What is the Medical Personal Statement?
The medical personal statement is a crucial component of any application to medical school in the UK. It is the applicant’s opportunity to showcase their personality, experiences, and motivations for pursuing a career in medicine. In this article, we will delve into what the personal statement for medicine is, what it should include, and how it can be tailored to each individual applicant. Firstly, it is important to note that the personal statement is a written document that is submitted as part of the UCAS application. As there is a character limit, it is vital that you are concise and to the point when writing your personal statement.
So, what should be included in your personal statement? Essentially, the personal statement should be a summary of an applicant’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and work experience, as related to Medicine. However, the personal statement should not just be a list of achievements. It should also include reflections on how these experiences have contributed to the applicant’s decision to pursue a career in medicine.
Medicine Personal Statement Sections
The sections should be as follows:
First is the introduction. In general, you should not focus on personal experiences in the past, although many students will begin their statement in this way – with a personal story or anecdote – but in reality this does little to show your genuine interest in the subject or attributes – you need a realistic approach to a difficult profession. Therefore, try to begin with your motivation. Work to grab the reader with a clear example of something you’ve done, for example, that has particularly informed your desire to study the degree.
After the introduction comes the work experience section of the personal statement. You must secure a range of work experience in good time, before you begin writing the statement. TYou should have at least two examples of secondary and tertiary care, one example of primary care, and additionally work in a voluntary setting, like a care home. Ensure that you reflect adequately on all experience, and that you link it back to Medicine – think about how it highlights the role of a doctor, or how you hope to practise in the future.
The third section (in the order that we recommend), is the research section. This is becoming increasingly important, especially with the EPQ now being a feature of so many personal statements. If you’ve done an EPQ, ensure that you reflect on it and appropriately link it to Medicine and your future hopes in the career. Further research will demonstrate that you are an exceptional candidate – this could be work done at a particular place or organisation outside of school, research projects that you took on beyond the EPQ, or essays that you have written for a national competition that required extensive scientific research.
The next major section of the medical school personal statement is the extracurricular component. The activities that you do should be seen as a way of demonstrating your attributes – as you work to demonstrate attributes, you must ensure that your activities highlight the skills and characteristics most relevant to Medicine. Remember to show, rather than tell, and that you must reflect in order to have an impact. Also try to include specific activities that evidence your achievements.
The last section of the Medicine personal statement is the conclusion – a good conclusion will be a short section, and will link from the previous section. You should be able to emphasise your desire for the subject, and leave the admissions tutor with a great impression of you as a candidate.
Personal Statement Writing
Firstly, it is important to recognize that writing a personal statement for medicine is not something that should be done in isolation. There are a number of people who can provide assistance and guidance throughout the process. This can include teachers, careers advisors, and medical professionals. Teachers can provide assistance in identifying your strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing feedback on the structure and content of the personal statement. They may also be able to provide guidance on how to highlight particular achievements or experiences that are relevant to medicine.
Medical professionals can provide valuable insights into the realities of working in medicine. They may be able to provide advice on what qualities and experiences are important for a successful career in medicine. This can be particularly useful when reflecting on work experience or extracurricular activities. If you don’t know many medical professionals, it is advisable to reach out to medicine admissions specialists – at BlackStone Tutors, we are able to help with the crafting of personal statements.
You must spend an adequate time on your personal statement – it is important to recognize that the personal statement should not be rushed. The personal statement is not something that can be written in one sitting. It is a process that involves multiple drafts and revisions. Therefore, it is important to allocate sufficient time to the process. You should look to spend at least a month on the task.
Medical Personal Statement Proofreading Tips
- Take a break before proofreading
After writing the personal statement, it is important to take a break before proofreading it. This allows you to approach the personal statement with fresh eyes, which can help to identify any errors or inconsistencies.
- Read the personal statement out loud
Reading the personal statement out loud can help to identify any awkward phrasing, grammatical errors, or typos, as reading out loud forces you to slow down and pay attention to each word and sentence.
- Use a spellchecker
While a spellchecker may not pick up on all errors, it can be a useful tool to identify any obvious typos or spelling mistakes.
- Check for consistency
It is important to ensure that the personal statement is consistent throughout. This includes checking for consistency in the use of tense, voice, and style. Inconsistencies can be distracting for the reader and can detract from the overall message of the personal statement.
- Ensure that the personal statement is well-structured
A well-structured personal statement is easier to read and understand. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the personal statement is well-structured and flows logically. This includes ensuring that there is a clear introduction, body, and conclusion, with sections made clear.
- Remove any unnecessary information
- It is important to ensure that the personal statement is concise and focused. Thus, remove any unnecessary information or repetition. This can help to ensure that the personal statement is engaging and relevant.
- Get a second opinion
As outlined above, a second opinion on the personal statement can be helpful in identifying any errors or inconsistencies that may have been missed. This can be done by asking a friend, family member, or tutor to read over the personal statement and provide feedback.
- Consider the audience
When proofreading your personal statement, it is important to consider the audience. This includes considering the expectations of the medical school admissions team and ensuring that the personal statement reflects these expectations.
- Check for plagiarism
Plagiarism is a serious offence and can result in a rejection of the application. Thus, ensure that your personal statement is original and does not contain any plagiarism.
- Be open to feedback
Finally, it is important to be open to feedback when proofreading the personal statement. This includes being receptive to constructive criticism and making changes where necessary, and iterating the personal statement over time.
Impact of errors in a Medicine Personal Statement
Errors in your medical personal statement can have a significant impact on your chances of being accepted into a medical school. The admissions committee will review thousands of applications each year, and they are looking for applicants who can communicate effectively and demonstrate attention to detail. Errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or formatting can create a negative impression and suggest that the applicant is not capable of meeting the high standards required of a medical student.
One common error in a medicine personal statement is plagiarism – the act of using someone else’s work or ideas without giving proper credit. It is essential to avoid plagiarism in a personal statement, as it can lead to severe consequences, such as total rejection of the application. Applicants must ensure that all the information they provide in their personal statement is their original work, and any sources they use are properly cited. Another common error in a medicine personal statement is exaggeration or dishonesty – it may be tempting to embellish your accomplishments or experiences to make yourself look more impressive, but this will then cause issues at interview, when you will be quizzed on these same achievements.
Grammatical and spelling errors are also common in personal statements. While these errors may seem minor, they can have a significant impact on the overall impression that the personal statement makes. A poorly written personal statement can suggest that the applicant lacks attention to detail or does not have strong writing skills. Lastly, formatting errors are also important to avoid in a medicine personal statement. Applicants must ensure that their personal statement is well-organised and easy to read.