The Medicine Personal Statement: Research Paragraph (Optional)
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Along with the core paragraphs, many students will choose to include an additional paragraph on the research that they have undertaken. This is a relatively recent development, driven in part by many students choosing to complete Extended Project Qualifications, or EPQs.
The Medicine Personal Statement Extracurricular Experience Paragraph: Tips
The most important thing to note is that many students now take EPQs, which reduces the impact of you including this as part of your personal statement. However, if you have taken an EPQ which can easily be related to your ambitions in Medicine, it’s worth including it – just make sure to expand on it and reflect, as you would with anything else.
If you still have some time before you need to begin your personal statement, look to undertake some additional research which will set you apart from others. As mentioned, many will have completed an EPQ; as such, try to undertake outside research experience. This could be gained through specific programs or societies. Ideally, you would look to get some work published in a scientific journal – some of the very best students will have accomplished this.
There will be some crossover here between research and other competitions like essay-writing, for example. If you’ve won something like a national scientific essay-writing competition, this ought to form part of this section.
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Medicine Personal Statement Extracurricular Section: Two Examples Analysed
I am intrigued by the complexity of the human genome and the implications of the current work on it, resulting in me writing an essay on CRISPR-cas9 for the DNA Day Competition where I focused on its future benefits, such as in immunotherapy, and potential concerns. This also led me to dedicate my EPQ question to answer “To what extent is our personality determined by our genes?” where I focused on the dopamine receptor D4 gene among others and their influence on personality traits. I remain fascinated by the way our genes define most aspects of our lives. Genetics also drew me to cancer, particularly treatment, inspiring me to take a MOOC concerning different cancer drugs and ending with an independent research task on the future of cancer diagnostics. I focused on nanotechnology; its implications were so surprising that I presented the idea to my school’s Medical Society. Reading “The Emperor of all Maladies” alerted me to the importance of empirical research and a multidisciplinary approach in the continuous struggle against cancer.
This is an extensive paragraph that features a range of achievements and serves to set its writer apart from others – they are clearly highly academic and an excellent scientist, even by the standards of Medicine applicants. They begin the section with a mention of a specific part of Medicine, then move into an essay that they wrote for a specific competition, showing drive and a desire to learn beyond the typical curriculum. This then leads to their EPQ, which they also used to research genetics. They use the EPQ as part of a wider narrative; it is just one part of their research undertaking. Next, they link to a MOOC, a type of online course, that focused on cancer drugs and involved further independent research. This is something that any student could do; yet few will have gone to the effort. This further emphasises the amount of extra work the student is willing to put in. Lastly, they show a willingness to present information to others, and to read up on subjects they find interesting. Overall, this is a very strong section. It should serve to provide some inspiration on what extra research activities you could take on, and how you can write about them.
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Lectures by Trembath and Scott on rare genetic diseases drew my interest to the role of genetics in medical treatments. This interest developed during my Nuffield Research Placement, which culminated in a research-style report on the effects of epigenetics on mitotic chromosome structure and an article on imaging metaphase chromosomes and telomere staining, which will be published in the Young Scientists Journal. Also, I gained an insight into the application of problem-solving skills in research when aiding the design of the verification stage.
This student also chooses to focus on genetic disease, highlighting that they have attended lectures by leading academics – and that this interest led to them completing an additional research placement. The terminology used throughout is high-level, and it’s very succinct – there are no words wasted. Crucially, the student emphasises that their research led to a report, and to an article which will be published. This shows that the work they have undertaken is ofa very high level. The last section adds to what has been said before, and shows some reflection. This student has arguably achieved the same level of impact as the first, but through far fewer words. It’s a lesson in the importance of having clear, verifiable achievements or specific people and organisations that can be mentioned – as they will provide context and allow tutors to ‘read between the lines’ and understand more about you.