Application

 Cambridge

 Christ’s

 Medicine

 2005

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 overseas

 Malaysia

 Independent – selective

I attended a fully residential college in Malaysia with expatriate lecturers from Britain.

 yes (12 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Biology, A in Chemistry, A in Mathematics, A in Physics

AAAA

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I found the very academic nature of these universities extremely attractive. Education in any one of these universities,I believe, makes one realise one’s true potential.

Apart from that, I recognise that the Oxbridge experience is very unique. The thought of many academically capable individuals gathered together in a prestigious institution to engage in healthy competition excites me.

Cambridge striked me as the perfect location to study: its architecture is striking, the environment is simply beautiful, and it has just enough facilities and shops for a comfortable 6-year education experience. I preferred the more quiet and serene nature of Cambridge to the busier nature of Oxford.

As a sidenote, my headmaster is a Cambridge alumnus.

I loved the idea of a course which provides a strong grounding in medical theories before proceeding to clinical training. And of course, the idea of being able to pursue a course of my choice in the third year interested me a lot. Ever since my GCSE years, I have always liked the idea of doing one or two arts subjects together with the sciences–and the Cambridge system gives me this opportunity.

1. It is often reputed to be the most academically-oriented (and some say academically brutal) college in Cambridge. I really wanted to test the limits of my academic ability.=)

2.It is very centralised, beautiful, has decent accommodation and a friendly porter (when I visited, at least).

3. My preparatory college seems to have kept a good record of sending at least one medical student per year to Christ’s for 4 years already, so I thought chances are pretty good.

Preparation

yes

I had a couple of mock interviews, and was presented with personal statements of the seniors who are currently reading medicine in Cambridge.

Firstly, and most importantly, you have got to have a burning desire to get into Cambridge. Be very serious and meticulous about everything you do in your application process.

Show that you are a true achiever in your personal statement, a presentable and intelligent individual in your interview, and a meticulous and systematic student in your BMAT & UKCAT.

1. PERSONAL STATEMENT
You have to tailor your personal statement to suit your personality, style and interests. Some people have the opinion that it should be short, simple and straightforward, i.e. to let their achievements speak for themselves. Others like to elaborate a lot and use fancy language.

2. INTERVIEW
You can be intelligent, knowledgeable and speak well-but you aren’t necessarily a good interviewee. You must be able to speak maturely, present your ideas coherently and look presentable during the interview. Most importantly, make sure you CONNECT with the interviewer.

For interviews, as well as everything else, practice makes perfect. Whenever you get a chance, practice with a close friend, a teacher or speak in front of the mirror. Trust me, it helps a lot!

Interview

yes

You have GOT to have the stamina and speed to ace the BMAT.

For paper 1, practise using past year AS-Level critical thinking questions.

For paper 2, practise using a lot of GCSE questions. Don’t worry, they aren’t tough; but be very careful about timing.

For paper 3, plan and organise your thoughts well. You only have one page. Do spend at least 5-10 minutes thinking about the structure.

If you get a total score above 25 (with decent results in each component), Cambridge should be pretty happy. Treat all three parts to be of equal importance; don’t go in with the idea that any one of them is more important than the rest.

no

no

I thought I did decently, but the academic questions (not to be boastful) were surprisingly easier than those of previous applicants and my peers.

Why did you take so many subjects at GCSE and A-Levels? Specifically, why economics A-Level?

You seem to have done a lot of community service, especially for children. Do you like children very much?

BIOLOGY
What is negative feedback? Give me an example of negative feedback. Explain the antagonistic roles of insulin and glucagon. Give me an example of positive feedback in the human body.

CHEMISTRY-isotopes
What is an isotope? Why are some isotopes unstable? What radioactive particles does the tritium isotope emit?

PHYSICS
What is simple harmonic motion? Give me an example of simple harmonic motion.

List the thermodynamic laws. Can you connect any one of these laws to biological systems?

A maroon long-sleeved shirt, a silver tie and black slacks.

I was advised not to dress too extravagantly; simple is beautiful. I wanted the interviewer to focus more on the person than the clothes.

However,please bear in mind that I was interviewed in Malaysia. I have read in many forums that the norm in the UK is to wear a suit/jacket.

Impressions

A very nice place to study in. Moderately-sized, beautiful gardens.

Some rooms were huge and traditional, others were modern and small but more well-equipped.

Decent, very edible; though many of the college students often complain about it.

They were wisemen in every sense of the word.

Friendly, and very hardworking!

Final stage

When I was conscious, I didn’t feel that nervous. But my subconscious mind took over when I was asleep. I had 3-5 nightmares about the decision.

I was devastated because the letter was thin, but I jumped around the house after I opened it!

Looking back

Definitely.

Put your heart into your application. Even if you don’t get the offer, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!