150+ Cambridge Interview Questions
Oxbridge Application Specialists
The following is a list of all questions that are known to have been asked at Cambridge interview panels for Medicine applicants. They are divided into ‘general’ questions – those which both the medic and non-medic may face – and Medicine questions, which only a medic should expect to face.
General Cambridge Questions
Personality Questions for Cambridge
How would you cope if you weren’t getting top grades if you were studying here?
Who has had the greatest effect on you?
What makes you want to come here given that you would certainly be a top student at any other university?
What are your top three skills?
What is your main weakness?
What separates you from a good student and makes you excellent?
What did you struggle with at A Level?
You can invite anyone from history to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
Do you speak another language?
Who was your favourite teacher at school?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Where do you see yourself in 30 years’ time?
What have you done in the past that makes you think that you are well equipped to deal with the stresses of university life at Cambridge?
How are you going to cope with the workload here?
How well do you respond to criticism?
How do you deal with difficult or stressful situations? Do you work well under intense pressure?
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Teamwork & Communication Questions for Cambridge
Tell me about your experience of group working.
Are you a leader or a follower?
How do you resolve conflicts?
Tell me about a time you led others to success.
Tell me how you would define a good leader.
The Course & University of Cambridge
What do you know about our course structure?
Why not Oxford?
Why this college?
What are you looking forward to the least at this college?
Problem Solving Approach
Why are manholes round?
If you were a grapefruit, would you rather be seedless or non-seedless?
Define success in one sentence.
Describe a human to a person from Mars.
How many times in a day do the hands on a clock overlap?
Why do humans lie?
How would you weigh all the blood in a human body?
Draw a cross section of a bicycle wheel.
How many petrol stations are there in England?
Should you be allowed to use your smartphone during this interview?
How many piano tuners are there in England
If you could have dinner with anybody from history, who would it be and why?
If you could have one superpower which one would it be and why?
How many planes are flying over England right now?
Why don’t we just have one ear in the middle of our face?
How many tennis balls could fit into a Boeing 747 plane?
Imagine that a developing country introduces a new population control policy to address a perceived gender imbalance. If a couple have a girl, they may have another child. If they have a boy, they cannot have any more children. What will be the new ratio of boys and girls?
How would you describe a human to a person from Mars?
What is a tree?
How many people believe in evolution in the United States?
Describe a potato and then compare it to an onion.
Why do things have names?
Would you ever go on a one way trip to Mars? Why?
You are given 7 identical balls and another ball that looks the same as the others but is heavier than them. You can use a balance only two times. How would you identify which is the heavy ball?
You are shrunk down so you’re the size of a matchstick and then put into a blender with metal blades. It is about to be turned on what do you do?
General Science Questions for Cambridge
How could you simulate altitude?
How could you weigh your own head?
If you are in a boat, and decide to throw an object in the boat out into the lake, what happens to the water level?
Design an experiment to disprove the existence of God.
Would you be drier if you chose to run or to walk in the rain?
When is Newtonian law wrong?
How does a clinical trial work?
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Cambridge Medical Questions (Including Core Sciences of Biology and Chemistry)
Medicine: Knowledge Questions for Cambridge
How does a vaccine work?
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
How might you go about dating how long a disease has existed in the human population?
Is it an advantage for a virus to kill its host?
What do you read to increase your medical knowledge?
About 1 in 4 deaths in the UK is due to some form of cancer, however in the Philippines the figure is only 10%. What factors are at play causing this difference?
How would you solve the AIDS crisis?
What do you think of the state of the NHS? What would you do to improve it?
How do prions affect the human brain?
At what point is a person ‘dead’?
If urine was emptied into the intestine instead of the bladder, what would happen?
What is your opinion on spontaneous human combustion?
What is COVID-19?
Discuss the UK’s response to COVID-19.
Which countries showed the best response to COVID-19?
What is pandemic planning?
How do you plan for a pandemic?
What is the greatest medical innovation of the 21st century?
