Medify’s Checklist for Your UCAS Personal Statement Part 1

Personal Statement

2019-09-08

Just before you press that submit button, where your personal statement cannot be edited once sent into cyberspace, have a look through our UCAS personal statement checklist to make sure you have covered all the important bits that should be included.

Here at Medify, our experts believe successful medical school personal statements have 8 main different elements that the admissions tutors look for:

  1. Motivation to study medicine
  2. Work experience
  3. Leadership, teamwork & communication skills
  4. Work life balance
  5. Evidence of empathy
  6. Evidence of reflection
  7. Academic achievement
  8. Strength of your conclusion & use of English

But has your UCAS medical school application personal statement successfully covered all of these required elements? Let’s check. Go through the first part of our checklist and tick off what you think has been covered in your personal statement and score each element out of ten. That way you will know what else needs to be included and what needs improving. Be as honest as possible with yourself.

Answered the ‘Why Medicine?’ Question?

A lot of applicants confuse inspiration and motivation when answering this question within their personal statements. Inspiration is where someone or a past event has sparked the idea of a career in medicine; motivation is your reason why you want to be a doctor. It is fine to mention what inspired you but you must emphasise what motivates you to dedicate your life to the medical field. For example, you could mention a family member who was recently admitted to hospital and use this experience to explain your inspiration and motivation. How the hospital doctors and staff cared for your family member would be your inspiration and the effects of that care on your family member could be your motivation as you want to provide the same or could even be a better standard of care to others in need. 

How Many Experiences?

There is an understandable tendency to try and include as many work and voluntary placements and experiences into the personal statement as possible, of course you want to show how diverse, committed and adaptable you are to the care and medical sector. However, UCAS limits you to only 4000 characters or 47 lines, you have to use them wisely; the more work experiences you add, the less details you can include for each experience, which is important to add. Admissions tutors will be looking for your understanding, growth and reflection upon the experience. Plus, if you include all you have to show, you will have nothing left to wow them at the interview. Sometimes less really is more. Just remember it is quality rather than quantity.

How and Where?

Have you mentioned your many skills in leadership, teamwork and communication? If you have, that is great, but have you mentioned how and where you acquired them from? Make a list of all your skills and next to each skill write where you gained that particular skill, it could be from work experience, scouts or team sports and then next to your second list, write an example of a situation where you had to use that certain skill and that would be your ‘how’ you acquired that skill. Then you can pick the best top three from your list and write them into a coherent paragraph about your leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

Do You Know How to Destress?

Admissions tutors will be looking to see if you have the organisational skills to lead a well balanced life between working, studying and enjoying yourself. Have you included any hobbies or clubs you are involved in? This need only be a sentence or two long, to show you have a strategy in place to destress from the pressures of adult life. Social hobbies and activities such as team sports are always better to mention, rather than solo activities like reading as they demonstrate your ability to commit and highlight your teamwork skills.

Are You Showing or Telling?

Your personal statement must show you can empathise with people, the medical sector is based on caring about patients, the ability to express and demonstrate how much you care and understand your patients is a vital quality all great doctors possess. Empathy can be shown within your self-reflection about your work experience by explaining how you managed and communicated with patients within a situation you were faced with. You listen to patients, consider their wishes and take action upon those wishes where possible.

How are you doing so far? Have you got a lot ticked off? Join us for part 2 of our checklist to make sure you have covered all that needs to be in a successful personal statement in order to be invited for an interview. Sign up to our email list below to receive notifications of when our latest blog posts have been published, that way you will not miss out on any great advice.

If you are really struggling to even start writing your personal statement, give our Personal Statement Course & Writer a go. It includes advice, examples and tutorials with an integrated review of personal statement created on our PS Writer. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious right now? Please don’t worry, head over to our Personal Statement Course & Writer and we’ll get you signed up in a matter of seconds, to guide you through this whole process step-by-step. Or send us your personal statement for reviewing here and we will help ease the stress of the UCAS application process. We have been lending a successful helping hand since 2009, Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.

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