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Careers Service

UCAS applications for medicine

The personal statement is the crucial part of your application for undergraduate or fast track medicine. Admissions staff will be looking for evidence of the following areas (these will be followed up at interview):

  • Academic ability. Especially important for fast track courses, where they might demand a 2:1, or even a 1st. This may also be tested with entry tests, such as GAMSAT and MSAT. Good ability in chemistry is also demanded by medical schools.
  • Motivation for medicine. Why do you want to train as a doctor? Need to demonstrate this with actions you have taken - eg work experience, work shadowing, talking to clinicians, etc. You should show understanding of the basic career structure, although not much more depth is expected at this stage.
  • Work experience. Focus on where you had active involvement rather than where you simply observed - this is very important! More menial work is relevant here - eg hands-on care support, or auxiliary work. Reflect on this experience, don't just describe it. What did you gain from it? How did it influence your decision to apply for medicine?
  • Evidence of your commitment to caring. You need to show concern for the welfare of others, and understanding that patient care is the first duty of a doctor. This can be supported by evidence from work experience, as well as from personal experience.
  • Understanding of the nature of medicine. Showing an understanding of the ethical and scientific issues under-pinning the profession (what it is really like). This is usually tested at interview, so be prepared to discuss your comments here in more depth
  • Communication skills. Your statement must be well organised, with a good structure, and be clearly written. This is will be further explored at interview, where they look for articulate candidates who can develop a reasoned argument.

Top Tips

  • Attend open days at the medical schools that interest you and ask current students and teaching staff about the course. This will make your answer more personal than just reciting from the prospectus.
  • Volunteer for a local charity/ hospice, or register with an agency supplying auxiliary staff to hospitals for useful work experience. Find out more about volunteering.

Find out more about applying for medicine.