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A Personal Statement Checklist

Hi everyone,

With fellowship application season approaching, many of you are starting to write personal statements. Even if you plan to apply next year, or the year after that, or even if fellowship’s not for you, you’re still going to write a personal statement someday, so read on.

Before you begin, check out my PD Note on Personal statement “Do’s and Don’ts . The talent pool is deep and you want to rise to the top. A powerful essay will boost you.

Each year, I review more than 30 personal statements and without fail, common errors emerge. You don’t want to spend hours drafting an essay just to be told it needs an overhaul, so hopefully this checklist will help:

  • Check your spelling: Make it perfect. Run a spell check.
  • Check your grammar: Make this perfect too. Nix the bad syntax, misplaced commas, and run-on sentences. Read your essay out loud and hear how it sounds.
  • Be compelling: Make it enticing. If you were a fellowship director, would you choose you?
  • One page max: You may think your tome is riveting, but think again. Fellowship directors read hundreds of essays and you don’t want to make them yawn. Take pity. Be brief.
  • Explain why you chose your field: Cut the hyperbole and be specific. Fellowship directors can see through dubious odes to their specialty, like how you swoon over pee or dream about diarrhea. You can’t out-love the competition’s affection for hormones or sputum. Instead, explain how a field aligns with your interests and skills. And don’t trash other specialties. Cardiology isn’t the only field that deals with life and death, and oncology isn’t the only specialty with novel treatments. Finally, don’t waste space on this topic: you’re obviously interested, because you’re applying. Move on.
  • Show how you will contribute: Fellowship directors don’t really care about your happiness and fulfillment, at least when it comes to choosing fellows, but they’re laser focused on your academic potential. Tell them how you will advance the field.
  • Show your sophistication: Demonstrate that you know where the field is going. For example, describe the significance of your research or consider how the specialty is likely to change during your career.
  • Describe the skills you seek: These can include procedural, research, and teaching skills, like advanced endoscopy, trial design, and medical education training.
  • Outline what you’re looking for in a fellowship: Examples could include basic science opportunities, exposure to specific patient populations, or access to graduate degrees. Make sure the fellowship’s mission aligns with your career plans.
  • Map your trajectory: Academic fellowship directors aim to train funded investigators, master educators, and cutting-edge clinicians. They love to brag about their alumni. As much as you can, without being overly specific, look into your future. Be true to yourself- don’t pursue a research-intensive fellowship if you plan to become a master clinician. You’re looking for a match.
  • Strive for coherence: Your narrative should make sense. It’s easier to convey an interest in investigation when you have extensive research experience, or an interest in teaching when you’re pursuing a Clinician Education Distinction. You’re permitted to change paths- for example, many MD PhDs become clinician educators, but explain the transition.
  • Highlight your accomplishments: What makes you proud? Don’t rehash your CV. Provide context and color, and show your growth.
  • If necessary, address questions and concerns: If you failed a test, took an extended leave, or got derailed temporarily, seize the narrative and address the issues here. If you get stuck, talk to a trusted advisor.
  • Seek input: It’s easy to lose perspective, particularly after hours of writing and editing. When your eyes start glazing over, ask for help.

In the end, your personal statement should highlight your potential. Use the checklist. Make yourself shine.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone, and when your drafts are ready, send them to me for review.

Featured in this article

  • Mark David Siegel, MD Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary); Program Director, Internal Medicine Traditional Residency Program

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Personal Statement for Your Medical School Application: Complete Guide

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The personal comments essay on the AMCAS application is one of a candidate's first chances to tell admissions officers this. Applicants must clearly answer the question, " Why medicine? " 

This is your chance to impress the admissions committee that you are worthy of acceptance. You must give it your best shot. After all, remember that you are competing against hundreds of candidates. 

This article is a complete guide on composing your personal statement for your medical school application to stand out. If you are interested, please read on.

What is a Personal Statement for Medical School?

One of the first components of your medical school application that you will write is your personal statement. It is also the section most students spend the most time on, and with good reason. 

Never undervalue the significance of writing the finest personal statement you can.

The personal statement aims to describe your motivation for becoming a doctor.

Not to promote yourself as a student or potential doctor. 

The admissions committee wants to ensure you understand what you are getting into and that you are doing it for the right reasons.

The events that initially motivated you to consider a profession in healthcare should be mentioned in your personal statement. This is still true even if you had originally considered pursuing a career other than medicine.

Why Do Medical Schools Care About Personal Statements? 

The personal statement is crucial since it is a bridge leading to an interview. 

Your personal statement will still be a remarkable journey about why you are applying to medical school. 

Your medical school personal statement allows the admissions committee to get to know you better, ensure you understand what you are getting yourself into, and establish a connection with you. 

They will be less inclined to take a chance on a student they believe will not be content as a doctor.

Your best course of action is to ensure you have enough industry exposure to know if this job is right for you. 

If you do not, you can be burned out and miserable early in your profession or decide to stop practicing medicine entirely. Although there is not just one good reason to pursue medicine, it should, at the very least, be a deliberate choice.

Each school's weight to the personal statement depends on the school, as in the procedure. 

Many institutions may prioritize the personal statement when considering whether to offer a student an interview. At the same time, other schools may give other portions more consideration.

Medical School Personal Statement Checklist

Never undervalue the ability of the personal statement for medical school to leave a lasting, favorable impression on the admissions committee. 

Your personal statement could make up your overall admissions score when combined with how well you did in the interview.

Below is a checklist of how to succeed in writing a compelling personal statement for your medical school application:

Does Your Introduction Explain Why You Want to Practice Medicine?

Why you desire to study medicine and become a doctor should be explained in the opening paragraph of your medical school personal statement. 

A generic or overused justification that many other applicants might provide should be avoided. 

Describe your interest in medicine in detail. Was it a particular event you had? Was it something you saw while working or volunteering?

Did You Apply What You Learned from Your Volunteer Work or Employment Experience?

When describing them in your personal statement, it would be best to consider what you gained from your professional experience and volunteer work . 

Medical schools are more interested in your reflections than a simple list of accomplishments, so avoid doing that.

  • What did you discover?
  • What abilities did you gain?
  • What has this experience taught you about a medical career?

Are Your Extracurricular Activities Included?

Your extracurricular activities are crucial to your personal statement, even though you may have forgotten about them or thought they were irrelevant. 

Admissions committees want to know that you have the means to unwind and will not become burned out under pressure because medical school can be difficult. 

Hobbies and interests outside of medicine also demonstrate that you are well-rounded and will contribute significantly to the university.

Is Your Grammar Flawless Throughout?

Even though it might seem apparent, rechecking your grammar before submitting the work does not hurt. 

You can read your personal statement with fresh eyes if you print it out and read it aloud.

You may also catch errors that you previously missed. It can be a good practice to read it aloud. It is also a brilliant idea to have it verified by another person because they might notice details you overlooked.

Can You Provide Evidence of How You Meet the Requirements to Become a Doctor?

Ensure your personal statement illustrates that you possess the traits required to be a doctor, such as empathy and the capacity to work well in a team. 

Do not just claim that you have the attributes or list them without supporting details.

To support your claims, include concrete instances from your employment history, volunteer activity, extracurricular activities, or other aspects of your life.

Can You Explain and Defend Everything You Have Written?

Some medical schools will create interview questions based on your personal statement. This means you should never include information in your personal statement that you would find difficult to discuss in an interview.

You do not want to be caught off guard or stranded. Give a copy of your cover letter to a friend or family member and ask them to quiz you on it to see whether it will stand up in an interview.

Do the Sentences Add Something to Your Personal Statement?

Consider the meaning of each sentence as you read your personal statement. 

Does it give the reader information about you or a lesson you have learned? 

If not, you might want to remove it.

Ensure that every sentence in your personal statement relates to why you want to be a doctor. 

The admissions committee reads hundreds of personal statements, and sharing irrelevant information could jeopardize your chances of admission.

Can You Show You Are Aware of the Reality of Being a Doctor?

It would help if you mentioned in your personal statement that a medical career is demanding. This will demonstrate to admissions tutors that you are knowledgeable, have done your study, and are not entering the field of medicine with exaggerated expectations.

Does Your Last Paragraph Succinctly State Why You Believe You Are a Good Fit for the Profession?

Your final paragraph or conclusion should summarize your qualifications for the course and your suitability for a medical career. 

Do not add any new examples here. Instead, summarize and make reference to what you have already stated.

What Do You Think About Your Personal Statement?

To be as objective as you can, read your medical school personal statement three times, focusing on one of these three essential points that it must prove:

  • Why do you wish to pursue a career in medicine?
  • What have you done to acquire knowledge about medicine?
  • Why do you consider yourself a good fit for medicine?

Consider giving your personal statement a motivational, exploratory, and suitability score. 

Please keep an open mind and make adjustments where you believe they are required.

Sample Personal Statement for Medical School Application 

Your personal statement could make or break your medical school application. It would help if you devoted your time and effort to developing a compelling personal statement. 

Below is a sample personal statement that has granted admission to a medical school applicant.

I made a promise to my sister when I was eight years old, and that promise is the primary reason I want to pursue a career in medicine. My sister knew I had been watching over her while our parents were at work late. I never felt more responsible than when I was caring for her.

I was helpless when my sister woke up with a fever. By methodically eliminating potential causes of the fever while ensuring my sister's safety, her doctor took care of the most significant person in my life, allowing me to appreciate the wonder of medicine.

I vowed to my sister that I would pursue a medical career to care for her and other people who cannot look for themselves. My mother later told me that because I was born through in vitro fertilization, medicine had made it possible for me to live. 

This boosted my desire to pursue a medical career and motivated me to complete the circle. I want to give back to the industry that helped make my life possible by aiding those in need.

By volunteering in the intensive care Unit at the UC San Diego Thornton Medical Center, I was able to further my aim of becoming a doctor and gain first-hand experience relating to patients. I chatted with a patient who could only speak Spanish while obtaining test samples from nurses.

I was the only Spanish speaker in the group, and my language skills were at best, rudimentary because the interpreter was still on the way. The patient's mood significantly improved when I asked her about her day and her family. I learned from this meeting how crucial it is to have personal relationships with patients.

I was able to discover the qualities of a competent doctor through shadowing. Before procedures, I acquired the patient's consent to let me view the process as the surgeon reviewed the patient's last-minute worries. When I gained a patient's consent for an aortic valve replacement, he revealed that he was a well-known Italian musician.

I was astounded when the surgeon invited him to sing his hit song. Before the procedure, the patient's face brightened, and his concerns vanished. That drew me to the field and demonstrated there is more to being a good doctor than simply the technicalities or information from textbooks, even though the patient would be heavily sedated. The surgeon still cared about the patient's stress over the procedure.

I experienced a side of medicine that I had only read about in the news when volunteering at a veterans hospital. People who refuse medical care are underprivileged and uneducated. I would try to persuade people who could not visit other hospitals by phone to have their eyes examined for signs of diabetes in the Teleretinal Imaging department.

