Published on 15th August 2017 by lauram

Your medicine personal statement is an important part of the application process, so it’s best to start thinking about it early. Here are some top tips on how plan ahead for your personal statement.

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Starting early

Year 13 is a very stressful year. From applying to university to completing exams, you will struggle to find time to write your personal statement, so the key to reducing stress is starting early! If you start early during the summer holidays, you will have time to plan what you want to write and what you think is important to include.

Organise work experience

A note on work experience: this is a key part of any personal statement, so it’s crucial you have some medical work experience lined up. If you don’t, make sure you organise this now!

Remember that a key part of writing about your work experience is reflection, so make sure you keep a note of what you learned. You can read more on keeping a medical work experience diary to help you when it comes to writing your PS.

Not sure what kind of work experience to get? You can see what medical schools require on our Medical School Work Experience Requirements page.

Mind map your structure

The personal statement is a demonstration that you can communicate your ideas effectively, so having a good structure is great way to show this. You could plan this by creating a mind map of your ideas and thinking about the structure of your paragraphs.

Generally speaking, TMP recommends structuring your personal statement in this way:

  • Why you want to be a doctor (motivation)
  • Work experience (exploration)
  • Volunteering (exploration)
  • Wider Reading and study (exploration)
  • Extracurricular (suitability)
  • Conclusion (motivation)

So a good way to start might be to make notes under these headings (for example, examples of volunteering you think would be good to include and what skills you learned there, or any wider reading you’ve done and how it informed your decision to study medicine) – so that you have it all in one place, and a loose structure for when you come to write.

Write several drafts – and get feedback

As I mentioned earlier, you can never write a good personal statement in one draft. You will need to give yourself time to read over the work that you’ve done. Feedback is also a crucial part of your personal statement, so make sure you ask many people to read your statement! Teachers in school are often the best people to ask.

When I spoke to a junior doctor, they told me that they wrote eight drafts before they completed their statement.  You may write fewer statements than this but it’s important to give yourself time. Prepare yourself to start writing!

If you’re in year 11, use the long summer holiday to your advantage. Begin your work experience now so you can prepare yourself for when you write your personal statement.

Words: Matthew Heneghan


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