This student applied in the 2019/20 application cycle and therefore the selection process at Cambridge may have changed since then. You should read all the information a University sends you about the selection process to get the most up to date details!
Remember to check out the glossary at the bottom of the page for our explanations of all the jargon we medical students like to use!
More about this student
Sometimes students share information with us about their demographics, which may help put their application experience into a bit more perspective.
This student identifies as a British Sri Lankan man who went to a fee paying school.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Interview: In-person panel interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT; BMAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
When I was 14.
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Websites and open days
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Care work (e.g. in residential care)
How much work experience did you do?
1 week immunology; 1 week PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit); 2 years in a care home
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement
During the application process…
What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/; BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). Note: BMAT will no longer be used for medicine applications after 2023. If you are applying in 2023 and sitting the BMAT, you can find out about it here: https://www.admissionstesting.org/for-test-takers/bmat/
What resources did you use?
Free online resources, Paid online resources
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
I used Medify for UCAT. I prepared for BMAT with Kaplans online system.
What type of interview did you do?
Panel: This type of interview is a ‘traditional’ sit down interview where you’ll be interviewed by a group of people, usually academic tutors and doctors. This differs from an MMI interview, which is based around ‘stations’ which have themes or scenarios attached to them.
How did you prepare for your interview?
I read up on a specific topic of interest, as well as looking up my interviewers and exploring their fields on interest I made sure I knew the topics and research I’d talked about in my personal statement. I also looked at a couple of interesting medical ethics cases I found through scrolling on Wikipedia.
What happened during your interview?
I was asked to discuss my reasons for applying to medicine, before discussing a clinical decision making scenario. Scientific knowledge was regularly tested throughout. I then brought up a case I’d read about myself, and described it and gave my assessment as to whether the decisions made were acceptable.
I had a separate science interview, which involved data analysis, conceptual discussions, among other specific questions. I could tell my assessment was being based off my thought process more than anything else.
Clinical work experience: Not every student will complete clinical work experience before they apply to medical school. Don’t worry, this is not required to be able to apply. You can use non-clinical work experience (e.g. a caring role, like in a care home) or even reflect on paid work you’ve done (e.g. in customer service) in a productive way.
Medify: Medify is a popular website which provides resources for helping you prepare your medicine application. Medify has some free resources online but some are paid-for. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our subject guides and the university websites for details.
Free resources: There are plenty of free resources available to help you prepare for admissions tests and interviews online and in person! For example, you might be able to get a free place on a mentoring scheme or session, find free support books at your local library, or search online for free resources to help you. It’s very normal to rely on free resources – not everyone can afford to pay for support, and it’s not proven to give you an advantage.
Looking up interviewers: While some people like to look up the individuals who will be interviewing them, not every student will do this. It might make you more nervous, or make you feel better, but be cautious about bringing up their research unless you’re very confident that you understand it!