Insight From: a Cambridge Medical Student

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Mathematical bridge at Queens' College, Cambridge


“For Cambridge, A Level Maths is a big advantage for applying”


Curious about life as a Cambridge medic? Look no further! This week, we spoke to Alice, who is currently in her fifth year studying Medicine at Cambridge. Read on for revision tips, advice on preparing for a Cambridge interview, and to hear about the use of maths in a medical degree.

You can check out last week’s article about Maths at Cambridge here.


Which A Levels did you take, and why?

I took Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and General Studies, as well as AS Physics.

I chose these subjects as I enjoyed them the most and they met the entry criteria for Medicine.

Biology is probably the subject most relevant to my degree, but the others came in handy during my Cambridge interview and some specific sections of my course such as pharmacology practicals, which involved some calculations and graphs.


You studied Maths to quite a high level – how useful was this for your degree?

GCSE Maths is sufficient for most medical schools; however, for Cambridge, A Level Maths is a big advantage for applying and helps with some of the calculation-based papers in preclinical years.

Most of the Maths in the Cambridge medical course involves graphs and simple calculations. Statistics is also useful for reading research papers, but I have never used any of the mechanics or calculus from A Level.

When it comes to the mathematical aspect of the course, I’ve not really noticed a difference between myself and people who did not take Further Maths, or who took other courses such as IB.


How did you prepare for your application to Cambridge? Did you find it necessary to study beyond your syllabus?

As well as taking the UKCAT and BMAT exams, I prepared for my interview by reading about current medical affairs and scientific topics that interested me, as well as ensuring I had a good understanding of my A level topics.

For medicine, I think it is definitely important to go beyond your A Level studies and do some extra reading to show you are dedicated to the subject. But remember – if you mention a book in your personal statement, be prepared to talk about it!


Finally, any tips for revising maths?

Lots of practice questions!

I found the pure maths modules of Further Maths the most difficult, and it took me lots of practice to work out how to do the questions.

I also made brief notes – for example, key concepts, worked examples and key equations to remember.


Want to read more about maths in university courses?

Check out our article on the applications of A-Level Maths in Economics courses.


MathSpire Team

MathSpire Team

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