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    Hey prospective Cambridge students,

    I've just started a Medicine degree at Cambridge, we're 2 weeks in now. A quick summary of my experience so far:

    -Anatomy is ridiculous. There are so many things to learn. Just so so many. I spend a lot of time studying anatomy outside of dissections and lectures, just hours on end in my room with some bones and Gray's anatomy. And my supervisor still says I'm clearly not going over it and I should know more.

    -The other two main topics (biochemistry and physiology) are very vague. I've no idea what remotely is actually part of this course. The lectures jump between so many topics and it's very unclear what is a passing note of interest, and what you should learn inside out. I know they say there's no specification and it's self-guided learning, but I don't even know where to begin.

    -Every other person doing Medicine at my college went to a fee-paying school, and many of the other people here did too. I've been in bottom of the pile state schools all my life, and it makes a difference. Their conversations, interests, and social behaviours are just different and I do feel very excluded. There are some decent people though! It's just that if I try to talk to some people, generally they seem to lose interest very quickly and go to find someone who's from their background - nothing like people at home.

    -It's very posh. People's backgrounds asides, there are fancy buildings everywhere, people wear gowns to formal dinners and a lot of wine and port is served, and I just feel like I'd much rather be at home working like I did in the Summer on farms or cleaning the floor at my leisure centre.

    -It's just very stressful. I've never been particularly stressed in life before, or felt at all mentally weak - I'm proud of my resilience - but the combined pressures are getting to me here! I'm certainly not depressed or clinically anxious, but stress is a real thing now.

    I'm hoping that this will all become more normal as the weeks pass, because I do not want 6 years of a degree if this is how it will continue. I'm not opposed to doing lots of work - and in fact, I am doing a lot (probably a good 6 hours per day outside of contact time), but it just isn't happening. Anyway, it's all well and good to get an offer for Cambridge, and if you get an offer then you'll probably find A-Levels an absolute doddle like I did. Just be aware that it is genuinely intense here, particularly if you're from a peasant background like me
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    If you could, would you change your choice and try to attend a university other than Cambridge? I'm from a poor-state school background, and I'm also worried about not fitting in at Cambridge due to this.
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    Medicine at Cambridge is slightly ridiculous throughout, to be honest! Just keep plugging away at it - the work will feel tough at times, but just keep going, and try not to let the stress get to you. For what it's worth, I found the first year of the Cambridge medicine degree to be the hardest.

    In terms of Biochem and Physiology, learning what's in the lecture handouts is what's most important. The handouts are very comprehensive, and are perfectly detailed enough for exams.

    EDIT: And I wouldn't worry at all about fancy buildings, gowns, and port. You have as much right to be there and participate as anyone else.
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    I think the gown-wearing, port-drinking thing will feel a bit more normal over time. I came to Oxbridge (albeit The Other Place :ninja: ) from a comprehensive school in the ghetto commonly known as Hounslow (West London. Think Bend it like Beckham !) and found the whole formal hall thing pretty bizarre. I really hated it at first and felt very uncomfortable, especially being served food to my plate by people who looked (and probably WERE) younger than me :erm: But over the three years of my course, I gradually became accustomed to it and it became tolerable - fun, even, once I finally managed to stop giggling at all the door slamming/mallet banging/Latin grace shiz (yeah, my college takes formal hall VERY seriously). It did take a while for me to stop giggling, mind you :P

    I did music at Oxford, so can't address much of your post but my sister did medicine at Nottingham Uni and almost everyone on her course was from a private school, or alternatively a grammar school. Admittedly, medicine is so big a subject you can't know every single person in your year group but out of all the people she knew, only two other people had attended a comprehensive school. So the private school majority is not just an Oxbridge thing...

    I'm not sure about your education but my sister found that because our school was so dodgy for A Levels and she had effectively taught herself all three subjects, she had to play catch up all the way through medical school. I think there was only one exam session/one year in her five-year course that she DIDN'T have to do a resit. BUT despite all the struggling, she slowly but surely became more confident both in herself generally and in her medical knowledge and ability to talk to patients/diagnose/explain things to people, and she is now a qualified doctor!

    I guess basically what I'm trying to say is that whilst it's undoubtedly very hard now and very stressful, things have the potential to improve. Don't lose hope just yet
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    (Original post by Madhog)
    If you could, would you change your choice and try to attend a university other than Cambridge? I'm from a poor-state school background, and I'm also worried about not fitting in at Cambridge due to this.
    Absolutely not! There are moments when I feel very negative about being here, but what pulls me out of those is thinking of this as a challenge that I know I can overcome, and coming out of here with a decent degree despite not being from the typical background.

    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    Medicine at Cambridge is slightly ridiculous throughout, to be honest! Just keep plugging away at it - the work will feel tough at times, but just keep going, and try not to let the stress get to you. For what it's worth, I found the first year of the Cambridge medicine degree to be the hardest.

    In terms of Biochem and Physiology, learning what's in the lecture handouts is what's most important. The handouts are very comprehensive, and are perfectly detailed enough for exams.

