How important are my GCSE grades?

There is a large discrepancy between medical schools as to how they use your GCSE results for their selection processes. The minimum requirements seem to be a C grade in Mathematics, English and the science subjects with most medical schools asking for B grades at a minimum.

This can mean that it doesn't matter too much about your GCSEs, you can still continue with your dream of becoming a doctor! If you have good GCSE grades, then that can be a bonus. However, don't worry if they aren't amazing - they don't need to all be A* grades!

If you have stellar GCSE grades, then you should considering applying to Birmingham, King's College London, Edinburgh (8+ A* grades), Cardiff, Leicester and Oxford (you want 90% A* grades).

Therefore, having good GCSEs can certainly put you at an advantage for some universities. However, because there are lots of medical schools each with their own criteria, it is not essential for you to have 10+ A* grades.

On this post, I used to have a long list of the grades needed for various medical schools, but now I don't have enough time to really double check all of the information each year, and I hope you can forgive me! The Student Room page with the GCSE requirements for the medical schools is a pretty good guide and is fairly up to date, although always check on the individual university websites for the latest information.

A great website to check where you meet the minimum GCSE requirements for is Unireq - just put in your grades and it tells you where you can and can't apply!


  1. Hi , your blog is really informative + helpful ! I'm a year 12 student from the UK and I'm about to start the IB . I have always considered going on a gap year after year 13 and was curious as to whether this would be a sensible thing to do if I wanted to study medicine at university later on ? Also my gcses are great and I am happy with them but they are mediocre for medicine : 3.5/4 A* 7A 2B 1D . If I do take this gap year and get 38+ in the IB , do my gcse results become irrelevant and all that matters is my admissions exams + my ib score ? Thank you !

  2. Universities won't mind you taking a gap year at all, although it kind of depends what you do with it - they are probably gonna ask you what you plan to do in the gap year
    As for the GCSEs, I don't think that taking a gap year will change how they view them - so if the university cares about GCSEs a lot, then that is probably not gonna change if you take a gap year or not
    I wouldn't say that your GCSEs are necessarily 'mediocre', but you may wanna stay away from the universities that place a large emphasis on your GCSE grades (like Oxford/Birmingham/King's/etc.)

  3. I used the link you recommend to check where I can apply and happy to dee all green to Medicine and law, that was fun!

  4. Hi, in my GCSEs I got 1 A* and 10 As - I'd love to do medicine but I keep worrying over whether my GCSEs will be good enough, since I'm always hearing stories about how you need like, 6 A*s to get in because the competition's so high.

    1. You only need those sorts of grades at places that want them. Although quite a few medical schools are looking for a good set of GCSEs, there are lots of universities that only want a certain minimum requirement, and as long as you meet this, then you should be fine in that part of your application! Unfortunately, will take some time to research all the different medical schools and what they want for GCSEs, but not having loads of A*s does NOT mean that you can't apply for medicine!

  5. Hi , I'm just not sure if its worth me applying to UCL, Leicester, Exeter and Kings as though I'm predicted 4 As at AS level, I really under performed at GCSE. (Wasn't sure what i wanted to do and I basically convinced my young naive self that they weren't important :() Got 4 As and 6Bs :(

    1. OK so here is my specific advice on the universities you are considering:
      I would probably stay away from King's; they use GCSEs and UKCAT, and a lot of people that apply have lots of A* grades - I think most successful applicants have around 9 on average! Leicester is another university I wouldn't apply for, unless you manage to absolutely smash your UKCAT! Here is a link to their admissions policy: I would imagine you would need at least 62 (out of 68) to get an interview, maybe even a higher score!
      UCL do take GCSEs into account, but I think AS levels are more important, and your GCSEs shouldn't be too much of a problem if the rest of your application is strong. Unfortunately I don't know enough about Exeter's policy to give you an opinion on that particular university.
      Hope this is helpful!

  6. Hi! May I ask about my choices of universities? I got 680 for my UKCAT and band 2 for SJT. I have 4A* for both my AS and A level. I am planning to sit for BMAT. I am not really confident about my personal statement. I am not sure if it is worth me applying to UCL, Cardiff, Bristol and Sheffield. Or I should consider choosing Queen Mary, Manchester and Imperial? Thank you in advance!

    1. Your AS and A level grades will be good for UCL! Cardiff only use UKCAT in borderline situations but look at GCSEs. You should meet the cutoff at Manchester and Sheffield.
      Imperial will depend on your BMAT (they have cutoff bands, so look into these and see how confident you feel about it)
      QM is a potentially good choice, but I feel that your UKCAT may be a little bit low. They actually publish example scores of successful scores, so have a look at these and compare them to your own.


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