Personal statement

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In addition to high academic achievement, medical schools will look for certain skills and attributes which they believe make an ideal candidate for medicine. Medical schools will look for evidence of these attributes in your personal statement, which is part of your UCAS application. The following points in the dropdown bar have been agreed by the medical schools as the skills and attributes they are looking for.

Skills and attributes of an ideal candidate to medicine

  • Motivation to study medicine and genuine interest in the medical profession
  • Insight into your own strengths and weaknesses
  • The ability to reflect on your own work
  • Personal organisation
  • Academic ability
  • Problem solving
  • Dealing with uncertainty
  • Manage risk and deal effectively with problems
  • Ability to take responsibility for your own actions
  • Conscientiousness
  • Insight into your own health
  • Effective communication, including reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to treat people with respect
  • Resilience and the ability to deal with difficult situations
  • Empathy and the ability to care for others
  • Honesty

Keep these in mind while writing your personal statement. Rather than simply stating that you embody these attributes, give examples of how you have demonstrated them in the past, for instance while on work experience or through extracurricular activities.

Medical schools vary in how they assess personal statements. Some score them while others do not. They commonly use personal statements as a basis for conversation during interview, so it is a good idea to write things which you would be prepared to expand on if asked.

For more on these attributes, see the Statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine.

Writing your personal statement for medical school

Many students get very concerned about what to write in their personal statement. The most important thing is that it is written by you, it reflects you as a person, and is an honest reflection of your thoughts, skills and interests. Watch the video below to find out how medical schools use personal statements.

What makes a good doctor? 

Medical schools want students who have commitment, perseverance, initiative, concern for others and the ability to communicate. There is a list of core values and attributes needed to study medicine, and this list has been endorsed by all medical schools. It sets out what medical schools are looking for so they can recruit and train students to make good doctors.

Further reading