This guide will help you write an excellent graduate Medicine personal statement. We start by highlighting the fundamental differences in approach required to write a graduate entry Medicine personal statement compared to a non-graduate Medicine personal statement.

We then include a Graduate entry Medicine personal statement checklist of things your statement must include. Finally, we cover how to write your graduate Medicine personal statement in 10 easy to follow steps. These steps will take you from step 1; the ideas stage with nothing written down and no plan or structure in mind, all the way to step 10; a completed, high-quality graduate entry medical school personal statement which is ready for submission.

How should a graduate entry medical school personal statement differ to a non-graduate Medicine personal statement?

A graduate entry Medicine personal statement will not be obviously different to a non-graduate entry personal statement. It must follow the same rules regarding the character count, submission deadlines and so on. However, there are critical points and differences in approach that you must consider as a graduate applicant. These will apply to your interview also:


Admissions tutors will expect that graduates applying to medical school will have had more time to mature and acquire skills, accomplishments and life experiences compared to high school leavers. They will typically assess you in comparison to the calibre of other graduates, even if you are applying for a standard entry Medicine course.

Motivation to study Medicine as a graduate

Why do you want to study Medicine now? If applicable, why do you want to change career? Graduates with a health or science background will typically find it easier to explain their path to wanting to study Medicine as a graduate than candidates with an arts degree. Graduates with seemingly unrelated degrees (e.g. English literature, journalism, etc.) can still be as successful as those with science degrees. Remember, several medical schools accept degrees from any discipline. These graduates simply require a little more effort in showing that they have good reasons to switch to Medicine and that their degree or career brings transferrable skills.

In some non-Medicine degrees, admissions tutors are primarily checking that an applicant has the necessary grades and some interest in the degree. This is certainly not the case in applying to medical school and especially for graduate applicants. This is because Medicine is a significant commitment. It is a long degree and a challenging career. Highly motivated candidates with a real passion for Medicine have a much higher chance of completing the degree and succeeding in their careers than candidates with a weak motivation or interest in Medicine. Additionally, Medicine necessitates a career-long commitment to keeping your skills and knowledge up to date and learning new ones as Medicine is continuously progressing.

This is why medical school admissions tutors will scrutinise a candidate’s motivation to study Medicine and their understanding of what a medical career entails. They want to see if an applicant’s motivation is genuine and built over a sustained period, not merely a phase which may pass. They need evidence that an applicant’s understanding of a medical career is realistic and based on experience and research, not merely a burning desire to study Medicine. You will show these things by explaining your reasons for studying Medicine and how you have explored these reasons and confirmed them (e.g. work experience). The key is to show not tell. You must link your reasons with evidence instead of just stating reasons.

We show examples of this in action in the following two excerpts from a personal statement which the Medicine Answered team worked on. The candidate received four offers for an interview (and then four offers for a place). We have kindly been permitted to post it here.

Graduate Medicine personal statement example

Here the candidate states that the ever-advancing nature of Medicine and life-long learning appeals to him. This is “telling” i.e. merely a claim. Crucially he also backs this up by “showing” this with evidence. He shows this is true by saying he has attended several extracurricular lectures. He explores the claims of one lecture further by writing an essay, showing that he has intellectual curiosity and is a self-directed learner. He shows insight and perseverance by stating that using post-A-level books was challenging but something he enjoyed and learnt from. The things he mentioned made for good talking points at his interview.

Graduate medical school personal statement 2

The candidate is not merely stating that he looked after his grandmother, so he wants to be a doctor. Many people look after elderly or unwell relatives and do not want to be a doctor as a result. Similarly, being helped by a lawyer does not make most people want to become a lawyer. He explains that he wants a career that helps others and contributes to the community. He links this to caring for his grandmother and then says how his work experience has reinforced his wishes and made him realise that Medicine will allow him to fulfil this ambition.

You can view the rest of this successful Medicine personal statement and our analysis in our free blog.

