Are three GCSEs sciences needed for would-be medic?

(17 Posts)
Pinkpillow Sun 08-Jan-17 20:38:36

My daughter, who wants to study medecine, is in the process of choosing her GCSEs. She has always said she would do all three sciences, but now seems to be thinking of not studying physics as she says 'it's boring'. Any parents of medics with an opinion? She is very bright and aims to have Cambridge as a choice, so I feel it would be wise to stick with it.

OP’s posts: |
mumsiedarlingrevolta Sun 08-Jan-17 20:53:20

I know things change every year (or so it seems) but DD doing GCSE now and had these options-
1.The most academic Science option is triple science (and my DD will not carry on with Science at A level but this is the option with separate grades for each Science- at her school it is where the girls in the higher sets are steered and what I suspect your DD will need to do for Cambridge)
2. Double Science-which includes all 3 topics but do less units and get a Science grade v Chemistry, Biology and Physics grades.
3. Btec science.
Hope this helps-

Rosieposy4 Sun 08-Jan-17 20:54:27

If she has just biology and chemistry gcse and not all three or combined science ( core and additional in old money) then she will really be limiting her choices of universities that will even consider her application.
My son only had bio and chem gcse and there were literally only about 5 univerisites that would consider him. It gives her no room to choose unis that play her to strengths eg great ps, very good bmat or ukcat etc.
DS is in y4 of med degree so there may have been some change but you def need to check uni entrance requirements very carefully.

SweepTheHalls Sun 08-Jan-17 20:55:19

In England its all 3 separately, or 2 GCSE combined, which contains all 3. All 3 separately is much better if thinking medicine.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 08-Jan-17 20:57:32

DS1 only took Biology and Chemistry GCSEs (not Physics) last summer, but this is quite unusual.

At most schools, students end up with either three science GCSEs (Physics + Chemistry + Biology) or double science (two GCSEs but still Physics + Chemistry + Biology).

SarahMused Sun 08-Jan-17 20:58:14

She would be well advised to stick with triple science. It is a better preparation for A level. I don't think she can drop physics and just do biology and chemistry as they all have to be continued to GCSE level in some form or another. Double or triple, science includes all three subjects in equal quantities

TheMortificadosDragon Sun 08-Jan-17 20:58:59

The cambridge medicine course requirements are here

A bit odd... at least double award OR single biol and physics, but chemistry mandatory at a level which would be hard without the gcse....


titchy Sun 08-Jan-17 20:59:08

If she's at state school she won't have the option of dropping physics - double science is a smaller bit of all three sciences, not just two individual sciences, so she'd be going into A level bio and Chem at a disadvantage.

If she's at private and genuinely can drop physics, it probably won't make any difference whatsoever. But again a basic understanding of physics in a clinical setting would be assumed, radiology, nuclear medicine etc, so she may well end up having to do some physics anyway somewhere along the line.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 08-Jan-17 21:00:56

It is possible to get into medical school with double science at GCSE level, but it makes the first year of A-levels harder than it is for the students who've done three science GCSEs.

PlumsGalore Sun 08-Jan-17 21:02:44

Was going to say that here in England you can on,y go for core science, core + additional or triple. Two of the three pure sciences isn't usually an option at GCSE.

Medicine is massively oversubscribed so she should aiming for triple science all at, at least A grade. Bs may be accepted but leave her at an immediate disadvantage.

I can't link using this iPad but check out the entry criteria for the schools. Cambridge stipulate double science or biology AND physics so choose wisely.

Saltedcaramelbrownie Sun 08-Jan-17 21:04:44

My DS is doing triple science and it's not divided into subjects but he will have 3 grades in Core, Additional and Further Additional. I think triple science prepares you better for science A Levels, but as your dd is doing separate subject science GCSEs this might not be the case if your dd is wanting to do maths, chemistry and biology A Levels.

NotThrowAwayMyShot Sun 08-Jan-17 21:08:19

I took advice from my son's form tutor who is head of chemistry at a private school where many students do triple because my daughter's school at the time only offered double & she wanted the option of transferring to ds's school for A levels. He said double science was absolutely fine & she wouldn't have a problem as long as she gained 1:9 equivalent of a B

However very few schools will allow only two single sciences to be taken & it would not be reccomended for anyone wanting to do science A levels.

Pinkpillow Sun 08-Jan-17 21:15:08

Thanks for your speedy replies. We live in N Ireland so have the option of studying each one separately, but her parents evening is coming up soon and I think she will be advised to keep all three.
My son did dual award, but it is no longer offered as an option, however, as others have said, it makes first year of A levels harder and he struggled with physics and biology at first.

OP’s posts: |
NotThrowAwayMyShot Sun 08-Jan-17 21:22:10

I think you need to specifically check the situation in Ireland then. What is expected for A level entrants for example.

TheMortificadosDragon Sun 08-Jan-17 22:59:39

I posted and then ran to watch sherlock...if she's already, pre gcse, thinking about medicine and having Cambridge as a choice, then its pretty clear from the link I put upthread that she needs to do all three science for gcse if double isn't an option. I think they're playing a bit of a game - they have to allow double science because thats all some schools let kids do. So then they probably have to allow only two separate gcses too ... but specify biology and physics, because a level chemistry is the one mandatory subject and no-one in their right mind wouldn't also do the gcse first. I'd be interested to hear if there's any other explanation!

amirrorimage Sun 08-Jan-17 23:03:33

I would encourage your DD to keep options open at her age if she is heading towards sciences especially as the label of 'boring' at that level is often to do with the teacher or syllabus content rather than the intrinsic interest of the subject itself.

AlwaysTeaTime Sun 08-Jan-17 23:07:47

DD has applied this year- all of her choices required 3 separate sciences or the double award, so she has a background in all three. Medicine is extremely competitive, as I'm sure you know, so your DD would not want to be at a disadvantage through only doing two. Also, if she still wants to apply to Cambridge, she will need to take the BMAT, which has a section of GCSE physics which she will have to teach herself if she has not studied it. My DD applied to Oxford and, even after having done GCSE physics she struggled with the BMAT.

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