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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. 

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My GCSE results are not all A grades. How will this affect my application?

Applicants to BSMS are not required to have a specific number of GCSEs at grade A or A* / 8 or 9. As long as you have obtained (or are predicted) grades B/6 in GCSE English (English Language or English Literature are accepted) and Maths, this is all that is required at GCSE level. If you have qualifications other than GCSEs, please contact our Admissions Team to confirm if BSMS will accept them as equivalents.

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

See entry requirements >

How will BSMS view the Extended Project?

BSMS welcomes candidates who have successfully completed an Extended Project, recognising the effort that they have expended and the valuable skills and knowledge that they will have gained. However, the EPQ will not form part of any offers that we make. 

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Will you consider me if I am re-sitting my A levels?

Yes, BSMS will consider re-sit applicants. However, due the large number of applications that we receive, we will ordinarily only consider applications from applicants who have slipped a grade in one subject and obtained a grade B (so from A levels AAB/A*AB/A*A*B but predicted grade A in the re-sat subject.  Anyone below grades AAB after two years of study, or who is not predicted a grade A in your re-sit, would only be eligible to apply once receiving grades AAA including Biology and Chemistry after 3 years of study.

Anyone retaking their AS level year can apply if predicted A level grades AAA including Biology and Chemistry. If you do not meet any of these requirements but believe you have exceptional circumstances that affected your A level studies, you may ask us to consider your application on these grounds; however you will still need to be predicted or need to have achieved our entry requirements. If we accept your mitigation we will require formal evidence to support your claim. Please contact medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk in advance of an application to discuss your circumstances.

Will BSMS accept an A level certificate in my original language of instruction as part of my offer?

We are unable to accept, from non-speakers 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 and critical thinking, and subsequently achieve a grade A.

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How does BSMS view the Cambridge Pre-U?

BSMS will consider applicants with Cambridge Pre-U qualifications either as a combination with A levels or as a standalone qualification. BSMS will require at least D3 in Pre-U subject being studied. 

Will BSMS accept my international qualifications?

See international qualifications >

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.

What work experience do I need?

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 be 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 >

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 >

Is my degree acceptable for graduate entry?

All graduates who apply to BSMS are required to have both academic excellence (2:1 predicted or obtained) and sufficient subject knowledge in both Biology and Chemistry, either from having A levels at Grade A, or from enough biology and chemistry modules within the degree.

If you are unsure whether we would regard your particular degree having enough biology and chemistry requirements, please send us copies of your transcripts (either by post or via scanned email attachments to medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk) and we will advise you of your eligibility.

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.

Read more >

How does BSMS use the personal statement?

The personal statement will not be used in the selection process at BSMS.

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

BSMS is not offering this option at the present time. We offer only a standard five-year 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. Using all four UCAS choices for four-year degrees can prove a high-risk strategy.

Can I transfer from other medicine courses or other degrees?

Entry is only into Year 1 at BSMS, on the basis of either A level (or similar) qualifications achieved or completed degree qualifications (eg, a class 2(i) honours degree). 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.

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

BSMS will not consider applicants who have previously failed to complete a medicine degree, unless the applicant is able to offer exceptional and acceptable mitigation.

Does BSMS use the BMAT?

BSMS requires all applicants to sit the BMAT in the year of application in order to be considered for interview. We feel that BMAT is a fair and transparent method for selecting for interview. We value that it is not only a test of aptitude, but also of knowledge. BSMS believes that it is important that applicants are able to demonstrate that they are able to construct a clear argument and present it using a good level of written English; this can be evidenced in Section 3.

We believe that the BMAT allows applicants to put themselves in the spotlight; if you have the ability and talent to succeed in medicine then the BMAT gives you the perfect opportunity to show us, regardless of your background. BSMS scores the BMAT out of 28 (9 marks for Section 1, 9 for Section 2 and 5 marks for each element of Section 3) we then rank all applicants according to their total score out of 28 and work down the rankings to fill our interview places. For 2019 entry, applicants without contextual data who scored 16.1 or above were invited for interview (the cut off score will vary each year).

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

Read more >

You are required to register with BMAT assessment centres prior to the test. Please refer to the BMAT website for key dates and additional information. The results of the BMAT will be used to assess each application and will form part of the process to select applicants for interview. BMAT may also be used as a final discriminator if needed after interview.

If you feel that your performance on the day of the test was effected by extenuating circumstances you must apply to BMAT for Special Consideration.

read more >

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

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Can international or EU students apply for the BSMS course?

Yes. Tuition fees for EU-based students are currently the same as for UK-based students.

Read more about international student fees >

Does BSMS accept deferred applications so I can take a gap year?

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

Students may apply either during their A level year (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. 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 into writing to medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk

I did not get into medical school during my gap year. Can I take a second gap year?

Yes, but as long as what you will be doing during this year is productive and related to medicine.

Am I eligible for the Guaranteed Interview Scheme?

Please see the guidance on the University of Sussex and University of Brighton websites. This year, BSMS interviewed 20 applicants studying at the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, all of whom were eligible via the Guaranteed Interview Scheme route. Twelve successfully received an offer after their interview. Please see outcomes in the table below:

Guaranteed interview scheme 2019 

 

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 at the time of application. Can I still apply?

Yes, we have had applicants aged 17 apply and start the course. However, we are not able to accept applicants who are 16 at the time of entry.

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Does BSMS accept the BTEC Extended Diploma?

BSMS will accept the BTEC Extended Diploma (grades DDD) but only in addition to predicted/obtained grades A in Biology and Chemistry A levels.

Can I transfer from my current medical school into BSMS?

BSMS do consider medical students wanting to transfer from their current medical school to BSMS.

However, BSMS will not consider a transfer request from any medical student who has academically failed on their degree course so their studies were terminated, or had their studies terminated due to fitness to practise issues for any year of entry. If the student has had their medical studies ended for any other reason, BSMS may consider these students on a case by case basis.

All students will needed to have entered their current medical school with the academic minimum entry requirements of A level grades A in Biology, Chemistry and a third subject and grades 6 in GCSE English and Maths. BSMS will accept equivalent qualifications and grades. Please feel free to contact us to check if your non-A level/GCSE qualifications and grades allowing you access to your current medical school meet this requirement if you are unsure. We will need a full list of your pre-medical school qualifications and grades).  

BSMS will also require you to send over scanned copies of transcripts of your current medical studies and also a letter of recommendation from your current medical school.

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I am currently in Year 1 of a degree course. Am I eligible to apply?

BSMS is one of the few medical schools that will allow you to apply to us if you are in Year 1 of a relevant degree from any university (eg, biomedical sciences). However, please be aware that in order to do so, you still need to have met our initial entry requirements, such as 3 A levels at Grade A (to include Biology and Chemistry). You are also required to apply through UCAS at the beginning of year 1 prior to the 15 October deadline in order to be considered. You must also meet our GCSE requirements and be registered to take the BMAT.

If you were to get an offer from us after interview, your offer will be conditional on passing year 1 with a 65% overall average. If you were to withdraw from the course you are on, it is essential you contact the admissions office as soon as possible with your reasons before we can take your application further.  

I have declared a disability on my UCAS form - is there anything else I need to do?

If you have declared a disability within your UCAS application your application will be looked at equally alongside other applicants in the admissions process. If you have been invited for an interview and feel you need any reasonable adjustments made in order to accommodate you, please contact medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk as soon as possible to discuss your needs. You must then let us know your requirements via the StudentCentral applicant area at least three days before your interview so that we are able to accommodate your needs.  

I have a criminal conviction, can I still apply?

Applicants with a criminal conviction must declare this on their UCAS form, and your application will be looked at equally alongside other applicants in the admissions process. However, the university may subsequently contact you directly to confirm you meet fitness to practise requirements. If in doubt, it is advised you contact the medical school directly in confidence on medadmissions@bsms.ac.uk

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 you in 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 the affects of a health problem or disability if relevant to your educational needs or patient safety, and requiring support or adjustments that could be of assistance to you.

What vaccinations do I need before I start my course?

You need to ensure you have documentation and dates for the following:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella (German Measles)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • BCG

Either dates of vaccination or a report from a UK laboratory confirming your antibody status on blood testing will be accepted.

Notes:

Male students are not exempt from the requirement to be immunised against Rubella.

Varicella (Chickenpox) - you require a positive history of having the disease and dates, history and dates of vaccination or a UK laboratory report indicating your antibody status.

BCG - Dates of BCG vaccination or documentation with the dates and results of a skin test (heaf or mantoux).

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.

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

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 health care setting. Accordingly, BSMS requires all medical students to have completed satisfactorily this course of immunisation against the Hepatitis B virus during their year one 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). Whilst 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 OH 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.

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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 in 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 >

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, and you can share with the doctor the information BSMS has provided. There is likely to be a charge. Alternatively there are private healthcare facilities. Some NHS Occupational Health services will provide this service but there will be a charge.

If I have a disability including dyslexia or specific learning difficulties will I be allowed to start my training?

BSMS is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for disabled students. The School will provide all reasonable support to enable someone who is disabled or unwell to complete their studies.

Appropriate support can be provided for almost all health problems or disabilities, even if substantial. However, because of a requirement to ensure patients are not harmed through involvement in medical training, if you have a condition that would make it impossible for you to work safely with patients or to acquire the skills necessary to complete training, even with support, then you cannot be accepted onto the undergraduate medicine course.

You are welcome to discuss the 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 the problem 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.

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.