Being a doctor is a high stress, but high reward, job. These rewards are both financial and personal. However, the road to becoming a doctor is one that you ideally start at a young age, because good GCSEs and good science-based A-Levels are needed in order to get into medical school. You can get into medical school if you already have a degree (postgraduate) and good A-Levels. The course is four years long, and you need to have a first class degree and pass the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) to enter.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- A first-class degree in any subject
- "A" grades in science-based A-Levels
Get into medical school. Most UK medical schools require 3 "A" grades at A Level, including biology and bhemistry. Some medical schools will allow A grades at GCSE if biology or chemistry is not offered at A-Level.
If you have taken the International Baccalaureate, you are required to have at least grade 5 in all subjects, with grade 6 scores in chemistry and biology. A high level understanding of English is also required for international students.
All applicants will be required to take the UKCAT test. This is designed as a further test of ability and is designed to filter out the best students when competition is fierce.
Complete a medical school course. These courses are five years. This is designed to give medical students a balance between theory and practical medicine. For example, in Newcastle University Medical School, two of the five years are spent in a "Base Unit," where medical students will spend time working in different specialities in a hospital.
Complete the General Medical Council (GMC) foundation program. The GMC is the regulatory body for doctors in the UK. The foundation program is a two-year course designed to make sure that newly qualified doctors measure up to GMC standards. Once this foundation course has been completed, then the medical graduates are given full membership of the GMC and can practice as doctors.
Complete a degree in any course subject. The degree needs to be at least a 2:1, which is the second-highest degree classification in the UK. You must also show that you have studied for a qualification within the past three years, in order to show a commitment to learning. You must also take the UKCAT test.
Complete a four-year medical school course. The first year of this is intense, because it is a condensed version of the first two years of the undergraduate course. The main difference between the five-year and four-year courses is that the four-year courses are centred around smaller study groups rather than large lectures.
The remaining three years of the four-year course take the same structure as the equivalent years in the five-year course.
Complete the GMC Foundation Course. All new medical graduates, regardless of whether they are undergraduate or postgraduate, have to complete this in order to become fully qualified doctors.
Tips and warnings
- The best way to succeed at medical school is to remember why you are there. People who have a genuine desire to help others will perform better than those looking to get rich.
- The high stress levels in medical school can lead to stress related illnesses. Be sure to take some time to rest properly or it will damage your performance.
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