Application to the University of Cambridge in 2019/20

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 Bangladeshi man who went to a selective state school.

Our Summary
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?
Summer of year 12 during work experience.

How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Honestly, based off of vibes! I didn’t really have anyone in my family who went to Uni so I just went to Open Days and thought about which Unis I would feel comfortable at!

Completing work experience

What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing

How much work experience did you do?
1 Week hospital work experience

How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement

During the application process…

Admissions tests

What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT):; 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:

What resources did you use?
Free online resources, Paid online resources, Practice papers from test websit

Medify for the UCAT: Very helpful although I found that their questions aren’t always the most accurate in difficulty!

One of the 1000+ BMAT question books: Helpful for the BMAT as I didn’t want to use up all the past exams too quickly

BMAT past papers: Basically did each one timed, twice! Very helpful at gauging your progress.

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
UCAT: Churned Medify for two months, focusing mainly on AR because I consistently scored the worst on it! Their metrics are really helpful, and I wrote down the explanation to every question that I got wrong in this little notebook I had so I didn’t make the same mistake twice (A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it!)

BMAT: I used a question book (which I got free off of a student in the year above) and past papers. I started off by going through the BMAT section 1 + 2 specification and making sure I knew everything (digging out your CGP book helps!). Then I went through the book until I felt I could tackle a paper. I tried a few untimed and figured out what I wasn’t so good at (physics!!!) and then went back and re-revised those bits. Then I started some timed papers, and did the same thing of identifying weaknesses and trying to fix them


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 had a quick look over all of my A Level content (Bio + Maths + Chem) and a quick lookover some of the more basic physics stuff. I then made sure I had a few basic talking points based on some of the stuff that I discussed in my personal statement (Immunology and HIV medicine).

Me and some friends practiced by giving each other mock interviews and I also had teachers ask me some example questions as well. I used a bunch of online question banks(tag: online resources), and tried to think up answers on the spot to see how flexible and adaptable I was!

What happened during your interview?
Just wanted to say that I had an awful day on the interviews: all my trains were cancelled so I arrived late, it rained and my coat got soaked and I ended up getting ill and I dropped my phone in the interview room – and I still got in! So don’t bog yourself down if the day doesn’t go too well.

We briefly discussed my personal statement and then talked about historical trends in medical care. We discussed some common ethical dilemmas and I also did some graph interpretation and had to try and link it to broader physiological context. I was able to get most answers, but some questions I needed quit a bit of help on!


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.

Insiders: Don’t worry if you don’t know people like this. Most students don’t have friends who have already been through the process or healthcare professionals that they know who might be able to support them. You can meet current medical students to speak to at open days, or via free mentoring schemes, but it’s not a requirement for you to be successful. 

Support networks: While not every student will have a support network to help them prepare, there are plenty of other ways to prepare for your admissions tests and interviews, such as through free online resources, like on our website.

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.

Books: Don’t worry if you’ve not been able to find this particular book or afford to pay for it. You might be able to find secondhand copies online which are usually much cheaper, or at your local library (sometimes, libraries will order in books that you’ve requested, so check out this as a possibility too!). Bear in mind that some books may become out of date, so make sure you check when they were published, and if any changes to the relevant admissions tests/interviews have been made since then. 

Mock interview: Don’t worry if you didn’t have this opportunity. Interviews are designed to take into account that not everyone has the same level of preparation. See our guides and blogs on interviews to find out more about free online resources.

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