WRITING A MEDICAL PERSONAL STATEMENT

Writing your personal statement is one of the first of many hurdles you face when applying to Medical School. Your personal statement is what stands between your UCAS application and your medical school interviews which precede your offers. It is your opportunity to show the admissions staff who you are, why you would be a good addition to their medical school as well as a good doctor in the long run. You only have 4000 characters with spaces, this is much harder than it seems. It’s is easy not to know where to start when writing your personal statement and it is process characterised by continuous refining and patience. Good things take time. This blog post will give you advice and tips that I was told or realised along my journey and also features aspects of my own personal statement too, which earned me 3 Medical School interviews.


WHERE DO I BEGIN?

  1. I would suggest creating a notes page full of personal statement ideas, by having it on your phone you can also add things to it when you’re on the go or when you receive inspiration and use it as a reflective diary based on your experiences. This is a great way to gather ideas whilst not under pressure.

  2. I would then advise you create a mind map categorising your motivation, work experience & volunteering, character traits, hobbies, interests and extracurricular activities, important characteristics of doctors and aspirations, this will help you to remember what to include and also help you with the structure.

  3. I would recommend that you then use your notes page and mind map to create a first draft, without considering character count just let it be free flowing. Let this first draft serve as a starting point, you can make changes later.

HOW DO I STRUCTURE IT?

A medical personal statement should reflect 3 main themes:

1. Motivation — Why do you want to study Medicine? 2. Exploration — What have you done to learn about it? 3. Suitability — Why are you a great fit for it?

Introduction  – Why your chosen subject 2nd paragraph – Clinical Work Experience 3rd paragraph – Voluntary Work 4th paragraph – A Level subjects, degrees, courses (study) & Wider Reading 5th paragraph – Hobbies & Interests (Extra-curricular Activities) 6th paragraph – Achievements (Optional) Closing paragraph – What you look forward to, Why they should pick you & Motivation

TIPS & ADVICE

Individuality

  • Make it personal to you

  • They want to see your perspective of your desired course, why do you want to study it, what are your ambitions and why higher education

  • Let your opening and closing phrase be memorable e.g. quote or personal experience

  • They want to hear your voice come through

  • If you’ve had any personal experiences of health services, you might want to include them.

  • Be original and memorable!

Reflection

  • Relate everything you’ve learnt to why it will be good for your chosen course and future career

  • Remember to reflect on any experience you’ve included

  • Show your commitment to medicine by including approximate dates e.g. ‘for the past year’