Academic history and current academic ability

It is a well-established phenomenon that some candidates mature academically later in life. This may mean older GCSE and A-level results are not a true reflection of current academic ability. Individual medical schools assess these pre-degree results differently. Some still have strict requirements for older qualifications while others have very few and focus more on degree results. Either way, at the time of your medical school application as a graduate, you must demonstrate excellent academic ability as well as organisation and self-awareness. Of course, non-graduates must also show this, but this is even more important if you are applying to an accelerated four-year graduate Medicine programme. How do you have the required abilities to complete a medical degree an entire year faster than most students?

Academic awards and achievements

Due to their degrees and/or careers, graduate applicants are more likely than non-graduate applicants to have publications, academic awards, poster presentations and so on. Adding these to your graduate medicine personal statement or reference can strengthen your application. Do not worry if you do not have these; you can show your qualities in other ways.

Real work experience

As a graduate applicant to Medicine, it is more likely that you have had fulltime jobs compared to non-graduate applicants. If you are applying later in life, you may have had a distinct career. As a graduate applicant to medical school, you will need to demonstrate what skills your previous degree and if applicable career gave you. Your degree and background will have transferable skills even if it is non-health or science related and it is up to you to be able to demonstrate this. Additionally, gaining medical work experience should be easier for graduates as they are over 18.

A checklist of other essential elements a graduate entry Medicine personal statement must include which are common to all strong medical school personal statements

The points we have listed in the above section highlight specific differences in approach that must be considered in a graduate medicine personal statement versus a non-graduate entry personal statement. Make sure your personal statement addresses these things. However, don’t forget that your graduate Medicine personal statement still needs to include things which are common to all medical school personal statements. Here is a checklist of these things:

An excellent writing style. Excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation

These are essential requirements. Anything less is not acceptable in a graduate or any type of medical school personal statement. We have several free blogs to help you do this, and our personal statement review service uses professional proof-readers.

A consistent and logical structure for your graduate Medicine personal statement

Your graduate entry Medicine personal statement’s structure must be logical and consistent. Avoid the common mistake of scattering sentences which are making a similar point or showing similar attributes all over your personal statement. Instead, sentences making a similar point or sharing a similar theme (e.g. importance of teamwork, extracurricular activities, examples highlighting your intellectual curiosity and academic abilities, etc.) should be grouped together in paragraphs or part paragraphs. If similar points are put together, then each point reinforces the last one and makes the overall message you are trying to convey more obvious to the reader and easier to notice and remember. It will also give your graduate Medicine personal statement structure and a better flow.

Solid examples of work experience in caring or service roles with reflections

Admissions tutors need to see this as evidence of an applicant’s commitment and interest in becoming a doctor. Candidates with work experience are more likely to have a more realistic view of being a doctor than candidates without work experience. Work experience also provides a medium for applicants to demonstrate they have attributes essential to studying Medicine. For example, personal organisation, reliability, self-awareness, the ability to reflect, empathy and so on.

Medical schools value medical work experience and also non-medical experience in caring and service roles, particularly if they are working with disadvantaged groups. They appreciate that it can be difficult for applicants to partake in medical work experience so most will not penalise candidates for not having direct medical work experience. Many medical schools state that they value work experience in caring and service roles equally to medical work experience. Others suggest you should at least speak to doctors. However, the main barrier for non-graduate applicants gaining work experience is being under 18, and this will not apply to graduate applicants. As a graduate applicant, you must show that you have a detailed understanding of the working lives of doctors, particularly if you are changing career.

Reflecting on your experiences instead of just listing them

Admissions tutors will not be impressed by long lists of work experience, extracurricular activities or achievements. Nor do they want to see diary accounts of all the steps in an operation or procedure you observed. How these experiences relate back to you and the meaning and insights that you derived from them is more important than what you did.

For example, you could explain how attending multidisciplinary meetings at your work experience highlighted the importance of effective teamwork and communication. This is far better than just stating that you attended a multidisciplinary meeting.

