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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

FAQS:
Entry Requirements

BSMS > Undergraduate > Applying to BSMS > FAQs: Entry requirements

Entry requirement FAQs

Find out more information about our entry requirements by selecting a frequently asked question from the list below. 

Qualifications

A-levels

BTECs

Resits

GCSEs

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Access Courses

Pre-Medical Courses

Graduates

International Qualifications

Applicants with contextual data

 

A-levels

 

What A-level subjects should I take and what grades do I need to achieve? 

Most standard offers, for entry to BSMS, are conditional on gaining three A grades at A-level (including Biology and Chemistry). For applicants with contextual data – see below for further information – we will accept AAB (including Biology and Chemistry). Please be reassured that while many students are advised to study Maths or Physics by their schools or colleges, we do not specify the nature of the third A-level subject. We actively welcome applicants who study subjects outside of the mathematical and physical sciences, as we recognise their value in broadening academic horizons.

 

What A-level subjects do you not accept?

We do not except A-levels in General Studies, Critical Thinking or, if you are a non-speaker of English, an A-level in your original language of instruction.  If you are taking an original language of instruction A-level, you will be required to take a fourth A-level in any subject except General Studies or Critical Thinking, and subsequently achieve a grade A or B (if applying with contextual data).

 

My conditional offer to BSMS was AAA, I achieved AAB will you confirm my place?

BSMS will not accept near misses and all conditional offers must be met in full in order to confirm your place.

 

BTECs

 

Do you accept BTEC qualifications?

Yes, for applicants taking, or who have already obtained, two A-levels in Biology and Chemistry, as well as a Level 3 Extended BTEC Certificate, we require predicted, or obtained grades of at least AA in your A-levels and a Distinction in your BTEC qualification. For applicants with contextual data, we would require at least AA in your A-levels and a Merit in your BTEC qualification.

 

How does BSMS view an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)? 

BSMS welcomes candidates who have successfully completed an EPQ. However, the EPQ does not give applicants any advantage in the process involved in selecting for interview nor will it form part of any offers that we make.  

 

Resits

 

Will you consider my application if I’m resitting A-levels?

Yes, BSMS will consider re-sit applicants. However, due to the large number of applications that we receive, we will ordinarily only consider applications from applicants who have dropped one grade in one subject. This would mean you obtained a grade B in one subject, for example A*A*B, A*AB or AAB. 

For applicants with contextual data, this would mean obtaining ABB or AAC as our requirements are AAB.  

If applying with a predicted resit grade (as in you are sitting the exam after you submit an application), you must be predicted at least the required grade in your resit. For example, if you achieved AAB and you are resitting the subject you achieved a grade B in, you must be predicted at least an A in that subject. For applicants with contextual data, if you achieved an AAC, are resitting the subject that you achieved a C in, you must be predicted at least a grade B.  

If you have not been predicted the required grades in your resit, you would only be able to apply once you have achieved the required grades of AAA (or AAB for applicants with contextual data) including Biology and Chemistry. 

If you are retaking your first year of A-level studies, you can still apply, providing you have been predicted A-level grades AAA (or AAB for applicants with contextual data) including Biology and Chemistry. If you are not predicted (or have not achieved) these grades, but believe you have exceptional circumstances that affected your A-level studies, you may ask us to consider your application on these grounds. If we accept your mitigation, we will require formal evidence to support your claim.

Please contact our Admissions Team via medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk in advance of an application to discuss your circumstances. 

 

GCSEs

 

What GCSE grades do I need?

Applicants to BSMS are not required to have a specific number of GCSEs and we do not consider any other GCSEs besides GCSE English (both English Language or English Literature are accepted) and GCSE Maths. As long as you have obtained (or are predicted) grades 6/B in both GCSE subjects, you will meet our GCSE requirements. For applicants with contextual data, we require Grade 5/C in both GCSE English and Maths. If you have qualifications other than GCSEs, please visit our alternative entry requirements page here.   