When I called, a veteran groaned and asked why he needed to go to the hospital, knowing he did not have diabetes. I realized I needed to let him know that diseases can have symptoms before they manifest. Because some people in these places lack the education necessary to recognize when something is wrong with their bodies, this motivated me to assist patients there.

If given a chance to practice medicine and lead the African American community, I could inspire others and serve as an example for those less fortunate.

I became a member of the Black Student Union at UC San Diego, which allowed me to connect with others who were on the fence about going to college. My communication skills and capacity to relate to various demographics have increased due to talking to high school students about my college experiences.

I explained how these students could have a lot more chances after they graduate from college and how many resources and scholarships are available to them. I'll explain my condition to patients in an easy-to-understand manner. After this experience, I was sure I wanted to interact with minority populations while practicing personalized medicine.

After all these, it was evident that I must continue pursuing my goal of becoming a doctor. If I succeed, I will also grow in helping those who are battling a similar battle.

I learned there weren't many well-known African American doctors in elementary school, so I asked my parents if they knew of any. My father told me about my uncle Roy Harris, who was raised in an inner city where gangs and narcotics were prevalent. He joined the high school track team and ran through college while seeking his medical degree to escape these obstacles.

I started running to inspire a change in the world and remind me of his motivational narrative so that one day, more African American doctors would be there for kids to aspire to.

As one of the top athletes in the country right now and an Academic All-American, I intend to participate in the NCAA Division II Nationals the following year. Running has given me the discipline to lead a balanced life, the concentration to do well in medical school, and the motivation to pursue my objectives.

Most importantly, I kept a promise to my sister. I set an unbreakable foundation of never-ending inspiration to sustain me through even the most trying parts of my life.

Anecdotes are a typical and efficient approach to building a story arc.

The author does just that by using one at the beginning and end of the article. To strengthen his resolve to pursue medicine, he refers to several incidents throughout his life, from infancy to youth to young adulthood.

His compelling past and tales, including his commitment to his sister and why he started running again, add exciting dimensions to this personal statement.

Additionally, It is commendable that the author wants to support the African American community and has such lofty goals.

For more medical school personal statement samples, please visit the link below:

Personal Statement Examples

Final Thoughts.

You are aware that the personal statement for medical school is a critical opportunity to demonstrate to medical schools who you are outside of your GPA and MCAT score . It also lets you describe your identity and the significant influences and backgrounds shaping your interests and values. 

Therefore, you must ensure that you stand out. You must carefully consider how you want to convey your "big picture" while demonstrating that you have the pre-professional skills medical schools seek.

However, know that your medical school personal statement is but one aspect of your application. 

You must give the other components ( primary application, letters of recommendation, interviews, etc. ) equal importance. This gives you the best chance of becoming the doctor you have always wanted to be. 

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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How To Write The Perfect Medical School Personal Statement

How to write the perfect medical personal statement

“In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods, than in giving health to men” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BCE)

You have already chosen to commit yourself to study medicine in Europe , and we want to help you every step of the way. Many future students don’t know how to write their medicine personal statement. Every day we get asked questions such as:

  • What is a personal statement for a medical university?
  • How to write one?
  • What should I include in it?
  • What is the purpose of the medical personal statement?

Based on years of experience and our expert advisor’s guidelines, this article will provide the best tips and examples for writing your personal statement.

This post will assist you whether you haven't even considered what to include in your personal statement or have written it and want to double-check that you're on the right track.

Table of Contents

  • 1 What is a medical personal statement?
  • 2 What is the difference between a personal statement and a motivation letter?
  • 3 What is the length of a personal statement?
  • 4 What role do personal statements play in medical schools?
  • 5 What do medical universities want to see in your personal statement?
  • 6 Which medical schools in Europe should you apply to with a personal statement?
  • 7 Why is a personal statement so important?
  • 8 What should I include in my personal statement?
  • 9 How to structure a medical personal statement?
  • 10.1.1 Step 1. Create a list of the qualities that you want to demonstrate
  • 10.1.2 Step 2. Think about a situation when you have shown these qualities
  • 10.1.3 Step 3. Present your experience as a captivating story
  • 10.1.4 Step 4. Show, don’t tell
  • 11 How to create great body paragraphs in a medicine personal statement?
  • 12 How to end a personal statement in a meaningful way?
  • 13.2 DON’TS:
  • 14 Checklist for your MD personal statement

What is a medical personal statement?

More than 100 medical schools in Europe teach medicine, dentistry, veterinary, and pharmacy in English. Each university has its entry requirements . Some may require you to sit an entrance exam in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or Mathematics. Others have no entrance exam but just an interview.

As part of the application process, some medical schools will ask for additional materials such as CVs ( application resume ), recommendations, and, more often, medicine personal statements or motivation letters.

A medical personal statement is a kind of essay. You get the chance to tell your personal story of why you have chosen medicine as a career. It is the first opportunity for admissions tutors to evaluate you as a person rather than a collection of grades and achievements. Therefore you must create a strong first impression. You have to think of it not as a burdensome part of the application process but as an excellent opportunity to shine among the other applicants.

What is the difference between a personal statement and a motivation letter?

As we mentioned, some schools require a personal statement and another motivation letter. It is essential to know the difference between them.

A personal statement is more about self-promotion . You should explain why you are the best candidate for a particular course and want to become a doctor. It is more about your personality traits and skills to help you achieve your dream career.

A motivation letter is more about your future study ambitions and how the programme you're applying to will assist you in achieving your objectives. In other words, why and how will studying medicine help you in the future .

What is the length of a personal statement?

Every medical university has its requirements regarding the length of the personal statement. Therefore, before you start writing it, you must check the specific guidelines of the university you are applying to.

However, often it will have to be around 500 words . Yes, it must be short, accurate, and straightforward.

What role do personal statements play in medical schools?

There are a few ways that medical schools will use your personal statement.

  • It may not play a role in the selection process at all.
  • It will be read but not evaluated . However, if you manage to prepare an excellent essay, it will demonstrate your passion for medicine and will certainly not harm you in the long run.
  • It is used to aid in decision-making between two candidates with identical academic results. An essay can be a turning point in your path to becoming a doctor.
  • Usually, medical universities use students' personal statements before interviews to prepare a few questions you will be asked during the interview. This is another reason many schools ask for this kind of essay. They use it as a starting point in discussions. As a result, it's a good idea to write about things you'd be willing to expand on if requested.

Medicine personal statement

What do medical universities want to see in your personal statement?

Medical universities know that to be a good doctor, you need skills such as:

  • Self-reflection
  • Prioritising
  • Good time management
  • Working under pressure
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Willingness to accept accountability for your actions
  • Soft skills

Keep these things in mind when you draft your essay. You shouldn’t just say, “I am empathetic”. Rather than that, you have to give an example and write about a situation when you demonstrated these skills.

Which medical schools in Europe should you apply to with a personal statement?

Some of the medical universities in Europe that require a medical student personal statement as part of the application process are:

  • European University In Tbilisi (Georgia)
  • Poznan University of Medical Science (Poland)
  • Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Kosice (Slovakia)

Why is a personal statement so important?

It's one thing to demonstrate academic success and another to present yourself positively as an individual. Striking a balance between the two is crucial. So take your time and carefully consider what you want to include and how you will present it.

The top 3 reasons why a medicine personal statement is so important are:

  • It allows you to show your best qualities
  • It can help you stand out from your competition
  • It is a great way to prepare for your medical school interview

What should I include in my personal statement?

Let’s make it clear one more time. A personal statement is about YOU, and your personal skills that make you an ideal applicant to study medicine in Europe. Hence, medical schools are looking to know more about:

  • What motivated you to study medicine? ( Motivation )
  • Why in this country? Why in this particular university? ( Motivation and exploration )
  • What steps have you taken to get knowledge about it? ( Exploration )
  • Why do you think you'd be a good fit for medicine? ( Suitability )

Describe your passion for medicine and the reason for making your statement unique. Learn more about the country's history, and find things that you can name as an advantage for studying there. Read about the university's history and the city where it is located. Find prominent people who have studied and contributed to science development at a given university. Show originality.

Make sure to include a line about your hobbies/interests outside of school and reflect on past experiences that taught you something valuable like commitment, the ability to work in a team, and the importance of helping those in need.

How to structure a medical personal statement?

In general, medicine personal statement structure can be divided into 3 parts:

  • Introduction - motivation

In this paragraph, your main goal is to make the reader want to read more and tell what made you choose medicine as a career.

  • Main body - exploration and suitability

This is where you have to tell your story and how your qualities make you a perfect applicant. It is the ideal place to write about the knowledge you gained while shadowing a doctor , for example.

  • Conclusion - motivation

Bring everything together.

How to write a strong medical personal statement introduction?

Ensure you have an original and intriguing starting phrase that will entice the reader to continue reading. This is your only chance to leave a lasting impression and grab the admissions tutors' attention.

One method to get their attention is to start with an incident or an “Aha!” moment that inspired your decision to pursue a career in medicine. What inspires or motivates you will reveal a lot about your personality. But from our experience, we know that very few students have such a moment.

Many applicants have known they wanted to be a doctor since childhood or have developed an interest in medicine.

If you are one of them, the simple truth is that you can’t start your essay with a fascinating experience or life-changing story. And that’s okay.

What to do, then?

Step-by-step guide on how to start writing a personal statement for medicine:

Step 1. create a list of the qualities that you want to demonstrate.

Take a piece of paper and write down the traits and abilities you want to reveal to the reader. There is no need to create a long list. Just think of 10 qualities that will help you become a great doctor. Some examples include:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Knowledge-seeking
  • Understanding
  • Team worker

We have all heard the phrase “Quality over Quantity”. This seeing relates to your writing too. If you try to include all 10 points on your list, you will end up with an inconsistent and uninfluential opening of your essay. Therefore you have to revise your list and pick up only 2 or 3 qualities . Please don’t waste time figuring out which ones are ideal because they don’t exist. Here the trick is to choose those that describe you best and that you can actually write about.

Step 2. Think about a situation when you have shown these qualities

This step is self-explanatory, but here are some guidelines that you can follow to pick the perfect event to write about.

Choose a story you can share in a few sentences (5 or 6). A good option is an event that comes from shadowing doctors, working in a clinic, volunteering, and extracurricular activity related to medicine.

Suppose you want to be original. Connect a travel story or work experience with the abilities you have chosen to highlight. This will guarantee a unique story that will impress the admissions committee.

Step 3. Present your experience as a captivating story

If you are worried about the story you picked, let us tell you a secret. It is not about choosing the perfect topic but presenting it engagingly. Remember that one event can be written in both dull and intriguing ways. Strive for the second!

Step 4. Show, don’t tell

Maybe this is the most crucial step of writing a medical personal statement. Don’t tell: “I have great communication skills.” Show it with your compelling story! The key is to demonstrate your qualities.

How to create great body paragraphs in a medicine personal statement?

In the body of your essay, you essentially want to expand the concepts stated in your introduction paragraph by using personal experiences as proof.

You have already written about why you want to study medicine. So it's time to dive in. Write in detail about the experiences that helped you grow and led to your decision to study medicine. Each key point should be given its own paragraph.

Here are a few steps that you can follow to write the best medicine personal statement ever:

  • Explain why you wanted to participate in the experience you are writing about.
  • Describe how you felt during the event.
  • Describe your accomplishments and lessons learned.
  • What impact did your experience have on you and the environment around you?
  • Explain how your experience influenced your desire to apply to medical school.

How to end a personal statement in a meaningful way?

Your medical personal statement conclusion should be like your introduction: showing your interest in studying medicine. You have to wrap everything together and leave the reader wanting to learn more about you.

You should re-emphasise your essay's main points and highlight these 3 things one more time:

  • Qualities that will make you one of the best doctors
  • Knowledge gained as a result of your formative experiences
  • Your sincere passion for being a medical student

Personal statement for medical school

Top tips for medicine personal statement from our expert advisors:

  • Connect your extracurricular activities to how they will help you become a better doctor
  • Tell a story
  • Always double-check for grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Show professionalism
  • Use clear, direct language
  • Ask your family for an opinion
  • Don’t lie, be true to yourself
  • Don’t try to cover everything
  • Don’t use cliches
  • Don't forget about the proper structure

Checklist for your MD personal statement

Before sending your medical personal statement, make sure you cover the following:

  • Is your first paragraph clear about why you want to be a doctor?
  • Have you thought about what you learned from each of the situations you've mentioned?
  • Is there a phrase or two regarding your hobbies or outside interests?
  • Is your grammar correct?
  • Do you show that you possess the qualities necessary for this profession?
  • Do you indicate that you understand the reality of a career in medicine?
  • Is your final paragraph a summary of why you believe you are well-suited for the medicine course and career?

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The Future Medic

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  • Checklist For Your Medicine Personal Statement

checklist for your medicine personal statement

Writing a successful medical personal statement as part of your UCAS university application that gets you noticed can be difficult, however, we have a checklist of what you should include so you have an excellent starting point. In addition to this, The Future Medic provide personal statement coaching with our dedicated and experienced tutors. In this post, we provide you with that checklist, as well as information about what we can do to help you on your journey to study medicine.

How to structure your medicine personal statement

Your personal statement should follow this structure:

  • An introduction
  • The main body- the longest part
  • A conclusion


  In your introduction, you will introduce yourself and this will be the first impression that your reviewer will form of you, so it needs to be strong. Include an overview of what the reviewer is about to read.  A great way to start your statement is, to be honest, sincere and clear about who you are. Don’t repeat what you have written in the main body of your statement but it needs to reflect what your personal statement is all about.

The main body of your personal statement for medicine is the biggest part of your personal statement as this is where you should go into detail about why you want to be a doctor, how you can contribute, what qualities you have and back this up with your skills and experience as well as demonstrate your research into the medical field and your university of choice. It’s important not to make bold claims or false promises here, but to be open and honest about your expectations and goals.

A conclusion draws everything in but it still needs to end strong because it will be what leaves a lasting impression on the reviewer. It’s important not to include any new information in this section; you aren’t writing a story so there’s no need to end on a cliffhanger either.

A great way to end your statement is to reiterate your passion and how you can contribute to medicine in the niche you would like to specialise in. End with an overarching statement of everything you have included about yourself.

Within this structure, you should include the skills and experience you possess, which will help you at university, what attracts you to a career in medicine and why you want to apply to study the course you have chosen.

What to include in your personal statement: an overview

What to include in your personal statement: an overview

Here is an overview of the general points you need to make in your statement and tips on how to get started in writing your personal statement . 

  • The first thing you need to do is brainstorm ideas that you think would suit your personal statement. Think about why you want to work in the medical profession and what experiences, skills and qualities you have that will mean you will be successful as a student and a qualified professional.
  •  Be honest in your personal statement and write about your true authentic self. Don’t try to be someone else or use cliches, as the reviewer will have read hundreds of personal statements, so similar ones will blend into the background.
  • Start strong and end stronger. You want to make sure your opening statement is something that will grab the reviewer’s attention, and you want to end it with something they will remember so you leave a lasting impression.
  •  Your passion for medicine and the subject area you’re applying to study should ooze off the page. Discuss your interest in medicine and why you’re motivated to embark on a challenging profession.
  •   Include any relevant work experiences and skills but don’t simply list them, as this doesn’t tell the reviewer much about you. Explain why you think your skills and experiences are relevant to the subject you’re applying to study.
  • Demonstrate that you have done your research both of the medical profession and the university you’re applying for. Tell them how you can contribute to a current hot topic in the medical world or how you would be successful at their university.

Remember that the length of your personal statement is only around 500-1000 characters, so you must make every word count. Here are some tips on using your word count wisely by starting and ending on a high.

A 5-step checklist for your medicine personal statement

When brainstorming ideas for your personal statement, ask yourself the following 5 questions and use these questions as a checklist to make sure you’ve included everything you need to.

  • What draws you to medicine?
  • What makes a good doctor?
  • What do you know about the medical profession?
  • What skills and experiences do you have that have prepared you for a career in medicine?
  • Have you structured your personal statement in the right way?

What you should avoid putting into a personal statement

In this section, we have provided examples of what not to include , so your personal statement doesn’t stand out for the wrong reasons.

  • Don’t use cliches and quotes as this comes across as unoriginal and too forced
  • You don’t need a miraculous story about why you want to become a doctor so don’t spend hours coming up with a backstory, just be honest and include the reasons why.
  • Don’t waffle, and by this we mean don’t go on and on and never truly get to the point. Before writing, think about what you want to say and be clear. Jot down notes first before you start writing so you can clearly structure each point
  • Don’t repeat yourself or provide too much information about your personal life, use the points above about mentioning your knowledge of the field and the university
  • You don’t need to include your own medical experiences or history
  • Watch out for grammatical errors or spelling mistakes as this comes across as sloppy and unprofessional
  • Don’t include information they already have such as academic results or where you have studied.

The importance of a personal statement for medical school

The importance of a personal statement for medical school

If you want to get into medical school, you can’t do it without submitting an outstanding personal statement because yes universities do read them ! So, how important is a medical personal statement? The answer is, very, so you need to get it right.

Your personal statement is the first point of contact for your chosen universities that you’re applying to, has to you. It should tell them who you are, what skills and experience you have that make you suited to the medical profession and why you are attracted to a career in medicine.

Sound simple? Well, not quite. Competition is fierce and we mean, really fierce. We don’t say this to deter you from applying, quite the opposite, we want you to write the best personal statement you can to give yourself the best chance of securing an interview.

Get support

Knowing if your personal statement is good is difficult to determine, particularly for someone with no experience in going through the process before. Use our checklist and tips, followed by a follow-up browse of the services we provide at The Future Medic, including coaching you through and checking your personal statement , to make sure your personal statement is good enough to secure that ever-important meeting.

We provide personalised 1-1 coaching and offer packages that best suit your needs including helping you to prepare for the UCAT exam and prepping you for an interview. We have dedicated, experienced British doctors who have been on the admissions board of their respective universities and therefore know what to look for in a personal statement.

So there you have it, a checklist of what to include and information about The Future Medic and how you can improve your chances of success. Contact us today to get started.

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University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division

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  • Medicine: How to Apply

Medicine: Application Checklist

We suggest that you use this checklist below when preparing an application.

1. Check entry requirements

As well as fulfilling the academic entry requirements, all applicants are required to register for and sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) between July and September in the year that you are applying.  Find more information on the UCAT on the UCAT website . Please also check our webpage about UCAT for any changes to UCAT arrangements and requirements in the 2024 application cycle for 2025 entry.

Applicants should also read our statement on  health & fitness to practise medicine .

Please be aware that there is a lower age limit in place at Oxford Medical School, which means you should be at least 18 years of age on 1 November in the year you are applying to start the course. Please see our FAQs for further details.

2. Attend an open day

We strongly recommend that you attend one of the Medicine open days at the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre. Find out more on the University's Open Day landing pages .

3. Think about costs & funding

How much will it cost.

Information on course fees and general living costs can be found on the student funding website .

What's my fee status?

It is extremely important that applicants are clear on their fee status prior to submitting an application to the Medical School. Do consult the advice posted by the UK Council for International Student Affairs on their website, which provides a checklist covering information that we may ask you for when deciding on your status:

Any applicant unsure of their status should check the University’s website on determining status for fees purposes and/or write to the Student Fees Team at [email protected] with full details of their circumstances.

Are there any scholarships?

We regret that there are no scholarships available for Medicine in Oxford due to the nature and duration of the course and the costs involved. For more information about student finance matters, and to undertake a full funding search, please see the student funding website .

This scholarship search website may also be of interest.

Your local branch of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies might be able to advise you on finding scholarships, or looking for more affordable medical courses, perhaps in your own country.

UK students are strongly advised to read through the Oxford Bursaries website.


 Normally all applicants for Medicine at Oxford must register for and sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). Please check our webpage about UCAT for any changes to UCAT arrangements and requirements in the 2024 application cycle for 2025 entry.

The UCAT is delivered in Pearson VUE test centres throughout the UK and in over 130 countries worldwide. A list of all available test centres can be found using the Pearson VUE Test Centre Locator .

Applicants can register to sit the UCAT by creating a UCAT account (from 14 May 2024) and then booking a test from 18 June 2024. The test is usually taken between July and September.

We have chosen to use the UCAT as part of our shortlisting process as it is the one measure we have for all our applicants and we know the test has some capacity to predict students’ aptitude for our course. There is absolutely no need to attend a formal course to prepare for the UCAT and we would instead advise applicants to prepare using the free official practice materials which have been developed by the UCAT consortium .

5. Choose a college

Look at the page on colleges , and the University website on colleges .

You can choose a college if you want to, BUT you do not have to! You can in fact submit an open application to the University. Around 20% of applicants to Oxford choose to do this. In any case, you can be assured that our admissions process strives to admit the best candidates irrespective of choice of college on the UCAS form. All colleges are strong academically, and your course (lectures, practicals, seminars, etc) will be the same regardless of the college of which you are a member.

6. Submit an application through UCAS

The deadline for submission of UCAS applications will be in mid-October. You can apply on the UCAS website . Please note that applications submitted to UCAS past the UCAS deadline cannot be considered by the Medical School.

Do ensure that you give your complete educational history, and not just details of the qualifications you might be currently working towards (i.e. provide full information on your GCSEs or GCSE-equivalent qualifications).

When writing your personal statement, think about our selection criteria , and read our advice on personal statements:

  • Writing your personal statement
  • Anatomy of a personal statement

Do remember to allow sufficient time for your referee to complete their section.

