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Oxford or Cambridge med?

Hi, I'm not too bothered as to which uni I apply to - they both seem perfect and there's no point trying to pick faults with either of them or their courses. My question is which uni am I more likely to get into:
GCSEs 9999999988
A-levels: bio, chem, maths. I'm currently on a B in maths and hopefully I can get this to an A. The other two fluctuate between an A and an A*. Oxford has a lower conditional offer but I presume that is because they'll have a higher UCAT cutoff.
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Original post by Rageshhhh
Hi, I'm not too bothered as to which uni I apply to - they both seem perfect and there's no point trying to pick faults with either of them or their courses. My question is which uni am I more likely to get into:
GCSEs 9999999988
A-levels: bio, chem, maths. I'm currently on a B in maths and hopefully I can get this to an A. The other two fluctuate between an A and an A*. Oxford has a lower conditional offer but I presume that is because they'll have a higher UCAT cutoff.

Ok so your GCSEs are good, which is a good thing for oxford

You have to remember this

At Oxford, you are more likely to be rejected pre-interview, but if you make it to interview, your chances are better

At Cambridge, approx 75% of applicants get an interview, so most people will be rejected post interview.

Sit the UCAT and you will be able to make a better more strategic decision
Original post by Rageshhhh
Hi, I'm not too bothered as to which uni I apply to - they both seem perfect and there's no point trying to pick faults with either of them or their courses. My question is which uni am I more likely to get into:
GCSEs 9999999988
A-levels: bio, chem, maths. I'm currently on a B in maths and hopefully I can get this to an A. The other two fluctuate between an A and an A*. Oxford has a lower conditional offer but I presume that is because they'll have a higher UCAT cutoff.

I think this is the first year they're using the UCAT so may be hard to say how they'll use that.

Oxford are very GCSE heavy generally and normally shortlist only on the basis of GCSEs and UCAT (formerly BMAT). For those who did GCSEs during COVID they double weight UCAT: https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/pre-clinical/faqs/how-do-you-short-list-for-interview . Cambridge are very holistic generally.

Generally Oxford are somewhat more competitive on average than Cambridge for medicine (the latter being averagely competitive for a medicine course), however Cambridge have higher standard entry criteria (A*A*A) and require 3 STEM subjects (previously it was not a formal requirement but to make a competitive application you needed 3 STEM subjects, but it appears to be a formal requirement now), both of which limited the field of applicants applying in the first place (as those who didn't meet those requirements who not apply, for the most part).

Note the courses are somewhat dissimilar really - I understand Oxford has much less anatomy and I believe only prosection, whereas Cambridge I gather has a lot of anatomy and dissection. The intercalated year (which I believe is still compulsory at both) is also different as Oxford restricts you to biomedical sciences/neuroscience areas, whereas Cambridge in principle you can do any 1 year Part II course (although I think in practice most do a biological natsci Part II, and some directors of studies may not support students in doing a very different Part II course perhaps). So quite a few differences to consider really.

If you're not predicted A*A*A though I would probably suggest not applying to Cambridge. Your GCSE results are also appropriate for Oxford so if predicted A*AA that's probably the better option of the two if you do very well on the UCAT.
Reply 4
Thanks @unfailingtruck and @artful_lounger . I think for the time being I'm going to wait and see how my June mocks go - if maths and chemistry are still easy enough then I'll think abt Cambridge. I have a general understanding of the UCAT but I'm not going to practise any of the questions until after the mocks.
Do both unis value scientific knowledge equally, or is one more health-oriented? Cambridge seems to have lots of medical research companies near it but I'm not sure if the university cares. So far my application is very much STEM-focused, to the extent where it looks like I'm applying for biochem.
Reply 5
Original post by Rageshhhh
Thanks @unfailingtruck and @artful_lounger . I think for the time being I'm going to wait and see how my June mocks go - if maths and chemistry are still easy enough then I'll think abt Cambridge. I have a general understanding of the UCAT but I'm not going to practise any of the questions until after the mocks.
Do both unis value scientific knowledge equally, or is one more health-oriented? Cambridge seems to have lots of medical research companies near it but I'm not sure if the university cares. So far my application is very much STEM-focused, to the extent where it looks like I'm applying for biochem.

They are both pretty sciency as far as medicine courses go, I'd say.

I would advise against making your application look like a biochem application, even for Oxbridge. They are interviewing for people who are good at science, but they are also admitting people to become doctors. Science stuff in the application is fine and good, but you need medicine stuff also.
Hi - I received offers from both (Cambridge last year and Oxford this year), so am probably in a decent position to advise.

Firstly, if you don’t have A*A*A predicted as a minimum, with at least three sciences/maths, definitely not Cambridge (as another has mentioned).

Beyond this, if you’re set on applying to Oxbridge, then other factors are unlikely to be the difference in admission chances (both Oxford and Cambridge are using the UCAT for the first time this year, so knowing where they’ll place soft/hard cutoffs is impossible). The only thing I’d say is definitely worth thinking about is how well you’d come across in a heavily academic interview. If you think this would be your main strength, Cambridge is a better bet because of the proportion of applicants that get interviewed.

But ultimately, visit both, see which of the cities you like more, and where you could see yourself for six years of your life.

Any questions feel free to ask.
Reply 7
Thanks everyone for the advice. My plan has two sides.
Firstly I'm going to try and work out which uni feels right this summer by going to the open days. I'm also going to wait until I get my UCAT results before choosing (in my head) which one I prefer more, as by this point I'll have sat my mocks.
I'm not really sure how I'd perform at interviews, but from what I understand they're a mock tutorial/supervision, so revising A-level content (rn) is still benefitting me.
Finally, to make my application more medical, I will probably just do a futurelearn course and an EPQ. If I can be bothered I might even read a book but that's not guaranteed :wink:.
Reply 8
Original post by Rageshhhh
Thanks everyone for the advice. My plan has two sides.
Firstly I'm going to try and work out which uni feels right this summer by going to the open days. I'm also going to wait until I get my UCAT results before choosing (in my head) which one I prefer more, as by this point I'll have sat my mocks.
I'm not really sure how I'd perform at interviews, but from what I understand they're a mock tutorial/supervision, so revising A-level content (rn) is still benefitting me.
Finally, to make my application more medical, I will probably just do a futurelearn course and an EPQ. If I can be bothered I might even read a book but that's not guaranteed :wink:.

also a good tip is to go to places like ucl evenmts or cambridge events or any uni really and look at the upcoming virtual talks in biochem/ med related areas, some of the information may be useful in interview + for wider thinking. good luck!

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