7 Essential Tips For A Cambridge Veterinary Interview

Trinity College at the University of Cambridge

By now you will have successfully finished writing your winning personal statement, aced the NSAA, aced the SAQ and woohoo, you made it to the final hurdle – the dreaded Cambridge Vet Interview. I hope that with this article I can give you some information I wish I had when I applied to Cambridge and some pearls that will make your application process just that little bit easier… so grab a cuppa and enjoy the read!

What is the University of Cambridge Veterinary Interview style?

Firstly, take a deep breath – get rid of those “should I go to vet school” blues. You worked really hard to get here and you were given an interview for a reason, and you deserve to be there so go into the interview with confidence!

The interview has two parts. 

A 30-minute panel interview: Part I

This part focuses on your veterinary knowledge and the motivations behind being a vet. When preparing, I broke down my personal statement into sections and made sure I could talk well about each part of my work experiences and any research I mentioned. This allowed me to be prepared for any questions I was asked about my personal statement and get all the information in whilst being under stress. Preparation is key for a successful interview however do not rehearse your answers, I really remember utilising frameworks such as STARR, something which I mastered on the MediTutor vet interview course. If you do rehearse your answer, your interviewers will clock on very quickly and it will make it harder for you to answer the unprepared ‘curve ball’ questions.

A 30-minute panel interview: Part II

Another 30-minute panel interview which focuses on your A Level Science knowledge and beyond!! In the interviews, you will most likely have your Director of Studies and your Tutor(s). The interview is set up in this way as your interviewers will most likely be the ones who help guide you through your next 6 years at Cambridge. They need to be able to see that you are right for their course and open to learning new things. On the second part of the interview, you may be asked about science knowledge beyond the A Level specification. If asked these questions, try to link them to something you have learned in class and work upward from that – start with the essential facts that you are confident with and then advance on this knowledge – clearly explain your rationale and reasoning at each stage. This shows that you can make strong links between information and will also help you answer the question in a more efficient way. 

So I have to learn the whole anatomy atlas? 

No!! Please don’t. However, I would also recommend familiarising yourself with some basic comparative anatomy and basic veterinary knowledge such as common vaccines and diseases. When answering anatomy questions make sure you explain fully the reasoning behind your answers – even if you get the answer wrong, the interviewers want to see how you came to that conclusion. Take your time with the answers. The interviewers are trying to see the thought processes behind your answers, so don’t be afraid about getting things wrong. 
What about the weird and wonderful random Cambridge interview questions? 

You may also get unrelated questions in the interview which are there to assess your thought processes. Take your time with these questions and listen to hints from the interviewers. They are very nice and will try and guide you through the question in subtle ways. Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to think out of the box. As terrifying as it is you might get asked a question that you aren’t prepared for and that’s ok if you approach the questions with a logical and thoughtful stance. These questions are there so the interviewers can see how you respond to challenging information; you want to appear calm and open to new ideas so you can methodically get to an answer. In my interviews, it took a while for me to get to the correct answer but by staying calm I was able to understand the information I was given and get to an answer without being flustered.

Even if you think your interview went ‘badly’, don’t stress as your interviewer may still have been very impressed. The Cambridge interview is not about answering every question correctly, this is different to passing a syllabus-driven test in school.  Good luck again!

Seven Essential Tips on how to answer Cambridge Vet Interview questions

  • Practice The Sample Questions above – to anybody who will listen, say them out loud
  • Scrutinise Your Personal Statement – make sure you know the latest research 
  • Reading – recall an interesting book, link your answer to what you read 
  • Research Your Course and College – show you’ve done your homework, check out TSR
  • Get Feedback – from different people, and reflect on each mock interview that you do
  • Prepare Your Questions – this does not mean rehearse your answers, utilise frameworks 
  • Get To Know Your Potential Interviewer – have a look on LinkedIn/departmental websites

Cambridge Interview FAQs
Here’s some more tips that I wish I had known when I was applying to Cambridge.
Are there any free Cambridge vet interview preparation tools?

