4 Ways To Become A Doctor Despite Bad GCSEs/A-Levels
Just because you’ve come out of school with bad grades doesn’t mean you can’t be a doctor. Sure, you probably feel a bit deflated right now (especially if you were expecting to do better), but that doesn’t mean all options are closed.
You can still become a doctor despite bad GCSE or A-level results.
In this article, we’ll explain how. You’ll learn:
- How you can still study medicine with poor grades straight out of school
- Alternative options to explore (that involve waiting or re-applying)
- Why it doesn’t really matter (that much) where you study medicine
- If it really “counts” to have a top name med school on your CV
Having explored each of these options ourselves, after just falling short of UK medical school requirements, we know how each works. The sadness of not getting the grades you want doesn’t have to last!
Ready to learn more? Let’s get going.
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Probably the best way to become a doctor (despite bad grades) and not waste any more years working to get there, is to look into studying medicine abroad.
International medical schools in countries like Armenia, Ukraine, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria, are all open to English-speaking applicants. With entry requirements below the standard AAA asked for by UK universities, the application process is a lot more open too. Especially as they attract applicants from all over the world.
One of the main benefits of choosing to study medicine abroad, aside from earning an internationally recognized medical qualification that allows you to practice anywhere, is that you can apply straight after results day.
This means no waiting around anxiously figuring out what to do next.
How About An Example?
At Medconnect Europe we work with several reputable medical schools with more relaxed admissions requirements that are open to students of medicine who perhaps didn’t get the grades they hoped for.
Ovidius University, one of the top medical schools in Romania, is just one of those. To apply successfully here you’ll need a minimum B in biology and chemistry and a pass in another subject.
Other schools MedConnect Europe represents will also accept students with lower grades than these.
Retake Your Exams
If you missed out marginally and felt it was a case of bad luck on the day, then retaking your exams to improve your grade could be a good option.
Raising your grade and reapplying again could help you score a place at a UK university and all the benefits that go with that.
But there are a lot of cons to this option also.
Some of these include:
- Spending another year (or more) studying and then attempting the exam
- Running the risk of retaking only to get the same (or worse) grade
- Still having to compete with UK candidates who met the grade requirements right away
You also have to consider that some UK medical schools specifically state they won’t accept students retaking. Check with the admissions requirements pages of the places you’re interested in (or send an email to the admission coordinators) to be sure.
Retaking isn’t always the best option!
One way to get past the pesky annoyances of retaking is to reapply for med school later. This is especially convenient if you’re still set on going to university in the UK (or your native country) and studying something other than medicine.
There are many cases of people going to university, studying a degree with some relevance to medicine and then going on to medicine later (Source).
Some places will even take active transfers into their medical program from degree courses like chemistry, biology and the like.
The way most of these students can still end up studying medicine is via graduate entry programs. Usually these are four year, “fast track” style courses that take your science background into consideration. The UK Medical Schools Council provides information about Graduate Entry Medicine here.
Note that it’s very competitive though – in some cases even more than undergraduate courses! (Source)
The final options you have available to you, if you can’t get in due to your grades the first time around, are things like Gateway to Medicine and Access courses.
Gateway to Medicine is aimed at widening participation among ethnic minorities or low-income household students.
Several British universities offer places with reduced admissions requirements for students who meet the eligibility criteria.
Access courses, on the other hand, are largely targeted at career changers or people with non-science backgrounds interested in medicine.
Explore these alternative options and see if they could be a good fit.
Summary: How To Study Medicine With Poor Grades
To wrap things up, you can definitely still become a doctor with bad grades. The four options above, although they each have their individual pros and cons, show that it’s possible.
Your dream isn’t over just because you didn’t get the grades you hoped for!