How to get into the University of Cambridge for Medicine

Cambridge is renowned and one of the best universities in the world, especially for its faculty of Medicine. Cambridge’s Medicine degree is currently ranked 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide and it comes 2nd in Times Higher Education’s world university rankings (2023).

Not only is it generally competitive to gain a place at Cambridge, but the Medicine course is especially tough to get into. Cambridge Medical School has a 17% success rate. Hence, only a small selection of applicants are successful in receiving an offer, and the application process is far from simple.

If you’d like to be a Medical student at Cambridge University or you’re just curious about what it takes to get into one of the most prestigious and globally acclaimed Medicine courses in the UK, then this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on what you need to do to get into Cambridge.

The Profs’ Medicine tutors have first-hand experience with the admissions process and know what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are over three times more likely to receive an offer from Cambridge University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is the Medicine course at Cambridge like?

Cambridge’s undergraduate Medicine course is renowned for its academic rigour and the high quality of its teaching. Cambridge offers its Medicine students access to world class medical research facilities, including Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the largest teaching hospital in Europe, and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the largest biomedical research centres in the world. It also has a brilliant university library. A great way to check all this out for yourself is to take a virtual tour of Cambridge’s Medical School.

Cambridge’s Medical School has a distinguished history of producing outstanding doctors and medical researchers. It counts among its alumni several Nobel laureates, including Sir John Gurdon and Sir Tim Hunt. Students at Cambridge also benefit from the School’s strong partnerships with local hospitals and research institutions, which provide them with unique opportunities for research, clinical placements and medical experience.

Medicine is a scientific and highly interdisciplinary field of study. At Cambridge, the undergraduate Medicine degree is excellent because it combines a strong foundation in the medical sciences with a focus on practical classes and clinical experience.

Medical Degrees Offered:

If you are an undergraduate student, Cambridge offers a standard course in Medicine (A100). This course provides rigorous, evidence-based medical training in the research-intensive environment of the university. Students have the opportunity to undertake research and project work during their studies.

The course is six years long: It primarily focuses on developing students’ clinical skills, and it offers them the chance to gain hands-on experience through placements at hospitals and clinics. The course is six years long, including three years of preclinical study and three years of clinical training. Students study medical sciences first, before applying their knowledge to medical practice. Hence the first three years are pre-clinical, and the next three years are clinical.

Successful completion of the first 3 years will grant you a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA), whereas successful completion of the clinical studies will grant you two degrees, the Bachelor of Medicine as well as the Bachelor of Surgery (MB, BChir).

Please note: If you already have a degree then Cambridge advises that you apply as an affiliate student to the pre-clinical component of the Standard Course in Medicine, to the accelerated Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) or to the Standard Course in Medicine (A100) with the Graduate Course in Medicine (A101). Check out the course website for more information on this.

Postgraduates studying Medicine at Cambridge have the chance to earn an MD, MPhil, MSt, PhD, or MRes.

When considering applicants for its Medicine programme, Cambridge places particular emphasis on scientific and analytical skills, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills. These abilities will be further developed and honed throughout the course and can be applied to a range of career paths, including roles in clinical practice, research, and healthcare management.

What are the entry requirements?

The entry requirements to study Medicine at the University of Cambridge are high as Cambridge is one of the most competitive universities to get into.

If you’d like to be a Cambridge Medical student, take a look at the table below detailing the Cambridge Medicine entry requirements:

QualificationGrades required
A levelsA*A*A (77% of applicants have A*A*A*)
IB40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level
Other UK qualificationsCheck the full list of qualifications accepted by Cambridge
Other international qualificationsCheck the full list of international qualifications accepted by Cambridge

Worried that you won’t qualify with the necessary grades for Oxbridge Medicine? The Profs’ A level and IB tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework, final exams and entry tests for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

What subjects are recommended?

Cambridge has the following subject requirements for Medicine: A level Chemistry and either A level Biology, Physics, or Maths.

Most applicants for Medicine at Cambridge have three Science/Mathematics A levels at a minimum, and some Colleges require this and/or specific subjects. Therefore, it is important to check your chosen course and college requirements.

Cambridge states that until 2019, all of its successful applicants took Chemistry, 98% took Mathematics, and 97% took Biology.

What admissions tests are there?

If you want to be considered for Medicine at Cambridge University, you must take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) at an authorised assessment centre. Prior to this, you must register there.

The UCAT is an aptitude test used as part of the admissions process for multiple medical, dental, and veterinary schools in the UK and abroad. The UCAT is designed to test the scientific and mathematical knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills of applicants. The test consists of five sections: verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning and situational judgement.

The UCAT is a challenging test that requires preparation and practice, but it can also be a valuable opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their potential and stand out in the admissions process. For more information on the UCAT test, check out our guide.

In 2023, average UCAT scores fell around 629. Cambridge does not specify a required score, however, you should aim high to boost your likelihood of an offer (above 680).

Aiming for a high score is vital if you’re setting your sights on Cambridge’s Medical School. This means it will be crucial to study and complete UCAT practice tests. You might want to consider tuition. The Profs provide highly esteemed UCAT tutors to help you ace this step of your application.