  • Course Structure
  • Academic Entry & Age Requirements
  • Selection Criteria
  • Health & Fitness to Practise
  • Application Checklist
  • Application Process
  • Introductory Reading
  • Writing your Personal Statement
  • Anatomy of a Personal Statement
  • Graduate Applicants
  • Mature Applicants
  • International Applicants
  • Mitigating circumstances
  • Shortlisting Process and Admissions Statistics
  • Fees and Funding

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Medical School Headquarters

This book not only gives you the information you need to know to outline, draft, and craft your story but also includes over 30 essays with feedback to show you what works and what doesn't. Don't let a bad personal statement keep you from getting an invitation to interview at your dream school.

Medical School Personal Statement book

Now available at (as well as every other marketplace):

Check this out, get a sample of our personal statement book.

Download our sample personal statement book that includes a lot of chapters about the personal statement as well as several examples of personal statements with edits! You'll also get our personal statement checklist! Already have your essay ready and want our experts to edit it for you? Check out our essay editing services here .

medical school personal statement book sample

You'll Learn:

Why the medical school personal statement is so important and how medical schools potentially use them.

How to best craft your perfect story so others know your journey.

What the most common mistakes are when it comes to writing a personal statement so you can avoid them.

How I give feedback to personal statements with over 30 real drafts and final essays from students with my feedback.


"Another superb book from the Premed Playbook series by Dr. Gray. This edition helps medical school applicants approach the personal statement with confidence and inspiration. This is done through easy to read explanations of all relevant topics from beginning to the end. Furthermore, the different stages of drafts with edits are incorporated to elaborate what can seem as ambiguous feedback to applicants. A beginning pre-health advisor looking to get caught up with personal statements would benefit tremendously by reading this book!"

JOON KIM EdD Instructor and Director of Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate (PPC) Program

"I found this book to be a fun, practical, easy-to-read guide on helping an applicant fine their voice for their personal statement. Using a clear, systematic approach supported by examples, Dr. Gray unveils the true purpose of the personal statement and why it’s so important for an applicant to know oneself. I think the process through which he guides the reader will prove beneifical not only for the personal statement but for the medical school interview as well. Perhaps even more valuable is that the reader will achieve a better understanding one’s motivations for pursuing a career in medicine."

Gregory M. Polites, MD Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Chairman, Central Subcommitee on Admissions Washington University School of Medicine



Dr. Ryan Gray is a former United States Air Force Flight Surgeon who found a passion for helping premed students on their journey to medical school. Best known for his podcasts, which have been downloaded over 3,000,000 times, Dr. Gray has interviewed numerous Admissions Committee members and deans of admissions for medical schools.

Through The Premed Years podcast and the Medical School Headquarters sites, Dr. Gray has helped thousands of students gain the confidence they require to successfully navigate the premed path.

Dr. Gray lives outside of Boulder, CO with his wife Allison, who is a Neurologist, and their daughter Hannah. Dr. Gray is also a Clinical Instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


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medicine personal statement checklist

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medicine personal statement checklist

Medicine personal statement checklist

Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists

Using a checklist and creating your own “marking scheme” will ensure there is nothing missing from your personal statement. Writing a personal statement checklist can also help you with time management so you know what topic areas and themes you still need to tackle.

Effective strategies to check your personal statement.

  • Read your personal statement out loud; perhaps record yourself dictating it to pick up on any errors.
  • Pass it around – although “too many cooks spoil the broth” asking for constructive feedback from others is a vital part of the personal statement writing process. Make sure you have given your personal statement to a mixture of medical and non-medical people. It can be useful to ask a language teacher to read over your work to spot any glaring errors that you have made.

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medicine personal statement checklist

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Already Tailored Your Personal Statement? Arrange A Review With Feedback & Suggested Changes From A Personal Statement Specialist.

Content Checklist

  • Does your personal statement have a captivating introduction which covers why YOU want to study medicine? If you have specific career plans and ambitions, make sure they are in there.
  • Have you referenced your work experience? Think of how you have gained an insight into a career in medicine beyond shadowing or voluntary placements – have you mentioned any medical conferences or health commissioning events you have been to? Have you been reflective and explained the relevance of your work experience?
  • Have you shown an interest in medicine and evidenced your scientific intellect? If you’ve completed an Extended Project Qualification, write about it. Any relevant literature that you have read also deserves a mention – reading books or journals shows you have a curious mind and that you would be suited to a career where lifelong independent study is critical.
  • A= Activity: What have you done?
  • B= Benefit: This is the skill you have gained?
  • C= Course: How is this skill relevant for a career in medicine?
  • Does your conclusion summarise your key points and ideas highlighting your understanding of medicine and personal attributes?
  • Have you double checked that everything in your personal statement is truthful? When it comes to interview preparation, you’ll thank your past self for creating an honest personal statement without embellishments of the truth

Structure Checklist

  • Are you within the 4000-character limit? Be aware of the settings on your Microsoft word account and make sure the character is including spaces. The application form will not let you exceed over the maximum character count so don’t risk losing the end of your statement.
  • Opening: A gripping first sentence and introductory paragraph
  • Middle section: A section building upon why medicine is a career suited to you, your achievements, experiences, and skills?
  • Closing: A snappy conclusion to round everything off

Optimise Your Personal Statement & UCAS Application

Optimise your Personal Statement and learn the most efficient UCAT & BMAT strategies with our team of specialists.

Style Checklist

  • Have you double checked that you have used accurate punctuation and grammar in your personal statement? Remember that the UCAS application form doesn’t have a spellcheck function; so, make sure there are no spelling slip ups. Even on word spellchecker doesn’t pick everything up – so proofread, proofread, proofread. Have you asked a fresh pair of eyes to read over your personal statement focusing simply on any mistakes?
  • Proofread your personal statement and check for repeated words. Its sometimes useful to count the number of times you have used commonly used words and phrases such as “also” and “in addition.”
  • Are your sentences easy to follow and not too long and convoluted? Are there any unhelpful lists or irrelevant points?
  • Skim through your personal statement – any overly verbose words or phrases that you do not know the meaning of should be changed or deleted. If you are struggling to find alternative key words or phrases the General Medical Councils “Tomorrow’s Doctors” document. This outlines skill needed by medical students.
  • Check for any acronyms or abbreviations used in your work – although they can be great for saving characters, they may cause confusion for the reader.

If your happy with that final draft, then its time to upload and press send. It can be useful to make sure you have a copy of your final draft somewhere which will be accessible when the interviews start rolling in. Be sure which version of your personal statement you have submitted.

Medicine personal statement checklist.

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Medicine Personal Statement Examples

Get some inspiration to start writing your Medicine Personal Statement with these successful examples from current Medical School students. We've got Medicine Personal Statements which were successful for universities including Imperial, UCL, King's, Bristol, Edinburgh and more.

Personal Statement Examples

  • Read successful Personal Statements for Medicine
  • Pay attention to the structure and the content
  • Get inspiration to plan your Personal Statement

Personal Statement Example 1

Check out this Medicine Personal Statement which was successful for Imperial, UCL, QMUL and King's.

Personal Statement Example 2

This Personal Statement comes from a student who received Medicine offers from Bristol and Plymouth - and also got an interview at Cambridge.

Personal Statement Example 3

Have a look at this Medicine Personal Statement which was successful for Imperial, Edinburgh, Dundee and Newcastle.

Personal Statement Example 4

Take a look at this Medicine Personal Statement which was successful for King's, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield.

Personal Statement Example 5

Pick up tips from this Medicine Personal Statement which was successful for Imperial, Birmingham and Manchester.

Personal Statement Example 6

This Personal Statement comes from a student who got into Graduate Entry Medicine at King's - and also had interviews for Undergraduate Medicine at King's, QMUL and Exeter.

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The Residency Personal Statement (2023/2024): The Insider’s Guide (with Examples)

Residency Match Personal Statement

A physician and former residency program director explains how to write your residency personal statement to match in to your top-choice residency program in 2024.

Read example residency personal statements and suggested outlines..


The residency personal statement allows residency program directors and associate directors the chance to get a sense of who you are and your commitment to your chosen specialty. 

As a former program director who understands how residency personal statements are reviewed, what “stands out,” and, most importantly, what will earn you interview invitations, the information below will help you write a residency personal statement to match!

It is imperative to make sure you get the most accurate guidance possible with regards to your residency personal statement content and optimal residency personal statement length (up to 5300 characters with spaces).

Want more personalized suggestions? Sign up for a FREE residency personal statement consultation .

Table of Contents

Goals for Writing Your 2024 Residency Personal Statement

Above all else, your residency personal statement offers the opportunity to show your interest in your chosen specialty when applying to residency to illustrate you are a good fit.

The more details you offer about why you are interested in the specialty and how your med school rotations, accomplishments and experiences have reinforced this interest, the stronger your personal statement will be, the more it will appeal to selection committees and the better you will do in the match process .

I encourage applicants to offer as much “evidence” as possible to “show” rather than “tell” what qualities, characteristics and interests they have. “Telling” a reader, for example, that you are compassionate and hard working means nothing. Instead, you must “show” that you embody these qualities based on your experiences in health care and the patients for whom you have cared.

The residency personal statement also offers the opportunity to write about who you are as a person to convey some details about your background, influences, and interests outside of your given specialty.

The Importance of a Balanced Residency Personal Statement

The key when writing your residency personal statement is to ensure that it is well-balanced so it appeals to a large group of people who might read your ERAS residency application.

However, it is important to understand that every program director and faculty member has his or her own idea of what he would like to read in a personal statement. As an applicant, you must go into this process understanding that you cannot please everyone, or a specific program, and your personal statement should therefore have the broadest appeal possible.

For example, some program directors would rather hear about your personal interests and curiosities and get to know who you are rather than have you focus on the specialty in which you are interested.

At MedEdits, we suggest taking a “middle of the road” approach; include some details about who you are but also focus on the specialty itself. In this way, you will make more traditional reviewers who want to hear about your interest in the specialty happy while also satisfying those who would rather learn about you as a person.

Above all, be authentic and true to yourself when writing your statement. This always leads to the best results! Read on to learn more about how to write a winning personal statement.

About MedEdits

Getting into a residency has never been more competitive. Founded by a former associate program director, the experts at MedEdits will make your residency personal statement shine. We’ve worked with more than 5,000 students and 94% have been matched to one of their top-choice programs.

Need Help With Your Residency Personal Statement?

Schedule a Free 15 Minute Consultation with a MedEdits expert.

Residency Personal Statement Outline & Structure

Residency applicants often do well when given outlines or templates to follow, so, we will offer that, but, it is important to realize that many applicants deviate from these rigid rules. One very typical outline that serves applicants quite well in the residency admissions process is:

  • Compose a catchy introduction. Your intro can be related to your interest in the specialty to which you are applying, about a hobby or personal experience, or about your background. Regardless of the topic you choose, you want to tell a story and start with something that will interest your reader and engage him.
  • The next two to four paragraphs comprise the body of your personal statement. We encourage applicants to write about any significant experiences they have had related to their desired specialty and/or future goals. This would include information about rotations, electives, and sub internships related to the specialty, volunteer and research experiences and even significant outside interests.
  • Finally, you want to conclude your essay. In your conclusion, write about what you seek in a residency program, what you will bring to a residency program, and, if you have any idea of your future career goals, write about those as well. Your conclusion is also where you can tailor a personal statement to a specific geographic area of interest or type of program (rural, urban, community).

