Personal statements are your first chance to really make a lasting impression on the admissions tutors of any medical school you apply to. It is worth making your personal statement the best you possibly can.
Below we have gathered the best tips on writing a fully reflective, effective and emotive personal statement to persuade any medical admissions department to invite you for an interview.
Do not start writing the introduction first, as the introduction is always the hardest part to write. Obviously, structurally the introduction should still be at the beginning of the statement but come back to writing it after you have written the rest of the statement. If you really are struggling to begin your introduction, consider just skipping to the second paragraph, otherwise you run the risk of not ever getting started or making a rushed effort in completing it in time for the application date.
Do not try to write it all in one go, as you may find yourself with what writers call 'writer’s block' and you will stare at a blank page for a long time with nothing to edit. Write the parts you find easier first, jot down points you want to mention and then extend on the points. Even write yourself a plan of what will be included and where, then begin writing a certain part of that plan just to get you started and in the flow of writing.
A Cambridge Final Year Medical School Student Recalls:
“I think my personal statement took me forever to write because I'd start the introduction and I wouldn't like it, so I'd be like, let me just go to the conclusion because I know how I want to conclude. I'd write my conclusion and then I'd go back to my instructions and be like, I'm still not happy to write this, let me write about my work experience first. Writing my personal statement was not a fluid process, it was very cut and paste, so I definitely recommend that there's nothing wrong with not being able to write it all in one go.”
A good tip is to not immediately limit yourself to the 4000 characters. Write as much as you want, get everything on the page, and then edit downwards because otherwise you are going to cut things out you really should be putting in. You do not really want to limit yourself when you are passionately talking about your dreams and ambitions. Write as much as you want, then edit backwards and decide what you really want to keep in. Our Personal Statement Content Review Service is perfect for helping you decide on what to keep in and we give feedback on all the other important elements too.
Start writing your personal statement as early as you can, this will give you plenty of time to draft and redraft and send it to people to review and proofread. Make the most of your time, the more you prepare, the better the chances of gaining a good outcome.
You want your personal statement to really stand out and be personal; it may be effective to catch the admissions tutors off guard by beginning with an anecdote or something that really stands out and makes them think, ‘oh! This is interesting’ and it sets the scene of who you are. It is meant to be quite a personal document, therefore, starting with an anecdote or why you want to go into medicine, is a good way to introduce yourself.
This is especially relevant if you are applying for an integrated course, remember you are not only applying to be a medic, but to be a scientist too. Write an equal amount about your love for medicine and your love for science, this will make you stand out.
There might be lots of things you want to put in your personal statement, but remember to save some information about yourself for the interviews. Put in your absolute top things that make you amazing and talk about other things in your interview. Be a little clever by signposting, put in things you know they are going to ask you during the interview. You just want to leave enough for them to realise you make interesting points, but the personal statement does not give you time to explain them, therefore, they may ask you for an interview to discuss them further. Plus, you can then prepare answers to any questions you think they may ask about those elements of your personal statement.
During your interview, the interviewers may have your personal statement in front of them. They may have read it and reread it, highlighting certain aspects to question you about. They may have picked up phrases, words, particular ways you have expressed things and may interrogate you on them. Make sure you know your personal statement off by heart.
One Medical Students Interview Experience:
“I was called up on claiming I'd read The Lancet every week for a year, which, I subscribe to, I read it ever so often and the guy was like, well, what was in it this week? What was in it the week before? Do you really read it? It's incredibly technical, isn't it? I was like, yeah okay fine. I tried. It was a bit much.”
Do not put something in your personal statement you are not prepared to defend. If you say you have read something, read it. If you say you have done some experience, be prepared to talk about it, as it does not reflect well on you. If you did something after GCSE as your summer work experience, and then when they come to ask you about it, you think, ‘oh goodness, what was that, a year and a half ago now, I cannot really remember.’ Be honest and write with integrity.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious right now? Please don’t worry, head over to our Personal Statement Feedback Services. We’ll give you in depth feedback on every aspect of your personal statement and help you improve it to perfection. We’ll even edit your written English to enhance your personal statements power of persuasion. We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009, Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.