    EDIT: And I wouldn't worry at all about fancy buildings, gowns, and port. You have as much right to be there and participate as anyone else.

    It's funny you should mention handouts - this is the first year that the Uni have stopped producing handouts for Hom/Physiology and Mims/Biochem! I think we're expected to learn it all off Moodle, which is easier said than done when your accomodation's wi-fi is quite so unusable as ours...

    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I think the gown-wearing, port-drinking thing will feel a bit more normal over time. I came to Oxbridge (albeit The Other Place :ninja: ) from a comprehensive school in the ghetto commonly known as Hounslow (West London. Think Bend it like Beckham !) and found the whole formal hall thing pretty bizarre. I really hated it at first and felt very uncomfortable, especially being served food to my plate by people who looked (and probably WERE) younger than me :erm: But over the three years of my course, I gradually became accustomed to it and it became tolerable - fun, even, once I finally managed to stop giggling at all the door slamming/mallet banging/Latin grace shiz (yeah, my college takes formal hall VERY seriously). It did take a while for me to stop giggling, mind you :P
    This is very relatable, trust me... what is it with those mallets???
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    Wow, you are doing Medicine, the most competitive at arguably the best university in the UK! :O
    I am also thinking of doing Medicine at uni, apart from the grades at AS and A2, and the BMAT, which you must have done amazing in, what other things did you have in your application that helped you get in? e.g work experience, extra-curricular, etc. What, and how much did you do?
    thanks in advance
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    (Original post by Star Light)



    It's funny you should mention handouts - this is the first year that the Uni have stopped producing handouts for Hom/Physiology and Mims/Biochem! I think we're expected to learn it all off Moodle, which is easier said than done when your accomodation's wi-fi is quite so unusable as ours...
    Wow seriously?! Do you not even get handouts uploaded to moodle?
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    (Original post by Star Light)
    Hey prospective Cambridge students,

    I've just started a Medicine degree at Cambridge, we're 2 weeks in now. A quick summary of my experience so far:
    I can relate to this so much and I'm not even in Cambridge... It doesn't help that a lot of the students are in their 20s, already have a (usually science related) degree and full-time work experience.

    Congratulations on getting into such a prestigious school, though. :gthumb:
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    (Original post by Star Light)
    This is very relatable, trust me... what is it with those mallets???
    :teehee: :five: :toofunny:
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    (Original post by Ishan_2000)
    Wow, you are doing Medicine, the most competitive at arguably the best university in the UK! :O
    I am also thinking of doing Medicine at uni, apart from the grades at AS and A2, and the BMAT, which you must have done amazing in, what other things did you have in your application that helped you get in? e.g work experience, extra-curricular, etc. What, and how much did you do?
    thanks in advance
    You need some work experience, quite simply - it doesn't matter where. It's generally recommended to have a long-term commitment one (I volunteered for a few hours every week doing something I enjoy), whether that be medicine-related or not, and to have some clinical experience (I didn't have any at all though!). Asides from work experience, Oxbridge don't care about extra-curricular at all for admissions.

    In all honesty, the most important part of admissions is the interview. 80% get an interview, so if you have decent predictions, passable BMAT then you've got one. The interview tests how you think about unfamiliar situations, and is really a test of your skills, ability to converse well and solve problems.

    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    Wow seriously?! Do you not even get handouts uploaded to moodle?

    Sometimes the lecture slides are on Moodle, sometimes a text summary, sometimes less... apparently the environment or self-learning or some BS like that. £9,000 per year and they don't provide handouts!

    (Original post by FFTypoCorrector)
    What type of ass does medicine at Oxbridge
    Me, apparently.
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    (Original post by Star Light)


    Sometimes the lecture slides are on Moodle, sometimes a text summary, sometimes less... apparently the environment or self-learning or some BS like that. £9,000 per year and they don't provide handouts!

    .
    What do you mean when you say a "text summary"? Could that be the same as a handout?

    Eg, when I did MIMS, we had a 59 page handout covering the first 6 lectures (that's above average length of handout though).

    And when I did HOM, we had a 26 page handout covering the first 6 lectures.

    Do you not get those even on the Moodle?
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    (Original post by Star Light)
    Sometimes the lecture slides are on Moodle, sometimes a text summary, sometimes less... apparently the environment or self-learning or some BS like that. £9,000 per year and they don't provide handouts!
    Now you're beginning to sound like a Cambridge student - the next stage is 'Moodle's a big improvement on Camtools, but it's only any good if people actually bother to upload the things they say they're going to put on it…'
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    What do you mean when you say a "text summary"? Could that be the same as a handout?

    Eg, when I did MIMS, we had a 59 page handout covering the first 6 lectures (that's above average length of handout though).

    And when I did HOM, we had a 26 page handout covering the first 6 lectures.

