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Medicine Personal Statement key words and phrases

Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists

Many people know what they want to write about in their personal statement but struggle to express their thoughts in writing.  Adopting a persuasive and mature tone using simple, concise, and precise English is challenging. Using and adapting some key words and phrases can help you to organize your ideas and thoughts.

Plagiarism in your Personal Statement

When using key words or phrases in your personal statement it is important you are aware about plagiarism. When processing your application UCAS use a software system which flags up statements showing 10% similarities to any personal statement in their statement library. Personal statements from previous years will remain in their system. Don’t be tempted to copy good words and phrases from a previous and successful applicant’s personal statement. When reading other personal statements paraphrase their ideas and sentences before putting things into your own words. Using a phrase bank found on google can also be helpful.

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Words and phrases to avoid in your personal statement

The wording and phrasing of your personal statement wants to be sincere. Try to avoid using overly altruistic and generic statements such as “ a passion to help people”. Excessively using the passive voice with too many of your sentences starting with “I” makes your personal statement loose sincerity. Similarly, excessive self or family disclosure to gain sympathy from admissions tutors is not a good approach. Avoid using slang words and conversely over elaborating. Your sentences want to be concise. As you have a very limited character count for your personal statement you want to avoid overusing and repeating qualifying words such as very, little, and rather. This can make you style seem tangential and less to the point. Consider deleting anything that does not add meaning to your sentence or phrase. Avoid pleonasm where you use more words than you need to. Also consider what words your using, hyperbolic language and sentences built from a thesaurus both reduce the clarity of your personal statement.

Key words to include in your personal statement.

Words to show skills and attributes.

To study and practice medicine there are several core value and attributes which students need. Outlining your skill sets is a good use of your word count. Consider using phrases which outline the qualities which make a rounded physician. Use adjectives and nouns to describe how you are a good communicator, have good practical skills, a scientific aptitude and an awareness of professionalism.

A great way to find keywords could be to use the MSC core values and attributes skills list. Moreover, try to include the 6Cs in your personal statement, these are sets of values that all health and social care staff are expected to have: courage, commitment, competence, compassion, care, communication.


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How to use reflective phrases and language in your personal statement

Your personal statement is a reflective piece of writing. 

  • Initially describe the nature of your reflection for example “having: read, experienced applied, learnt, discussed”.
  • Explain what you learnt from your reflection: “ I now feel, think, realise”.
  • Express what you have gained from the experience “my skills, understanding, knowledge of, ability to”
  • Express the future value of experiences “this knowledge, understanding, could be, important/ useful as a learner or practitioner because”

How to use words and phrases to give your personal statement a positive tone

  • Use words that show you are interpreting the value of something such as: relevant, useful, meaningful.
  • Refer to development overtime using linking words. For example: initially, consequently and subsequently.
  • Express your views and actions to make the statement “personal” . Terms such as “noticed, expected, realised and questioned” show a deep level of thought and understanding.
  • Clarity words adds specificity to the learning. Include words such as: aspect, experiences, element.
  • Outcome words and phrases are useful.

Using positive words in your personal statement

Describe your achievements using positive and proactive words such as “competed delivered, helped, achieved, identified, managed, participated. ” Avoid hyperbole the adjectives you use in your personal statement should have a positive tone. Words such as able, dependable, innovative, motivated all achieve this.

Medicine Personal Statement key words and phrases

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