How Can In2MedSchool Help You?
Your assigned Mentor can look through your personal statement drafts and offer their feedback
Templates of criteria used to judge personal statements will be used and made available to Mentees
Workshops and webinars organised with admissions staff to take questions and highlight what they look for in personal statements
All information will be linked directly to what medical schools list publicly on their websites
Check out some of the resources available to our Mentees below:
Example Personal Statements
DISCLAIMER: Please use these personal statements as inspiration to provide an idea into what a successful personal statement looks like. Do not under circumstances try to replicate/copy any of the material you see for your own.
UCAS employs anti-plagiarism software which is used to assess whether a candidates personal statement is their own work. Penalties of personal statement that are found to have been plagiarised are severe.
Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Nottingham
Anglia Ruskin, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen
Anglia Ruskin, UEA, Nottingham and QMUL
Imperial, UCL,UEA and Anglia Ruskin
Candidate: Brian Wang
Candidate: Charmaine Lim
Imperial, Cardiff, Liverpool and Nottingham
QMUL, Anglia Ruskin, Queen's Belfast and Leicester
Anglia Ruskin, Liverpool, Kent and Medway and Hull York
Personal Statement Advice
The 4000 Characters of Doom (AKA it’s not as scary as it seems): How to go about writing your personal statement
Written by Gabriela Barzyk BSc (Hons), 10/10/2020
Many of us have heard about the writing “Rock stars” who come up with the perfect personal statement within a few minutes, and some of us may know those word wizard who spend a few hours typing up an essay and get the top grade… With the rush of adrenaline as the deadline approaches, they get inspired and come up with amazing ideas… For all I know, maybe you are that person, calmly reading this post as the clocks slowly bring us closer to the 15th of October? Or maybe, just maybe, you are the methodical person who writes a draft WEEKS in advance and you feel like you NAILED IT while everyone around you is stressing out. Either way, you open your UCAS, copy and paste the draft, submit, and you’re done?! Right?! …Not so quickly! With an experience of both sides of the coin when writing my statement, and having given feedback on multiple successful personal statements since, here are some tips and honest advice about writing your personal statement…
When thinking about writing a statement, you can jot down some initial thoughts and ideas but in case you have not done so, make a list of ALL of your experiences up to date. Head girl? Rugby Team? Work experience at the GP? Won a competition? – note it all down. It will help you to pick and choose what you want to include in your statement. It will also help you out when getting your reference – you can forward that list to your referee (alongside short descriptions of anything which may seem unclear) and they can also write about you as a person in more detail (let’s face it, not all referees know us personally or have the time to find out all the relevant information).
Try and read other statements to see how others went about writing about their topic – whether someone from the year above or a sample statement online, this will give you an idea about what things should look like. Do not copy it – your statement has to be your own, so maybe just jot down what worked well and what didn’t? What similar good aspects would you like to include in your own?
Do not underestimate the timing of getting your statement in. Even if your UCAS is set up, and your Word count says you’re under 4000 characters, UCAS might give you a slightly different number (speaking from experience of editing my “final” draft again to fit the whole statement in once I put into UCAS, you do not want to be in that position). Give yourself plenty of time to check through things.
Do not underestimate how long it’ll take to write “the one” draft. I’ve known people who are happy by draft 5, I have also known people working on draft 17 – do not leave personal statement writing till the last minute.
Remember, structure is key. You probably came across this already, but stick to the rule of a “seller” introduction line or paragraph, talk about your work experience and motivation for Medicine for about 1-2 paragraphs, A-levels/previous degree/education in another paragraph, talk a little about your hobbies, have a strong closing statement. Try to link all these elements together, moving through the statement seamlessly rather than robotically going through each paragraph like a tick box.
Do not underestimate the importance of a good statement – people tend to leave it last minute or be really generic in their writing and end up not getting those precious interviews. You need to talk about what you learned from all those hobbies and experiences and why YOU are you the right candidate. Although it might sound simple, using PEE (point evidence explanation) can be quite effective to get started on this. I have read a lot of statements which describe only rather than provide a true insight… Statements like this spend a lot of characters without the assessor having a clue about your ideas or feelings, as people talk about what they saw rather than what they realised or how things applied to them…. Anytime you have a sentence, ask yourself “so what?”. Those sorts of things make you stand out on paper so give yourself plenty of time to have a draft and give it to be proofread to a few trusted people – see below.