Residency Personal Statement Length & Residency Personal Statement Word Limit

Residency Personal Statement Length: Our recommendation is that your residency personal statement be between 4000 – 5300 characters with spaces or up to 900 words in length. 

The allowed ERAS residency personal statement length is 28,000 characters which equates to about five pages!

We have been hearing from more and more applicants that the personal statement should not exceed one page when typed in to the ERAS application . Because of this overwhelming trend, we are supporting this guidance unless you have extenuating circumstances that require your personal statement be longer.

Our recommendation is that your residency personal statement be a maximum of 5300 characters with spaces.

ERAS Residency Personal Statement Checklist

  • Ensure your personal statement flows well

The best personal statements are easy to read, don’t make the reader think too much, and make your path and interests seem logical. Rarely does a personal statement have a theme. Also try to have each paragraph transition to the next seamlessly. 

2. Your personal statement should be about you!

Your personal statement should be about you and no one else. Focus on your interests, your accomplishments and your path. This is your opportunity to be forthcoming about your achievements – by writing in detail about what you have done.

3. Be sure your personal statement clearly outlines your interest in the specialty.

Since the reader wants to be convinced of your understanding of, experience in, and curiosity about the specialty to which you are applying, be sure you highlight what you have done to explore your interest as well as your insights and observations about the specialty to show your understanding of it.

4. Make it human.

Again, your personal statement should be about you! The reader wants to know who you are, where you are from, what your interests are and who you are outside of medicine. Therefore, try to include those details about your background that are intriguing or important to you.

5. Express your interest in the specialty.

The reader fundamentally wants to know why you are pursuing the specialty. The more details you offer the more convincing you are about your commitment and your understanding of the specialty. Be sure to include details that might seem obvious. For example, in emergency medicine you must like acute care, but try to include more nuanced details about your interest, too. What do you enjoy about the diagnoses and pathologies involved? What do you value about the actual work you will do? What do you enjoy about the patients for whom you will care? How about the setting in which you will practice?

6. The start and evolution of your interest.

Readers want to know how and when you became interested in your specialty. Was this before medical school? During medical school? What have you done to pursue and nurture your interest in the specialty?

7. What you have done to learn more about the specialty.

You should explain what you have done to pursue your interest. What rotations have you done or have planned? What research, scholarly work or community service activities have you pursued to further your interest?

8. Where you see yourself in the future – if you know!

Without going into too much detail, write about the type of setting in which you see yourself in the future. Do you hope to also participate in research, teaching, public health work or community outreach as a part of your career? What are your future goals? Since many programs typically train a certain type of physician, it is important that your goals are aligned with the programs to which you are applying.

9. What do you bring to the specialty?

You should try to identify what you can bring to the program and the specialty to which you are applying as a whole. For example, are you applying to family medicine and have a distinct interest in public health? Are you applying for internal medicine and do you have demonstrated expertise in information technology and hope to improve electronic medical records? Do you have extensive research or teaching experience, and do you hope to continue to pursue these interests in the future? Have you developed a commitment to global health, and do you hope to continue making contributions abroad? Programs have a societal obligation to select residents who will make valuable contributions in the future, so the more ambitions you have the more desirable a candidate you will be.

10. What type of program you hope to join?

Do you hope to be part of a community or university-based program? What are you seeking in a residency program? Programs are looking for residents who will be the right “fit” so offering an idea of what you are seeking in a program will help them determine if your values and goals mesh with those of the program.

11. Who you are outside of the hospital?

Try to bring in some personal elements about who you are. You can do this in a few ways. If you have any outside interests or accomplishments that complement your interest in your specialty, such as extracurricular work, global work, teaching or volunteer efforts, write about them in detail, and, in doing so, show the reader a different dimension of your personality. Or, consider opening your statement by writing about an experience related to your hobbies or outside interests. Write about this in the form of an introductory vignette. I suggest taking this nontraditional approach only if you are a talented writer and can somehow relate your outside interest to the specialty you are pursuing, however. An interest in the arts can lend itself to dermatology, plastic surgery or ophthalmology, for example. Or, an interest in technology could relate to radiology .

12. Any personal challenges?

Also explain any obstacles you have overcome: Were you the first in your family to graduate from college? Were you an immigrant? Did you have limited financial resources and work through college? Many applicants tend to shy away from the very things that make them impressive because they are afraid of appearing to be looking for sympathy. As long as you explain how you have overcome adversity in a positive or creative way, your experience will be viewed as the tremendous accomplishment that it is. The personal statement should explain any unusual or distinctive aspects of your background.

  • Residency Match: How It Works & How To Get Matched

Common ERAS Residency Personal Statement Mistakes

Do not tell your entire life story or write a statement focused on your childhood or undergraduate career. 

Do not write about why you wanted to be a doctor. This is old news. From the reviewers perspective, you already are a doctor!

Do not write a personal statement focused on one hobby or begin with your birth. Some background information might be useful if it offers context to your choices and path, but your residency personal statement should be focused on the present and what you have done to pursue your interest in the specialty to which you are applying.

Do not preach. The reader understands what it means to practice his specialty and does not need you to tell him. Don’t write, for example: Internal medicine requires that a physician be knowledgeable, kind and compassionate. The reader wants to know about you!

Do not put down other specialties. You don’t need to convince anyone of your interest by writing something negative about other specialties. Doing so just makes you look bad. If you switched residencies or interests, you can explain what else you were seeking and what you found in the specialty of your choice that interests you.

Do not embellish. Program directors are pretty good at sniffing out inconsistencies and dishonesty. Always tell the truth and be honest and authentic. 

Do not plagiarize. While this seems obvious to most people, every year people copy personal statements they find online or hire companies that use stock phrases and statement to compose statements for applicants. Don’t do it!

Do not write about sensitive topics. Even if you were in a relationship that ended and resulted in a poor USMLE score , this is not a topic for a personal statement. In general, it is best to avoid discussing relationships, politics, ethical issues and religion.

Do not boast. Any hint of arrogance or self-righteousness may result in getting rejected. There is a fine line between confidence and self promotion. Some people make the mistake of over-selling themselves or writing about all of their fantastic qualities and characteristics. Rarely do readers view such personal statements favorably.

Do not write an overly creative piece. A residency personal statement should be professional. This work is equivalent to a job application. Don’t get too creative; stay focused.

Writing ERAS Residency Personal Statements For Multiple Specialties

An increasing number of applicants are applying to more than one specialty in medicine especially if the first choice specialty is very competitive. If you are applying to more than one specialty, even if there is disciplinary overlap between the two (for example family medicine and pediatrics ), we advise you write a distinct specialty for each. Remember that a physician who practices the specialty you hope to join will most likely be reviewing your statement. He or she will definitely be able to determine if the personal statement illustrates a true understanding of the specialty. If you try to recycle an entire personal statement or parts of a personal statement for two specialties, there is a high likelihood the personal statement will communicate that you aren’t sincerely interested in that specialty or that you don’t really understand what the specialty is about.

Writing About Red Flags in your ERAS Personal Statement

The personal statement is also the place to explain any red flags in your application, such as gaps in time or a leave of absence. When addressing any red flags, explain what happened succinctly. Be honest, don’t make excuses, and don’t dwell on the topic. Whenever possible, write about how you have matured or grown from the adversity or what you may have learned and how this benefits you.

If you have left a program or had a break in your medical education, you will also have the chance to explain this in your ERAS application . You should also write about this topic in your personal statement only if you have more to explain, however. 

If you have failed a Step exam or one course in medical school, this likely isn’t something to address in the personal statement. However, you should be prepared to discuss any failure during an interview. By the same token, it is best not to address one low grade or poor attending evaluation in your statement. 

Have you taken a circuitous path to medicine? If so you might address why you made these choices and what you found so interesting about medicine that was lacking in your former career.

Residency Personal Statement Example

Below are two great examples of residency personal statements that earned the applicants who wrote them numerous interviews and first choice matches. As you will see, these two applicants took very different approaches when writing the personal statement yet wrote equally persuasive and “successful” personal statements.

Residency Personal Statement Example, Analysis, and Outline: The Traditional Approach

The most common approach to the personal statement is what I will call the traditional approach, in which the applicant conveys her interest in the specialty, when that interest began and what she has done to pursue the particular specialty.

Suggested outline:

  • Introduction: Catchy Story
  • Paragraph 2: Background Information and how Interest Started
  • Paragraph 3: Write about what you did to explore your interest
  • Paragraph 4: Second paragraph about your experiences related to your specialty
  • Conclusion: Wrap it up. Write something about your future goals.

Below is an example of the traditional approach:

I looked into her eyes and saw terror. She knew the life of her unborn baby was in jeopardy. As tears streamed down her face, she looked to the attending physician. In desperation, she pleaded, “Please save our baby.” She and her husband had been trying to conceive for more than two years, and they knew this could be their only chance to have a healthy child. She went into labor at home and because of a horrible snowstorm was not able to reach the hospital for several hours. When she arrived in labor and delivery, she was crowning. But, the baby was having late decelerations. Because of the sweat on my attending’s forehead I knew the situation was serious. Yet we all tried to remain calm and to keep the patient and her husband calm as well. 

I entered medical school with an open mind as everyone suggested. Even as a first year medical student, however, I was fascinated with embryology. I entered my third year still unsure of what I would pursue. I knew I wanted a career that would be challenging and interesting. Because of my background in drawing and painting, I always loved working with my hands. Yet I also enjoyed working with people. Thankfully, my obstetrics and gynecology (ob/gyn) rotation was the first of my third year and I was immediately hooked.

I quickly sought out opportunities for research and became involved in a clinical study investigating the impact of a vegan diet on birth outcomes. I have always had an interest in wellness and nutrition, and this seemed like a perfect fit for me. My research is still in process, but through this experience I have learned how to analyze data, stay objective and critically evaluate the literature. So far, our findings suggest better than normal outcomes for babies born to vegan mothers. This reinforces my goal to educate my patients about the important of diet and nutrition, which I hope to make a part of my future practice. 

Early in my fourth year, I completed an elective rotation at Inner City Medical Center. There I cared for a diverse group of patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings. I realized how much I enjoy labor and delivery, but I also value the operative aspects of ob/gyn. I appreciate the importance of understanding the female anatomy so I can operate with precision.  I also value the diversity of practice in ob/gyn. Whether caring for a woman about to give birth, helping a woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer navigate her treatment options, or caring for a perimenopausal woman who is coping with symptoms of hormone fluctuations, I enjoy caring for patients with knowledge and compassion. The outpatient aspect of ob/gyn brings satisfaction as well. I look forward to building relationships with my patients, helping them to lead the healthiest lives possible. I have also realized how much I want to care for those who lack access to care. The work I have done at Medical School Free Clinic has helped me realize the gaps that exist in access to care and education. As a future practicing ob/gyn, I hope to work in such a setting at least on a part time basis.

