UCAS Personal Statement for Medicine | Medical School Guide

The Modern Man's Essential Grooming KitAre you writing your personal statement for medicine and have no idea where to begin? Maybe you’re staring at a blank word document, waiting for the words to come pouring out of you. Maybe you’ve already written a draft and have no idea where to cut words from. Whichever stage of the personal statement writing process you are at, it’s never easy, but I’m here to help you out. Or at least try to.

In case you are wondering why you should trust my advice, I thought I’d just let you know that my personal statement achieved me interviews for undergraduate medicine at Oxford University, Imperial College London, Newcastle University and Exeter University. Of course, I am not saying that it was the only factor in determining whether I got an interview or not, but it definitely played a role (in my opinion).

Brainstorming:

Get out a scrap piece of paper or pull up a word document and split it into section of general topics you should cover in your personal statement. I did this in the form of a giant mind-map with branches for each section I wanted to cover In my case (and in many cases for medical applicants), these are:

  • Personal qualities and motivation for medicine
  • Academic achievements
  • Work experience and volunteering
  • Extracurricular activities including further reading
  • Other (gap year, anecdotes, unique interestes etc.)

Now, under each of these points you can list what you have done/achieved. For example, under ‘Academic achievements’ you can mention that you took part in the International Chemistry Olympiad or won an award at school for exam performance and under ‘Extracurricular activities’ you can boast about your prefect duties or tutoring job. At this stage, it’s important to list EVERYTHING that comes to mind. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, ask your parents, friends and/or teachers – they might remember something you had forgotten about or think something is important, when you don’t. It’s very important to get input from others to understand a different perspective.

Once you’ve listed all the amazing things you have done, all the books you’ve read and reasons why you want to study medicine, you need to decide which ones are the most important.

Of course, your personal statement isn’t going to be split equally into the sections you listed and how you split it will depend on which universities you have applied to. For Oxbridge, Imperial and UCL, it’s very important to highlight academics and further reading. About 70% of your personal statement should be based on these topics. For some other universities, they might be more interested to hear about your volunteering and extracurriculars, so only 30-50% of your personal statement will be academics-based. Make sure to look up the university admissions criteria, which outline exactly what they are looking for. It’s important that you cover each of these points at least once throughout your personal statement.

Writing the personal statement:

Now that you have your list of most important topics, you need to put them into a logical order. You want your personal statement to ‘flow’ nicely from one paragraph to the next and this will depend on your examples/content.

I structured my own personal statement in this way:

  1. How I got interested in Medicine
  2. What I did to explore this interest i.e. academics
    1. Books I read
    2. Lectures and masterclasses I attended
    3. Subjects I chose to study
  3. Work experience and volunteering placements (longest paragraph)
    1. Clinical-based placements
    2. Research-based placements
    3. Volunteering
    4. What I learned
  4. Taking a gap year – what I will be doing, why I am taking a gap year etc.
  5. Extracurriculars – linked to which I will continue doing during my gap year and university
  6. Conclusion

However, this structure would definitely not work for most people if they did not read similar books to me or are not taking a gap year or didn’t do any research-based work experience.  If you’re looking for a general structure to begin with, I would recommend:

  1. Introduction – why Medicine?
  2. Academics – books you read, link to school subjects
  3. Work experience – link to academics (books, school subjects etc.)
  4. Extracurriculars – to show your other skills
  5. Conclusion

Tips and advice:

  • Add something unique and memorable to your personal statement. You don’t want to be another applicant who has wanted to study medicine since coming out of the womb and has read all the ‘typical’ books. If you’re a dancer, you can discuss how you became interested in the human body due to this. My two ‘unique’ points were my interest in art/photography and interest in Physics. Don’t be afraid to put something in your personal statement that isn’t 100% relevant – as long as you can justify and explain it, it can be a huge advantage.

Worksheet: Click here to download (FREE)

Summary:

  • Brainstorm ideas for your personal statement in the following categories: academics, work experience/volunteering, extracurriculars, further reading, other
  • Decide which ones are most important
  • Write a general structure for your personal statement such as:
    • Introduction – why Medicine?
    • Academics – books you read, link to school subjects
    • Work experience – link to academics (books, school subjects etc.)
    • Extracurriculars – to show your other skills
    • Conclusion
  • Add something unique to your personal statement that will make you stand out

Be sure to DM me on instagram, leave a comment or email me if you have any more questions.

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