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Medicine Personal Statement Checklist: 8 Key Areas

Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists

1. Why Medicine?

Arguably one of the most important parts of the Personal Statement, your reasoning for why you want to study Medicine should be included in the introduction, at the beginning of the text. It should capture the reader’s attention by being unique and personal to you and give an insight into the journey that made you choose this degree. 

​2. Your work experience and what you have learnt from it

Ideally, candidates will have work experience in a hospital, at a GP, and at a care home (or have volunteering experience in the community). It can be difficult to organise experience in all three of the aforementioned areas – particularly in a hospital – therefore what is important is to reflect on your experiences and explain what you learnt from shadowing healthcare professionals. Whilst on these placements, make sure that you engage with both the clinicians and patients, to really gain an insight into the medical profession and the qualities of a doctor. What is also pivotal is that you shadow different members of the multidisciplinary team – not solely the doctor – such as the nurses, or the receptionists if at a General Practice. 

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3. Extra-curricular achievements

Describing your interests and achievements outside of your studies is key, as it shows you to be a well-rounded candidate. It also highlights how you are able to maintain a good work-life balance, being able to commit to both your education and your hobbies, a quality that is important in the medical profession, which can be extremely stressful. Furthermore, with medical applicants being equally academically capable, having your own unique interests can make you stand out and show your individuality. 

4. Scientific achievements (for certain medical schools)

Particular universities – notably Oxbridge and Imperial College London – favour scientific achievements; these can include research projects or attending science masterclasses, for example. Any experience in which you carried out work to fulfil your own scientific interest, outside of the school curriculum, will impress these universities. Most doctors will carry out their own research opportunities alongside their profession, therefore being aware of and highlighting your interest in this can be extremely beneficial. For further information regarding this, read our article on:
The Essential Guide To Medical Research Pre-Medical School

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5. Qualities of a doctor, with examples

Drawing on from your work experience and extra-curricular achievements, it is important to discuss the skills and qualities the ideal doctor should have, for example effective communication and empathy. However, as well as merely stating these, displaying how you have shown to possess these qualities is imperative, as it shows your preparedness for the healthcare profession. An effective way of conveying this is by reflecting on what skills you saw clinicians display during your work experience, and how your extra-curricular achievements allowed you to develop them. 

6. Realities of the healthcare profession

In addition to teaching you about the day-to-day life of a doctor, medical work experience can also open your eyes to the realities of this profession. Whilst being a doctor is an extremely rewarding job, there are of course stresses and challenges that clinicians face. Therefore, being aware of these obstacles, and explaining how you would cope with them, is essential. 

7. Your suitability to Medicine

This point can link on from your section on the qualities of the ideal doctor; when describing such qualities, emphasising how you have shown and utilised them is pivotal. However, in addition to this, it is also important to summate your work experience and extra-curricular achievements, to show your suitability to being a medical student. This can be included in the conclusion, or separately as a small paragraph at the end of your personal statement but should draw on all your above experiences that have made you the ideal candidate.   

8. Why you have chosen this university/what you can bring to the university

This may be difficult if you have chosen largely different universities; however, if you are applying to universities that all utilise PBL learning, for example, or all campus based, it can be beneficial to include why you favour this learning style, and how it is relevant to you. Furthermore, including what potential clubs or societies you may join should you be accepted shows the admissions tutor that you would make the most out of the 5 or 6 years, and truly contribute to university life. 

Medicine Personal Statement Checklist: 8 Key Areas

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