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 a Chinese woman who went to an international fee paying school.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Interview: Online panel interview
Admissions Tests: BMAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
In my final year of high school.
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
I only took BMAT so I chose Cambridge, Imperial College, UCL and Leeds. I put my fifth choice as Nottingham pharmacy because they have a MMI which I can use as a practice.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
2 weeks shadowing nurses in an orthopaedic ward and didn’t attend a single operation. Also did an online work experience and that’s it.
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?
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, Practice papers from test website
6med free resources (not really useful), BMAT practice books (somewhat useful), BMAT Ninja (useful in terms of familiarising with online tests)
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
I read books to familiarise myself with question types and then did a few specimen papers. I also studied BMAT section 2 specification from the test website. I then practiced past year BMAT questions and also TSA questions (similar to Section 1).
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 googled all the past year questions, categorised them into different topics and made a question master list. I also identified particular academic topics they may potentially ask me and went on YouTube to study a bit more about those; this is incredibly helpful. I also did mock interviews with 2 or 3 seniors, which is helpful in terms of familiarity with the interview process.
What happened during your interview?
There were four professors and they each asked questions about a particular academic topic. The questions build upon each other. It was very engaging and stimulating. Whenever I got stuck, they will ask questions to guide me along. I really liked the way we discussed academic questions.
Multiple Mini Interview (MMI): This type of interview usually includes several short interviews or ‘stations’ which may involve different types of questions and scenarios. This is different compared to a panel interview, which may cover the same scenarios/types of questions but be a more ‘traditional’ sit-down interview.
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.
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.
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.