For the reader to understand what you are referring to, it is necessary to describe or list things to some degree. However, this is just the first step. An excellent personal statement will describe events in a concise manner and use most of the personal statement character count on the next step, which is reflecting on these experiences. This may include describing how these things developed certain skills or demonstrate that you possess these skills. Or perhaps how these things appeal to you and reinforce your desire to study Medicine. What motivated you to do these things; did you overcome any challenges or barriers; what have these experiences taught you about yourself, other people or Medicine?

Does your graduate entry Medical school personal statement provide evidence that you possess the attributes and core values required to study Medicine?

The Medical schools council have described core attributes and traits which are needed to study Medicine. We have discussed them in detail and importantly explained why they are actually required and how to show them in this blog. We cover them in detail to give you a sound understanding of them, so you are not simply attempting to tick boxes.

The crucial approach for your personal statement is to show that you have these attributes and not merely claim you have them. For example, you can talk about how working twice a week at a hospice for 6 months while studying demonstrates your organisation, personal responsibility, commitment and ability to work with others. This is more credible and impressive than simply claiming you have these traits.

Excellent examples of outside interests and extracurricular activities

In personal statements for other courses these are sometimes just mentioned in passing. However, these are essential in medical school personal statements and frequently come up at interview. Doctors work in teams and interact with the public so being well rounded is a desirable trait. Additionally, these interests can be important for what can be at times an emotionally demanding and stressful career. Finally, extracurricular activities and hobbies provide another medium besides work experience for you to demonstrate that you possess the attributes required to be a doctor. Depending on what you do, your outside interests and extracurricular activities may demonstrate leadership, teamwork, persistence, excellence, problem solving, creativity and more.

Graduate Entry Medicine personal statement checklist

To summarise what we have covered so far, here is a graduate entry Medicine personal statement checklist of things which every graduate entry Medicine personal statement must include:

1) An excellent writing style. Excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation
2) A consistent and logical structure
3) Instead of writing long lists, include reflections on the meaning and insight that you have derived from your experiences, achievements, extracurricular activities and so on
4) Robust and clear reasons why you want to study Medicine – if applicable why you are changing your subject or career
5) The transferable skills that your previous degree or career have given you
6) Strong examples of work experience with reflections
7) Examples of outside interests and extracurricular activities which enhance your application by showing positive skills and attributes

Additionally, as a graduate, your personal statement should reflect:

1) You have had more time than a school leaver to acquire skills, accomplishments and life experiences.
2) Strong academic abilities – necessary for all applicants but particularly graduates applying to accelerated graduate courses.

Writing your Graduate Medicine personal statement

Now you are ready to start the process of writing your graduate entry Medicine personal statement. We cover this in our entirely free guide on how to write a Medicine personal statement in 10 easy steps. This takes you from step 1; with nothing written down, no structure or plan all the way to step 10; a completed excellent Graduate entry Medicine personal statement ready for submission.

How can Medicine Answered help you with your graduate medical school personal statement?

Medicine Answered offer one of the highest quality Medicine personal statement review services available. A professional editor and a fully qualified doctor, who themselves received all four UCAS offers to study Medicine, will both check and correct your personal statement. This unique level of expertise puts us a step ahead of other providers, some of whom use untrained students or people with no medical or admissions background and who do not have professional proof-reading skills.

We go beyond the typical reviews of just grammar and structure like other services. After making enhancements to your statement, we comment on the strength of your application, we can consider your UKCAT, academic grades, work experience and extracurricular activities and suggest ways to enhance your application further as part of our full Application Review Service. We suggest things which may come up at interview specifically as a result of your personal statement.

We also have a myriad of free articles about medical school applications (personal statements, interviews, UKCAT, picking a medical school etc.), life as a student and doctor and more. They are entirely free and do not require you to sign up for anything or give your email address or anything else. This is because we believe that becoming a doctor should be possible for anyone based on their motivation and abilities and not on their background or financial ability. You can find out more about these under our resources section. We also offer interview preparation courses, personal statement services, and one to one tutoring to help you in your medical school application.

You can learn more about these under our services section or feel free to contact us.