Medical School Application Guide

 

University of Cambridge

 

University of Liverpool

 

Attending medical school at the University of Cambridge gives you the opportunity to study in the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded in 1209. In 2015 the University of Cambridge was ranked 3rd in the world for studying Medicine (in the QS World University Rankings). Although there are almost over 300 medical students in each year (across both the graduate and undergraduate programmes), the university’s collegiate system means that you will have small-group teaching with the classmates who live with you in college. These sessions, or supervisions, are regarded as one of the best teaching models in the world. Lectures and practical classes are facilitated by the School of Clinical Medicine, which is one of the 6 university schools. Applications can be ‘open’ or made to individual colleges (note that graduate applicants have a more limited number of colleges to which they can apply). Fortunately, application statistics show that neither application option changes the likelihood of your admission. In Cambridge the undergraduate course for Medicine is 6 years long and includes a BA degree, which is in a specialised subject studied and researched in the 3rd year (like an intercalated degree which has been built into the course structure). Teaching is traditional in style, divided up into pre-clinical (years 1-3) and clinical years (4-6). Students have some patient contact in their first three years, but the majority will take place in their clinical years. Anatomy is taught by a mixture of dissection and prosection. There is a 6 week assistantship to prepare students for their Foundation doctor training. If you enjoy the academic side of Medicine (/you want to prolong the eternal student lifestyle!), you can apply to do a PhD in between your pre-clinical and clinical years.

 

The Medical School Application Guide

At a Glance

Courses available

4 to 6-year programme

 
Undergraduate Applicants
Graduate Applicants
 
6-year
4-year
5/6-year
No. of places
290
20
290
Degree
N/A
2.1
2.1
GCSEs
Min. C in Maths & Science
Min. Cin Maths & Science
Min. C in Maths & Science
A levels
A*A*A
AAA
Variable
Exam
BMAT
+/- BMAT
BMAT
Interview
Panel/one-to-one x2
Panel x1
Panel/one-to-one x2
Work experience
Desirable
Desirable*
Desirable
 

 

 

PROGRAMMES

 

As a graduate, you can apply to a 4 & a 6-year medical programme.

 

The 6-year programme is equivalent to the usual undergraduate course in Medicine. The first three years are pre-clinical, focusing on lectures, practical classes (including dissection of human cadavers) and supervisions. The third year allows you to focus in on a specialised subject of your choice and gain a BA degree. The following three years are clinical and learning is based in hospitals and in GP settings. You can also apply as an affiliated student (taking the pre-clinical component of the 6-year programme in 2 years instead of 3 – effectively taking the full course in 5 years) at Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund’s or Wolfson colleges.

 

The 4-year programme is an accelerated programme, with a 45 week academic year, and patient contact integrated into teaching from the very start. As it is an accelerated programme, there is no flexibility to do an intercalated degree. The 4-year programme is available at Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish College and Wolfson Colleges.

 

It is possible to apply to the 4-year programme and the 6-year programme simultaneously, but you must apply to the same college for both courses. It is not possible to apply for deferred entry to the Graduate Course in Medicine. The degree that you will obtain at conclusion of the course is: MB BChir.

 

Those who are planning a career in academic medicine can obtain an MB, BChir and a PhD in 9 years by intercalating 3 years of research with the 3 years of clinical studies in Cambridge. It is possible to apply to this programme during the first 3 years of preclinical studies.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

 

Note that graduates applicants can apply to both Oxford and Cambridge at the same time, conversely to school leavers, who may only apply to one of the two.

 

Degree and A levels

 

4-year programme: The minimum degree requirement is a 2:1, preferably in a scientific discipline.

 

AS or A Level passes (typically AAA grades) in Chemistry and two of: Biology/Human Biology, Physics or Mathematics are essential. At least one pass must be at A Level. Most applicants for Medicine at Cambridge have at least three Science/Mathematics A Levels and some colleges require this and/or ask for particular A Level subjects (see individual college websites for details). In reality, the majority of successful applicants have at least 3 Sciences or Mathematics at A level. For applicants with only 2 Science or Mathematics A levels, the success rate is lower.

 

6-year programme: As a graduate, you can apply for this programme with a good honours degree (usually 2:1 or First). Passes must be obtained in the A level subjects as for the 4-year programme, detailed above.

