This blog lists 10 steps to writing an excellent medical school personal statement. These steps are briefly outlined here. A complete explanation of each step and real examples can be found in our free medical school personal statement guide. You may also find it useful to read our analysis of a strong Medicine personal statement which helped the candidate earn a place at all four medical schools they applied to.

Step 1 – Understand the rules of the game

Learn the basics of the personal statement – its purpose; the character count; rules about plagiarism; deadlines; making a 5th UCAS choice and so on. Learn how the medical school personal statement fits in with the rest of the UCAS application. For example, how it complements the reference or the fact that you do not need to specify your grades or UKCAT scores as these are found elsewhere in the UCAS application.

Step 2 – Know what admission tutors are looking for

Do not just write a personal statement and hope for the best. Know who your audience is (admission’s tutors) and what they want in a medical school personal statement. Do not name a specific university as it will put off the others, but you can tailor your personal statement in more general ways. For example, if you are applying to only traditional medical schools, you may want to emphasise things such as your academic motivations and achievements.

Step 3 – Look at other examples

By seeing how other people have approached elements of the medical school personal statement you can gain ideas. For example, seeing how other applicants have approached describing their motivation to study Medicine or talked about their work experience. This process is for inspiration only. Your medical school personal statement must be your own work. UCAS use sophisticated similarity and plagiarism detection software on all personal statements sent to them.

Step 4 – Learn about common mistakes

We have several free articles about things to avoid including in your personal statement and common mistakes applicants make.

Step 5 – Brainstorm your medical school personal statement

The brainstorming phase takes place before you even start drafting your personal statement, let alone begin writing it. You are brainstorm about yourself rather than just topics you will include in your medical school personal statement. This includes your motivations; important life experiences; feedback you have received; your achievements; personal attributes and more. Many, perhaps most, of these things will not feature in your final personal statement. The reason you still do this is that brainstorming will generate far more ideas than immediately trying to start writing within the restrictions of the personal statement character count and format. You then have the luxury of being able to decide what to include and what to omit from a large bank of topics.

Step 6 – Refine your brainstorm and write a plan

Start to highlight things from your brainstorming notes that you want to include in your medical school personal statement. Next, plan your medical personal statement. By being clear on what you want to cover instead of just writing things and hoping something fits, your writing style will be more impactful and concise. Waffling is typically the results of a writer not being clear about their own position and not planning what message they want a paragraph or sentence to convey before writing it.

Step 7 –  Learn more about grammar and writing style

Your personal statement must be interesting, impactful and concise. It must have a clear and logical structure and a consistent writing style. It must have excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation as anything less is not acceptable. To achieve these things, you need to make sure you are knowledgeable and skilled about grammar, punctuation and writing styles (being concise, how to write convincingly etc). We have several blogs and articles on grammar tips for your medical school personal statement which will help you.

Step 8 – Start writing your personal statement!

Don’t let perfectionism stop you from starting – have a plan in mind but you can still try things to see how they work and change them if you don’t like them. Also, in the early stages do not worry too much about the character limit, you can always cut things down and perfect them later.

Step 9 – Perfect and proofread your personal statement

Leave some time before finishing your statement and proofreading it so you can view your statement with fresh eyes. This is because it is easy to miss errors in documents which you are very familiar with. Also, make sure you are alert as proofreading requires concentration and patience. You can ask for feedback from teachers and careers advisors. Our free blogs include personal statement final checklists and tips for proofreading.

Step 10 – Consider a personal statement review service

Many candidates write excellent and successful personal statements without using any type of review service. These are not essential so do not believe any company that tries to convince you otherwise. However, we think our Medicine Personal Statement Review service can add real value to your application. 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 is unlike many other providers who 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. We discuss the overall strength of your entire Medicine application and ways to improve it. We anticipate what you may be asked at interview, suggest ways to strengthen your application and more.