If you have any questions, you can contact our Admissions Team via medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk to confirm if BSMS will accept them as equivalents. 

 

International Baccalaureate Diploma

 

Which Higher Level subjects do I need to take and how many points do I need?

We require 36 points overall, including a grade 6 in both Higher Level Biology and Chemistry.

For applicants with contextual data, we require 35 points including a grade 6 in both Higher Level Biology and Chemistry.

 

Access Courses

 

Does BSMS accept Access to Medicine Courses? 

Yes, there are a number of Access to Medicine courses that we will consider. To verify whether a specific course meets our entry requirements, please contact medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk.

 

Who should take an Access to Medicine course? 

Access to Medicine courses are an effective way for mature entrants, who have not previously studied Biology and Chemistry at A-level or at degree level, to gain a qualification acceptable for entry into medical school. A pass at distinction level is normally required. 

We do not consider applications from any access to medicine student who already holds qualifications in the relevant sciences graded at or below our standard entry requirements.

Read more about access to medicine >

 

Pre-Medical Courses

 

Does BSMS accept Pre-Medical courses?

Yes, there a number of Pre-Medical course that we will consider, please see our Entry Requirements page for further details of these.

Read more about pre-medical courses >

 

Graduates

 

I am a graduate, what qualifications and grades do I need?

You should hold, or expect to hold, a first or upper second-class science degree that demonstrates an adequate knowledge of biology and chemistry. As part of your academic assessment, you will be asked to supply a transcript of your degree.

If you are unsure whether we would regard your particular degree as having sufficient biology and chemistry content, please send copies of your transcripts via email to medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk and we will advise you of your eligibility.

For 2023 entry and beyond, we will also require graduates to hold three A-levels (at least BBB), to include Biology and Chemistry, as well as to meet our GCSE requirements – see above.

 

Will BSMS accept a 2:2 with an MSc in place of a 2:1 Honours degree for a graduate entry application? 

Not at present. 

 

I achieved my qualifications 10 or more years ago, can I apply?

All qualifications must have been obtained within 10 years of submitting a UCAS application. For example, applicants applying for 2023 entry, must have achieved their qualification no earlier than August 2012.

 

International Qualifications

 

Will BSMS accept my international qualifications? 

See international qualifications >

 

Applicants with contextual data

 

What is contextual data?

We are committed to ensuring that the NHS workforce is representative of the population. To encourage greater diversity, we acknowledge that not everyone has the same support, access, and opportunities. Contextual data is therefore an umbrella term for a number of different factors that we consider alongside academic attainment that are indicators of opportunity.

 

What are contextual data offers?

For applicants that meet at least two points from our contextual data criteria, we reduce the academic requirements. We reserve 30% of our interviews for applicants with contextual data and we consider the BMAT scores from such applicants separately from the wider applicant pool.

See here for further information >

 

How do you assess whether I am eligible for a contextual data offer?

All applicants will be contacted and invited to upload documents that evidence one or more points from the contextual data criteria. In addition to any evidence you provide, we will also use information you provide on your UCAS application form, such as your postcode and previous educational establishments.

If you are unsure whether you meet the contextual data criteria, please see here for further information or feel free to email us via medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk

Work experience

 

What work experience does BSMS require? 

BSMS does not place requirements on the amount and type of work experience a prospective medical student should have. However, in line with the Medical Schools Council Work Experience Guidelines, we do expect candidates to: 

  • have a realistic understanding of medicine and what it means to be a doctor 
  • have had some experience of engaging with a wide range of people and understand the realities of a caring profession 
  • display some of the skills and attributes essential to being a successful doctor, including teamwork, leadership, good communication skills, resilience, and empathy. 

The Medical Schools Council sets out some useful work experience guidelines for prospective applicants to medicine which can be downloaded below. 

DOWNLOAD WORK EXPERIENCE GUIDELINES > 

GUIDANCE ON GAINING RELEVANT EXPERIENCE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 > 

In addition to the work experience guidelines, the Medical Schools Council have produced a document which outlines the core skills, values and attributes needed to study medicine. Referring to this resource may be useful when preparing for interview. 

DOWNLOAD CORE VALUES AND ATTRIBUTES DOCUMENT > 

 

Where can I get work experience? 

As mentioned above, we do not have work experience “requirements”, instead we ask for applicants to have a realistic understanding of medicine and to be able to demonstrate core values and attributes needed to study medicine. There are many free online resources that can help provide you with a realistic insight into medicine, such as the BSMS Virtual Work Experience or the RCGP’s Observe GP. With regards to demonstrating core values and attributes, these can be demonstrated through a wide range of activities such as volunteering in a charity shop, having a part-time job in hospitality, playing in a sports team, or helping to run an after-school club. It is your responsibility to reflect on your experiences to identify the skills you have utilised and developed whilst considering their relevance to medicine. Please be reassured that you do not need to have experience of working, volunteering, or observing in a clinical setting.

 

Personal Statement

 

How does BSMS use the UCAS personal statement? 

Personal statements are not used during any part of the admissions process at BSMS. 

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

 

How does BSMS use the BMAT in their admissions process? 

We use the BMAT, after assessing academic qualifications, to select for interview. For our 2023 entry admissions cycle and beyond, we will score the BMAT out of 37. This is broken down to 9 marks for Section one, 18 marks for Section two and 5 marks for each element of Section three. We then rank all applicants according to their total score out of 37 and work down the rankings to fill our interview places.

Please note that we will not consider applicants whose BMAT scores do not fulfil ALL of the following criteria:

  • Section one: a score of at least 3 or higher
  • Section two: a score of at least 6 or higher
  • Section three: a score of at least 2.5 C or higher

BMAT may also be used as a final discriminator if needed after interview.

 

What have been the BMAT cut-off scores for previous admissions cycles?

For previous admissions cycles, we have scored the BMAT out of 28, 9 marks for Section one and 9 for Section two and 5 marks for each element of Section three. Candidates will have also had to meet the minimum section thresholds, which included achieving at least a 3 in sections one and two and at least a 2.5C in section three.

2021 entry:

17.8 out of 28 (Home applicants without contextual data)

16.4 out of 28 (Home applicants with contextual data)

18.8 out of 28 (International applicants)

2022 entry:

17.3 out of 28 (Home applicants without contextual data)

17 out of 28 (Home applicants with contextual data)

19.5 out of 28 (International applicants)

 

How does BSMS recommend preparing for the BMAT? 

To help you prepare for the test, BMAT have produced a number of very useful resources including guides to the content of the test and past test papers. 

 READ MORE ABOUT BMAT RESOURCES > 

 

When do I need to sit the BMAT?

All applicants must sit the BMAT in the year they submit a UCAS application. You can only take the BMAT once per admissions cycle and it is only valid for one admissions cycle. If you are reapplying to BSMS, you must retake the BMAT.

 

Is there a cost associated with the BMAT? 

Yes, there is cost to sit the BMAT. For 2022, the cost was £75 for a standard registration within the UK and EU. To ensure the registration fee is not a barrier to participation, BMAT also run a fee reimbursement scheme for UK candidates. For further information, please visit the website here

 

I am entitled to exam support in school/at college, will I have the same support for the BMAT?

Access arrangements for those sitting the BMAT are available. You should inform your test centre (the place where you will sit your test which is typically your school/college) of your support requirements as soon as possible.

Please note, you can get this cost reimbursed if you meet one of the criteria outlined on the Cambridge Assessment website here

 

I have extenuating circumstances relating to my BMAT performance, what should I do? 

If you feel that your performance on the day of the test was affected by extenuating circumstances, you must apply for Special Consideration via the Cambridge Assessment website before the deadline.

FIND OUT ABOUT SPECIAL CONSIDERATION > 

BSMS will not consider any requests for Special Consideration that have not followed the procedures detailed on the BMAT website. 

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)

 

When do BSMS interviews take place?

Typically, our interviews run between the December and March after you submit your UCAS application.

 

What is the interview process at BSMS?

For the last couple of years, we have run our admissions interviews remotely via Zoom videoconferencing software.

They have consisted of five discussions, each in a separate breakout room within the main Zoom meeting, lasting 10 minutes with a short break between each discussion. Applicants will move from each breakout room in turn, until they have completed a full circuit – this takes roughly one hour.

 

How should I prepare for BSMS interviews?

We recommend that you spend some time reflecting on your experiences, considering when you have demonstrated the core values and attributes needed to study medicine (as published by the Medical Schools Council) and why these values are important for doctors to have.

We also recommend that you develop a realistic understanding of what it is like to work in medicine. There are many ways to do this, see our guidance on work experience for more information.

 

When will I hear the outcome of my interview?

MMI results will be considered by the admissions board, with decisions typically being made from January until April.

 

Am I eligible for one of the BSMS guaranteed interviews?

At BSMS, we have a number of programmes and schemes in place that guarantee applicants an interview for our A100 Undergraduate medicine programme, subject to meeting academic requirements.

Life science courses at the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex

For those enrolled on eligible courses at the University of Brighton or the University of Sussex, subject to meeting other criteria, students may be eligible for a guaranteed interview at BSMS. Please note this is a guaranteed interview not a guaranteed place on the course. Please check the University of Brighton and/or the University of Sussex websites for further details.

BrightMed

Subject to completing the required portfolio and meeting academic requirements, students enrolled on our widening participation programme – BrightMed – may be eligible for a guaranteed interview. Please check the BrightMed section on our website for more details.

 

What is the UKWPMED scheme and am I eligible?

The UKWPMED scheme was created to allow different medical schools to recognise each other's widening participation programmes in the same way they recognise their own, within their admissions process.

This means that students completing the named programmes at Hull York Medical School, Keele University, University of Birmingham, University of Plymouth and the University of Manchester will have the same consideration as the students who complete our BrightMed programme.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Applications

Graduate entry and transfers

Deferred entry

Reapplicants

 

How many places does BSMS have for the A100 Medicine undergraduate course?

For 2023, we have 193 places for UK/home fee paying applicants and 10 places for EU and International applicants.

Please note, with effect from 2021/22 onwards, EU nationals starting new undergraduate courses will pay international fees and will not be eligible for student funding from the UK government. However, there are exceptions to this for Irish nationals and EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. 

 

How many applications were received for 2022 entry?

Total: 2260

Home: 1868

Overseas: 392

 

How many applicants were invited to interview for 2022 entry?

Total: 611

Home: 540

Overseas: 71

 

How many offers were made for 2022 entry?

Total: 348

Home: 317

Overseas: 31

 

If I have a disability including dyslexia or specific learning difficulties, can I apply to medical school?  

BSMS is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for students with disabilities. The school will provide all reasonable support to enable someone who has a disability, or becomes unwell whilst at BSMS, to complete their studies.

Appropriate support can be provided for almost all health problems or disabilities, even if substantial. The General Medical Council (GMC) requires that all new doctors are fit to practise medicine. To meet this requirement, all doctors are required to possess certain defined clinical skills. Consequently, while applicants with an impairment or health condition are welcomed and will be considered on an individual basis, those who are unable to meet the GMC’s criteria cannot be admitted.

We actively encourage applicants to discuss any reasonable adjustments that you would require to complete the course with a Disability Adviser prior to application. You must declare the disability on your pre-course health questionnaire. Occupational Health will assess your needs and may ask you to attend an appointment. With your consent this information will be shared with the university disability team so that they can assess what support can be provided. 

 

I'm over 30. Am I too old to study medicine at BSMS? 

No. BSMS does not discriminate on the grounds of age. 

 

I will be 17 years old when the course starts, can I still apply? 

