• Question: can you give advice for someone who wants to become a doctor and do you need physics and chemistry

    Asked by sciencebox to Dalya, Derek, Sarah, Tim, Tom on 19 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Dalya Soond

      Dalya Soond answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      I have just asked a doctor who is sitting next to me. He said the course requirements might have changed slightly since he went to medical school (about 15 yrs ago) but, here’s his list:

      1) Chemistry is the only subject required
      2) Other sciences of your choosing, biology isn’t required actually
      3) Work experience is essential, don’t even think about applying without it. Work experience would be in a hospital, an old age care home, or someplace that would show you have a willingness to take care of people.
      4) Brush up on your interview skills because that is a very important part of getting into medical school.
      5) Make sure you have a general knowledge of the health stories that are in the media (such as the MMR vaccine scare, the E. coli epidemic now in Germany, etc.)

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      Hi there,

      I have just looked up what grades you need to studying medicine at Edinburgh University to give you an idea.

      If you are from scotland the grades you need are AAAAB in your highers.
      If you are from england the grades you need are AAA in your a levels.

      It says that you must have chemistry, and one of biology, maths or physics. It says that you must have biology at AS level at least, and to be honest, if you want to study medicine, I think you should take biology as it will really help you.

      here is a link to the website with the entry requirements on it: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/degrees?id=A100&cw_xml=degree.php

      Here is a link which explains the non-academic entry requirments like work experience as Dayla said:

      Your school should be able to help you get work experience placements so you can ask your guidance teacher about it. When I was getting surgery on my hand a couple of months ago, there was a year 9 student there during my meeting with the surgeon, he was doing some work shadowing.

      As well as all that, you have to do the UK clinical apitiude test before you apply for university. Here is another link that explains that for you: http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/

      Good luck 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Photo: Tim Millar

      Tim Millar answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      As Dalya said but interviews are becoming a thing of the past. The personal statement is the real chance you get to show that you are the one they should pick as of course you will already have the 3 A’s at A level (like everyone else applying to medical school).

      One thing we have seen from applicants is plagerised standard answers like “ever since I was 8 and went into hospital for a minor operation…” This is a common one taken from the net, so don’t do it, we know where it comes from.

      And for medical school, you almost don’t want to be too sciencey. Modern medicine teaching is more geared to patient contact (hence the need to have worked as an auxilliary nurse or in a care home) and it isn’t like science, where you are working on unknowns all the time. But you do need chemistry. My medical school quite often takes students with arts backgrounds too which may seem strange, but some people are just right to be medics whatever they take at A level

    • Photo: Derek McKay-Bukowski

      Derek McKay-Bukowski answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      The others have already answered a lot, so do read what they have written.

      Certainly make sure you have the required subjects, but also consider what area of medicine you’d like to study. I don’t know for certain (I’m not a medical doctor myself!) but it may be that if you are considering being a radiologist or a bionics specialist, then physics might help you.

      Additionally, physics is a good academic subject. It teaches more than just laws and equations, it teaches critical thinking. Sometimes it is not so much the facts, but the method that counts.

      Definitely follow Sarah’s advice and check up on your preferred universities to see what their requirements are.

    • Photo: Tom Crick

      Tom Crick answered on 19 Jun 2011:

      I would imagine that the more science and maths you do, the better foundation you will have for being a doctor. Biology and chemistry are directly relevant to medicine, but physics and mathematics underpins many of the sciences and will develop your analytical and problem-solving skills (crucial for a doctor!).

      Have you chosen your A-levels yet?