This student applied in the 2018/19 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 has chosen not to share any demographic information in their testimony.
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?
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Based on location and type of course. 5th choice I chose the lowest grade requirement biomed course I could so I would at least get one offer
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?
6 month placement – every Saturday volunteering on a geriatric ward. 3 day course in neuro ward shadowing consultant neurosurgeon.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through asking someone I knew to take me on
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/
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
What resources did you use?
Free online resources, Paid admissions test prep course, Practice papers from test website
BMAT and UCAT question book, online question banks
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Lots and lots of questions, practising little and often before the exam over summer
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?
Used online question banks and practised how I would answer them – asked friends and family to test me
Practised common questions that were likely to come up eg. Why do you want to be a doctor? Why not a nurse? So I knew exactly what I would say (without rote learning).
Looked at current issues and prepared a book and article I could talk about if asked.
I did some free courses at my local hospital and emailed doctors to get some experience which gave me a lot to write about in personal statement.
What happened during your interview?
Interview was almost completely science based, I was asked questions that I could apply biology knowledge to. I was also asked a question about public health. The interviewers were quite friendly and wanted me to do well. Each interview was about 20 mins and I had paper if I wanted to draw.
Grades: It’s best to check out the individual university’s guidance on grade requirements, as they vary from university to university. Some universities will take into account your GCSEs and place more emphasis on them, whereas some may not. It’s best to find out directly from the university.
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.
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.
Paid-for courses: 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.
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.