Yes, we have had applicants who are 17 when they start the course. We are unable to consider applicants who will be 16 or under at the start of the course. 

 

What should I do if my exams were affected by circumstances beyond my control?

You should apply to your exam board or university for special considerations or mitigating circumstances as soon as possible. BSMS will not consider any mitigation for your exam results.

 

Graduate entry and transfers

 

Does BSMS offer a "fast track" for graduate entry? 

We do not offer this option at the present time. We offer only a standard five-year undergraduate degree. There are an increasing number of four-year medical degrees on offer to graduates, but entry into these accelerated degrees can be particularly competitive. You can compare graduate entry medicine programmes on the Medical Schools Council website here

 

Can I transfer from other medicine courses or other degrees? 

Regardless of the qualifications you have, entry is only into year 1 at BSMS. We do not accept requests for entry with advanced standing into other years of the course due to the integrated nature of our curriculum. Partly completed degree grades will not normally be accepted as an entry qualification for BSMS. 

 

Deferred entry

 

What is deferred entry? 

Deferred entry is when you apply for a course and then take a subsequent year out. For example, if you submit a UCAS application in October 2022 and indicate that you wish to defer, any offers you received would be for the 2024/25 academic year. 

 

How do BSMS view deferred entry applications and applications from those who have taken a gap year? 

Gap years are valuable to many students, enabling them to gain greater insights into medicine and/or maturity. We would expect an applicant seeking deferred entry to have developed plans for their gap year and to be able to explain its value to them. 

Students may apply either during their final year of A-level (for deferred entry) or during the gap year itself. However, applicants intending to spend a gap year abroad should appreciate that BSMS will require them to attend for interview. Our interviews are usually held between December and March. 

 

Can I defer my place after I have been made an offer? 

Very exceptionally we will consider requests for deferral for one year from applicants to whom we have already made offers. We would need to be convinced that there were very good grounds for making such a request. No such requests will be considered after 1 August in any year and requests must be put in writing to medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk

 

I have accepted an offer from BSMS but do not feel that I am ready to start the course and would like another year to prepare, is this possible? 

Once you have accepted your offer to study with BSMS, we will expect you to enrol and start the course in September. If you feel that you are not ready to start in September, there are three options available:  

  1. If you have come to this decision before the date of enrolment you can contact the Admissions Team and ask to defer your place. You will be asked to explain your reasoning before a decision is made. 
  2. If you come to this decision after the date of enrolment then you will be expected to enrol, you can then ask the Phase One Lead if you can intermit studies for a year.  You will be asked to explain your reasoning before a decision is made. 
  3. You are free to withdraw from your offer at any time without any explanation. This option will mean that you give up your place at BSMS, but you will be free to apply to BSMS again if you wish to. 

 

Reapplicants

 

If I am unsuccessful in my application, can I reapply? 

Yes, we actively welcome reapplicants and feel that it can demonstrate an applicant’s resilience to pursue a place at medical school. We would recommend taking some time to reflect on your previous application and identify any areas you may be able to improve on. This may include ensuring you meet our academic requirements, improving your BMAT performance or further developing your insights into medicine.  

 

Can I apply to BSMS if I have failed to complete a medicine degree elsewhere? 

We will not consider applicants who have previously failed to complete a medicine degree unless you are able to offer exceptional and acceptable mitigation. If you have any questions, please contact medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk

Health 

 

Why do I have to complete a health questionnaire before starting my medical education? 

We need to know about any disabilities or health conditions that could affect your training so that, where appropriate, we can advise the school of any support needs you may have and how these can be provided for. 

All medical and sensitive personal information you provide will be held in confidence by the Occupational Health Department. The school will only be informed of a health problem or disability if deemed relevant to your educational needs and/or patient safety. Such information will be shared to ensure support requirements or adjustments that could be of assistance to you can be discussed. 

 

What vaccinations do I need before I start my course? 

