Cambridge Medicine Interview

by Pippa Morris December 08, 2022 5 min read

For 2021 entry, 1122 applicants interviewed at Birmingham Medical School and 800 offers were made (71%)

2023 Cambridge Medicine Interviews


The majority of Cambridge Medicine Interviews for 2022 applicants will be conducted as a virtual panel interview. They usually last 20-30 minutes.


Most Cambridge University Interviews will take place in December 2022, with offers released in early 2023. Individual dates will differ by college.


Oxbridge interview questions will have a strong academic focus, as well as enquiring more about your reasoning for studying medicine and your personal qualities. The interview is designed to assess how you will manage in a supervision-style environment.

What Interview Questions to Expect

One of the main factors which sets out Cambridge (and Oxford) University from other medical schools is the supervision-style teaching system. Most students will have three to four supervision each week, where an academic will guide students through the lecture and practical content of the week. Students are encouraged to truly understand what they are learning and to apply this knowledge. They may be set essays to consolidate their knowledge. Interviewers will be looking at how applicants may fare in supervision.

Don't be put off if you find yourself unable to answer all the questions. It is commonly said that the more difficult the interview, the better you have performed. Interviewers are analysing your thought process. Many students will leave the interview feeling disheartened, but if you have been academically stretched this suggests the interviewers are trying to assess the limits of your knowledge and are impressed with the answers you gave previously.

Before the interview, you will have provided information to the University of Cambridge by means of your UCAS form, personal statement and SAQ. Make sure you are familiar with all of this, as you may be asked questions based on this. Additionally, you may be asked to discuss your BMAT essay. If you are provided with any pre-reading, ensure you complete this and consider the possible questions you may get asked based on this.

As with other medical school interviews, it is likely you will be asked to discuss why you believe you will make a good doctor, and why you think you are suitable for a career in healthcare career. You may be asked to demonstrate key skills, such as teamwork or leadership, or discuss a time when you have seen them utilised in clinical practice. Interviewers may question you about your worries about a medical career, so prepare to talk about how you will overcome the negative aspects of the career.

Cambridge's Scoring System

There is no official scoring criteria for the Cambridge medicine interview, but online guidance suggests that students must be a 'keen scientist with a sound scientific understanding'. Applicants are selected based on their suitability for a medical career.

Most Cambridge applicants will receive an interview offer, so this really is your time to shine. Decisions as to who to offer a place will be based upon interview performance alongside academics, including predicted grades and BMAT results.

How to answer "Why do you want to study Medicine at Cambridge University?" in an interview

To give a concise and comprehensive answer to this question at your interview, there are three essential elements your answer needs to have :

    1. Specific knowledge about the school, programme, place
    2. Why the elements you mentioned are attractive to you
    3. Evidence that you have made an effort to research the school and programme

Point 2 and 3 above are essential to deliver a strong answer that is personal to you. In this section, we will help you brainstorm point 1 to help you get started in preparing your answer.

What is unique about the course at Cambridge?

The Cambridge Medicine course is a six-year long programme, with the opportunity to intercalate in Year 3. It has a strong pre-clinical focus initially, with the final three years focusing on clinical experience, with placements at Addenbrooke's hospital and throughout East Anglia. Students are encouraged to gain a good understanding of the scientific nature of disease, through full-body cadaveric dissection, lectures by leading global academics and practicals in biochemistry, physiology and more. In addition, students are offered supervision, small group teaching sessions delivered by the individual college.

What is unique about Cambridge and its Medical School?

The University of Cambridge is one of the world's most prestigious university, set in the middle of East Anglia and ranks as the 3rd best medical school in the world. Lectures and practicals take place on the Downing site in the pre-clinical years, and subsequent clinical placements take place in Addenbrooke's hospital and regional district general hospitals. There is a thriving medical society, as well as smaller college societies.

Why else would people choose Cambridge Medical School?

The University of Cambridge's collegiate system is renowned for enriching student life significantly, with the opportunity to interact with students from a wide range of subjects and backgrounds. There is a great deal of academic and financial support available to students from all backgrounds. The university itself forms the central focus of the small town of Cambridge along the River Cam, with beautiful buildings and a large student population of over 20,000.

Cambridge Interview Experiences

"There were 6 minutes per station and 2 minutes between each question. The style was conversational with follow up questions. I could not speak for more than 3 or 4 minutes without interruption."

Medicine Interviewee, 11th Feb 2022

"There were 2 interviewers per station: A student and healthcare worker. The student seemed focused on timing & the healthcare worker asked questions. They were smiling and friendly."

Medicine Interviewee, 11th Feb 2022

"I found the calculation to do in a roleplay difficult and unexpected as I had already done the calculation test. I struggled to note all the numbers I needed to complete it."

Medicine Interviewee, 11th Feb 2022

Our Top Cambridge Interview Tips

Cambridge Interview Tip #1

Preparation is key

Consider the interview questions you may be asked

Based on your personal statement, BMAT essay and supplementary answer questionnaire, your interview questions may be specific to you. Ensure you are knowledgeable about all areas of your application, and have a think about the potential questions that may be asked of you. Try doing mock interviews with your friends or at school to practice your answers to the most common questions.

Cambridge Interview Tip #2

Learn your science

The interview is very academically focused

Your Cambridge medicine interview will have a strong academic focus, as discussed above. Ensure your A-level chemistry and biology knowledge is up to date, and be prepared to answer questions where you are required to apply this knowledge. The medical school interview is unlike an MMI and each student will have an entirely difficult experience. However, you can ensure you are well prepared by revising syllabus topics which you typically find more difficult.

Cambridge Interview Tip #3

Remember the basics

Don't forget, any question is possible

The examiners will want to ensure that you will be a good medical student and doctor in the future. They will assess the core personal qualities and ask you to demonstrate examples of times when you have put these skills into practice. This may include communication skills, teamwork and leadership, empathy and compassion and working under pressure. Follow-up questions may be asked where you expand further. Have a thing about how you may answer these non science-based questions beforehand.

Pippa Morris is an FY1 Doctor at Royal Bournemouth Hospital and University of Cambridge medicine graduate.