On that snowy night, when we realized the baby was having difficulty being born because of shoulder dystocia, a simple maneuver eased the situation. The baby’s first cry brought such joy and relief to everyone in the room and, at that moment, I knew I had to be part of this specialty. I hope to join a program where I will have the clinical exposure that will give me the skills and experience to care for a wide range of patients. I do not yet know if I will subspecialize, and I will seek out mentors and experiences as a resident to make an informed decision. I would be honored to interview at your program and thank you for your consideration.

Why It’s Great

This is a great personal statement because it clearly conveys the applicant’s interest in, and understanding of, obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) and what the applicant has done to pursue that interest. Not only does this applicant have a long-standing interest in OB/GYN, but, she conveys that she has experienced the specialty in different settings and understands the diverse nature of the specialty. She also includes information about her hobbies and interests and writes about her exploration of OB/GYN outside of the clinical arena. An added bonus is that the applicant writes well and uses descriptive language making her statement interesting and fun to read.

Residency Personal Statement Example, Analysis, and Outline: The Outside Interests Approach

Many mentors advise applicants to tell the reader something about them that is unrelated to medicine or the specialty they are pursuing. This is a fine idea, but be sure your personal statement also includes some details about your interest in your specialty if you decide to move in this direction.

Suggested Outline:

  • Introduction: Write a Catchy Introduction. Be creative! Think outside the box.
  • Paragraph 2:Elaborate on your introduction offering more details
  • Paragraph 3: Write about your specialty choice and what appeals to you.
  • Paragraph 4: Write more about your explorations in medical school.
  • Concluding paragraph(s): Write about your future goals, the type of program you hope to join and consider looping back to your introduction.

Below is an example of the outside interests approach:

The landscape before me was lush and magical. We had been hiking for hours and had found a great spot to set up camp. As I was unloading my backpack and helping to pitch the tent, I saw a scene I knew I had to capture. I quickly grabbed my carefully packed Leica before the magnificent sunset disappeared. Trying to get the perfect exposure, I somehow managed to capture this image so accurately that it reflected the beauty of what was before us high in the mountains of Utah, so far away from the hustle and bustle of New York City where we attended medical school.

Throughout my life, I have pursued my interests and curiosities with focus and creativity. One of those interests is photography. Even as a small child, I wanted my own camera, and I started snapping interesting scenes and images at the age of 6. As I grew older, this hobby took on more significance. I took a college level course in photography as a high school student, worked as a photographer’s assistant and even considered a career in photography. Paralleling my interest, however, was a desire to travel and experience new places, foods, and cultures.

I have been fortunate to travel all over the world. Rather than stopping in a city or place for a couple of days and seeing the sights, I prefer to immerse myself in my surroundings, eating the food, meeting the people, and staying for as long as I can. My fluency in Spanish and Italian has made it easier to “fit in” naturally. My most recent trip to Costa Rica allowed me to visit sugar cane fields and rain forests. I also volunteered in a clinic that helps the most desperate citizens. Of course, because I never travel without my camera, I also captured the beauty of this country; those pictures can be found on my blog.

Surgery seemed like a natural choice for me. It is a very tactile and visual field that requires patience, attention to detail and creativity—just like photography. The operating room setting is invigorating. I love to be a member of a team, and in surgery team work is an essential part of practice. The ability to deal with anatomical variations also satisfies my creative side; I have always been fond of puzzles, and the field of surgery represents a real-world puzzle to me. I also appreciate the intensity of surgery and believe I have the personality and demeanor for the field. I have always enjoyed solving problems quickly, something the field of surgery requires. My rotations in surgery – in addition to my core surgery rotation I have done trauma and cardiothoracic surgery – have helped me to understand the tremendous opportunities and diversity of the field. I have heard some residents lament that the only reason they went into surgery is to operate. However, I really enjoy seeing patients postoperatively. It is only at that time that a surgeon can really appreciate the impact of his or her work.

Finally, my trip to Honduras with a surgical team from my hospital and medical school made me realize that I can make a great contribution globally in the field of surgery. There we saw patients who had no resources or access to care. The facilities in which we worked were bare-bones. Yet the impact we made was tremendous, given that this was a group of people who otherwise would have no surgical care. In this way, I hope to combine my interests in travel and surgery as a resident, if I have time, and certainly as a practicing physician. My ultimate goal is to use my training to help populations globally and domestically.

To gain the most clinical exposure possible, I hope to train in a busy urban hospital. I believe that such a setting will give me the operative experience I need to be able to navigate many situations in the future. Such a setting will also give me the outpatient experience to understand how to manage patients once the surgery is completed.

I look forward to the day when I can be snapping my camera intraoperatively, documenting what I am doing and seeking to help other surgeons. For some, such pictures may not represent the art of those pictures I take in the wilderness, but for me they reflect the beauty of surgery and the great opportunity to make a lasting impression on another human being’s life.

This is a really intriguing personal statement because the author writes about his outside interests in a compelling way that makes him instinctively likable. He then goes on to explain what he enjoys about surgery and what he has done to pursue that interest. As you can see, this applicant writes less about his specialty (surgery) than the applicant in statement #1 did, but, he still convinces the reader of his understanding of, and commitment to, surgery. In this statement, the reader gains a much broader understanding of who the applicant is as a person and what he likes to do in his free time.

Final Thoughts

Writing your residency personal statement should be about telling your story in your own voice and style. You want to highlight your interest in the specialty for which you are applying while also conveying some ideas about who you are as a person to keep your reader engaged in learning about you as a person.

Residency Personal Statement Consulting Services

MedEdits Medical Admissions offers comprehensive guidance and document review services for residency applicants to every specialty in medicine. With more than twenty years of experience in residency admissions and founded by a former residency admissions officer and physician, MedEdits understands what program directors want to read and can help you decide what aspects of your background to focus on in your residency personal statement to earn the most interviews possible.

Getting into a residency has never been more competitive. Let the experts at MedEdits help you with your ERAS personal statement. We’ve worked with more than 5,000 students and 94% have been matched to one of their top-choice programs.

Sample Residency Personal Statement Page 1

Sample Residency Personal Statements

Residency Personal Statement Example Page 2

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Medicine personal statement checklist - MasterMedPrep

Why medicine or dentistry?

A very important question, look out for a future blog post about how to best address this question in an honest and authentic way

Work Experience

This can take many forms, but finding somewhere you can get experience of a healthcare professional is great for your PS as well as your own opinions on a medical or dental career.

Example from my personal statement: “ The morale of the team was an inspiration to me and only reinforced my desire to pursue medicine and eventually make valuable contributions to an MDT myself. I also work as part of a small team whilst waitressing for private parties, during which I have gained skills in both taking on and delegating responsibilities”.

Have you read anything that had an impact on your decision to study medicine or dentistry? Include it as it likely provides a helpful background into your thought process in choosing healthcare.

See my previous blog post on reading for your personal statement!

Try to avoid listing random interests, keep them organised and integrate them into the text. Briefly mention if there was an aspect of your work experience that particularly interested you, why you think it did and reflect on it.


Use the STAR method for reflection. State your experience, what skills you learnt, and why they’ll be useful to your degree.

Again, keep this brief. Talk about what you get up to in your spare time, whether its reading, writing, sport or knitting. This allows the medical school to paint a small picture of you as an individual. Try out new hobbies, but don’t force yourself to read anatomy textbooks in your spare time – there’s plenty of time for this at medical school – being authentic will be a huge advantage at interview. There’s nothing worse than lying or exaggerating on your personal statement, so be true to yourself even if you think your hobbies aren’t medical-student-orientated.

Example from my personal statement: “I admired the comradery of the team in how they communicated efficiently and worked together, similarly to my own experience within my netball and hockey teams – both of which I play for in a weekly league”

Word count – 4000 characters, including spaces and punctuation. This is straight forward so don’t get it wrong.

Read through – don’t read through it every day or obsess over it (put a few days between personal read throughs), rather ask your teacher, parent or sibling to have a look at it. This may not be beneficial towards a medicine/dentistry specific PS but might help in making the text more readable as a whole.

Getting professional reviewing is key! Only doctors and medical students will spot small details or inconsistencies related to any healthcare details – you wouldn’t believe the difference this will make! Get in touch and we will review your personal statement.
  • Personal Statements

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What should I read for my medical school personal statement? Which books should I write about?

Successful Graduate Entry Medicine Personal Statement Example (St George’s, Swansea, Nottingham)

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My success at getting into Graduate Entry Medicine was partly thanks to my personal statement. Of all the universities I applied to, I got into the one I wanted to go to the most!

I received invites to interview at St George’s, University of London, Swansea University Medical School and University of Nottingham Medical School.

Check out my blog post 7 Steps to a Successful Personal Statement for Graduate Entry Medicine for further guidance and my Ultimate Medicine Personal Statement Checklist (free download) .

One last thing:  DO NOT COPY ANY PART OF MY OR ANYONE ELSE’S PERSONAL STATEMENT . Nowadays, clever software will identify any similarities and you will be caught out. Also, it’s just not ethical and the best way to make your personal statement stand out is to make it unique to you anyway!

From a young age I have had a passion and aptitude for medical science. I acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences and I am now completing a Master’s in biomedical engineering. Subsequent to volunteering in multiple healthcare environments and shadowing multiple doctors I am now certain that medicine as a career is the correct choice for me.

I highly value the privilege of being able to support someone in their time of need. Over the past several years I have arranged four medical work experience programmes: shadowing radiologists, a general practitioner and two medical teams for elite rugby players. When I had the opportunity to sit in on the consultations of a general practitioner I observed that despite the time pressure he was under he was patient and genuinely warm towards all his patients. This touched me and impressed upon me the more empathetic aspects of being a doctor. Having a career to which empathy is central greatly appeals to me. Since June 2015 I have volunteered at a support helpline and I have further grasped that having even several minutes to talk to a non-judgemental and impartial listener can make a huge difference to someone’s well-being. I recently volunteered weekly at a hospital facilitating fun activities for patients on wards. Through building relationships with patients I have seen first-hand how lonely and restless patients can become and how chatting with someone familiar can improve their day.  To be able to build positive relationships with others daily also draws me to the medical profession.

I am compelled to pursue a vocation in which lifelong learning of medical science and use of scientific methods are key. For example, in the third year of my Bachelor’s degree I wrote a dissertation that explored the possible mechanisms that influence musculoskeletal performance as a result of a genetic polymorphism. Despite the amount of data I analysed it was not possible to deduce the exact biomechanisms at work as a result of this single genetic element. It showed me how much there is still to learn about the human body. I am now studying biomedical engineering for a Master’s in order to learn more about the body as well as the engineering of cutting-edge medical technology.

Through reading books in my spare time I have developed a keen interest in medical ethics. For instance, I found The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot a very thought-provoking book in its treatment of the ethics of medical research and the duties doctors have towards their patients. The upsetting experience of Henrietta Lacks’ family as they tried to understand what happened to her cells following her death echoed to me the importance of clear and honest communication with patients. The latter is an art I am excited to develop further as a physician.

