By investing in the time you spend planning what you want to say in your personal statement, you can cut down on endless re-drafts. This is not to imply that your statement will be perfect the first time round. Rather, it means that if you spend some time thinking about the message you want your statement to make, you can write it more effectively and easily.
One approach is to start with a checklist of what you think a great personal statement should include. Ask yourself what you would want to see and know about a candidate if you were on the selection panel. Write down key relevant experiences, extra-curricula and key motivations for studying medicine and use these to generate a working mind map which you can later use to link and tie your ideas together. If you are stuck, start jotting down whatever excites and inspires you about medicine, as well as your ideas about the transferable skills you have developed that will make you a great medical student and doctor. You can then develop these into a plan and gradually form your first draft.
What to write
As interesting as some experiences may be, make sure that you are selecting relevant and reflective information. You don’t want your personal statement to be nothing but a list of achievements or placements!
Try to be personal in the way you write. Making broad general statements about medicine or being a doctor will be ineffective unless you can support them with personal relevant evidence or experiences.
Make sure that you can justify anything you write. You will not necessarily do this within your personal statement as there is limited space, but jot it down as it may come up in your interview. Know that if you write something that is a clear exaggeration of the truth or simply inaccurate, you are likely to be caught out, so please don’t put in anything you cannot back up.
What is the deadline for the personal statement?
Your personal statement needs to be ready to send off with the rest of your application by the 15th of October, which is the application deadline for Medicine. Your friends who are applying to courses other than medicine or dentistry, or who are applying to Oxbridge, have a deadline of January the following year, so don’t think you have time simply because they do! Draft your personal statement over the summer of year 13 if you can, as this will prevent you from facing last minute stress. It will also give you plenty of time to review, evaluate, and improve your writing.