 

GCSEs

 

A minimum of Grade C in Double Award Science and Mathematics is required. Single Awards in GCSE Biology and Physics may be substituted for Double Award Science.

 

IB Eligibility

 

Individual Middle Years Programme subject results validated by the IB at grade 4 or above will satisfy the GCSE requirements. Standard Level subjects should satisfy AS Level subject requirements (listed above), and Higher Level subjects will satisfy A Level subject requirements.

 

Admissions Exam

 

The BMAT is required for the 6-year programme. Note that this test is only valid for one year. It is not essential for the -year programme, but passing the BMAT could help in meeting pre-course requirements.

 

Access to Medicine courses

 

If you have completed, or are planning to complete, an Access to Medicine course, you should contact the admissions office to find out whether the particular course will be accepted. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

 

International Students

 

There are 22 places available for international students applying to the 6-year programme at Cambridge. Note that you must be able to demonstrate the English Language requirements to study at Cambridge. This could be through a high grade in English taken as part of a high school leaving exam, or through a more formal qualification such as IELTS with a minimum overall grade of 7.5 and no less than 7.0 in any section. If you are unsure if your qualification meets the requirement, it is a good idea to contact the admissions department early.

 

If you are applying as an overseas student and taken qualifications other than those listed above, please contact us by email (enquiries@themsag.com) if you would like more information on the minimum grades needed to be considered for a place in Medicine at Cambridge.

 

Policy on Deferrals

 

It is not possible to apply for deferred entry to the 6-year programme.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

Application Deadlines

 

Applications via UCAS for 2017/18 entry are open from 1st September 2016 and close on 15th October 2016

 

Application Documents

 

• Completed UCAS application form .

• Cambridge Graduate Course Application Form (available from the Cambridge website).

-You will need to provide information about any work/voluntary experience that you have undertaken in a healthcare setting, both paid and unpaid. The application also includes two personal statements.

-The first personal statement is 300 words and asks you to reflect on your experiences in a healthcare setting and explain how this has contributed to your commitment to a career in medicine.

-The second personal statement is 650 words and asks: why you want to be a doctor; and why at this particular stage in your life. It also asks why you feel you have the qualities of a good medical practitioner (remember the space is there for you to provide specific examples that illustrate these qualities)

• 2 references (as part of the Cambridge Graduate Application Form) to write about:

-Your academic ability

-Your team work and communication skills

-Any personal characteristics that the referee feels make you suited for a career in the medical profession

-If the referee knows of any reason as to why you might not be suitable for a career in medicine

• Non-UK/EU students must also fill in the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application, available from www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/copa.html.

• If you live abroad and wish to schedule your interview in India, China, Malaysia or Singapore, remember that your submission date will be earlier (check Cambridge website for details).

 

SELECTION PROCESS AND INTERVIEW

 

Selection Process

 

For both the 4-year programme and the 6-year programme, over 80% of students who apply are invited for interview. Each part of the selection process from application to interview is considered when making a decision to offer a candidate a place on the course. Reference letters are a very important part of the application, so it is a good idea to choose your referees carefully. Through your personal statement and your Cambridge Graduate Course Application Form, they will be looking for the following key characteristics:

 

• Are you knowledgeable about the scientific basis of medicine, including its most recent developments?

• Are you honest, caring, knowledgeable and competent and equipped to maintain good medical practice?

• Will you show respect for their patients at all times?

• Do you have excellent communication skills for use in the health care of diverse populations?

• Do you understand the importance of physical, psychological and social aspects of patient care?

• Do you possess a sound appreciation of ethical, legal and community issues?

• Are able to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams?

• Do you possess the capacity for inquiry and are prepared to continue learning, teaching, evaluation?

 

Interview

 

If you are invited to interview for the 4-year programme, it will usually last 40 minutes and will be in the form of a panel-style interview. Short video guides to preparing for the interview are available from: http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/interviews. See below for ideas around possible interview questions.