Learn the Word “review” tab function – tracking changes, accepting, and deleting comments etc. will be your life saviour when you’re busy with studying, entry exams and everything else along the way.
Get people to read it and feedback – get a few people you trust to read through your draft and tell you what works, what doesn’t, what you could expand on. Remember to not have “too many cooks in the kitchen”, as sometimes the more people feedback, the more muddled things get. Whether statement or university choices, it is worth pointing out that everyone has different opinions on things, so always listen to everyone with a pinch of salt and take the advice as you wish. When you receive the feedback, do what feels right and what you agree with but also do not feel like your statement is perfect when multiple people tell you that this might not be the case.
Do not stress about your statement being perfect from the get go – when you compare draft 1 to draft 7, you will see huge differences and leaps in your writing and thinking. It takes some time but you will get there!
Speak to your Mentor, careers advisor or a teacher and ask them to read your statement well in advance. But do not bring them your first draft, do this when you have already developed your thoughts so that you can get your statement to an even better place.
Proofread the final copy – you do not want to spot a typo right after hitting submit! Whether printing it on paper, or giving it a few hours-days to settle in your brain, go through the text again.
Hope you have found this useful – you can always contact your Mentor or In2MedicalSchool Team for further advice. You have got this!
7 Top Tips for Optimising a Personal Statement
Written by Brian Wang MA (Cantab) AFHEA PhD MAcadMEd, 10/10/2020
1) Spelling and grammar mistakes
You will have all heard the advice from your peers about showing your personal statement to trustworthy friends and family. It is also a good idea to have your statement seen by someone who can really make it sparkle. The biggest help I received when writing my personal statement was from my school librarian. She was able to make the statement much more interesting to read and help the overall flow. This is really helpful especially if the personal statement seems a bit like a list.
2) Print out your statement before submitting
You would have read your statement countless times on your laptop and think you know it inside out. However, reading a UCAS Personal Statement back as a living, printed document can really help you hone your eye for detail.
3) Making things up
We can all agree that the personal statement does involve a lot of selling yourself, but make sure you can back up what you are saying. A lot of medical school interviews will ask you about specific experiences or hobbies that you mention in your statement. These questions could test if you have knowledge around the subject or activity. For example, if you say you have a keen hobby for scuba diving, would you be able to describe what happens during ‘the bends’?
4) Keep it unique to you
The interviewers will have seen hundreds of personal statements and interviewed dozens of students. Make sure your statement is as unique to you as possible. Stay truthful to your own ambitions. Don’t lose sight that this is a ‘personal’ statement, and should therefore be a reflection of you.
5) Avoid generalisations or clichés
UCAS have published a list of the most overused opening statements (https://www.ucas.com/corporate/news-and-key-documents/news/ucas-shares-most-frequently-used-opening-lines-university). Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by copying these. I know it is tempting, but just don’t do it. Please.
6) Endlessly listing extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities are an important part of your statement and demonstrate that you are an all-rounded student. Make sure that you tie these in with the overall narrative of your statement, rather than just listing them out of context. Saying ‘I captained my school football team’ means nothing to the interviewer if you do not explain it in the context of your personal statement. When writing your statement, be sure to include the activities that can demonstrate your soft skills. What did you learn from doing this particular activity? Will it set you apart in your overall application? If the answer is no, then it is best not putting it in.
7) Refer to extra reading
If you have been particularly struck by an academic book or essay related to the subject, it may be a good idea to write a few lines about it. It does not need to say much, but writing a little bit about why you found it particularly interesting/surprising will give the reader an insight into how you think. This is also a good way to move interview topics towards an area you know about or are interested in, and that can only be a good thing!
The personal statement is not the be-all and end-all for your application, but it can be a useful tool to show that you are one to watch. There is no perfect personal statement and ultimately it comes down to your own personal experiences and motivation for applying to the particular degree. Submitting a personal statement is an achievement in itself. Do remember to read back over what you have included in your statement and be proud of what you have achieved up to now.