Home Student & Career Tips How to Get into Medicine with a Low Grade

How to Get into Medicine with a Low Grade

Have you tried getting into medicine but failed after numerous attempt because of a low grade? Then search no more because this article contains an insight on how to get admission into medicine with a low grade.

How to Get into Medicine with a Low Grade

From time immemorial, the medical field has always been very competitive. Being a very profitable profession, most individuals struggle to get into the field, but then, not just anybody can due to prerequisites of which having a very high score is among. Often, this issue of high grade has frustrated the efforts of students to get into Medicine. In many cases, a lot of people end up in another field entirely.

If you’re hoping to become a doctor or medical personnel, having a low grade can seem like a major roadblock in getting into medical school. But every year, students with non-ideal grades make it into the medical field. Mind you, having a low grade is not a sign of unintelligence.

There are many reasons you might have a low grade. Probably you suffered from a serious illness during your undergraduate years. Or you simply didn’t begin to take your grades seriously till the end of your college career. Maybe you only came to medicine as a senior and have since pursued post-baccalaureate studies.

Whatever your situation, you’re likely wondering what recourse you have and whether there’s still hope of getting into your dream career. Luckily, there are ways to handle your issue of low GPA and minimize its impact on your admissions.

To get a solution to getting into Medicine with a low grade at different stages, stay glued to this article.

What is considered a low GPA for Med school?

GPA is relative, what might be considered a “low” grade in one school may be average or strong at another. Therefore, its best you look at the average GPAs of the schools to which you’re applying.

However, in order to get around your low grades and make the best of it, you have to do the following;

How to Make the Best out of your Low Grades

1. Identify the Cause of Your Low GPA

The first thing to consider is what led to your low GPA, so that you can assess the most appropriate response and make sense of it for yourself and your application. Was your GPA caused by illness, mental health problems, or an unavoidable tragedy? In these cases, you may be able to add that context, causing admissions officers to at least give other variables a chance.

In such cases you might also consider writing your medical school personal statement about the circumstances surrounding your low GPA. Doing this is not to justify your poor grade in any way.

If there’s no concrete reason, and you simply began to take your studies more seriously as you progressed, then it would be worth thinking about what led to this change and how you plan to continue this success in medical school. Grades that improved over the course of your undergraduate studies will look better than grades that declined.

2. Maximize your admissions odds with one or more of the following strategies

GPA is one of several factors admissions officers consider in their general appraisal of your application. How much it matters will depend largely on the school and your other test scores, essays, and academic accomplishments. But a GPA below 3.5 will stand out, and admissions officers will expect an explanation.


The strategy for getting into medical school with a low grade includes:


I. Achieve a High Mcat Score

Scoring well on your MCAT is very important regardless of your GPA, but having a low GPA only increases the level of importance. Scoring well is another way of showing admission officers that  your past academic issues are only in the past and you are now in a good place to take your studies seriously.

II. Gain More Clinical Experience

You can take a gap year to earn more clinical experience in order to help your admission prospects. This could entail volunteering at a hospital, shadowing a physician, etc.

III. Increase Your Research Experience

This shows that you’ve excelled in your intellectual pursuit outside your studies. If you have a lot of research experience, be sure to mention it in your personal and secondary essays.

IV. Improve Your GPA.

If there’s time to make improvements, make them. This might mean retaking old courses for a better grade. You might consider spending a year or two taking non-degree or post-bac courses. The more advanced the course, the more impressive it will be to admissions officers. Show that you’ve turned things around, and that you’re capable of doing serious, difficult academic work.

If the reasons for your low GPA are complicated and neither totally within nor outside your control, then, you will have to strike a balance between explaining and taking responsibility. You can do this through your personal essay or your secondary essays.

Although it may be tough to see yourself studying an undergraduate for another 2-3 years, a large number of medical students now are of a mature age, and many have multiple degrees before studying medicine. However, it would be prudent to study something that could at least get you a casual job whilst studying medicine, especially one that is medically-related, such as a phlebotomy, physiotherapy, etc.


This might sound weird to many, especially those in third world countries where a lot of things seem impossible. But however strange this may sound, it’s very possible and still done in more developed countries.

If you’ve missed the A-Level grades, you should pick up the phone and call the admissions team as soon as possible, so you can explain what has happened.  If you only missed your offer, some medical schools are willing to still offer you a place.

