Application to the University of Cambridge in 2018/19

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.

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?
Mid-way through Year 12

How did you choose which universities to apply to?
I live in London so all my universities I applied to (KCL, Barts, UCL) were London-based apart from Cambridge. I chose Biochemistry at Bristol as my 5th choice. I didn’t see myself studying Biochemistry so the choice was quite arbitrary because I was quite set on Medicine and prepared to take a year out if I didn’t get in the first-time round.

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 hospital shadowing – acute medicine ward

1 week neurosurgical shadowing – theatre, clinic & MDT

How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement; One was through a teacher’s brother, another was through an out-of-school club

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 website, University guidance

Medify – very useful for UCAT BMAT Past Papers

BMAT Ninja 700 BMAT Practice Questions

Ali Abdaal BMAT Tips

Preparing for the BMAT: The official guide to the BioMedical Admissions Test A

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
3-4 weeks of preparation for both the UCAT and BMAT. It’s best to start early to have an idea of the questions – best to use a question bank. 2 weeks before the exams is a good time to start doing timed practice papers (especially for UCAT). I felt like the more mock exams I did the more my confidence grew – reflect on the questions you are regularly getting wrong and then focus practice questions on those topics (e.g. abstract reasoning or the physics questions in BMAT section 2).


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?
Reviewing Content – core A-Level content that had been taught to the point of the interview

The Medic Portal – website which has a lot of useful advice on the different types of interviews & how to prepare for them (

Medify is also useful

Mock Interviews – organised by sixth form (there are also online courses)

Science Research – BBC Health/Neuroscience News/The BMJ

Youtube – many useful mock Cambridge interviews which can be found by just searching “Cambridge Medicine Mock Interview”, these gave me a really good idea of the kind of questions to expect and the nature of the interview. More general search: “Medical School Interview Preparation”

What happened during your interview?
I had 2 interviews, each lasting approximately 20/30 mins. My first interview was highly science-focused. The interviewers made me feel very relaxed at the start and asked me some personal non-medical questions to start things off. The questions were about biochemistry and physiology based off content part of the A Level Biology syllabus. My second interview involved data interpretation and reflecting on my work experience/personal statement.

Do you have any further advice?
Don’t stress too much about the interviews. Start UCAT/BMAT preparation early.


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. 

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.

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.

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.

YouTube Videos: There are many current and recent medical students who create videos on YouTube about their experience and advice about applying. Remember that their experience is personal and individual, and may not reflect yours. They might provide some useful advice but remember that they might be advertising paid for services. Take their advice as part of a more holistic approach alongside moderated advice such as ours, and official advice from universities and test providers.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Rate this post


* indicates required
Select from the drop down.
%d bloggers like this: