We recently ran our first set of (free!) webinars about making the perfect Medical and Dentistry Personal Statements with over 150 people attending. In our Q&A sessions at the end, we realised that a lot of our questions were along the lines of: "What if they ask me about __insert scary PS reference__ because I've referred to it in my Personal Statement?". People were unsure how much detail to go into in their Personal Statement and how follow up questions might be asked in the eventual panel interview. Throughout the course of the webinars, we realised that it was the more personal questions about yourself and these questions about your Personal Statement that students were most anxious about. We have covered how you could approach some of the more unnerving questions here...
Should you tailor your PS to specific groups of Universities?
Each university has different marking criteria when looking at personal statements, and some may not consider it at all until after your interview. Tailoring your Personal Statement towards a certain university because it is your top choice may put off other universities from considering you.
For some universities such as Cambridge, you will be able to add your own personalised information in your SAQ. Be sure to add your tailored information here.
If you are worried about not having your PS tailored to your 5th choice, don't worry! Most universities will understand this as soon as they see your Statement, and use your grades and relevant information to make their decision. You can also email your 5th choice university and ask if you can send a further PS related to your final option.
How much detail should I go into about a summer school/lecture/talk I attended?
Lectures and talks or summer school you may have got into involve a large amount of content, and you may be unsure how much of your Personal Statement to dedicate to these. Be aware you will have a lot to fit into your PS!
Try to pick up on one thing that you heard or saw that peaked your interest. It may have changed the way you think about the medical profession or led to you doing some further research (e.g you did a school magazine article/essay/EPQ on what you learn about)
The piece of science you pick up on should be one that you can reflect on critically, and be prepared to be asked about it in interview.
What are your strengths?
This is a common question, usually paired with 'What are your greatest weaknesses?'. It is very easy to get bogged down in listing everything your are good at, or to freeze and not know what to say. To come across not too arrogant or too modest sounds like an impossible balance yet, it can be done.
Be a minimalist. You only need to mention 2-3 points.
BACK UP YOUR POINTS! Giving examples and explaining why you might be a (e.g.) compassionate person will sound less pretentious than listing.
As with all things predictable, make sure to prepare what you can for them. A little effort will go a long way 😎