How to Write a Personal Statement - The Complete Medicine Masterclass | Doctor Shaene | Skillshare

How to Write a Personal Statement - The Complete Medicine Masterclass

Doctor Shaene, Doctor + Oxford Tutor

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38 Lessons (2h 21m)
    • 1. Welcome to the Class

      2:37
    • 2. The Framework

      1:29
    • 3. Motivation Pillar

      1:20
    • 4. Motivation Example

      2:19
    • 5. Engagement Pillar

      1:34
    • 6. Engagement Example

      3:32
    • 7. Suitability Pillar

      2:05
    • 8. Suitability Example

      2:17
    • 9. Reflection Pillar

      1:12
    • 10. Reflection Example

      2:35
    • 11. Academia Pillar

      3:02
    • 12. Academia Example

      3:57
    • 13. Projection Pillar

      0:40
    • 14. Projection Example

      1:36
    • 15. Personality Pillar

      1:07
    • 16. Personality Example

      2:54
    • 17. Passion Pillar

      0:52
    • 18. Passion Example

      2:20
    • 19. The Structure

      1:17
    • 20. Writing the Introduction

      3:07
    • 21. Writing the Main Body

      0:51
    • 22. Work Experience and Volunteering

      2:58
    • 23. Academics

      2:24
    • 24. Extra-Curricular

      2:17
    • 25. Writing the Conclusion

      1:56
    • 26. Oxbridge Pointers

      2:46
    • 27. Sujan's Personal Statement

      9:47
    • 28. Osaid's Personal Statement

      8:52
    • 29. Raihan's Personal Statement

      8:56
    • 30. Ore's Personal Statement

      9:58
    • 31. Denise's Personal Statement

      9:13
    • 32. Akshay's Personal Statement

      9:15
    • 33. Ali's Personal Statement

      10:37
    • 34. Serena's Personal Statement

      8:24
    • 35. Getting Started

      2:47
    • 36. Cutting Down and Refining

      3:39
    • 37. Pitfalls to Avoid

      2:48
    • 38. Final Thoughts

      1:16
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About This Class

In this class, we're going to be crafting together your very own expert personal statement. For a lot of us, the personal statement is often the most important thing that we'll ever write. It's the thing that'll determine the next 4-6 years of our lives. So it's easy to see the importance of making sure it's the best it can be. My name's Shaene and I'm a doctor, Cambridge University Graduate and Oxford University Supervisor - and I'll be taking you from the beginning to the end of your personal statement journey. 

Part One - Building Blocks

In the first few lessons, we're first going to be looking at the expertly designed 8 pillar framework based on personal statements of students who were accepted into Oxbridge and other top ranking universities. These 8 pillars will form the basis of your thought process and help you decide what to include in the personal statement. Think of these pillars as the building blocks.

We're going to spend some time learning how best to reflect on experiences in ways that show the reader that you are someone who is capable of extracting lessons and developing for the better as a result of it.

We're going to learn about strategies like the personality pillar and writing style to help your personal statement stand out and shine.

Importantly, we're going to be linking all this theory to carefully analysed real life examples from past successful personal statements.

Part Two - The Structuring

Then once we've decided what to include, we're going to go through the structure and learn how to put together the building blocks to form the final product.

We're going to be providing you with proven syntax and paragraph formulas that will ensure that every sentence you write has a purpose.

We'll be learning how to structure the overall personal statement so that it flows beautifully and tells a story.

Part Three - The Examples

One of the biggest strengths of this video course, is that I provide several example personal statements each carefully broken down and analysed.

And as each has come from students, now doctors, who have been accepted into Oxbridge and other top ranking unis, you can be confident that everything you learn has been tried, tested and shown to work.

Part Four - Getting Started

In the final part of the class, we'll learn about the key quality table and how to make the best start to the personal statement using it. We'll then learn how to cut down and refine the personal statement so that you're left with only the most powerful and purposeful sentences. As part of this, we'll learn strategies that'll maximise what we can say in the fewest words possible. And finally, we'll meet some pitfalls to avoid and end with some final thoughts.

I made this class because I truly believe you deserve a place at medical school, and I don't want the personal statement to be the thing that holds you back. Let me help you craft your own unique story and make it the best as it can be! :)

Transcripts

1. Welcome to the Class: For a lot of us, the personal statement is one of the most important things that we'll ever write. It's the thing that will determine the next 4-6 years of our lives. So it's easy to see the importance of making sure it's the best it can be. That's exactly what I'm going to be helping you with throughout this class. My name's Shane, I'm a recently qualified doctor, Cambridge University grad, and Oxford University supervisor. In this class, we're going to be crafting together your very own expert personal statement. Unlike most other people, I'm not going to tell you what to write, instead I'm going to show you what works. After reading numerous personal statements, I've distilled that information into eight key pillars. In the first few lessons, we're going to go through the eight pillar framework based on the personal statements of students who've gotten into Oxbridge and other top UK universities. These eight pillars will hopefully give you a framework to organize your thinking and could be the underlying principles behind your personal statement. We're also going to spend some time learning how to reflect on experiences, so that we can extract meaningful lessons and talk about how it changes for the better going forward. We're also going to be learning about strategies like personality and writing style, to help us stand out and shine. After we've decided what you should include and how you should work things, we're going to delve in a bit deeper into the structure to make sure you tell a coherent story. I'll show you how to go from a pretty classic structure of an introduction, main body, and conclusion to something that's exciting and appealing to read. We're going to be providing you with proven syntax and paragraph formulas, that's going to make sure that everything you say carries a purpose and is meaningful. By learning all of these strategies, we're going to make sure that your personal statement flows beautifully like a story. We'll also be learning about the key quality table and how that's the best place to start your personal statement journey. Finally we'll learn clever strategies for refining and cutting down your personal statement, so that it fits within the character limit. These strategies will help you maximize what you can say in the fewest words possible. One of the biggest strengths about this video course is that I'm going to be analyzing in depth several example personal statements, from students who have gotten into Oxbridge and other top-performing UK universities. Because this is the best way to see how the theory translates into the reality. The whole point of this master class isn't to give you a fake story that doesn't exist. Instead, it's about helping you craft your own story into something that delivers its absolute best. Because ultimately, I believe you guys deserve a place at medical school and I don't want the personal statement to be the thing that holds you back. That's why I want to give you the best advice possible to make sure you guys get the place you deserve. So whenever you are ready, "Click" the next lesson and we'll get started on crafting your very own expert personal statement. 2. The Framework: Welcome to the first lesson about the theory behind what you should include in your personal statement. The whole point of the next few lessons is to highlight what makes a great personal statement in the hope that it will give you a framework to organize your thinking. Now, this isn't just some random list of good things to include in your personal statement. Instead, it's a carefully crafted, expertly designed framework of eight pillars. It's based on the best personal statements of students who've gotten into Ox-bridge, as well as other top-ranking Universities in the UK. Now, these eight pillars are motivation, engagement, suitability, reflection, academics, projection, personality, and, passion, also known as the MESRAPPP framework. In the following sets of lessons, we're going to be diving deeper into each of these pillars, and we're also going to be seeing real examples from past personal statements. The strength of this style of teaching means that we don't just give you the theory, but we also provide a real-life example to see how the theory translates into the reality. We're also going to be providing you with expertly crafted syntax structures as well as paragraph structures, to make sure that your personal statement is telling a story instead of just being an incoherent mess. All of this means that everything you write is going to have a purpose and it will achieve its full potential. Now, the final thing to mention before we get stuck in is that each of these eight pillars, even though they're presented separately, should be used together to form the best sentences and paragraphs. With that being said, let's move on to the next lesson and the first pillar. 3. Motivation Pillar: In the previous lesson, we got introduced to the eight pillar framework. In this lesson, we're going to dive into the first of those pillars, which is motivation. Now, this refers to why you want to do the subject. This is a very important element in your personal statement to convey to the reader that you have a true connection with the subject and you truly want to do this. Unfortunately, this can also be a very difficult pillar to be unique with and shine up through. But don't worry. In this lesson, we're going to dive in a bit deeper and look at the specifics to help you craft more genuine and authentic points. All the reasons that you could possibly think of that drives your motivation to study you subjects, can be broadly split into two categories. The first, is academic interests and the second is personal opportunity. The academic interest refers to how the subject matters inspired you so much that you now can't get enough of it. This has led you to want a deeper knowledge and understanding which only studying these subjects at universities gets to love. The second, is personal opportunity. This refers to what you get out of it. These reasons tend to be very emotionally charged. For example, studying medicine to go onto then care for patients, and how that will bring you joy and delight. Now that we've been introduced to the theory behind academic interests and personal opportunity, we'll now go on and see these concepts in action. 4. Motivation Example: In the previous lesson, we learned about the motivating factors, and how they can be broadly split up into academic interests and personal opportunity. Now let's take a look at both of those things in actions, starting with academic interests first. Reading biology books kindled my interest in the body's ingenious workings and health news articles made me aware of topical issues in the medical world. I am fascinated by how pathogens affect us, the symptoms of diseases, and how they are combated. So as we saw that, that sentence clearly demonstrated a scientific interest in medicine, and it uses specific example about pathogens to really make the points are more authentic and genuine. So that's a really good thing to take away from that sentence. Using specific examples can increase the authenticity of the point that you're making. Now, let's see personal opportunity in action. There is no better feeling than the delight felt whilst helping others and making a difference in their lives. Now that sentence clearly speaks about the personal opportunity that doing medicine will bring them. Importantly, notice how it's a two-step process. It's essentially saying doing medicine is going to allow them to help others, opportunity 1; and it's linked to how it's going to bring them delight and joy, opportunity 2. Using a two-step process like this and flushing out the point is really going to increase the authenticity and make you sound more genuine with your myth-facing factors. Now here's an example that combines academic interests and personal opportunity and presents them together. An appetite for scientific knowledge, hard work, and an altruistic outlook are essential characteristics of doctors and aspects of my character that have drawn me to study medicine. I'm thrilled by the prospects of exploring the causes and treatment for diseases that affect individuals, and the opportunity to contribute, wherever possible, to improving their quality of life. Now, this brilliantly demonstrates academic interests by using things like appetite for scientific knowledge and causes and treatment for disease. But it also hits the personal opportunity points with phrases like opportunity to contribute to improving their quality of life. Finally, here's an example that combines academic interests and personal opportunity in a single sentence. Studying medicine and ultimately becoming a doctor will feed both my scientific interest and my passion to care for others. So to summarize, it's important to include your motivation to study medicine, and they can be broadly split up into academic interests and personal opportunity. Now, let's move on to the next lesson and the next pillar of our framework. 