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medicine/dentistry/veterinary science

The aim of this programme is to aid the students as they prepare for applications for Medicine, Veterinary Sciences or Dentistry. The preparation process involves practising and training for the challenging tests involved with applications, such as BMAT and UKCAT, and will be delivered as teacher led sessions as a part of the co-curricular provision. Alongside this, we hold discussion groups to broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of the key matters involved, for example, ethics, financial considerations and current affairs. Students who are dedicated will demonstrate continuous reading of newspaper articles and relevant journals, such as the student BMJ. In addition, they will be motivated to broaden their subject knowledge beyond the syllabus in their science subjects by reading and reflecting on areas of interest.

For both pathways:

  • During terms 1 and 2 of Year 12, students are briefed on the requirements for Oxbridge and Medicine and discussion sessions begin around extra reading. Visiting speakers form an important part of the programme and students are encouraged to attend the many Oxford and Cambridge Study Days in the spring term and the University Open Days in July. Application for the Eton Summer School and other university summer schools is also encouraged. Heads of Department play an important role in identifying and supporting the potential candidates academically.
  • From June of Year 12, students are given support and guidance with their personal statements and help with completing the UCAS form to meet the early deadline of October 15th. A rigorous schedule of test preparation and practice interviews, with a variety of interviewers both from Gordon’s and from outside (including an Oxford Interview workshop) ensures candidates are well prepared for this part of the process. Recently, we have linked up with Wellington College and other schools to broaden interview provision.
  • Students are also offered a weekly Period 7 session in Year 12 and 13 to assist in preparation for applications and the world of medicine/veterinary science.


“Being a good doctor is about interacting with others. With patients, you need to be able to build a relationship through listening, finding out their concerns and ideas. Your response shapes how much they trust you and are willing to share. You then apply your knowledge to try to manage the issue in partnership with the patient.

Being a good colleague is equally important, having a good work ethic, being calm under pressure and resilient. There will be moments of excitement and happiness, as well as sadness and stress; dealing with both and being able to support each other is important.”

  • Dr Paul Paes, Consultant and Sub Dean Admissions, School of Medical Education, Newcastle University


A strong application will contain all the following:

Top grades

It is important to understand that medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses are some of the most sought-after places in the UK. Therefore, high grades are essential for any pupil interested in these courses. The exact grade requirements will vary depending on the university and the course you choose. A typical example would be the following:

  • GCSE Grade 6 in English and Maths or a combination of grades 6–9 especially in science subjects.
  • A levels – AAA including Chemistry and sometimes Biology, plus one other.

Wider-reading / learning

This can be a combination of reading books and journals (see the list below), online courses such as from FutureLearn, talks or lectures either in person or virtual.

When looking for a reading list, Oxford University says “First and foremost, read what interests you the most. Each student should, from early on, begin to develop their own particular area of expertise. Second, consider what subjects or topics relevant to Medicine you may not cover in your A-level studies (or equivalent)”.

Please see their suggested reading list at the end of this page.

Work experience

This needs to be in both a medical (often known as “shadowing”) and hands on, such as a care setting. What’s important is not the knowledge picked up but the reflection on observation, experiences, or conversations. It will be vital to keep a journal (OneNote is excellent for this) of your observations and reflections, how they shaped your thinking, actions or made you feel.

Medical schools do not generally support or encourage overseas clinical work experience. They are looking for applicants who have an understanding of the UK health service.

Impressive UCAT score

Usually, the test will be taken in the summer between year 12 and 13. Pupils book their own test, be aware this has a cost attached to it.

We offer some support to prepare the pupils for the UCAT, but practice will make perfect. The general advice is 6 weeks of preparation however, I would recommend allowing far more time than that, as it can be difficult to get to grips with.

More information is available here:

Wider interests

Most medical schools will expect a student to show that they have a life outside of studying. These interests can also provide evidence of other skills and attributes, such as working with others, good time management, and being able to relax away from study. These non-academic interests do not have to be ‘high-powered’. Not every medical student has to have been captain of a sports team. But students should be able to demonstrate what they have gained from their non-academic activities.


Here at Gordon’s School we offer a regular P7 session to year 12 and 13 pupils, providing the following support:​

  • University and course information
  • UCAT preparation starting in Spring of year 12​
  • Interview technique practice (multiple sessions)​
  • Personal statement sessions​
  • Personalised references​
  • Talks and MOOCs​
  • Alumni support
  • Support from Meducators UK as a South-East hub​
  • Teaching and led research into ethics, GMC pillars and other topics