This student applied in the 2022/23 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 British man who went to a comprehensive school.
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?
Very early on in my education, even pre-secondary school I wanted to study medicine. However, it was only during year 11 that I actually started reading up on medical schools and understanding the courses.
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
I chose Universities that offered dissection as that seemed an interesting part of medical education and I looked at rankings. My fifth choice went unused.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
GP surgery, Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
I spent a week at a GPs practice shadowing the GPs, I volunteered at several flu vaccination clinics where I directed patients and screened for atrial fibrillation using Kardiamobile devices. I then took part in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to learn more about atrial fibrillation.
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/
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
What resources did you use?
Paid online resources
Medify for UCAT incredibly useful, it’s the only thing you need. BMAT ninja for BMAT was pretty helpful
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
For the UCAT I just did all the timed past papers and simulated papers found on Medify. For BMAT I did the same thing except I used the BMAT ninja platform.
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 watched a recording of a simulated medical interview from Peterhouse college, I asked one of my teachers to run through a mock interview with me. The day of the interview I flicked through BBC news for any medical news.
What happened during your interview?
I was asked a couple of questions that broadly related to my personal statement. There was a fair chunk of interview based on data interpretation and communicating data with patients. All the science covered was of A-level standard.
Dissection / Full Body Dissection: Some universities use full-body dissection as a teaching method. This is when you personally get to dissect and be involved in the removal and looking at certain aspects of the body. Some students like the idea of this, while others don’t. This might inform where you choose to apply to medical school, so check out the universities you’re considering to see whether this is part of their teaching style.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.