5. Engagement Pillar: The next pillar in our framework is that of engagement. Now this refers to things you've done to learn more about and interact with the subjects you want to study. Ultimately, this pillar is all about trying to show the reader that you are dedicated and committed to the subject. It's to show the reader that you've taken the time to fully consider the decision to study the subjects by truly interacting with it. Just like with motivation, we can split engagement into two broad categories. The first is academic engagement, and the second is experiential engagement. Let's now take a look at each of these in turn. Academic engagement essentially refers to things you've done to discover more about the academic side of your subject. For example, this can be things like reading subject related additional books, research articles, listening to relevant podcasts or watching educational videos. For medicine, this could be things like reading the student bmj, reading research articles relevant to current medical topics, or simply just keeping up to date with the medical news. Now the second broad category within engagement is experiential engagement. This refers to the things you've done to get to know the realities of the subject. Going beyond the academic side and going more towards dealing with the subject in real life. Examples of this include things like work experiences, you've been on, summer camps, taster days, or anything else that's allowed you to interact with the realities of the subject. For medicine, this often involves volunteering long-term at nursing homes and youth centers, as well as work experiences at GPs hospitals. Now that we've been introduced to engagement, let's now move on to the next lesson where we can see these ideas in action. 6. Engagement Example: In the previous lesson we learned about the importance of talking about engagement, which can broadly be split up into academic engagement, and experiential engagement. In this lesson, we're going to see both of those things in action. Here's an example of academic engagement, "My interest in science, particularly human physiology, prompted me to participate in a pre-medical course. As parts of this, I published a research paper on the Medlink websites, on the effects of brain derived neurotrophic factors, which simulates neurogenesis within the brain." Now this is a fantastic demonstration of academic engagement. It really shows that they've gone up that way to engage with the scientific side of medicine, to get to know more about it, and they've also used a specific example which really adds credibility and authenticity. Here's another example of academic engagement in action, "Reading biology books kindled my interest in the body's ingenious workings, and health news articles made me aware of topical issues in the medical world." Now, this a pretty robust sentence that shows the steps that were taken to learn more about medicine. But to be honest, it is a little bit vague, it doesn't actually mention any specific articles. It's not as genuine and authentic as it could be. To improve this, it would be much nicer to include a more specific point. But at the same time, it is a pretty safe move, because whatever you write in your first assignment will end up being scrutinized in growth in the interviews. If you don't commit to a specific book, you can't really be targeted for it, whereas if you have committed to a specific book, and the author of that is the interviewer, you're in a pickle, especially if you haven't actually read it. That's definitely pros and cons of not mentioning the specifics. However, I usually always advise, mentioning something specific, and making sure that you actually read and understood that material well. We'll talk more about academic engagement later in the class when we come across the academia pillar. But right now let's move on and talk experiential engagement, and here's an example of experiential engagement, "This was clear from day one of my four week work experience placements at two GP surgeries, Royal Derby Hospital and a pharmacy. The most poignant moment was when a patient in the neuro-rehabilitation unit hugged and thanked each care-team member for that help. Six months volunteering at Brookfields Nursing Home has honed my ability to care selflessly and compassionately, teaching patients and allowing me to contribute to the community in the long-term." Now, this is a pretty great demonstration of how you should word your experiential engagement. This shows a case structure of talking about a work experience, linking it to a specific example, and reflecting on it. Now, we'll talk more about reflection in the later lessons, but I just wanted to draw your attention to this sentence structure, where you essentially talk about an experience, give a specific example, and reflect on it. This is pretty much the structure you should always follow when you're talking about your experiential engagement, things as work experience, volunteering, etc. Now, here's another example of this in action, "Volunteering on the Lifeline Express, a hospital train in Morena, India, first inspired me to study medicine. The team on the train worked voluntarily in unfamiliar conditions. The smile on a man's face when his perforated ear drum was repaired, spoke a thousand words." This, again, perfectly follows a structure we just spoke about. They talk about the experience, volunteering on the Lifeline Express, then they link it to a specific example, perforated eardrum repair, then they reflect on it, smile spoke a thousand words, basically, leading to how rewarding the job was. To summarize, in your personal statement you should definitely talk about engagement, especially the things you've done to learn more about the academic side of medicine, which comes under academic engagement, and you should also talk about the things you've done to learn more about the realities of medicine, which comes under experiential engagement. Now, let's move on to the next pillar in our framework. 7. Suitability Pillar: The next pillar within our framework is suitability. Now, this refers to talking about what makes you the ideal candidate for the course, and why they should pick you over the thousands of applicants out there. This is the pillar for you to sell yourself. But to do this effectively without sounding too cocky and just doing it vaguely, we first need to consider what are the key qualities required for this course Often that can be found within easy Google search and it's often on a website of many universities under that cross-sections. To be honest, that broadly the same across many of the universities. Just find one for one of the universities, they should pretty much apply to the rest. So here are the key qualities that I find when I searched medicine on Google. Ability to demonstrate communication, team working and leadership skills. Ability to demonstrate personal maturity. Ability to work under pressure, enthusiasm and determination to succeed, and ability to adapt and overcome adversity. Excellent insights into their own limitations and takes steps to improve and overcome this. Police is demonstrate how to escalate concerns and seek help when uncertain. Ability to take initiative and pro-actively direct own learning. Good time management skills and ability to balance academic and clinical and extra curricular personal role. Now, that outlined several of the key qualities, also known as key persons specification points that universities look out for when they're selecting candidates. I basically use that to extract the key words so that we have a list of buzzwords that we need to hit within our personal statement. These are things like communication, teamworking, leadership, resilience, determination, empathy, compassion, pro-active, organized and good time management. So like I mentioned, these are the important buzzwords, include in your personal statement to show that you have all the key qualities of an ideal candidate. However, there are two main things that I have to watch out for. One is just listing and two sounding fake. Now, the best way to avoid both of these pitfalls is to use specific examples to increase the authenticity and sound more genuine. Another important way we can increase the authenticity is to reflect on things, but more on reflection in the later lessons. Let's now look at suitability in action. 8. Suitability Example: In the previous lesson, we saw the importance of demonstrating suitability, especially mentioning the key qualities and mentioning key buzzwords. Now in this lesson we're going to see those things in action and we're specifically going to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of listing and sounding fake. Here's an example demonstrating who's worthy. A year spent fundraising for an expedition to Tanzania, taught me determination and resolve and good time management. Teaching core skills to Tanzanian students trained me to communicate effectively despite the language barrier, disability will help me to interact with patients and provide better care. Visiting the orphanages made me realize that our easy access to health care is a blessing made possible by the National Health Service. This further fueled my determination to train as a doctor and help maintain this blessing. Notice how this starts with a very specific example of going to Tanzania. That in itself is pretty unique. However, the first sentence falls into this trap of listing. It basically says determination, resolve, and good time management with no real substance. However, the following sentences do makeup for this by mentioning more specific examples about teaching and how that improve their communication and how that will help them become a better doctor in the future. The structure is actually quite clever. It provides a specific example to backup the key quality that they claim to have. They cleverly link that back to medicine and how that's going to help them become a better doctor. This is another great sentence structures to follow when you're talking about suitability, provides an example, link it to a key person specification or a key quality, and then link it back to the subject. Here's another example of this. I volunteer weekly at Age Concern Day Centre, helping in the kitchen and serving food to the elderly visitors. This is indirectly prepared me for medicine, developing my skills and listening and dealing with the public. This again uses the exact same structure of providing a specific example. In this case volunteering at the Age Concern Day Centre, then they link it to a key person specification or key quality which is listening and dealing with the public and then they related back to medicine. In summary, suitability is a vital pillar it helps to show that you have all the necessary key qualities that's going to make you an ideal candidate to study medicine. You should wherever possible, follow the sentence structure of providing an example, leaking into key quality and then relating it back to medicine. Now, let's move on to the next pillar in our framework. 9. Reflection Pillar: The next pillar in our framework is arguably the thing that's going to set you apart the most. That is reflection. We've been alluding to this one in the previous lessons, and with good reason,. This is one of the pillars that links with all of the other ones we talked about. There's always opportunity to reflect on something when you talk about it. Unfortunately, this is also the thing that a lot of people struggle with because up to this point, we've never really had to reflect on anything. So we don't really know what that actually means. Or maybe we have a slightly incorrect understanding of what reflection actually meet. So to help you understand, let me just define reflection. It's essentially the ability to think introspectively and extract the lessons from previous experiences. So basically when you're talking about an example or a past experience, you should talk about the lessons you learned from it and how that changed you as a person and how it's going to affect your future action as a result. Now of course, this level of detail is impossible for every single example and every single experience. So you have to choose the best ones to reflect on really well and basically keep it as a superficial reflection for the other ones. Now, I can't stress how important this pillar is and how useful it is to help you shine out. Let's now move on to the next lesson and see some specific examples of this in action. 10. Reflection Example: In the previous lesson, we learned the importance of reflecting deeply on past experiences and extracting lessons from it. Now, let see those ideas in action. Here's an example. European Youth Parliament debating at national level has enhanced my skills of independent research, abilities to extract key information and link ideas together to form the bigger picture, schools that will aid me during the medical cause. I was able to learn about pioneering scientific and medical research, their possible applications and also the ethical concerns behind them. This has made me more understanding and respectful to personal beliefs crucial for good patient care where you will treat people from all walks of life and disparate faith. This quote here is a great demonstration of how you should reflect deeply on an example and how you should link things to a key quality. This Youth Parliament example shows how they learn lessons from it and grew as a person by developing new skills. Then they went on to lick this to how it will help them become a better doctor in the future. This is similar to the sentence structure we got introduced to in the last lesson, which carries example Link to keep us in specification, reflect on it and then relate back to the subject and notice the level of detail here. It doesn't just stop at a superficial level of reflection, but takes things a little bit further. For example where it says, this has made me more understanding and respectful of personal beliefs crucial for good patient care where you will treat people from all walks of life and despair faith. That is a very good example of a deep level of reflection. It really shows personal development and it shows that you're mature enough to arrive at all of these lessons. Here's another example of reflection in action. Memorably, I saw the composure and sensitivity needed by doctors, in an emotionally charged family meeting as a mother with dementia was told it was not safe to return home. From an ethical perspective this taught me to respect patient autonomy and to always act in the best interests of patients, treating them as individuals. This again is a great demonstration of reflection. It talks about a specific example to derive important lessons. Things like patient autonomy, acting in the best interest of patients and they go on to link it to a key quality that they learned, which in this case is respect. Now of course, like I mentioned, all of this is very worthy, so just select a few good ones that you should reflect quite deeply with and for the rest, just do a very superficial level of reflection because let's be real. If you ended up doing a deep dive to everything, you just don't have the space and you'll go way above the character count. When you are reflecting on things and extracting lessons from them, don't forget to use the sentence structure, providing an example, linking it to a key quality, reflecting on it, and then linking it back to medicine. 11. Academia Pillar: The next pillar in our framework is academia. This pillar is something that you can modify to best suit your achievements and what you have to shape. Basically, the academia pillar can be split up into two broad categories, intra-curricular and supra-curricular. These things can be further split up into achievement and engagement. Let me now go on and explain this in a little bit more detail starting off with the inter-curricular academia. One aspect of intra-curricular academia are the things that you've achieved. These are the things that we call intra-curricular academic achievement. Examples of this are any prizes you've won at school for past exam performance, or any scholarships that you might have got. This section is a really great opportunity for you to showcase the things that you might have earned within the curriculum. Of course is not a necessity to mention this, so don't worry if you don't really have anything. But if you do, it is nice to put in there to support your application. Another aspect of intra-curricular academia is intra-curricular academic engagement. This section allows you to talk about the A-level curriculum and the subjects that you might be doing, and talk about the schools that has given you and how it has better prepared you for the unit course. Like for example, for the maths helping you with problem-solving skills. To quickly summarize intra-curricular academia, it allows you to talk about any achievement you have within the curriculum for example, winning a prize for the best exam performance. It also allows you to talk about academic engagement. Basically an opportunity for you to talk about any impressive A-level subjects that you're doing, and talked about the skills you've gained from that and how it's going to help you in the future to study that you need degree. Now let's move on and talk about the other side of the academia pillar, which is supra-curricular academia. Supra-curricular academia refers to things you've got involved outside of your normal curriculum, but related to the uni subjects you want to study. Just as with intra-curricular academia, supra-curricular academia can also be split up into two sections of achievement and engagement. Examples of supra-curricular achievements can be any gold awards that you might have won at any Olympiad, or any medals you won for debating competitions. Supra-curricular engagement is essentially anything outside of the normal curriculum that you've got involved that's linked to the subject that you want to study. That might be things like writing an extended essay outside of the normal curriculum, but so related to the subject you want to study. Now, as you might have realized, this sounds awfully similar to the academic engagement we spoke about in previous lessons. To be honest, this is exactly the same thing but developed to a greater extent. Talking extensively about supra-curricular academia, your achievements and engagement, may not suit every single university. But definitely for Oxbridge, this is what they put most of the emphasis on. To quickly summarize supra-curricular academia, this is essentially a section feat talk about the things you've done outside of a normal curriculum, but it's still related to subject you want to study. You should split this up into anything impressive that you achieved, like putting gold at a chemist Olympiad or anything that you've just been involved with, for example writing an extended essay. Now, let's take a look at these ideas in action and see how we can work them. 12. Academia Example: In the previous lesson, we got introduced to the pillar of Academia and saw how it could be broadly split up into Intra-curricular and Supra-curricular academia, and also saw how it can be further split up into Achievement and Engagement. Let's now take a look at some specific examples. This is an example of intra-curricular achievement. My ability to maintain a consistently high academic performance, whilst juggling all of my extra curricular activities and positions of responsibility has earned me several scholarships and taught me valuable skills of determination, time-management, and hard work. This is a great example to show how the manage perform really well academically whilst juggling all of these other things on the side. The sentence works really well only because they've linked it to a key quality. If they had just said, ''Oh, look at me I have a loads of scholarships and academic achievement.'' Doesn't really mean much or add anything to the application, because the universities already have all of your scores, your past grades as well as your predicted grades. They don't really need to have this extra bit to say, ''Oh, look at me, I'm smart.'' They already know that. If you are going to talk about intra-curricular achievements always link it to a key quality like how it shows determination, resilience or time management. Let's now take a look at an example of intra-curricular engagement. I feel that the skills for communicating with a limited vocabulary are akin to the skills of explaining complex concepts, something I have learned through my studies of AS Spanish this year. This is a great example that identifies the key skills that they've gained from their A Level subjects and how it's going to help them in the future to become a better doctor. Let's move on to super-curricular academia, which should really be the main focus anyway. Here's an example of super-curricular achievement. I also took the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and was ranked first nationally; I thoroughly enjoyed the residential camp where I learned more about pharmacology. This sentence shows something pretty impressive about the person. But to be honest, it could have been developed a little bit more. They haven't really linked it to a key quality or any reflection. They could have very easily gone on to link it to how they showed determination, resilience, and ability to achieve things. Which are skills that are going to help them become a better doctor in the future. But to be honest, it's quite likely that a word count stopped them from doing this and to be honest that is absolutely fair. Hopefully you can learn from this quote that should talk about your supra-curricular achievement and you should try to link it to a key quality where possible, but you can get away with things if word count is tucked. Here's another example of supra-curricular achievement. Reaching the national finals of the RSC Analytical Competition, gaining a silver award in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and a gold award in the senior UKMT challenge have allowed me to overcome scientific challenges beyond the confines of my A Level curriculum. This is a great sentence that demonstrates a lot of supra-curricular activities and they've also gone on to link it to a key quality of allowing them to overcome challenges. This could have been made even better if they linked it back to medicine. Let's now take a look at an example of supra-curricular engagement. Furthermore, I regularly read The New England Journal of Medicine for articles on ethics and topical issues, leading me to organize debates under my elected role as Debating Secretary, which have developed my ability to take prudent decisions under pressure. This is a fantastic sentence that shows engagement with medicine at a higher level. Reading something like the New England Journal of Medicine is at a very high academic level. That in itself is quite impressive, but they haven't stopped there. They've taken it further and linked it to the things they've done as a result of reading these articles. Things like sorting of debating, and they've also linked it to the key qualities and skills they've learned as a result of that. For example, making prudent decisions under pressure. To summarize, the academia pillar is a very important space for you to showcase all of your academic achievements. You should try your best to focus on the supra-curricular academia as much as possible over the intra-curricular academia, but if you do not have enough of the super-curricular academia, by all means, double into the intra-curricular academia and see what's skills you've gained from studying within the A Level curriculum. Now let's move on to the next lesson. 13. Projection Pillar: The next pillar within our framework is called projection. It involves projecting yourself into the future and deeply considering the realities of studying that subject, and doing the associated profession. This will show two things to the reader. One, that you've deeply considered the subject, weighed up the pros and the cons, and you've still decided that the subject is for you. Secondly, projection shows that you have a clear vision for the future, and that you've thought that far ahead and are basing decisions on that rather than just the current states. This aspects in itself is a massive strength that is going to help you stand out from the crowd. Now, let's take a look at this in action. 14. Projection Example: In the previous lesson, we learned about projection and deeply considering whether the subject is for you and how this shows that you have a clear vision for the future. Let's now take a look at some specific examples of deep consideration. This has made me realize that a career in medicine, involves long hours in potentially stressful and upsetting situations, and at times I will question whether it's all worth it. Yet the morale of the doctors I observed has made me realize that it offers reward and fulfillment like no other profession. This is a very nice piece that shows the reader that they've considered the pros and cons of medicine and they've still decided that it's for them because the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Here's another example of deep consideration. Through my work experience, I realized that medicine can be a challenging job, demanding sacrifices. Nevertheless, once given the opportunity, I know I have the motivation and capacity to succeed in the rewarding and intellectually fulfilling vacation. Now, this is a great example of projection and deep deliberation because it shows that they understand the realities and the challenges of medicine, but they've linked that to the key qualities that they have, which will help them overcome the challenges. To summarize. Projection is a great space for you to talk about how you've understood the realities of studying medicine, the difficulties and challenges that comes with it, and how you feel the benefits still outweigh the challenges. This will help show that you are serious about medicine and also shows that you're someone who can think about the future and think about the realities rather than just being naive. Now, let's move on to the next lesson and have a look at the next pillar. 15. Personality Pillar: So the next pillar within our framework is called personality. This is a great opportunity for us to shine through either using a fantastic writing style or talking about our great extracurricular activities. What I mean by writing style is the way that you word sentences. Whether you use metaphors, similes, the choice of words you make, all of that adds to your writing style and helps to set you apart from the other candidates. What I mean by extracurricular activities are things you've done outside of the academic sphere that has helped you gain some important skills which will help you become a better doctor. But not only that, talking about extracurricular activities we'll also show the reader that you're someone who can manage their time really well and pursue other wider interests at the same time as doing well in academia. This can also be a space for you to talk about any positions of responsibilities, whether you've been head boy, a head girl or prefect, or if you've been involved in any team sports, whether you've been a captain or an important team member. Let's now take a look at this in action. 16. Personality Example: In the previous lesson, we learned the value of adding personality to your personal statement by using things like writing style and talking about extra-curricular activities. In this lesson, we're going to look at some specific examples that's going to help you do exactly that. Here's an example of a very good writing style. Attending multi-disciplinary team meetings emphasized that teamwork is imperative in healthcare, where staff members have to work together to tailor and provide the best care to patients, just as organs within a system work together to carry out a role. This example uses a simile, just as organs within a system. This is a pretty nice touch to say that, look at me, I have a bit of a personality and I'm able to link what I've observed in the field of medicine to the human body. It's not incredibly clever, but it adds a little bit of style and a little bit of variety that's going to help set it apart from the rest of the people applying. Here's another example that uses good writing style. An appetite for scientific knowledge, hard work, and an altruistic outlook are essential characteristics of doctors and aspects of my character that have drawn me to study medicine. Using metaphors like "appetite for knowledge" and "drawn to medicine" are really good ways to add personality. Now, let's take a look at how to word extra curricular activities. As an escape from academia, playing field hockey, where I captain both my school and county team, has strengthened my teamwork and leadership skills. This is a great example of how to use extra-curricular activities to derive the key qualities and skills that you gain from that and how that's going to help you in the future to both study medicine and become a doctor. However, one thing to note here is that it starts the sentence by saying "as an escape from academia", which implies that academia is like a prison and you're kind of stuck in it, and you don't really enjoy it. That's a pretty dangerous thing to say, because a lot of medicine is based on academia, science, and just learning in general. Just be careful with minor wordings like that. It can be misinterpreted. Hopefully it won't be, but just don't open yourself up to that possibility. Now, let's check out another example. I've completed the Young Enterprise and Silver Duke of Edinburgh schemes and I'm the Deputy Head Boy of my school. All of this has made me an effective leader and an efficient team member, strengthened my communication skills and ability to listen and consider everyone's views. This, again, is a great example of using extra-curricular activities, especially the positions of responsibility, and linking that to key qualities that they've gained and how that's going to help them in the medical profession. In summary, use personality as much as possible within your personal statement. It really helps to set yourself apart, and using things like interesting writing style and talking about amazing extra-curricular activities and deriving key qualities to them and then linking into medicine is a really great way to show that you're a well-rounded person who is fantastic and suitable for medicine. 17. Passion Pillar: Finally, we're at the last pillar of our framework and that's passion. Very much like reflection, this is a fantastic way to set ourselves apart from the crowd. Passion is all about conveying to the reader that you have a genuine interest in studying medicine, and you are truly excited by it. Doing this is actually pretty easy. You just have to replace the low energy, low passion words, with the high-energy, high passionate words. However, this has to be done with a little bit of clause. There is no point in is replacing every single word with high energy, high emotion words when it kind of takes away from the meaning of the sentence, and it also ends up making you sound less authentic and less genuine. But nevertheless, this pillar is a valuable tool for us to set ourselves apart from the crowd. Let's now go on and take a look at some specific examples of passionate in action. 