How hard is it to get into Medicine at Cambridge?

Applying for Cambridge is no simple feat. Getting into Medicine is especially competitive and challenging. There are 6 applications per place. If you’re thinking about applying to Cambridge, take a look at the table below to get an idea of the competitiveness surrounding the standard undergraduate degree:

ApplicationsAccepted
1770295

The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Cambridge to study Medicine. Thanks to our network of experienced tutors, many of whom are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, we have the very latest and best knowledge on what Cambridge is looking for in their Medicine applications. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help with your application to Cambridge.

What are the fees for Medicine at Cambridge?

Tuition fees vary depending on whether you’re a UK-national student or not. The table below shows the annual course fees for Cambridge’s Medicine students:

Home studentsInternational students
£9,250£63,990

You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on Cambridge’s fee status page. You can also use Cambridge’s fees, funding and financial assistance page to see the funding options available to you.

4 tips on how to get into Medicine at Cambridge

1. Prepare thoroughly for each stage of the admissions process

When applying to study Medicine at Cambridge, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider. You should prepare for each one thoroughly if you’re set on being offered a place.

Your grades – preparation for your university application really starts from the moment you start your A levels. Excellent A level grades (or equivalent) are essential in order to be considered for a place at Cambridge, so you should be aiming for A*A*A in your A levels (or equivalent) as a minimum. Here at The Profs, we have excellent A level tutors that can help you attain your goal grades!

Your UCAS application – the first official stage of your Cambridge application is completing your UCAS application online. As well as your grades, this includes your personal statement. This is the first chance you’ll get to showcase your suitability for Medicine at Cambridge and prove that you are interested and committed to the subject areas. Find out how to write a stand-out personal statement in this helpful guide.

The UCAT – you are also required to take the UCAT test when applying for Medicine at Cambridge. This is designed to be challenging, so it’s really important that you prepare for it just as you would for any other exam. Find out how to ace your UCAT for your medical school application in this blog.

The interview – if your UCAS application and test scores are impressive enough, you may be invited to an interview at Cambridge. This is your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for Medicine. Oxbridge interviews are like oral admissions tests and there is often even a mark scheme your interviewers will be scoring you against, so it’s important to seek professional help to prepare effectively. At The Profs, we have excellent interview training experts that can help you prepare specifically for your Cambridge Medicine interview.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS. 

2. Show evidence of your love for Medicine

With such a low success rate, it’s important that you do everything you can to make your application stand out from the crowd. Your academic ability might get you on the shortlist, but it’s not what secures your place. Cambridge particularly looks for applicants who have academic ability, potential, and genuine enthusiasm for Medicine. There are many ways you can show this, such as:

Conduct wider reading, beyond your school syllabus – Self-learning demonstrates a desire to learn about Medicine at a higher level. Reading around Medicine will allow you to draw from a wider bank of knowledge than your standard curriculum. This should demonstrate excellent capability and genuine interest in Medicine, which will help you to stand out.

Take on relevant extracurricular activities – With the competition so high, academic excellence is not enough. Stand out by showing initiative and interest beyond your curriculum. Maybe you’re part of a science club, attended Summer School, or enjoy tutoring other students in STEM subjects.

Find relevant work experience – Relevant work experience will help you to demonstrate your ambitions and genuine fascination for Medicine, as well as your commitment to it. For Medicine, Cambridge strongly advises its students to have relevant work experience in a health or social care organisation. This could include volunteering or shadowing in a GP surgery, hospice, nursing home, or hospital.

3. Have a 5-year plan

Another factor that can set you aside from other applicants is having a 5-year plan. This doesn’t have to be a plan that you necessarily stick to – in fact, it is expected that your interests and ambitions change as your knowledge and experience grow. Having a plan is simply a great way of demonstrating to Cambridge that you are committed to the subject and that you are motivated to succeed at your degree, and thus would be a valuable Cambridge student.

The first step to having a plan is to develop an understanding of the industries a Medicine degree can lead to and the specific areas you can specialise in. Make sure you outline your future intentions with a Cambridge Medicine degree, whether that includes embarking on a PhD in Medicine, or working as a surgeon, a GP or in another medical profession. Maybe you even dream of opening your own medical practice!

It is good to show your goal as well as prove your motivation to show that you’re a forward-thinking candidate who is serious about your career. Relating your areas of study, activities, and personal passions back to potential careers is essential to presenting a targeted, future-focused candidate profile in just a few sentences.

4. Seek help from an expert Oxbridge admissions tutor

If you want to apply to Cambridge it’s important to be aware of how competitive the Medicine course is.

Your application requires you to perform well in multiple stages to be in with a chance of securing an offer. Shortlisted candidates can often fall at the last hurdle of the admissions process. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist Oxford or Cambridge preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional Cambridge admissions tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles, tailor their application to Cambridge’s admissions criteria, prepare for the UCAT exam, and excel in their admissions interview.

Oxbridge applicants are over three times more likely to receive an offer when working with The Profs’ experts. At The Profs, You’ll gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for study at an elite UK university, as well as a deeper and broader understanding of the skills and knowledge needed to study Medicine at degree level. Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.