This post refers to the ‘How to successful reapply to Medicine’ YouTube video on Ali’s channel. Anton (who didn’t get any offers first time around, but got an unconditional Cambridge offer on his second attempt) has very kindly agreed to share his before/after personal statements so that you can see what the difference is. Please see the video for more commentary – it’s quite a long video, so if you look in the video description, you’ll see timestamps for everything discussed so you can skip to the sections that are most appropriate for you. Or you can watch the whole thing – up to you 🙂
Unsuccessful Personal Statement (No offers)
My ambition in life is to do something meaningful; to be able to look back at the end and be proud of what I’ve achieved. No profession other than medicine will adequately fulfil that ambition for me.
This was confirmed last year when I did some work experience at a GP’s surgery and saw how satisfying and rewarding medicine can be, but also how much knowledge and understanding is required. I was in awe of the wealth of knowledge that the GP had and hoped that one day I could know as much and would still have the desire to know more. I was there for six weeks and every patient’s treatment was different, even if some had the same ailment, meaning that no two days challenges were the same. This showed me how diverse medicine can be. I also shadowed a laparoscopic general surgeon in Colchester General Hospital for three days where, amongst other things, I realised the importance of a good patient-doctor relationship as well as the need for effective communication and team work between the staff, often from different departments of the hospital. The precision of the surgeons work and his ability to make important decisions under pressurised situations impressed me greatly. Having seen some of the skills required to be a successful medical professional I believe I can develop the personal qualities needed.
Last year I also tutored a friend through their GCSE re-sits. I helped him improve his grade in biology, giving him the required grades for college. Another commitment I undertake on a regular basis is caring for my much younger brother, now four years old. This experience has taught me the value of patience, responsibility and compassion.
I was head boy of Philip Morant School, a role which involved being a role model for other students, leading an interview panel for potential members of staff and being a liaison between students and staff, all things which helped me improve my leadership and organisational skills as well as my ability to communicate well with both pupils and teachers. At my present school I have taken on the role of vice president of Med Soc and prefect for my house.
In my spare time I read lots of books, mainly fiction, and enjoy reading the New Scientist and other science related books such as ‘13 things that don’t make sense’ by Michael Brooks and ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre. I enjoy playing various different sports including football, rugby, squash and tennis. I played football for six years with two different clubs, both of which I became captain. I was proud to have gained the respect of my team which was proved when as well as being voted manager’s and parent’s player of the year I was voted as player’s player of the year. I also make time to coach an under 10’s football team, a role which I have thoroughly enjoyed. It has given me a greater appreciation for people’s varying abilities and has taught me how to react and help each of them individually, particularly to the goal keeper who has learning disabilities and struggles to keep his concentration. I relish the challenge of coaching him and love the reward of seeing the practise pay off on the pitch.
I realise that medicine is demanding, I appreciate that the workload is great; but I know that I want to study it and am absolutely determined to do so as I am positive that I will thrive on the challenge, love the learning and enjoy helping other people.
Successful Personal Statement (Cambridge unconditional offer)
My ambition in life is to accomplish something meaningful; to be able to look back at the end and be proud of what I’ve achieved. This goal, together with my love of science, eagerness to learn and desire to care for others, motivates me to pursue a career in medicine. My initial interest in medicine came when I studied its history, giving me an insight into the work and influence of many great individuals such as Ignaz Semmelweis and Ambroise Paré who pioneered the use of ligatures and invented the crows beak. These people inspired me and I hope one day to be involved in the research of something as influential. I can think of no more noble or honourable profession; it would be a privilege to practise medicine.
To prepare myself for a career in medicine I have taken a job working within the NHS as an admin assistant in a local GP surgery. My main responsibility is to perform audits and to find ways to help the practice stay under budget. This role has shown me how important non-clinical members of staff are to the efficient running of the NHS. Resources are limited and the reality of medical practice is that to offer the best service, efficiency is essential. I have been given the opportunity at the surgery to shadow a doctor or nurse twice a week to get an insight into the clinical side of the practice. The knowledge and range of skills demanded from the medical professionals and the unpredictable nature of the work, have only served to increase my enthusiasm and strengthen my resolve to become a doctor.
I volunteer at a local care home which has helped me to appreciate the care and attention vulnerable adults need. The work is not at all glamorous but it gives me a sense of immense satisfaction when I feel I have made a difference. Experiences such as this have confirmed my choice of career. I also volunteer in the X-ray department, giving me the chance to work in a busy hospital. To see more of the hospital environment, I shadowed a laparoscopic surgeon and a vascular surgeon, each for three days. Both of these experiences demonstrated to me the expertise of the surgeons and the skills and team work necessary for the provision of quality health care. I noticed how highly pressured the environment is and feel that I would not only cope but also thrive on the fast pace and pressure of the hospital.
I was Head Boy of my secondary school, leading the team of 12 senior students and liaising with the senior members of staff. During this period I was awarded with the school physics prize for outstanding results and, more recently, I was awarded with the chemistry prize from Colchester Royal Grammar School for outstanding study. During my A level years I tutored a friend in biology and another friend in maths. I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to simplify some of the difficult concepts and the sense of achievement when they received their grades. To supplement my own leaning I regularly read scientific journals such as ‘New Scientist’ and ‘Scientific American’ or books such as ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre.
When I’m not working at the surgery or volunteering, I work in a pub serving behind the bar. I really enjoy getting to meet all the interesting characters, and have become a good listener, able to show an interest in their lives and concerns. I enjoy playing sport, mainly football and rugby and have recently taken up golf and wakeboarding. I have captained two football teams and, for the past year, coached a team of Under 11’s. When at home I entertain my five year old brother, an obligation that I’m happy to fulfil, or relax by reading fiction.
I have sought to prepare myself academically and personally for the study and practice of medicine and know that it would be an opportunity I would thoroughly relish.