14th June 2024
Your CV is a valuable part of your portfolio, at every stage of your medical career. It tells the story of who you are and your achievements to date, as well as painting a picture of why you are a good match for the place you are applying to. An effective medical school CV follows a particular format and must include critical information about your experience and achievements, presented in a way that showcases your skills and strengths.

Formatting and Structure

One of the most important aspects of a CV is that it is easy for the reader to follow and find the relevant information they need to make admissions decisions. A clear, professional format and a logical structure are key here.

There is no single format for medical school CVs, but it is important to choose a font, spacing, and formatting that is easy to read and is used consistently throughout. It is also critical that the sections and subsections are well-organised and easy for the reader to navigate. The sections you will need to include are generally as follows:

  • Contact information and personal details
  • Education and academic achievements
  • Research experience and publications
  • Clinical experience and internships
  • Extracurricular activities and leadership roles
  • Skills and certifications
  • References

Content and Key Components

Now that we have an overview of the structure and main contents of each section, let’s look more closely at how these sections can be used to demonstrate a compelling case for admitting you to the medical school of your choice.

Personal Statement or Objective Statement

An important component of your CV for medical school is your personal statement or objective statement. The purpose of this part of your CV is to show the admissions committee who you are as a person and give some context to how your academic and work achievements fit into your overall development and aspirations. It is your chance to show them who you are, what makes you unique and different from other applicants, and explain your motivations for pursuing medicine. 

It can also provide a productive starting point for any medical school interviews. A successful medical school statement will clearly explain why you want to go into medicine and how you hope to have an impact in the medical field. You can include both academic and personal motivations, but they need to be backed up with evidence and explained carefully. It can be tempting to fall back on clichés, such as being motivated to help people.

But while this may well be true, it will not help your application stand out from others. Reflect deeply on why specifically you want to help people in this particular way, and how your unique skills and experiences have informed this. Including specific details about your research and interests will help to create an authentic and memorable picture of you for the admissions committee.

Contact information and personal details

These go at the top of the first page of your CV. You should include your name, address, contact phone number, and school email address. You do not need to include anything else such as date of birth, nationality, or a photograph unless specifically asked to in the application.

Education and academic achievements

Your academic qualifications should work backwards chronologically with your most recent qualifications at the top. Be sure to include your grade, the awarding institution, and the date of award (month, year).

If relevant, you can also list individual modules here. Within this section, you can consider adding a subheading for “Prizes and Awards” and include any scholarships, awards, or prizes for your academic achievements, again listed with the most recent first..


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Research experience and publications

In this section list any research experience you have, describing the projects and your role within them. Here, you may also list the details of any work you have published online or in print. This can include publications, presentations, and posters.

Clinical experience and internships

Starting with the most recent, include details and dates of all clinical experience and any internships you have held. This is your chance to highlight your experience of hands-on patient care and include any key responsibilities and achievements in your roles.

Think too about how these roles have helped you to develop the qualities and skills needed to work in medicine, such as working in a team, leadership, communication, and dealing with the public in demanding situations. The British Medical Association offers some guidelines about arranging suitable work experience.

Extracurricular activities and leadership roles

It is good to draw on your interests outside medicine to further demonstrate your leadership qualities and interpersonal skills. This might include memberships of clubs and societies, work in your community, or other interests and hobbies you have pursued outside your studies.

It is important to emphasise your role and experiences here, rather than just list activities with no reflection on how they make you well-suited for medical school.

Skills and certifications

This section could include additional certifications outside your academic studies, specific medical skills gained in internships, relevant IT skills, or languages spoken.


The final section of your medical school CV should be the professional contact details of two people who have agreed to act as referees for you. Be sure to list their job titles too. Often, one academic reference and one reference from your work experience work well, but check with your medical school to see if they have any specific requirements for referee selection

Tips for Writing a Strong Medical School CV

Tailoring the CV to the specific medical school or program

Before beginning your CV, you should carefully review the specific requirements and selection criteria of the school or program you are applying to. For example, you can consult a guide such as this one produced by The Medic Portal summarising the work experience requirements of different medical schools. While these are likely similar, some may have particular skills and qualities they are looking for and your CV is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have them. 

These will be a combination of personal qualities, aptitudes, and achievements. A good exercise is to first analyse the requirements of the school you are applying to, then analyse yourself and identify where your skills and qualities match them. Then think about how you can provide evidence of this through your CV.

Using action verbs and quantifiable achievements

This is how you “show, don’t tell” the medical schools that you have what they are looking for and are a good fit for their program. For example, explain specifically what you did in your work experience and what your achievements were in a concrete and quantifiable way.

Keeping the CV concise and focused

Every word counts on your CV and it shouldn’t be too long or it will lose clarity. The person reading it should be able to quickly get a sense of your academic and professional journey so far and why it has shaped you into an excellent potential medical student. 

Keep the CV focused on demonstrating this, rather than simply listing everything you have done to date. You may well have to cut out some experiences and skills that are not relevant, but it is definitely quality not quantity that makes a successful medical school CV. Additionally, you should use clear, direct language in the active voice.

Proofreading and editing for clarity and accuracy

Read and re-read your CV to check for typing and spelling mistakes. Also, double-check dates and other details for accuracy. This is an important skill for a future doctor and being careless here would not reflect well on you. If possible, ask a friend or teacher to check it over for you too and ask them to comment if everything is easy to follow and understand.

Additional Considerations

  • Including a professional headshot (if applicable)

Not all schools require this, but if they do, don’t skip this step. Include a photograph that is clear, recent, and ideally taken by a professional.

  • Formatting and saving the CV for electronic submission

The medical school will give guidance on acceptable formats for submission. Be sure to read these carefully and select the correct method if you are submitting your CV electronically.

  • Seeking feedback and guidance from mentors or advisors

This is a critical factor in crafting a successful CV for medical school. Having someone who is experienced in medical school applications and who knows you well review your CV will draw out strengths you may have missed on your own, and will highlight any areas that are relatively weaker and help you to strengthen them. 

The Medic Portal offers comprehensive preparation packages that will help you put together the strongest application possible and guide you through the whole medical school application process.


Do I need work experience in medicine?

Medical schools do expect you to have undertaken some form of work experience, though this can take a number of different forms. It helps to demonstrate that you have engaged with the reality of a medical career, which is very different to only reading about it.

How do I make my medical school CV stand out?

While it is likely that you will be being compared to many other high-achieving students, you can make your CV stand out by tailoring it carefully to the school or program you are applying to, and having a clear sense of what makes you unique.  

Can I see any examples of successful CVs?

Yes, there are a number of examples online to give you a sense of what works well, though of course, yours will be unique to you.


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