What A level grades for Cambridge Medicine are needed?
An excellent question, and unfortunately one with a very convoluted answer. Getting into Cambridge’s medical course is significantly more than just your A levels – it takes into account your BMAT score, your performance at interview and your GCSE grades as well. When meeting and discussing with prospective students, Cambridge seek to emphasise that they look at the whole picture, rather than just one aspect of performance such as a level grades for Cambridge Medicine.
However, A level grades do play a part, and it is useful to understand how previous statistics can help us interpret what Cambridge are looking for.
In 2018, 898 A level students applied to the Cambridge medical course, with 246 offers being made. On the face of it, that is an odds ratio of 3.65 applicants per offer. While that might sound low, it can be deceptive. Time to look a little harder at the numbers. Of those 898 applicants, 604 were predicted A*A*A* at A level. That’s just over 2/3 of applicants being predicted exactly the same top grades.
Given that the current standard offer is A*A*A, students must be predicted at least this or above to (realistically) apply. In 2018, just 19 offers were made to students predicted A*A*A, with the remaining 224 offered to A*A*A* predicted students. (Note here, the numbers do not total to 246 offers, this is possibly due to students deferring or similar).
So, we are left with the impression that A*A*A* are the most desirable predicted grades for Cambridge Medicine.
However, it’s not possible to say that those students got in simply because of their predicted grades. The fact remains that 380 students predicted top grades did not get offers in 2018, and some students with lower predictions did.
Why is it quite so complex? It is likely that those students performing at a high enough level to get through Cambridge interviews, and the BMAT, will also be exceptionally good at their A level subjects and thus predicted excellent grades. So, in summary – it’s not mandatory to be predicted the top grades for an offer, but it is incredibly common.
Other things, such as the BMAT, do matter, however.
The interview process is much harder to fully understand, but the BMAT scores provide some solid data from which to work. For the 2018 offer holders, the average BMAT scores were 5.5 for section 1, 6.1 for section 2 and 3.5 for section 3. These are (unsurprisingly) above average, but it is important to note that there are, therefore, students who scored lower than this and still gained an offer for Medicine at Cambridge.
A crucial take-home message from the data that Cambridge have released is this: it is not black and white.
The main thing when applying is to work as hard as you can, for the best grades that you can, and that will stand you in good stead to do well in the application process. A touch of realism is critical – if you aren’t predicted the grades the course is asking for, then you should seriously consider whether or not it is suitable for you, and what you would do to bring your grades up. Finally, don’t neglect the interview preparation and an excellent personal statement. Those are the things that, in the end, can set you apart from all the other applicants with top grades.