How to write a good personal statement for medicine
Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists
Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step blueprint on what constitutes a “good” personal statement. A good personal statement serves several functions; it allows you to show a motivation to study medicine, gives you the opportunity to show you have skills and attributes to be a successful medical student and provides talking points at interview.
In order to write a good personal statement, you don’t only need excellent content but an effective, clear and convincing style and tone. A good personal statement will also be easy to read. You should aim to adopt a sensible structure based on well planned out paragraphs.
Having a good approach when writing your personal statement
To write a good personal statement, you need to have a good approach to tackling the writing process. A good personal statement is neither rushed nor unpolished but has been written over several months using several drafts. To further improve your personal statement, you want to get feedback from others who know about the topic of interest and application process. It may seem confusing and overwhelming receiving conflicting advice on your personal statement; remember you cannot satisfy everyone and ultimately the final draft should come from you.
Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors may lead admission tutors to make assumptions about your academic intelligence and leave a negative lasting impression. Proofread your statement multiple times and get SPaG advice from others.
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What content to include in your personal statement
- Why you are making the application. – the introduction of your personal statement should solely focus on your motivation to study medicine. A good personal statement conveys that you have a thorough understanding of the career in medicine based around work experience placements and wider reading. You may also be keen to mention career goals.
- A paragraph on work experience allows you to demonstrate commitment to medicine and show you have a true insight into the realities of the career.
- Show you have an enquiring mind and will be equipped for a career entailing lifelong learning by including a paragraph about academia. Moreover, a good personal statement refers to what part of your AS and A2 subjects have you found interesting and why this is part of your motivation to study medicine.
- Activities beyond the classroom show you have maturity, skills and experience not only to study medicine but to be a future clinician and deal with the challenges working in the NHS. Reference specific examples of achievements and indicate the valued skills and qualities you gained.
How to structure a good personal statement
A good personal statement needs to be fluid and easy to read. Although it may seem obvious ensure you stay within the 4,000-character limit. Many students often choose to write the drafts of their personal statement on a word document before copying and pasting their finalised statement into UCAS; ensure it is the correct and finalised version you submit.
University admission tutors have hundreds of statements to read through. Admission tutors do not have time to analyse and re-read your statement therefore you need to help guide them through your ideas. Use your paragraphs to provide a framework for organising your ideas in a logical order. Each paragraph should be shaped around a topic area or theme such as extracurricular or super curricular activities or your motivation to study medicine and work experience insights.
Not only does the statement as a whole need to be well structured but having a framework for each paragraph can also make your brilliant ideas easy to follow. Linking your paragraphs together can show maturity in your writing style.
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How to make your personal statement stylistic
The style of your personal statement should be concise, clear and precise using good English prose. You want to use good vocabulary avoiding unfamiliar phrases from a thesaurus, humour, or quotes. Your sentences don’t want to be too convoluted, nor do you want to start every sentence with “I”. Write with confidence and in a positive tone – sometimes reading your statement aloud can reassure you if the statement reads well.
A good personal statement delves below the surface of your story/ cliches. If you are truly motivated to study medicine this will come across in your writing. So remember what you are trying to achieve a truly honest account of who you are, what you’ve achieved and why you want to study medicine.