The sooner you do this, the better. That’s because there will be lots of students trying this and some medical schools will offer these few places on this on a first-come-first-served basis. So, instead of doubting whether it is strong enough to get you into Medicine with a low grade, pick up the phone and try.

Although these two options may seem quite limited, a low GPA is an issue that has come to many current medical students when they were trying to enter medicine. If you put in the hard yards now in looking towards another degree where GPA could improve, or even devoting more time to raise your current GPA, it will pay off by leaps and bounds later. Having more experience by being a bit more mature and doing additional studies, is actually a huge advantage when entering medical school, as these mature students are much more highly respected in the clinical context.

 Other Options

3. Go for Allied Health Professions

AHPs are highly-qualified health professionals who work independently to provide care to a wide variety of people. They assess, diagnose, treat, and discharge patients in acute hospitals, communities and social care settings. You could get into Medicine through this means.

4. Graduate Entry Medicine

You also have the option of taking another course and reapplying for Medicine as a graduate. You may have applied for a course as your 5th choice with this in mind, or if not there’s always the option of looking for courses listed on UCAS for Clearing.

This option will help you, because when it comes to reapplying for Medicine after completing your undergraduate degree, your application will be judged on the basis of what you got for your degree and not your A-Level results.


Another option is for you to apply for a foundation year, which is run by various medical schools. Some foundation years are for students who didn’t do Sciences at A-Level and others are for those that didn’t achieve the top A-Level grades. Successful completion of the integrated Foundation Year at the required level will enable you to progress onto Year 1 of the MBChB course.

The course strongly emphasizes the development of the study skills that will be necessary for success in your undergraduate studies and beyond. There is also a focus on communication skills and there is early interaction with patients in the community.

The Undergraduate Foundation year provides an alternative route to medicine for international students who have not studied A Levels. It is however accepted for entry to a medical degree at many Universities, subject to grades and other conditions. It’s important to research this properly if you’re determined to go for Medicine, this will only add one year on to you getting there as opposed to a minimum of three years if you choose to do another degree first.


Re-sitting your A-Levels is at the bottom of the list because it’s the one that students are least inclined to do, but it certainly is still an option. Before you go for this option, it’s worth being aware that not all medical schools will accept students who have re-sat their A-Levels.

There are many that are happy to give you a shot if you do re-sit, but often require an explanation as to why you didn’t achieve the grades the first time around. If you’re brave enough, this option is just perfect.

What Medicine Really Entails

Medicine is the field of health. It covers diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, medical research, and many other aspects of health. It aims to promote and maintain health and wellbeing.

Given how delicate the field is, it doesn’t require just anybody. For the fact that the career deals with human health, it is expected that  anyone who is desirous of the profession should be qualified in all areas.

Moreso, the prestige associated with the medical field as well as the extremely challenging nature of most medical careers, it’s unsurprising that getting into the profession is extremely competitive. In order to gain a place at a top medical school, it’s necessary to demonstrate exceptional grades in science subjects, as well as showing evidence of commitment to the field.

If you have managed to gain the grades and the work experience necessary to secure a place on a medical course, then the chances are you’re no stranger to hard work. This is a profession that can demand a lot both intellectually and emotionally, with an intensive and time-consuming workload.

Knowing what Medicine entails, it’s quite clear that getting into Medicine can be an almost impossible thing. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing a low GPA. Everyone’s circumstances will be different, and your strategy will depend on the medical school you hope to attend.

Bottom Line

Having a low grade is not an end to your dreams of going for Medicine, you shouldn’t think that your whole medical career is over just because a certain university only accepts individuals with a high grade.

Ultimately, there are many different pathways that can lead to doing Medicine. Nothing can be an obstacle and if you really want to go for it, there is always a way! If you don’t get the grades, just consider it as a minor inconvenience and find your way around it. You can consider applying what has been stated in this article.

I hope this helps and gives you some more information about what to do when you have a lower low grade. Keep the dream alive, and don’t get disheartened by something that is really so minor.

Finally, make sure you get strong letters of recommendation from faculty who know your story and can write with confidence about your ability to perform at a high academic level. As it gets closer to A-level results day, anxiety may begin to set in and you may find yourself asking the question, “What if I don’t get the A-level requirements for medicine?” Let this content give you the consolation you desire at the moment.

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