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Personal statement guidelines for applications to UK medical schools

Our Medicine personal statement guidance can help you stand out when applying to UK medical schools

Looking for personal statement guidelines when applying to UK medical schools?

Our set of guidelines can help you write a highly effective UCAS personal statement to support your UK medical school applications.

Important notes

The personal statement is one of the ways that UK medical schools assess applicants and allocate interviews.

Admissions staff can evaluate the UCAS personal statement as a factor when allocating interviews to similar candidates.

 Some medical schools in the UK give more importance to an applicant's personal statement, and some give it less importance.  For details, see our interactive table with comparisons of personal statement usage at UK medical schools.

Points to cover in personal statement
Topic Key advice
Work Experience and Volunteering

Show off your work and volunteering experience, explaining how it relates to a career in Medicine. Admissions tutors are most interested in what you have learned from your work experience and volunteering, so be sure to reflect on what you have learned.

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Your achievements

Don’t place too much emphasis on academic achievements in your personal statement, as universities can access your grades through UCAS. You should, however, describe your intellectual curiosity and problem solving skills with relevant examples and briefly mention any standout awards (such as Duke of Edinburgh, subject prizes, scholarships) or a medically relevant acadmic work (EPQ or S6 project).

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Your reading interests

Additional reading is a great way to showcase your enthusiasm for Medicine, while providing a way to discuss current medical issues in your personal statement.

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Personal statement structure
Topic Key advice
Length of UCAS personal statement

The final version of your personal statement, submitted to UCAS, can have a maximum of 4000 characters, including spaces (roughly two sides of A4)

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Opening of UCAS personal statement

Your personal statement should open with an engaging statement about why you want to study Medicine, setting the tone for the subsequent paragraphs.

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Conclusion of UCAS personal statement

Try to avoid the pitfall of concluding by simply repeating points you made earlier in your personal statement.

Popular methods of concluding a medical personal statement include: short summaries, memorable anecdotes, and a candidate’s goals for a career in Medicine.

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Themes to develop in personal statement
Topic Key advice

Admissions tutors want applicants to show awareness of the difficulties of a career in Medicine, demonstrating their ability to succeed when faced with adversity. Try to think of a time you overcame a difficult experience, showcasing your resilience.

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Medicine is a caring profession, so your personal statement should reflect on the importance of empathy in good patient care.

Whether you’ve observed a healthcare professional show empathy on work experience, or demonstrated empathy through volunteering with a vulnerable group, be sure to reflect on empathy in your personal statement.

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Honesty and Integrity

Honesty is a vital trait for doctors. Dishonest conduct can compromise the public’s trust in the healthcare profession, so clinicians are expected to act with complete honesty at all times. Draw on an experience where you’ve had responsibility and acted with honesty and integrity, reflecting on why this would make you a good doctor.

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Effective communication skills

Perhaps the most scrutinised quality of all, strong communication skills are crucial for medical practice. Doctors have difficult conversations every single day, with poor communication leading to anger and misunderstanding. Try to showcase an example of when you communicated effectively, and why this would make you a good doctor.

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Organisational skills

It’s no secret that medical school is demanding, and this doesn’t stop at graduation! Admissions tutors want to see that you are well organised, maximising your chances of thriving at medical school despite the intense workload. Try to demonstrate ways in which you have been organised, reflecting on why this makes you well suited for medical school and a career as a doctor.

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Leadership and teamwork

Doctors increasingly work in multi-disciplinary teams, so it is important that you demonstrate you can perform well as a team member and team leader. Be sure to reflect on examples in which you have shown leadership and followed instructions as a team member, linking this back to why this would make you a great doctor.

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Get in touch

Our personal statement tutoring is tailored to your own situation, so pricing is based on how much time guidance time you are looking for. For more details, see our overview of MedSchoolGenie personal statement tutoring.

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