18. Passion Example: In the previous lesson, we learned about the importance of passion and how it's important to use passionate, emotive language throughout our personal statements. But we were also introduced to the idea of doing this carefully and not going overboard. Now, let's look at some specific examples to see how it's done properly. I'm fascinated by how pathogens effect us, the symptoms of disease and how they are combated. You can clearly see there are several passionate, emotive words that are used. Words like fascinated is just a little bit more passionate than something like interested. It's a very subtle difference, but it adds up over the whole course of the personal statement. It's really worth your time using the Thesaurus function within Word. Just highlight the word that you want to find an alternative for, and click the synonym function and just choose the one that sounds a little bit better and sounds more emotive and passionate. Here's another more complex example of passion. My experiences have made me compassionate, empathetic and also incited and ever-growing desire to care for others. This sentence uses lots of passionate words, things like compassionate, empathetic, and also uses a passionate concepts rather than a word, wishes that they have an ever growing desire to study medicine. Now, even though this is a really good space saver sentence by listing the key qualities. If this was done more extensively, it will start to sound a little bit disingenuous and not as authentic as they should sound. I definitely watch out for the trap of listing too much. Now finally, here is brilliant example of passion. In medicine, I see a purposeful and versatile vocation, yet what I love most is its fusion of a scientific core with a philanthropic heart. This is a fantastic demonstration of using passion wisely, but they've also shown a degree of personality with the writing style they've chosen. This one seems solid to an extent, personifies medicine when they say fusion of a scientific core with a philanthropic heart, it brings it to life like it's almost a person. Therefore, this example goes to show how passion and writing styles which comes under personality, can be used together to create some incredible sentences. That applies to a lot of the pillars we've talked about. Even though the pillars I've listed as separate lessons and separate pillars, they always interact with each other and you should always use them together to create incredible sentences and incredible paragraphs. Now that we've gone through all the pillars of the framework, let's move on to the next lesson, where we'll go on to structure our personal statement. 19. The Structure: Now that we've gone through the API framework, we hopefully have a way of organizing our thoughts and deciding what to include. Now let's dive into the specifics of structuring. This is where we essentially get all the things that we want to talk about and structure it in such a way that flows almost like a story, because that's exactly what the best personal statements do, they tell a very clear story. The story is essentially, "Look at me, I'm great. I have so many experiences that have taught me so many things which makes me ideal and perfect to do the subject, that unit ". The structure that I've seen work time and time again, is the classical root of introduction, main body and conclusion. However, it's not as simple as it sounds. In the next few lessons, we are going to be unpacking exactly what to include within each of these sections, to see how we should optimally stop things off in the introduction, how to section and group our points within the main body, and how to run things off nicely within the conclusion. Just as before, I'm going to be using real life examples of personal statements that have done very well, got into Oxbridge as well as other top UK universities. This should hopefully give you an idea of how the theory translates into the reality. Now, with that being said, let's dive into the first part of the structuring process, which is the introduction. 20. Writing the Introduction: In the previous lesson, we met the broad structure of the personal statement, which is essentially the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion, which is nothing groundbreaking or new at all. Let's now see how we can take this classic structure and make it unique, groundbreaking, and exciting to read, and let's start off with the introduction. The introduction is arguably the most important part of your personal statement. It's the front-facing attention-grabbing segment, so it makes perfect sense to put the best efforts into this. After analyzing numerous personal statements, I worked out that the best introductions have two main pillars within them. The first is motivation and the second is engagement. These pillars should be used to do two important things within the introduction. It almost create a two-step process for writing your introduction. Step 1 involves setting the scene about the subject, and Step 1 involves setting the scene about you. Let's begin with the Step 1 and unpack it. What we mean when we say setting the scene about the subject is essentially talking about the main reason you want to do the subject, and essentially defining why it's such an important subject that's worth your time and worth studying. Here's an example sentence pulled from an instruction that does this perfectly. In medicine I see a purposeful and versatile vacation, yet what I love most is its fusion of a scientific core with a philanthropic heart. Now this is a beautifully written sentence that clearly explains to the reader why medicine is such a great subject, and it utilizes several posts from our framework, including passion with the use of words like love, as well as demonstrating some consideration into what aspects of medicine is so great. As we can see here, the introduction and often the first sentence dive straight into the main reason why someone wants to study it, and that serves to set the scene about the subject and defines its importance. Let's move on to Step 2 and see what we actually mean when we say setting the scene about you. Essentially, this is talking about the pillar of engagement. The second part of your introduction should dive straight into something that you've done to engage with medicine. Here's an example of that. "Volunteering on the Lifeline Express, a hospital train in Marina, India first inspired me to study medicine." This is a great sentence because it shows the engagement medicines straight away because it talks about they're volunteering and it also alludes to their motivation and their inspiration to study medicine. Here's another example of this. "Last year, my work experience at Dow University Hospital in Karachi was one of the most interesting yet exhausting experiences of my life, and although it was both emotionally and physically demanding, it instilled in me a resolute desire to study and practice medicine." Now, this is a fantastic sentence that shows engagement with medicine at its core, because it's talking about the volunteering they've done. But it also links it to some degree of projection where they've considered deeply where the medicine is right for that. To summarize, your introduction should heavily borrow from motivation and engagement. The first part should set the scene about the subject and define why you want to study it and what's so great about it. The second section needs to dive straight into engagement and talk about the steps that you've done to get involved with medicine. Following the suggested sectioning, will set you up quite nicely for the second part of your personal statement, which is the main body. 21. Writing the Main Body: In the previous lesson we crafted a fantastic introduction, split up into motivation and engagement, where you set the scene about the subjects and about you. Now let's take a look at how we should structure the main body. This is often the most confusing part for a lot of people and is very easy to get lost within here and end up creating a very incoherent structure. The best way of structuring your main body to avoid all of this, is to chunk it into three sections. The first should we work experience, the second should be academics and the third part should be extracurricular. This is a pretty robust, tried and tested formula that makes sure that you essentially end up telling a story and you have a coherent structure throughout your main body. In the next three lessons, we're going to be diving into each of these sections and learning more in detail about what we should include and how we should work things. 