 

For the 6-year programme, students generally have 1, 2 or 3 (usually 2) one-on-one interviews lasting between 20-45 minutes. Interview questions might cover:

 

- your knowledge of scientific topics/current issues in the field of medicine and in the NHS

 

- your personal interests and goals

 

- they may ask more detail on information you have provided in your application form (good idea to know this inside-out and be able to elaborate on key points)

 

Note that Emmanuel College has videos of mock interviews available on their website at http://www.emma.cam.ac.uk/admissions/videos/interviews/?showvideo=46 (see the 4-year programme interview section above for a link to interview preparation materials). Interviews can sometimes be scheduled in the applicant’s home country, which may include Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, China and India. If you wish to be considered for an overseas interview, remember that you may then have an earlier application deadline (e.g. for 2016 entry, the deadline for submission to request an overseas interview for China, Malaysia or Singapore is: 20th September 2015). Interviews at the university are often one-on-one, but specific colleges may vary slightly in their interview policies.

 

COMPETITION RATIOS

 

For the 4-year programme, in the 2015-2016 application cycle, there were roughly 340 applicants for the 20 UK/EU places available (26 offers). Statistics for each of the three colleges (including from previous years) are available from http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/statistics

 

For the 6-year programme, in the 2015-16 application cycle, there were roughly 1521 applicants for the 268 UK/EU places available (281 offers) and 358 applicants for the 22 non-EU places available

 

RANKING

 

Medicine at Cambridge is ranked 1st in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2016.

 

It is ranked 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2016.

 

It is number 3 in the world in the QS World University Rankings for Medicine.

 

PROGRAMMES

 

As a prospective undergraduate, you can apply to a 6-year programme at all colleges except Homerton and Hughes Hall. This is divided into the pre-clinical (years 1-3) and clinical (years 4-6) phases. As mentioned, above the initial three years are focused mainly on acquiring the anatomical, physiological and pathological knowledge needed to recognise and treat disease. Teaching contact is intense, usually between 20-25 hours per week, including practical classes. In the third year, students specialise in a particular subject to gain their initial BA degree. This is like an intercalated degree but is embedded into this course for all students. The range of subjects varies from Pathology to the History of Medicine, so there is something to suit everyone.

 

Those who are planning a career in academic medicine can obtain an MB, BChir and a PhD in 9 years by intercalating 3 years of research with the 3 years of clinical studies in Cambridge. It is possible to apply to this programme during the first 3 years of preclinical studies.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

 

Note that UCAS regulations prevent school-leavers from applying to both Oxford and Cambridge at the same time.

 

A/AS levels and GCSEs

 

The typical offer goes to candidates who have obtained A*A*A at A level. Although students can be admitted with only two Science/ Mathematics A levels, admissions rates are much lower compared to students who have three Science/Mathematics A levels, and some colleges state this as a particular requirement. Applicants must have completed three of the following at AS or A level: Biology/Human Biology also Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics. One of the subjects must be Chemistry and at least one pass must be at A level. The minimum GCSE requirements are stipulated as grade C or above in Mathematics and Double Award Sciences (in lieu of which, single awards in Biology and Physics can be accepted).

 

IB

 

For students who have pursued/completed the IB, you will need 40-41 points with 776 at HL, with equivalent subject requirements as for A levels (see above), and grades of 4 or higher in your middle year subjects.

 

Admissions Exam

 

The BMAT is required. Note that this test is only valid for one year.

 

Access to Medicine courses

 

If you have completed, or are planning to complete, an Access to Medicine course, you should contact the admissions office to find out whether the particular course will be accepted. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Widening Participation

 

Cambridge considers contextual data from UCAS to review each candidate’s application in light of their individual circumstances. They do not make any specific guarantees as to whether a candidate would be guaranteed an interview on that basis, or whether they would consider an applicant suitable for a lower offer. If a candidate has extenuating circumstances, they should complete the relevant form, which can be accessed here:

http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/decisions/extenuating-circumstances-form

 

International Students

 

There are 22 places available for international students applying to the undergraduate Medicine programme at Cambridge. Note that you must be able to demonstrate the English Language requirements to study at Cambridge. This could be through a high grade in English taken as part of a high school leaving exam, or through a more formal qualification such as IELTS with a minimum overall grade of 7.5 and no less than 7.0 in any section. If you are unsure if your qualification meets the requirement, it is a good idea to contact the admissions department early.

 

If you are applying as an overseas student and taken qualifications other than those listed above, please contact us by email (enquiries@themsag.com) if you would like more information on the minimum grades needed to be considered for a place in Medicine at Cambridge.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

Application Deadlines

 

Applications via UCAS for 2017/18 entry are open from 1st September 2016 and close on 15th October 2016

 

Application Documents

 

• Completed UCAS application form

• Cambridge Supplemental Application Questionnaire, which includes:

-Optional personal statement (maximum 1200 characters) where you are encouraged to give details about your interest in the Cambridge course

-Question about your future career plans (maximum 300 characters)

-Question on how you have developed your interest and experience in the field of Medicine

• UCAS referees are normally sufficient but if your referees would like to make specific comments related to your Cambridge application, they can send these to the relevant college, or to the Cambridge Admissions Office in the case of an open application

• Non-UK/EU students must also fill in the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application, available from www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/copa.html. Other students, such as Organ Scholars should also fill out this form.

 

SELECTION PROCESS AND INTERVIEW

 

Selection Process

 

The admissions team will consider all parts of the application when making the decision of who to invite for interview, including academics, your personal statement and your BMAT score. Reference letters are important. Over 80% of applicants will generally get invited to interview, and offers will be made based on both the interview and your overall application. Through your personal statement and your Supplemental Application Questionnaire, they will be looking for the following key characteristics:

 

• Are you knowledgeable about the scientific basis of medicine, including its most recent developments?

• Are you honest, caring, knowledgeable and competent and equipped to maintain good medical practice?

• Will you show respect for their patients at all times?

• Do you have excellent communication skills for use in the health care of diverse populations?

• Do you understand the importance of physical, psychological and social aspects of patient care?

• Do you possess a sound appreciation of ethical, legal and community issues?

• Are able to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams?

• Do you possess the capacity for inquiry and are prepared to continue learning, teaching, evaluation?

 

Interview

 

Applicants generally have 1, 2 or 3 (usually 2) one-on-one interviews lasting between 20-45 minutes. Interview questions might cover:
- your knowledge of scientific topics/current issues in the field of medicine and in the NHS
- your personal interests and goals
- they may ask more detail on information you have provided in your application form (good idea to know this inside-out and be able to elaborate on key points)

 

Note that Emmanuel College has videos of mock interviews available on their website at http://www.emma.cam.ac.uk/admissions/videos/interviews/?showvideo=46. Interviews can sometimes be scheduled in the applicant’s home country, which may include Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, China and India. If you wish to be considered for an overseas interview, remember that you may then have an earlier application deadline (e.g. for 2016 entry, the deadline for submission to request an overseas interview for China, Malaysia or Singapore is: 20th September 2015). Interviews at the university are often one-on-one, but specific colleges may vary slightly in their interview policies. Short video guides to preparing for the Cambridge interview are available from: http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/interviews.

 

COMPETITION RATIOS

 

In the 2015-16 application cycle, there were roughly 1521 applicants for the 268 UK/EU places available (281 offers) and 358 applicants for the 22 non-EU places available.

 

RANKING

 

Medicine at Cambridge is ranked 1st in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2016.

 

It is ranked 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2016.

 

It is number 3 in the world in the QS World University Rankings for Medicine.

 

Anonymous student - 2016

1. what are the good things about studying Medicine at Cambridge?

 

"I liked the collegiate system and the small group teaching. Small group supervisions enabled the teaching to be tailored more to your needs and make you feel more comfortable asking questions and in discussions. You also spend time with people doing a variety of other degrees at your college, which is nice. The atmosphere in small colleges in particular is very friendly and you settle in quite quickly. There are hundreds of college based and university based societies, with something for everyone."

 

2. what is not so good about studying Medicine there?

 

"Although it provides a rigorous scientific foundation, the course is not for everyone. The pre-clinical years are separated into different subjects, for example Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology in the first year. The lectures are interesting but with weekly supervisions and essays in each subject, it is quite demanding. There is also minimal clinical contact in the first three years."

 

3. what advice do you have for someone thinking of studying Medicine there?

 

"For someone who is more interested in the clinical aspects of medicine and how it relates to the core sciences, I would recommend a course that integrates clinical teaching early on."

 

4. do you have any tips on how to get in?

 

"Good grades at school are helpful, but you have to show that you are a well-rounded person and pursue other interests. Reading beyond the school curriculum and showing an interest in journals is also helpful and can be a useful source of discussion in the interview."

 

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