As a doctor I realise that it will be essential to be an excellent leader and team player.  Whilst studying my bachelor’s degree I was elected captain of the women’s rugby club and was awarded Captain of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year by my students’ union for outstanding organisation and leadership. I learnt that teamwork is paramount for maximal success, for example working collaboratively within the rugby club’s committee to achieve a national team of the year award. I found undertaking my degree, being captain of a sports team and volunteering in other roles all in my second year challenging at times however I have gained huge confidence in my ability to cope under stress and to balance my academic and extracurricular duties.

While the life of a doctor will be a challenging one, I feel I have what it takes to be a successful doctor. I have an enthusiasm for science as well as other peoples’ well-being. My work experience with doctors has shown me the realities of such a career. I am a hard worker with an open and enquiring mind and medicine is the most stimulating career I could hope for as well as being one for which I feel ideally suited.

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Personal Statement for Medical and Dental Schools

Last updated: 6/3/2023

  • Is Medicine Right for Me?
  • What do Doctors do?
  • The Daily Life of a Doctor
  • How to apply to medical school
  • Different Routes into Medicine
  • Factors to Consider
  • Medicine at Oxford and Cambridge
  • Your Fifth UCAS Choice
  • Getting Your Grades
  • Extra-curricular Activities
  • What is the UCAT?
  • Preparing for Your UCAT Test Day
  • After Your UCAT
  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
  • Work Experience and Dental Schools
  • NHS Work Experience

Personal Statement

  • Medicine PS Examples
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  • UCAS References
  • Medical and Dental School Interviews
  • Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
  • Medical School Interview Questions
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  • Graduate Entry Courses
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  • International students
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  • Medicine in Australia and NZ
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  • What Our "Plan B" Looked Like

Your UCAS personal statement is an essay about yourself.

It’s part of your UCAS application and can be seen by all your universities. It is designed to give admissions tutors an idea of the person behind the application. 

Getting into medical school is a long road and your personal statement is written after much of the journey has already taken place. For this reason, it should be full of what you learnt and reflections.

Read on to find out about:

How is my medicine/dentistry personal statement used?

What are admissions tutors looking for, how is my personal statement marked, how long does the personal statement need to be.

  • Personal statement checklist

What shouldn’t I include in my personal statement?

Answering 'why do you want to study medicine or dentistry', when should i start writing my personal statement, how do i structure my personal statement, how do i reflect deeply on my experience in my personal statement, how should i format my personal statement, can i copy an old personal statement i found.

  • Do I have to be honest in my personal statement?

Once I’ve written my personal statement, what should I do?

Writing a personal statement for oxford or cambridge.

  • Personal statements for graduate entry medicine

Medify’s Medicine and Dentistry Personal Statement Course

  • Selection for interview

The personal statement can be used to rank students prior to being selected for interview.

  • Getting to know you

Admissions tutors want to understand your motivations for becoming a doctor and why you think they should select you. They will see applications from hundreds of people, so the personal statement is a way for you to stand out.

  • Information for interviewers

The personal statement is a resource for interviewers, giving them material for questions about your experiences and activities you’ve mentioned. Need help with reflecting on experiences mentioned in your personal statement during interviews? Check out our UK Interviews Online Course which provides in-depth tutorials and authentic example video responses from real students.

The Medical Schools Council's core values for medicine

You don’t have to get every single one of these skills down in your personal statement but you should try to mention as many as possible while still making it sound natural and creating flow.

Medical and dental schools will differ in how they mark their personal statements. However, each school’s markers will use fixed marking criteria to ensure applicants are fairly marked, and these will align closely with the core values of the Medical and Dental Schools Councils. This means the marking criteria can be predicted and will generally break down into three overall areas.

  • Commitment to the area

They will look at your motivation to study medicine/dentistry, your understanding of medicine/dentistry as a career, and your work experience.

  • Aptitude for medicine/dentistry

They will look at your community activities, leadership qualities, evidence of working in a team, and your general interests.

  • Academic ability

They will look at your GCSE results, predicted/actual grades, and academic distinctions.

Here’s an example of the marking criteria previously used by University College London for medicine:

Motivation to study medicine

Understanding of medicine as a career

Community activities

Evidence of leadership

Evidence of ability to work in a team

General interest

The limit for your personal statement is 4,000 characters, or 47 lines, whichever comes first. This limit is firm - your application simply can’t be submitted if your personal statement is too long. You really have to make every word count!

For good and bad examples of UCAS personal statements, check out ‘ Medical school personal statement examples ’ or ' Dental school personal statement examples' .

What does a good personal statement for medicine and dentistry contain?

▢ Motivation to study medicine/dentistry

You need to demonstrate why you really want to study your chosen course. This means showing passion and deep reflection, and is most powerful when tied into your personal experience.

▢ Commitment to study medicine/dentistry

You need to show that you’re committed to medicine or dentistry. 5+ years is a long time and medicine/dentistry is a lifelong career. You can show your commitment by discussing extra reading and work experience.

▢ Key personal attributes 

Get a few important attributes into your personal statement, such as communication, teamwork and empathy.

▢ Any work experience

Write about your work experience, what you did, and more importantly, what you learnt from it.

▢ Any voluntary work

Talking about voluntary work is an effective way of showing your empathetic side. 

▢ Academic achievements

Be proud of what you’ve achieved and talk about it, such as how the courses you studied at A-Level or equivalent grew your interest in medicine or dentistry.

▢ Extra reading

Write about books, articles and anything else that you’ve read that fuelled your passion for medicine/dentistry. 

▢ Extracurricular activities

Sometimes this is easy to overlook when you've got a lot of things to fit into your personal statement, but this is important to mention. 

Healthcare careers can be stressful, and admissions tutors want to see that you have stress-release mechanisms in place to help you cope. 

  • Descriptions of feelings

Compare ‘I love working with others’ with ‘I visited a care home every day for 2 months to get a feel for the difficulties the elderly face’. The latter is concrete and specific, while the former only uses empty phrases.

  • Long, waffling sentences

Long sentences dilute the impact of the message, so keep it short and avoid repetition.

  • Sentences like ‘I want to help people...’

This phrase is overused and naive. If you write it, the admissions department will assume you haven’t fully thought about why you want to become a doctor or a dentist. Show, don’t tell.

  • Family tradition as a motivation for studying medicine or dentistry

This is not good motivation to study medicine or dentistry. The fact that some members of your family are healthcare professionals will not make you a better doctor or dentist. Universities want applicants with intrinsic motivation. This means showing why medicine or dentistry is right for you and how your skills and attributes are best suited to it.

  • Any examples which show immaturity

Don’t write ‘I will be running from one hospital room to another saving lives’. Instead, write about your experience of shadowing a doctor or a dentist and having a realistic understanding of what they do.

  • Apologies for low grades/lack of experience

The personal statement is for you to build yourself up. Use your UCAS reference letter , written by someone in authority, to explain any extenuating circumstances.

  • Controversial topics

For example, abortion or religion. Your reader might have differing views, and you will put them in a difficult position by forcing them to make a decision based on your personal beliefs rather than your ability to become a doctor.

This is overused and a bit clichéd. It doesn't add anything to your personal statement so it’s best not to include it. 

  • Overuse of metaphors and poetic language

Don’t waste characters with expressions like 'My passion for studying dentistry is as boundless as the night sky.' You’re applying to study medicine or dentistry, not English literature, and taking up space with sentences like this suggests that you don’t have enough to say about what's important.

Keep your statement succinct and to the point. It’s perfectly fine to be passionate about medicine or dentistry, but try to show this through your insight and reflection rather than stating it directly.

  • Listing achievement after achievement

'I volunteered in my local care home, organised work experience in the ICU of a large hospital, completed my gold Duke of Edinburgh…' Don’t list your achievements. Schools are looking for quality over quantity, so focus on one of these experiences and explore it in more detail. For example, what did you learn about yourself? What skills did you develop? How has your perception changed as a result of this?

Withholding some of your experiences and placements entirely from your statement (if you have more than enough already) means you’ll have more space to focus on the few you choose to include. This will also give you ammunition in your interview that your assessors might not be expecting.

This question is absolutely central to writing your personal statement. Avoid using clichés and give an honest answer. For instance, many students connect this to some childhood event, so you only want to say this if it’s overwhelmingly true and convincing.

Other ideas might be:

  • Your love for practical science
  • A strong desire to help people
  • Work experience that you enjoyed
  • Wanting an empathetic career
  • An ability to problem solve
  • Opportunities for lifelong learning
  • A balance of practical and theoretical learning

But don’t just say 'I love practical science.' Prove it, then link it to your chosen career, such as:

'I am part of a science club in which we test hypotheses through experimentation. For example, we tested whether there is a correlation between time spent playing video games and eyesight. This experience taught me how to create and test hypotheses in a systematic way.

'I saw how I could apply these skills during my work experience at a local GP surgery. I witnessed the doctor making a diagnosis, interpreting the test results and adapting their response based on the evidence. I get a lot of intellectual satisfaction from this type of process and the fact that it is in aid of helping others enhances this.'

Good things don’t always come to those who wait. 

Preparing a compelling personal statement takes time and planning. With applications for medicine and dentistry due on 16 October, you should start drafting your personal statement in the summer before Year 13, just after your UCAT exam. It may take several drafts to refine your statement, and the earlier you start, the more time you will have to make improvements.

Personal statements can be hard to write. We have all experienced writer’s block, so start by listing all the things you want to mention and work from there.

How to structure your personal statement

Remember, whatever structure you use for your personal statement, make it punchy and memorable.

When reflecting on an experience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What could I have done better?
  • What did I learn from this?
  • What skills have I developed from this and how?
  • How does this relate to the medical/dental field?
  • How did my decisions affect the people around me?
  • What if I looked at this scenario from another person's perspective, such as that of the patient or the patient’s family?
  • Did anything surprise me?

A good model for reflection is the 'What? So What? Now What?' model:

How to reflect on your experience in your personal statement

There are no formatting options on the UCAS site. All personal statements will be the same font and size. The only way you can make it different to someone else's is through writing better content, so focus on that.

Reading some example personal statements can be helpful when you’re getting started or are facing writer’s block.

However, remember that all personal statements submitted to UCAS go through a plagiarism checker. If any part of your personal statement is found to be plagiarised, this information will be passed on to the universities you’ve applied to and could result in your disqualification.

Do I have to be honest in my personal statement? 

A tiny white lie that no one will ever discover? Don’t do it. It can be tempting, but don’t. 

Your personal statement isn’t only read by admissions tutors, you may also be asked questions about it in your interview.

It doesn't take much for an interviewer to work out that you’re lying. If you’re found to have lied on your personal statement, your application will be rejected.

You wouldn't lie about your grades on your UCAS form or the school that you went to, so don’t lie in your personal statement.

Medify on mobile phone

You should take care in writing and editing your personal statement as there is a lot riding on it. Show it to your teachers for their input and advice. Then rewrite it again and again until you have perfected it.

There is always room for improvement. You should give it to at least two or three people for their input. An English teacher would be helpful for checking your grammar and use of English. 

Your reference writer can be another useful person to proofread your personal statement, as they can fill in the gaps in your application with their reference.

  • Pitch and tone ‍

Make sure your pitch and tone are appropriate - your statement should be personal and specific to make you memorable while avoiding the use of abbreviations or slang.  

Imagine you’re the admissions tutor and use our sample marking criteria above to help you. Are you impressed by what you’re reading? If not, then go back and re-draft.

  • Print a copy ‍

Keep a copy of your statement close by throughout your application process, even after you have finished and submitted it. Your interviewers can base their questions on your personal statement, so you need to be able to recall what you have written quickly and effectively.

Cecilia, from the University of Liverpool, told us:

‘After writing my personal statement, I gave it to several people I trusted to read it - my parents, close friends and career advisor. 

'I received generally positive feedback. However, since they were people who knew me well, they observed my PS was too rigid and wooden, and my enthusiasm for this career path wasn’t shining through. I scrapped my initial PS, only retaining the salient points which I was confident about. 

'Then, I took a step back and reflected on my work experience more deeply and went on to produce a more heartfelt personal statement which embodied my passion leaps and bounds more than my first version. 

'Needless to say I felt more confident speaking about my experiences during my interview, which was based on the new and improved version of my PS.’

The focus of a personal statement in this case should be academics. Oxford University recommends an 80:20 split between academics and extracurricular activities. 

Don’t just list the qualifications you have, and don’t mention any qualifications you’ve mentioned elsewhere in your UCAS application, like your GCSE grades. 

Talk about:

If you’ve read any books related to medicine, talk about them. Discuss what you learnt, what interested you and your further reading on any topics mentioned in the book. 

Oxford also has a recommended reading list . It’s not compulsory, but if you have the time, read a couple of books from there that interest you.

You can also check out Medify’s top books to read before medical school.

  • Work experience

Be sure to take a reflective approach with your work experience. Discuss the personal attributes that you have developed, any specific clinical cases that interest you, as well as any further research you have done.

  • Interest beyond the classroom

Discuss how you’ve completed further reading on topics studied at school. You could reflect on how these relate to medicine.

  • The selection criteria

Oxford has specific selection criteria, which are as follows:

Oxford Selection Criteria

Addressing attributes from this list will make it clear to admissions tutors that you’re suited to study medicine. Take a look at an admissions tutor’s analysis of a personal statement for medicine .

Personal statements for graduate entry medicine 

Graduate entry medicine (GEM) is extremely competitive, even more than direct entry. You have had more time to build life experience and demonstrate your aptitude for medicine, so your personal statement needs to reflect that.

Differences between direct entry and graduate entry medicine personal statements

As well as demonstrating a motivation for medicine, you need to be able to justify why you’re deciding on medicine now. If you’re coming from an unrelated field like finance, then this becomes especially important. You need to convince tutors that your interest in medicine isn’t just a passing phase.

Having already undertaken a degree, you need to show a deeper level of reflection based on a richer repertoire of experience, as well as a firm understanding of medicine/dentistry as a career and how your personal attributes align. 

  • Writing style

The candidates you will be competing with have taken one or more degrees. This means you all have much more experience with formal writing. As a result, it is doubly important that the quality of writing is of a consistently high level with an appropriate style.

  • Previous degree and qualifications  

Reflect on your previous degree(s). Discuss what you learnt from it/them and what skills it/they helped you to develop.

Are you prepared for the 16 October UCAS application deadline? Have you perfected your personal statement yet?

Medify’s Personal Statement Course can help you to complete a ready-to-submit personal statement in just three days. You’ll be guided by admissions experts on how to frame your experiences and demonstrate your suitability for medicine or dentistry. You’ll also get access to over 100 personal statement examples.

Medify's Medicine and Dentistry Personal Statement Course, Library and Writer on mobile phone

How do I write my personal statement if I’m an international student?

Here's some key information for international students - you should aim to mention everything discussed on this page. Additionally, you should also talk about why you want to study medicine or dentistry in the UK and how you think that will benefit you. You can also reflect on the differences in healthcare systems between your home country and in the UK.

If I’m taking a gap year, do I need to talk about it in my personal statement?

If you’re deferring your entry so that you can take a gap year, you should mention it in your personal statement. Talk about why you’re taking a gap year, what you’re going to do, and what you hope to learn from it. This will show admissions tutors that you’re an organised individual.

If you’ve already taken a gap year and are now applying, you should mention what you did during your gap year and what you learnt from it. The most important part of all that you write is how you reflect on it.

How many personal statements do I write?

You only write one personal statement, and the same one goes to all the universities you apply to, irrespective of the course. Be careful not to mention anything overly specific, like the name of the medical school you like.

I’m applying to another course as well. Should I do anything differently?

It can be hard to write a personal statement for two separate courses. If medicine or dentistry is really what you want to do then you need to give it your best shot. Focus your application entirely on medicine or dentistry. Sometimes if the rest of your application is strong, you’ll still get an offer from your fifth option.

Should I talk about my grades and qualifications?

You don’t need to mention your qualifications in your personal statement, as you’ll have already mentioned it in another part of your UCAS application. You don’t need to waste your characters repeating information your admissions tutors already know about you.

What’s more important? My personal statement or my UCAT/BMAT?

Different universities give different weights to different parts of your application. Some universities may give a greater weighting to your personal statement, but on the whole your UCAT/BMAT score tends to have a greater impact on your chance of success.

Don’t let that stop you from focusing on your personal statement though. In the case where your interview score, UCAT/ BMAT score and your academics are the same as someone else’s, it could be your personal statement that swings the decision in your favour.

I’m still stuck on how to write my personal statement. What should I do?

It’s perfectly normal to feel stuck when writing your personal statement. Summarising your motivation and life experience in 4,000 characters can be challenging.

Remember, we offer a Personal Statement Course with in-depth tutorials, guidance from admissions experts, and over 100 personal statement examples for just £20.

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10-Step Checklist For Your Medicine Personal Statement

If you wish to attend a college or university that is located in a different country, one of the most important documents that you submit will be a motivation letter, often known as a statement of purpose. An unprepared student may have a difficult time writing an application essay that has the required structure, absence of mistakes, message, and presentation of oneself as a successful and potential student. This may be one of the reasons why so many students use medical school personal statement writing service and so few students are accepted. To be of assistance to you, we have compiled a detailed guidebook that is just for your use.

What does the commission expect from the applicant?

The admissions staff is seeking for a young man with a background story that, despite its brevity, nonetheless manages to be engaging and intriguing due to the fact typical medical school schedule can be very harsh for a young person. Who will have the opportunity to learn from them? Where does he want to go, and what is it that he hopes to achieve with his life? What are some things that he will bring to the university, and what are some things that he hopes to learn there?

In many cases, the admissions committee keeps the student’s best interests in mind while making decisions:

  • Enthusiastic and interested (don’t forget the “hooks”) in the subject matter
  • Educated (style and accuracy, literacy of writing, consistency, logical narration) (style and correctness, literacy of writing, consistency, logical narration)
  • Educated at a scholarly level (for example, you can use highly specialised terms, mention profile achievements and successes, internship or work practice)
  • Capable of dealing with challenging responsibilities and challenges (remember that if there were moments of overcoming in your history, they can become your main trump cards)
  • being able to communicate, as well as maintaining interaction with other students and teachers
  • With significant potential, the commission is seeking for pupils who can bring honour to their school and represent it in a positive light.

Naturally, it will be difficult to fit all of this into 300 words, so you should place more focus on the information that will be the most illuminating (and, of course, this order of qualities is not necessary to follow at all). Because, sadly, your charisma will be rendered useless in written form, you should endeavour to be yourself while simultaneously being more vivid and detailed than you would be in regular speech.

Also Read: 5 Benefits Of Attending a Live Continuing Education Course


In the personal statement portion of your application to medical school, you will have the opportunity to highlight aspects of your character that make you fit into typical medical school schedule.  Also, don’t forget the experiences and passions that have led you to become interested in a future in medicine. It is a chance to show the admissions committee why you are a good match for their program and how you will contribute to the profession of medicine if you are accepted into it.

Applicants to medical school can benefit from all the best medical school books as well as the following advice when crafting a compelling personal statement for the application:

1) Start by brainstorming.

You should compile a list of the activities you’ve participated in, the things you’ve accomplished, and the characteristics you possess that make you a good candidate for medical school. Think about the things that set you different from other candidates and the things that make you excited about pursuing a career in the medical field.

2) Tell a story

A personal statement need to be more than just a list of the achievements that the individual has achieved. Create a narrative about your path to medical school and your ambitions, like working while in med school, using your experiences and accomplishments as the building blocks. The admissions committee will have a greater chance of getting to know you and understanding your motivations for pursuing a career in medicine if you provide them with this information.

3) Be specific

When illustrating your views, be sure to provide concrete instances and explicit information. The admissions committee will have a greater understanding of who you are and what you can contribute to the program as a result of this.

4) Keep it concise

Your personal statement should not be any more than a couple of paragraphs at the very most. Be sure to concentrate on the material that is the most significant and relevant, and try to avoid inserting any details that aren’t required.

5) Start early

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to think about ideas, compose your personal statement, and go over it again. You’ll be able to put your best foot forward and make a statement that’s well-written and polished if you follow these steps.

6) Follow the prompt

It is imperative that you adhere to the direction that has been supplied by the medical school. This will guarantee that you respond to the question or address the issue that the admissions committee is interested in learning more about, which is often the most scary med school difficulty.

7) Show, don’t tell

Use concrete illustrations and personal tales to bring life to your arguments rather than merely stating your experiences and accomplishments in order to make your personal statement more interesting to the reader.

8) Use active voice

By using the active voice in your writing, you may make your personal statement more interesting to read and improve the effectiveness with which you transmit your views.

9) Use concrete language

In your personal statement, try to avoid using terminology that is ambiguous or abstract. Make use of terminology that is clear and detailed rather than general if you want the admissions committee to have a better understanding of your experiences and accomplishments.

10) Edit and proofread

Be sure to give your personal statement plenty of attention in terms of editing and proofreading. A good impression may be made on the admissions committee by submitting a personal statement that is both well-written and free of errors.

Your personal statement tells the medical school admissions committee more about you than your GPA and test scores. It’s an opportunity to showcase your character, life experiences, and interests in medicine, as well as your readiness for any med-school difficulty.

Your personal statement might demonstrate how you will improve medicine and medical school. It’s a terrific place to boast about your triumphs and explain your failures. In conclusion, the personal statement is your chance to stand out and prove you’re the finest medical student. It’s an important part of the application and will help the admissions board decide if you’re a good fit.

medicine personal statement checklist

Hi, I’m the Founder and Developer of Paramedics World, a blog truly devoted to Paramedics. I am a Medical Lab Tech, a Web Developer and Bibliophiliac. My greatest hobby is to teach and motivate other peoples to do whatever they wanna do in life.


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