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Medicine at Oxbridge

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    (sorry if this is in the wrong category!!)

    I want to apply for medicine next year, and my parents have been putting pressure on me to apply to Cambridge or Oxford (since they both went to Oxford). I'm really not sure about this, as I've heard that they have a very traditional approach to teaching and don't start clinical/patient contact until a few years in, and I don't think I'd like this.

    Obviously, with medicine being extremely difficult to get into, and with Oxbridge being especially competitive, I don't want to waste a huge amount of effort and an application just to go to a med school with a posh name!!

    Can anyone tell me what studying medicine at Oxford or Cambridge is like - do you enjoy the teaching styles? Also, does the uni you go to have any effect on future jobs etc (I've heard it doesn't)?
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    At Oxford, there is a strong pre-clinical/clinical divide as you say. Teaching in the first two years consists of a large amount of lectures, labs and tutorials which you have to write essays for. It's very structured and theoretical, with a lot of emphasis on the experimental evidence behind things that you learn. Personally I enjoyed the course, even if I found certain bits very boring. There is minimal patient contact in the first two years, with just a Patient and Doctor course where you visit a local GP around twice a term. In short, if you like structure and scientific background, you'll like the course (and some say the course prepares people well for clinical school when it arrives), but if you're more interested in patient contact from day 1, Oxford is not for you.
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    Cambridge: first two years is preclinical, lots of science. 3rd year you can choose what to do, most do a biology related science, but you can do law or engineering even. You must reapply to cambridge again during third year to get into clinical. There are much less places for clinical than preclinical. So unless you get very good grades, expect to go to london in 4th year and beyond, you are however basically guaranteed a clinical place if you get firsts in the first two years, good luck with that though.
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    (Original post by superfoggy)
    Cambridge: first two years is preclinical, lots of science. 3rd year you can choose what to do, most do a biology related science, but you can do law or engineering even. You must reapply to cambridge again during third year to get into clinical. There are much less places for clinical than preclinical. So unless you get very good grades, expect to go to london in 4th year and beyond, you are however basically guaranteed a clinical place if you get firsts in the first two years, good luck with that though.
    You don't have to get incredibly good grades to get into the clinical school - in general if you have passed all your 2nd MB exams first time and got 2.1s in 1A and 1B, provided you're not a total loon in the interview you'll usually get in. And I know people who have got in with 2.2s and/or the odd fail in 2nd MB. Enough people choose to leave and go to London/Oxford that it's not just a case of them skimming off the top 50%.

    The course has already been reasonably explained, so I won't go into much detail there. It's worth mentioning, however, that the two universities have different priorities when it comes to admissions - Oxford want to see a high % of A*s at GCSE, combined with a good BMAT score, whereas Cambridge are less fussed about GCSEs (though the average applicant will still have very good ones) but like to see >90% UMS in your AS levels alongside a good BMAT score. While it is important to apply where you like, you should also play to your strengths.
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    thanks guys - this is so helpful

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