Year 12 is a great opportunity to get ahead on your reading for your medical personal statement – our writer Katie Hodgkinson has a list of suggestions to help you get started.
Everybody who tries to help you make your Personal Statement unique will tell you to read books that show you what medicine is like. The only problem is, the books recommended are the same for every prospective student, so actually writing about them in your statement doesn’t make you unique. It shows you’ve done the work, but it doesn’t make your insight into medicine any clearer than anyone else applying for the same spot.
The thing is, a lot of books can give you an insight into the patient perspective as well as teaching you what being a doctor is like. Sure, everyone recommends The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat and the Max Pemberton books, but every personal statement reader sees them every single year. It’s practically assumed you’ve read them by now. Instead, why not try books that cover health dynamics in a fictional way? Many fictional books about illness and death are just as true to life as they would be if the content itself was actually non-fiction.
Pretty much any book can teach you about the human condition, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. The point of getting you to mention it on a personal statement or in an interview is to show that you’ve picked up on that, and that the patients you’ll see in a hospital have a life outside of that clinic room that you’ll never see. Reading beyond a textbook is an important way to strengthen your motivation for medicine as well as understand that people are more than the diagnosis we give them.
In terms of teaching you what medicine will be like, there are few books more accurate than those written by doctors, but you’ll need to read a few of them to patch together a true idea of what practising is like. Classic books for teaching you these lessons are the ones everyone recommends, but they’re clichéd recommendations for a reason – because they’re true to life. These books include:
Words: Katie Hodgkinson
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