Application to the University of Cambridge in 2021/22

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 White woman who went to a comprehensive school.

Our Summary
Course: Standard undergraduate

Interview: Online panel interview

Admissions Tests: UCAT; BMAT

Before I made my application…

Choosing to study medicine

When did you decide to apply to medicine?
It was a very gradual process but I decided for certain in Year 10

How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Ruled out all the universities that use the PBL teaching style first as I didn’t think it would suit me. Then I focused on universities that have a good reputation for medical research.

Completing work experience

What types of work experience did you do?
GP surgery, Online work experience

How much work experience did you do?
3 day GP work experience in Year 10

6 month Medic Mentor online work experience with Birmingham Hospital

Online hospital work experience at my local hospital

How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement, Through asking someone I knew to take me on

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

UCAT ninja and the UCAT/BMAT websites.

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
UCAT – read through all the information on the UCAT website and used UCAT ninja

BMAT – I used free resources only for my BMAT prep. I completed the past papers on the BMAT website and revised from the specification for 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?
Read up on the NHS values and 4 pillars of medical ethics

Read the New Scientist’s Health Check newsletter each week to stay up to date with medical news

Made a mind map of supercurricular activities (especially the ones I couldn’t fit into the word count of my personal statement) and the skills I learnt from them with the hopes of working them into my interview answers

What happened during your interview?
Two 30 min online interviews

The first began with an open ended question which introduced the topic and linked together all the questions for the rest of the interview. The interviewers challenged me to think beyond A Level knowledge. At the end, there were a couple of short questions about my personal statement.

The second interview was similar to the first. There were two interviewers who asked me questions for 15 mins each.


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. 

Problem Based Learning: PBL is a teaching style that many universities use to teach their medical students. Usually, you will work to solve a problem, and this is how you learn about the solution, rather than being taught the solution first and then applying it.

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.

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.

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.

NHS Values: The NHS Values guide healthcare education and careers. It’s important to know and understand these values to help you be as successful as possible in your application. They can help you answer questions in your interview, or guide what you write about in your personal statement. Find out more here: NHS Values

Four Pillars of Medical Ethics: These four pillars guide ideas about medical ethics. Knowing and understanding them can help you prepare for your interview and how you answer questions. Four Pillars

Supercurricular activities: These are extra ‘academic’ activities that students pursue to help support their application. Usually, supercurricular activities are referred to during applications to Oxford and Cambridge but any student can do them. They might include reading a non-fiction book about a topic you are interested in, attending a summer school or public lectures, or completing a research project in your free time.

Rate this post


* indicates required
Select from the drop down.