Determine whether a leukaemia patient has contracted the disease because of a nearby power station.
What is a B-Lymphocyte?
How does the body remove poison?
Why are cancer cells more susceptible to destruction by radiation than normal cells?
What is a fluid balance chart?
What is a QALY?
How would you tackle the obesity epidemic?
What is cellular compartmentalisation?
What will you do if the senior doctor is not at the hospital and you have to perform a life-threatening procedure for the first time to save someone’s life?
Tell me about the ageing population.
Is ageing a disease?
Tell me about the differences in circulation in a foetus versus an adult.
If you were in charge of a nation at the start of a pandemic of an unknown novel virus, how would you react?
What is the UK government policy with regards to health and healthcare?
Should the NHS spend more or less than it does on palliation?
Compare public and private healthcare.
How many organs do you have?
How would you test someone for anaphylaxis?
Medicine: Ethical Questions for Cambridge
Should placebos be used in hospitals?
Should you be able to sell your kidney?
What is your stance on assisted suicide?
How old is too old for IVF?
What is your opinion on abortions?
What is your opinion on medics striking?
Should the NHS provide care to those who cause their own illness? E.g. smokers?
What would you consider the most important quality of a doctor? Why?
Should you be able to prescribe contraception to underage patients?
Is the world overpopulated?
What are the issues around genetic screening?
Should we save the lives of the severely disabled?
What are the issues around revealing the results of genetic tests?
Should recreational drugs be legalised?
If someone with a severe mental illness commits a crime, are they a criminal?
Would you perform one heart transplant or 100 hip transplants?
Should patients always have complete autonomy?
Should the use of untested experimental drugs be allowed on terminally ill patients?
How would you spend £1,000,000,000 to improve healthcare in the UK?
Why do you want to be a doctor?
What did you learn from your work experience?
What surprised you during your work experience?
How could you be better than the doctors you shadowed?
What have you learnt about the practice of Medicine from your work experience?
When did you realise you wanted to be a doctor?
Why are you here interviewing for Medicine? Why not Dentistry or Vet Med?
Tell me about the role of empathy to a good doctor.
Prove to me that you are empathic.
Explain to me how empathy makes communication easier for doctors.
Tell me about a patient that you would find it hard to communicate with, and how empathy could overcome this.
What is the source of your empathy?
How can you empathise with those who have special needs?
Biology Questions for Cambridge Medicine
What are amino acids?
Is there blood in your brain?
What happens to the membrane potential of an animal cell when put in different solutions?
Why are there only 20 amino acids?
Why can a human being not live forever?
Tell me about the way in which the human diet has changed recently.
Tell me about the current taxonomy system, and any problems inherent to it.
You are tasked with poisoning someone, and the police must not find out. How do you approach this?
How is a city like a cell?
What is DNA?
Please identify what animal this skull is from [provided with a particular species’ skull].
How would you design a better brain?
What is the function of ATP?
Is human behaviour genetically determined?
Why does a human being drown faster in saltwater than freshwater?
Describe the process that occurs at a synapse.
How can a given animal tell the difference between one season and another?
Draw a diagram of a given organ and explain how said organ is adapted to its function.
Describe how blood is transported through the body.
How much blood does the human heart pump over your entire lifetime?
Why do men go bald rather than women?
What would life be like without enzymes?
How do amino acids behave in both acidic and basic conditions?
What is the significance of the human genome project?
Chemistry Questions for Cambridge Medicine
What is the concentration of water?
Why are explosions a problem, or risk, in flour mills?
How could you create a metallic oxide that is both conductive and transparent?
Tell me about the process of rusting, and how rusting might be prevented?
How is the pH of blood maintained?
How many moles of H20 are in a cup of water?
How could you tell sugar and salt from one another without tasting them?
How do amino acids bond to form a peptide?
Can you name this molecule [given a diagram of a particular molecule].
Can you draw this molecule? [given the name of a specific molecule].
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