What is Cambridge Medical School Like? A Review
As you would expect, the teaching standard at Cambridge Medical School is very high. The medicine course focuses on the academic rigour of Science. It is challenging both in terms of the content of the course and the volume expected of undergraduates.
The one major difference between Oxbridge medicine and other institutions is the tendency for there to be less emphasis on the ethical side of the course. Students on this course will have a relatively high proportion of contact time – one to one and group-based research, as well as lectures – compared with other courses.
In return for hard work and dedication to their subject, undergraduate medical students at Cambridge Medical School can expect to be exposed to some of the best university teachings in the country.
It can be overwhelming considering the different factors when applying to university. This is especially true for those students wishing to study medicine.
However, even compared to the best medical schools in London, we believe that Cambridge Medical School should be at the top of your list of universities. It has a great medical course, it is highly reputable and you will love studying in the beautiful city of Cambridge.
Cambridge Medical School Course Content
As alluded to above, on the Cambridge course, students study the medical sciences first, before learning to apply that knowledge to medical practice as a clinical student.
The first three years at medical school are pre-clinical studies, which involves:
- Practical classes (including dissections)
What are supervisions?
Supervisions are small-group teaching sessions with an academic expert in their field. There may be multiple supervisions a week. To get the most out of a supervision you need to be well prepared; don’t just turn up and say “I couldn’t do question 3”. You need to show your working clearly to explain your thinking and you need to tell the supervisor exactly what you got stuck on.
The timetable tends to consist typically of 20-25 scheduled teaching hours each week – above average for university courses. The emphasis during the clinical studies in Cambridge is on learning in clinical settings: at the bedside, in outpatient, clinics and in GP surgeries.
Cambridge is known for closely monitoring the ongoing process of students and work is reviewed weekly and termly by College supervisors. Formal assessment, which determines students’ ability to proceed with the course, includes written and practical examinations, coursework submission and clinical assessments.
Years 1 and 2 (pre-clinical studies):
|The main areas of learning are covered by courses in:||The clinical strand of Years 1 and 2 involves:|
|Functional Architecture of the Body||Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice|
|Homeostasis||Social and Ethical Context of Health and Illness|
|Molecules in Medical Science||Preparing for Patients|
|Biology of Disease|
|Mechanisms of Drug Action|
|Neurobiology and Human Behaviour|
|The main areas of learning are covered by courses in:|
|Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences in Natural Sciences|
|A single Part II Natural Sciences subject|
|A non-core science subject, such as Anthropology, Management Studies, History of Medicine or Philosophy|
Years 4, 5 and 6 (clinical studies):
|The main areas of learning are covered by courses in:|
|Communication skills, patient investigation and practical procedures||Evaluation and research|
|Therapeutics and patient management||Professionalism and patient safety|
|Core clinical science, pathology and diagnostic reasoning||Improving health|
Cost of Living at Cambridge University
Cambridge is an expensive city to live in and the cost of living is comparable with Oxford and even London in some respects.
There are certain advantages though for undergraduates, including the availability of university-owned accommodation for the duration of the course and the relatively low need for transport costs to be incurred. International fees have changed for UK universities and we explain everything here.
There is a reputation that attending Oxford or Cambridge costs more than other universities. For applicants who live in the UK, this is actually the opposite as the terms are 8 weeks long, compared to a normal 10-14 week term at another university. Oxbridge students only pay accommodation fees for term-time whereas other universities in the UK require a 40+ week contract for accommodation, so a lot of money is saved. We explain costs in more depth in our Oxford vs Cambridge article here.
The difficulty of gaining entry to Cambridge Medical School
Because of its reputation as a research university in the UK and globally, Cambridge Medical School is highly selective in its admissions policy. On average, there are 6 students applying per place available, most applying with an excellent academic background.
Apart from the conventional application process of personal statements and references, students must score well on the BMAT exam and attend one-to-one interviews. While there are no official pass marks for the BMAT, to be invited for an interview, you should aim for an average of 5.0+. Typical requirements for A Level is A*A*A and for IB it is 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level.
The process is designed to be challenging and ultimately determine whether Cambridge is right for you. It is a very fair process in this sense. We explain how to get into Cambridge Medicine in more depth here and if you are looking for support to give you the best chance of gaining entry to Cambridge Medical School, we provide comprehensive support to smash the interviews, BMAT and Personal Statment.
Which Medical School Should You Choose?
With a host of medical schools now available to students across the UK, it can be hard to make the decision of which University you should attend.
Questions like “will this school benefit my studies?” and “will I get on with their teaching style?” will inevitably come up. To help you make the right choice with your medical school, we have put together a ‘how-to’ guide on choosing a medical school.
If you decide on Cambridge then you’ll want to choose a college that suits you. It’s not easy picking the right Cambridge College, it is more than just teaching and academia. If you would like more information on what to expect at Cambridge, read on here for the day in the life of a Cambridge Medical School Student.
Feel like a world-class education and life at Cambridge will work for you?
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