This student applied in the 2021/22 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 White Asian woman and they went to a fee-paying school.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Interview: Online panel interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT; BMAT
Top tip: Strategic application is the way forward. Find admissions processes which play to your strengths. Don’t worry about rankings.
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
First considered it in Year 9/10, but made the final decision in Year 12
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Researched the course structures, using their websites, and read blog posts about the experiences of attendees; visited one of the cities, which I didn’t previously know very well; mainly focussed on the admissions criteria, using the Student Room to help me make strategic choices based on these
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
GP surgery, Care work (e.g. in residential care), Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
Three days at a GP surgery, two free online courses, weekly care home volunteering (pre-COVID, one hour a week) for a term, weekly volunteering (three hours a week) at a GP surgery for a year
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?
Medify (paid) for UCAT – very useful; BMAT Ninja (paid) and past papers (free) for BMAT – past papers were more useful than the paid resource; YouTube videos and blog posts (free) for both – varied in terms of their usefulness
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
I sat down a week before and did all of the practice papers.
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 used Medic Portal for practice questions. It was really useful to structure my answers, I took the key qualities of a ‘good’ doctor and then prepared examples of what I’ve done.
I also followed New Scientist for examples of current affairs.
What happened during your interview?
Panel interview – questions were based on scientific concepts with which I was familiar, but we quickly moved on to unfamiliar content
Do you have any further advice?
Strategic application is the way forward. Find admissions processes which play to your strengths. Don’t worry about rankings.
Online forums: Online forums can be great spaces to find advice and first-hand knowledge, but remember that it may not always be the most trustworthy source of information. Take what you read with a pinch of salt.
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.
Online work experience: Some providers are now offering online work experience, such as the Brighton and Sussex Medical School online work experience, or the Observe GP experience by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Paid-for resources: Some students choose to pay for courses either online or in person to help them prepare for admissions tests and interviews. There is no evidence that they give you an advantage. There are good, free alternatives for preparation for admissions tests and interviews, and some offer bursaries and discounts to students who come from low income families. Check out our guides and uni websites for more details.
The Medic Portal: The Medic Portal is a popular website that provides resources to help you prepare your medicine application. The Medic Portal has some free resources online but some are paid-for. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our guides and the university websites for details.