medicine, and any relevant achievements or experiences you have gained. Additionally, you can consider retaking A-levels or pursuing alternative pathways, such as a foundation course in biomedical sciences, to improve your chances of getting into medical school.

What medical schools in the UK do not require Chemistry?

Some of the universities that do not require Chemistry at A-level are Buckingham, Lancaster, Leeds, Newcastle, Anglia Runkin, Brunel, East Anglia, and Keele. While Oxbridge requires this subject as a mandatory requisite, in these universities it is optional. However, we highly recommend taking this subject anyway, as it will grant you essential knowledge for your future career in medicine.

What is the lowest grade to get into Medicine UK?

Most universities require at least AAA A-levels, but some of them allow B grades in non-science subjects. Keep in mind that these are minimum requirements, and aiming higher is always advisable to increase your chances of making your way into the university.

Can you get into medicine with AAB?

Some universities allow entering medical school with grades lower than A*A*A, but you should research your desired universities for specific entry requirements. For instance, St. Andrew's University only requires students to achieve a minimum of B in Chemistry, allowing students to enter these courses even with lower grades.

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