Lots of people still believe that to get into medicine you need 3 science A levels. This is not true. Most universities expect you to have 2 science A levels but accept most other subjects as a third choice. When choosing your A level subjects, you should take the following into account:

Chemistry: Virtually all medical schools want chemistry to at least AS level. Those that only ask for AS rather than A2 often require you to take biology to full A2 in it’s place. However, if you do not take A2 chemistry you will limit your options and we therefore recommend that you take chemistry as a full A level.

Biology: Again, most medical schools require biology to at least AS level. However, only 4 medical schools (at the time of writing) require A2 biology, provided you have A2 chemistry. We therefore recommend that you take at least AS biology.

Maths and further maths: Universities normally accept maths or further maths as a third A level. However, you should not do both together as many medical schools stipulate that they will only consider one of these subjects.

General studies: At the time of writing, no medical school will accept general studies. You can do A level general studies if you wish but you will need 3 other A level subjects at the right grades to be accepted.

Critical thinking: Some medical schools don’t accept critical thinking for the purposes of making an offer, so again you should do at least 3 other A level subjects if you want to take this subject.

Other subjects: As a general rule, most other subjects are acceptable as a third A level choice. If you take chemistry and biology to A2 you can normally choose any other subject you like (with the above exceptions). However, medical schools vary and you should always check the university website and contact the admissions team if you are unsure. We have a course guide to help you get started, but you should always check with the medical school before you make any choices.

Finding an A level course

In summary, there are 2 options for those wishing to study A levels:

Courses Based at FE Colleges or Schools
To find your nearest course, we suggest searching the learndirect website or the hotcourses website. If you cannot find courses in your area, try searching for colleges on the Yell website and contacting them directly.

Distant Learning Courses
There are various distance learning schemes offering A levels. However, you should be aware that many courses also require practical exams to be undertaken. As practical sessions cannot be completed via distance learning, you will need to find a school or college who will allow you to take the practical exams at their centre. If you intend to do a distance learning course, make sure you have arranged your practical sessions before you sign up. You can use the learndirect website to find distance learning courses or follow the links below.

National Extension College (NEC)

Oxford College

If you come across other courses we should be aware of, please do let us know at [email protected]