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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Which subjects should I take at A level?

You should be taking Chemistry, and at least one of Biology, Physics or Mathematics. The latter three subjects are considered equally.

Many applicants are taking three science/maths subjects in total, and our experience suggests that they are more likely to be successful than those taking two - although every year we admit strong applicants who have taken only two science/maths subjects. However, we realise that recent changes in the format of A-levels mean than most applicants have had to choose their full A-level subjects soon after their GCSE results, with little opportunity to change afterwards, so the important thing is to work hard in the science/maths subjects you are doing!

What grades do I need to achieve at GCSE and A level to be competitive for a place?
 

GCSEs (or their equivalent) are not as important to us as A-levels (or their equivalent), but obviously it is encouraging if you have some A*’s at GCSE. 

Will I need to complete any other tests before applying? 

All Veterinary Medicine applicants will be asked to take the University’s pre-interview ‘Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment’ (NSAA). 

The importance of this assessment in veterinary admissions should not be over-emphasised - for example, performance at interview and in science/maths subjects in the last two years of school are considered more important.

More information can be found at this link https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/admissions-assessments/pre-interview 

How can I tell which Cambridge College will be best for me?

The Colleges are one of the main reasons why being a Cambridge vet is so enjoyable and rewarding, but you certainly should not worry about the choice of college to which you apply. Instead, you should view it a positive decision allowing you to choose where in the University you would live and study, especially for your first three years.

- Your choice of college will not affect your chances of getting onto the course, because our 'pool' system reallocates approximately 15% of applicants between colleges to ensure fairness across the University.

- Also, colleges which take more vet students tend to get proportionally more applicants anyway.

- Admission processes are coordinated and standardised across the colleges.

If I find it difficult to get a particular type of work experience, e.g. working with cattle and pigs, will I be at a disadvantage?
 

It is important to emphasise that we do not demand large amounts of veterinary work experience.

Unlike other veterinary schools, we merely suggest that you should have done enough to be able to discuss and analyse your experiences at interview and have a realistic idea of what a veterinary/scientific career entails. Prolonged, varied and ‘impressive’ work experience will confer no additional advantage.

We do not have an absolute requirement for work experience, but a total of two weeks’ 'seeing practice' with vets is recommended. Your work experience does not have to be done in a single 'block', so our suggested amount could be thought of as 'a cumulative total of 10-12 working days'.

How will my application be viewed if I wish to defer for a year so I may travel or work with animals?

We are happy to accept applications from candidates who wish to take a gap year before starting their course. Your plans may involve travel, or it may simply be an opportunity to earn some savings prior to starting the course, and the time certainly need not necessarily be spent in veterinary-related employment. Our only advice is that you should apply at the first opportunity (i.e. while at school) so that if you are unsuccessful the first time, you can try again in your gap year.

 

How much will it cost to study Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge?

Many prospective applicants assume that studying at Cambridge will be expensive – yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, costs are surprisingly low because the University subsidises the teaching of each veterinary student by contributing several thousand pounds per year. In addition, Cambridge is a very well funded university, so does not need to subsidise its non-teaching activities from its student income.  For more information, please have a look at https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/fees-and-finance  

Can I apply if I am a mature applicant?

We enthusiastically welcome applications from candidates who already have a degree, and we set aside four or five places each year for such students – although there is considerable flexibility in this number.

We strongly encourage potential affiliated applicants to discuss their application in advance with the college to which they are thinking of applying, so they can be given advice about how best to proceed. Further information is provided here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/why-cambridge/support/mature-students/second-undergraduate-degrees.

We also welcome applications from candidates without a degree, but who are classed as 'mature' (i.e. over 21 on the day they would start the course). Each year we allocate a number of places on the course for mature candidates.

We strongly encourage potential mature candidates to discuss their application in advance with the college to which they are thinking of applying, so they can be given advice about how best to proceed.

Do you accept applications from international applicants?

We want the unique Cambridge Veterinary Medicine course to be available to applicants from around the world, so we endeavour to attract and welcome students from outside the UK. We have no ‘quotas’ for EU or non-EU applicants – we simply seek candidates with the most veterinary/scientific potential, wherever they come from.

Cambridge has many years of experience in assessing applicants who have taken a wide variety of examination systems. The Vet School is able to draw upon this experience when considering applicants from outside the UK.

You can find out much more about the application process and the financial side of studying Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge at https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/international-students

Candidates from outside the UK can apply to any college which admits vet students.