You need to ensure you have either dates of vaccination or a report from a UK laboratory confirming your antibody status on blood testing for the following:

  • BCG

Note: We will accept dates of BCG vaccination or documentation with the dates and results of a skin test (heaf or mantoux). 

MORE INFORMATION ON THE COVID-19 VACCINE >

  • Diphtheria 
  • Tetanus 
  • Polio 
  • Measles 
  • Mumps 
  • Rubella (German Measles) 

Note: All students must be immunised against Rubella regardless of their sex or gender identity.

  • Varicella (Chickenpox) 

 

Do I need to have had a Covid-19 vaccination to study at BSMS?

The UK government has removed its requirement for mandatory Covid vaccination for healthcare workers but you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated if you are eligible since individual placement providers may still require proof of vaccination. BSMS will adhere to the requirements of its placement providers and not being vaccinated without a valid exemption could reduce your opportunities on the course or prevent you from being able to complete certain mandatory elements.

READ MORE ABOUT THE COVID VACCINE MANDATE HERE >

 

Will I be charged for any of my vaccinations by my GP? 

GPs will often charge for this, and the amount does vary. You are responsible for paying the costs of vaccinations. 

 

Will I be screened for anything upon my arrival to the course? 

 BSMS has a duty of care to the public with whom you will come into close contact at an early stage of your studies. Consequently, if your application is successful, we will require you to comply with any viral screening as requested by the Department of Health.

You will be screened on commencement of the course for Hepatitis B, HIV and Tuberculosis. 

 

Hepatitis B 

Following a change in national policy BSMS now has the means to administer the Hepatitis B immunisation course to all medical students upon their arrival. However, if you have already started your Hepatitis B immunisation course you should continue with it prior to your arrival. 

A course of immunisation for Hepatitis B will commence during your induction week and continue during your first year at BSMS. Please note that the full standard course of immunisation against Hepatitis B takes six months from the first dose of vaccine. 

The immunisation of future doctors is an important matter, both to protect patients and to safeguard your career. Immunising medical students against Hepatitis B and testing their response protects them and their patients against the risk of contracting Hepatitis B in a healthcare setting. Accordingly, BSMS requires all medical students to have satisfactorily completed this course of immunisation against the Hepatitis B virus during their year 1 studies or, in the case of those who fail to respond to the vaccine, to ensure they are not infectious carriers of the virus. By the end of the course, you will need to demonstrate the presence of Hepatitis B surface antibody or, if you have failed to produce antibody after a full course of immunisation, that you are negative for Hepatitis B surface antigen. If you are not immune, you will not be permitted the opportunity to undertake Exposure Prone Procedures (EPPs). While EPPs are not a mandatory part of undergraduate medical education, we believe they form an important part of medical training and students should not be denied the opportunity to undertake them. 

 

Hepatitis C and HIV 

Occupational Health screens all new medical students for the Hepatitis C and HIV viruses. You will need to arrange this blood test with your GP, or if already working in the NHS, your current occupational health service.   

 

What happens if I am found to be infected with Hepatitis B or C? Can I still be a doctor? 

Undertaking Exposure Prone Procedures (EPPs) is not a requirement to meet the outcomes in Tomorrow's Doctors and those infected with blood borne viruses (BBVs) will be given the same entrance opportunity as other applicants. 

Your health is of paramount importance, and we would liaise with your GP to ensure you are referred for specialist care. To practise as a doctor and undertake certain invasive procedures, you must be free from infection and not deemed a risk to patients. There are strict rules that govern this in the UK. 

Read more about blood borne viruses with guidance from the Medical Schools Council below.

Read more here >

 

What happens if I don't have a GP or the practice is reluctant to administer my vaccines or blood tests? 

It is important to explain why you require this information, you can share with the doctor the information BSMS has provided. There is likely to be a charge for vaccination and/or blood tests. Alternatively, there are private healthcare facilities. Some NHS Occupational Health services will provide this service but there will be a charge.