Check out the widening access bursary or the paid services from MediTutor, I was fortunate to attend their course for free and have a one-to-one session with an expert tutor! This helped my confidence immensely and I highly recommend this service. 

How to tackle difficult Cambridge vet interview questions?

When faced with any difficult questions pause and take a deep breath – the interviewer is not here to catch you out. Make sure the interviewer is aware you are taking some time to think about the question, so they are aware of why you are silent. My advice would be to try and break the question down to very basic knowledge and work up from there. This will not only allow you to gather your thoughts in a structured way but also allow the interviewer to see your thought process. Most importantly, be yourself. The interviewers are trained to assess how well they believe a person may work as a vet and cope with the Cambridge course. They also will not give off much information about whether they are impressed or not so don’t try to use their body language to work out whether they are happy to not.

How diverse is Cambridge Vet School?

Unfortunately, discouragement from applying to veterinary medicine seems to be a regular occurrence for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and students with borderline grades – I’m going to dispel these myths.
Veterinary Medicine is widely under-represented by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic  (BAME) community with only 3% of the veterinary profession being non-white. There are a few societies and communities trying to change the demographic of veterinarians such as the British Veterinary Ethnic and Diversity Society and I hope in the future we can celebrate a diverse workforce in the veterinary field. As a black male myself, I always have an eye out for other minority groups in veterinary medicine as there are so few of us. Compared to many of the other vet schools I have seen, I am proud to say that Cambridge has much ethnic diversity in their veterinary medicine course which makes studying at Cambridge all the better!

Imposter syndrome as a vet student?

I would like to remind you that every applicant is in the same boat – unfortunately, imposter syndrome affects people from all walks of life and all ability levels. Don’t feel less than other applicants especially when you get an offer. Don’t compare yourself to other students on The Student Room. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed as there is a stereotype of Cambridge students or Veterinary students in general as being supernaturally smart. Be the best you can be, and you will shine like a star.

How many places are there for Home Students at Cambridge Vet School?

Like other vet schools, veterinary medicine is always over-subscribed. In 2021-22, the competition ratio for home students stands at 4 : 1 (there were 311 applicants and 71 offers). Contact MediTutor to see the breakdown of applications by college!

How competitive is it to get an interview at Cambridge Vet School as an International Student?

Like other vet schools, veterinary medicine is always over-subscribed. In 2021-22, the competition ratio for international students stands at 11 : 1 (there were 91 applicants and 8 offers). Contact MediTutor to see the breakdown of applications by college!

How much work experience do I need for a Cambridge Vet Interview?

Cambridge do not stipulate a minimum amount of work experience, you will have likely got plenty already as other UK vet schools have this as a mandatory requirement. If you’d like a quick refresher, why not try out a free work experience module online?

When are the University of Cambridge Veterinary Interviews held?

Interview invites are typically given out between mid-late November. Interviews occur between the end of November and normally finish before the Christmas holidays in December.

What are examples of Cambridge Interview questions?

“Do you think that reindeer can tell the difference between seasons such as spring and autumn?”

“What percentage of the world’s water is contained in a cow?”

“Why do cats and/or dogs behave badly?”

“Would you say that cats are similar to cows?”

“Here’s a {plant}, tell me about it”

“Here’s a {picture on the wall}, tell me about it”

“What do you do in vet school?”

MediTutor Avatar

Terrell Hendy-Thompson
Hi there, I’m a 1st year veterinary student at Cambridge University, and contribute to the widening access resources here at MediTutor. I hope this article on the Cambridge Vet Interview is helpful and inspiring, if you have further questions contact MediTutor and apply for one of their generous bursaries if you are eligible. I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your application and I hope you are successful in your veterinary journey whatever the outcome. If you need a hand with anything, feel free to give me a shout!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *