If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re in one of two situations. You’ve either planned out your medicine personal statement and thought ‘how on earth can I get this to 4000 characters?’, or you’ve written it and then thought the same.

Four thousand characters may sound like quite a lot, but once you factor in punctuation, spaces filler words and so on, thousands of characters can suddenly feel like very few.

Quality versus Quantity

Of course, the reason there is a character limit is so that there is a level playing field for all applicants.

Writing concisely is a skill which is very much tested in your medicine personal statement. There is lots to include and in order to stand out to the people reading your application, you will need to make every word count.

Most importantly, don’t panic!

We have created a checklist for ways in which you can use little tricks and word-rearranging to make the most of every character. It probably won’t be easy, but if you have left yourself enough time to check things and edit your medicine personal statement, you will manage it.

Be Objective

Yes, you have spent hours, days, weeks and even months building up to this. We get it, you’ve put a lot of effort into every word that you have written.

To polish it off, you need to try and distance yourself from your writing. It is easy to become attached to what you’ve written, and rightly so, but here’s how to get started in the task of reducing the length of your medicine personal statement.

First things First

Before you go highlighter mad, save a copy of the original. This means that if you do cut something out and later decide you should have left it in, it is there for you to paste back in.

Print out a copy of your medicine personal statement, and find some highlighters and coloured pens.

Sit by your computer or laptop so that you can track the character number as you work through your amends.

Use the printed copy of your medical personal statement to note down anything, circle punctuation and if you need to rearrange anything, you can draw some arrows on the paper.

Once you have decided on the most appropriate edits for each section on the printed version, you can then update the document on the screen.

Is it Necessary?

In this section, we’ve got a few different things you can look out for in your own writing and then evaluate if it is utterly important for it to be there. For example, would your exploration of your key learnings be diminished by the removal of x?

Let’s take a look.


While adverbs can be used to intensify a point you’re making, take a moment to consider if your point would still stand without it.

The easiest way to check will be to scan through the printed version you have and circle any adverbs.

As a reminder, most  adverbs end in -ly, such as quickly, efficiently, hopefully, and so on.

Look out for them and on a case by case basis, evaluate the use of the adverb. If it needs to stay, fine, if not, you can take it out on your computer version.

Another useful technique is to look for ‘very’ and its synonyms. If you are pushed for characters, then taking out a few of these could help you out.


While transitional words may feel necessary to link between points and paragraphs, the admissions teams will let you off for sacrificing them in favour of more useful information.

Transitional phrases are things such as: in fact, moreover, consequently, in addition to.

If the sentence still reads properly without them, take them out. While you may be accustomed to storytelling from essay writing, it is completely acceptable, and highly encouraged, for you to get straight to the point in your medicine personal statement.

Sentence Restructure

This requires a little more time than simply eradicating unnecessary words, but it can still be pretty easy.

In sentences which have two clauses, if you look at the two sections separately, you can usually find a different way to say it and lose a word or two. Whether you rearrange the sentence or break it into two smaller ones, just do what is best for readability.

For example:

 “I shadowed a GP and was able to experience the individual reassurance and guidance given to the patients, which strengthened by ambition to study medicine”  – 154 characters

“Shadowing a GP and witnessing the reassurance and guidance given to patients strengthened my ambition to study medicine”119 characters

As you can see, the rearrangement still shows all the important elements, but has just condensed some of the less important words.

Another Perspective

As we stated earlier, it can be difficult to detach yourself from your own words.

If you have been through these helping points and are still struggling to cut it down, you could ask a peer, friend or tutor to look over it for you. Someone with a different perspective or slightly more distanced from the application may find it easier to look objectively at sentence structure and the use of grammar and punctuation.

You can also have a look at our analysis of a successful medicine personal statement which received four offers to study medicine for further guidance.

Medical Personal Statement Review

If you would like to rest assured that your medicine personal statement is the best it can be, at Medicine Answered, we can help you. Our personal statement review service includes a review by a professional medical admissions editor and a fully qualified doctor, who received all four UCAS offers to study Medicine. The doctor will check the facts and medicine-related information, whereas the editor will ensure that the grammar, sentence structure and punctuation are all flawless.

If you would like us to review your whole application as well as the medicine personal statement, our 360-degree application review is an alternative option for you.

Feel free to get in touch about any questions regarding your application to study medicine.