    Do you not get those even on the Moodle?
    It varies, essentially. Some lecturers provide full handouts electronically, some don't. We haven't had a 59/26 page handout, and not one that I can find on Moodle either. It's all a bit annoying for technophobes like me!
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    (Original post by Jantaculum)
    Now you're beginning to sound like a Cambridge student - the next stage is 'Moodle's a big improvement on Camtools, but it's only any good if people actually bother to upload the things they say they're going to put on it…'
    Haven't heard of Camtools I'm afraid! Moodle just annoys me though, there's either nothing there or loads of random, untitled PDFs and powerpoints... what's wrong with good old-fashioned paper?
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    (Original post by Star Light)
    Me, apparently.
    Don't get why you'd do it there, and what else you expected. Not 100% sure about Cambridge but certainly Oxford is well known for minimal clinical work in early years, increased (and somewhat unnecessary) workloads and high stress levels. Should've just gone to somewhere like Manchester/Leeds, 1st year is mainly learning the fundamentals with a little clinical work, nothing too taxing really.
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    Did you really find A-levels that easy? :/
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    (Original post by FFTypoCorrector)
    Don't get why you'd do it there, and what else you expected. Not 100% sure about Cambridge but certainly Oxford is well known for minimal clinical work in early years, increased (and somewhat unnecessary) workloads and high stress levels. Should've just gone to somewhere like Manchester/Leeds, 1st year is mainly learning the fundamentals with a little clinical work, nothing too taxing really.

    I knew it'd be hard work, I just didn't realise to what extent it would be. It could be harder to be honest, it could be easier. Apparently it does open doors though, and I do like science! I get plenty of 'clinical' experience in my holiday job as a disability support worker and home visitor, so I'm not complaining of not getting enough patient contact.

    (Original post by Azula)
    Did you really find A-levels that easy? :/
    It feels easy in comparison to this. A-levels required a degree of work, but I could cram-revise the weeks before the exams and just doss the rest of the year to be honest.
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    (Original post by Star Light)
    Haven't heard of Camtools I'm afraid! Moodle just annoys me though, there's either nothing there or loads of random, untitled PDFs and powerpoints... what's wrong with good old-fashioned paper?
    Hey, I am thinking of going down the EXACT same route as you quite literally although I go to a fee-paying school. My questions were How hard is the interview and could you please describe your experience of it? After your interview did you think you would get an offer? How hard is the BMAT in your opinion and what grades did you get at school.
    Sorry for all the questions but Cambridge is where I want to study Medicine.
    Also, congratulations my friend, Getting into Medicine at Cambridge is near enough impossible and you did it from a normal non-fee paying school. You must have really worked hard and you deserve it all! Hope you fit in well soon.
    I feel the same because my private school I joined halfway through from a normal school and it's VERY different and I agree people act posh but not on the Cambridge Scale
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    (Original post by Jeff548)
    Hey, I am thinking of going down the EXACT same route as you quite literally although I go to a fee-paying school. My questions were How hard is the interview and could you please describe your experience of it? After your interview did you think you would get an offer? How hard is the BMAT in your opinion and what grades did you get at school.
    Sorry for all the questions but Cambridge is where I want to study Medicine.
    Also, congratulations my friend, Getting into Medicine at Cambridge is near enough impossible and you did it from a normal non-fee paying school. You must have really worked hard and you deserve it all! Hope you fit in well soon.
    I feel the same because my private school I joined halfway through from a normal school and it's VERY different and I agree people act posh but not on the Cambridge Scale
    The interview isn't hard, it's just testing. You can't try really hard and give a better interview, exactly - it just shows them your qualities for what they are. Your articulation, confidence, thinking skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and common sense are tested. When the first-years at Cambridge tell you that the best preparation is a good night's sleep, so go to bed and stop reading that textbook - they are correct!

    Personally, I very much enjoyed my interviews. I loved having intellectual conversation about subjects I am keen on (biochemistry, epidemiology, probabilities), and being challenged, and learning about a pretty cool pathological mechanism I wasn't aware of before. I came out of my interview thinking that I'd probably got an offer, simply because the mood in the room had been good - I'd been enjoying it, the interviewers seemed to as well, and we had genuinely interesting conversation about the topics. They are a bit like the supervisions here, which is my favourite part.
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    (Original post by Star Light)
    The interview isn't hard, it's just testing. You can't try really hard and give a better interview, exactly - it just shows them your qualities for what they are. Your articulation, confidence, thinking skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and common sense are tested. When the first-years at Cambridge tell you that the best preparation is a good night's sleep, so go to bed and stop reading that textbook - they are correct!

    Personally, I very much enjoyed my interviews. I loved having intellectual conversation about subjects I am keen on (biochemistry, epidemiology, probabilities), and being challenged, and learning about a pretty cool pathological mechanism I wasn't aware of before. I came out of my interview thinking that I'd probably got an offer, simply because the mood in the room had been good - I'd been enjoying it, the interviewers seemed to as well, and we had genuinely interesting conversation about the topics. They are a bit like the supervisions here, which is my favourite part.
    Thanks very much for that,
    What advice would you give to someone like me to try and get into Cambridge?
    Also what college are you at?
 
 
 
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