22. Work Experience and Volunteering: In the previous lesson, we were introduced to how we should split on main body into three sections. In the first section is work experience, and that's exactly what we're talking about in this lesson. Now, the main pillars that we're going to be using in this section is engagement, suitability, reflection, projection, and passion. Like I mentioned very early on, even though these have been framed as distinct pillars, you should use them together to create some fantastic sentences and paragraphs. Let's take a look at an example that does exactly that. This has been taken from the first part of the main body. There's no better feeling than the delight felt while helping others and making a difference in their lives. This was clear from day one of my full week work experience placements at two GP surgeries, Royal Derby Hospital and a pharmacy. The most poignant moment was when a patient in the neuro-rehabilitation unit hugged and thanked each care-team member for their help. This proved that gratitude towards doctors still exist and is not a myth from bygone age, showing me how rewarding the job can be. Now, the first sentence here is great at showing motivation and projections by talking about the delight and the difference doctors can make. Then it moves swiftly on to talk about the different work experiences they've done, therefore, showing all the different types of engagement they've undertaken. Then the third sentence perfectly reflects on a specific example and extracts lessons that they've learned. Then finally, there are elements of projection where they clearly show that they've deeply considered the challenges that medicine would bring, as well as considering its rewards. Notice how that's passion throughout this whole sentence. For example, words like delight, poignant, and gratitude. This is a perfect example of what we've spoken about in the previous lessons, which is to structure your paragraphs by talking about an example or an experience you've done, linking it to key quality, reflecting on it, and then linking it to medicine. I know it hasn't done all of the elements, but it broadly follows the structure. Just to exemplify that, here's an example that actually talks about suitability. Six months volunteering at Brookfields Nursing Home has honed my ability to care selflessly and compassionately, teaching patients and allowing me to contribute to the community in the long-term. Now, this is a great sentence that talks about engagement and a volunteering thing they've done, and it goes on to link it to a key quality, but to make it even better, it should have gone to reflect on it and also a link it back to medicine. However, it's likely that the word count, character count, etc, limited them. They probably decided that this particular example wasn't something that we spend time reflecting on and they saved it for another possibly better example. To quickly summarize this lesson, in the first part of your main body, you should talk about your work experience and things you've done to engage with medicine. Use all of the pillars that we've spoken about so far, especially engagement, suitability, reflection, projection, and passion, and generally follow a structured way. Talk about an experience or an example, link it to a key quality, reflect on it, and link it back to medicine. Let's now move on to the next lesson where we are going to be looking at academics, which is the second part of the main body. 23. Academics: In the previous lesson, we learned about the first part of the main body and why we should include work experience prominently in that section. Now let's move on and talk about academics. As you might have guessed, the main pillar that features within this section is academia. But this section should also focus heavily on suitability. Let me give you an example of this in action. Academic pursuits, offer me the chance to quench my scientific curiosity, presenting me with opportunities to extend and apply my knowledge, writing my own Medlink research paper on the link between exercise and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor gave me invaluable experience in self-reliance and organization. Now this is a great example where they've talked about an academic achievement and they have linked it to a key quality which helps to show how you're suitable for medicine. This possibly could have been improved with a little bit more reflection in order to follow the structure we have discussed before. So example, key quality, reflection then link back to medicine. For example, they could have talked a little bit about the challenges they faced as they were writing up the paper and then going to talk about how they overcame the challenges. But again, it's quite likely the space was limited, so they decided not to reflect deeply on this and then moved on to another. The reason I'm going on about all of this one could have reflected more, could have done this or could have done that, is to give you an idea of, yes, you can take things further and you should if you are able to, but these examples hopefully give you an idea of what you can get away with. Here's another example that talks about academia. European Youth Parliament debating at national level has enhanced my skills of independent research, ability to extract key information and link ideas together to form the bigger picture, skills that will aid me during the medical course. Now, after all that, this is the sentence that perfectly follows the sentence structure that we've suggested. Essentially providing an example, which in this case it's debating, and then they link it to a key person specification, which in this case, independent research. Then they go on to reflect on it, talking about the lessons they learned and linking the ideas together, then they link it to the subject. So to quickly summarize academics, this section of the main body is free to talk about their academic achievement and engagement and link it to how that makes you more suitable for the medical course. Again, to drive the point home, remember to use the structure of example, link it to a key quality, reflect on it, and then link it back to medicine. So we'll end the lesson here and go on to the next lesson where we're going to talk about the extra curricular part of the main body. 24. Extra-Curricular: In the previous lesson, we covered academics. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the final part of the main body, and talk about how we should word extracurricular activity. The main pillars within this section are obviously going to be personality and suitability. Because the whole point of talking about your extracurricular activities is to show that they have given you certain skills which is going to make you ideal to do medicine. But of course, within here you should also use other pillars like reflection and passion throughout to help stand out from the crowd. Let's see an example of this in action. Fitness is a key part of my life. Running daily and attending a gym keeps me relaxed, focused, and disciplined, allowing me to maintain a healthy work-life balance and will help relieve the tensions and strains of studying medicine. Now, this is a pretty great demonstration of how a sentence in this extracurricular section should be worded. It follows the structure we've been banging on about in all of the previous lessons, which is essentially, given example in this case running and then link it to a key quality, which in this case is focus and discipline, which is then linked to reflection and onto the subject. Now, you absolutely have to follow the structure for this section in particular because there's no point in talking about extracurricular activities if you don't link it to a key quality that it has given you. Because the whole point of this personal statement is to show the reader that you are ideal for medicine. If you're just randomly talking about your extracurricular activities which has no real relevance to a key quality that you've gained out of it, then it really doesn't add anything to your personal statement and you must as well just chuck it. It's absolutely paramount especially in this section to follow the sentence structure we've been banging on about. To drive the point home. Here's another example. I've completed the Young Enterprise and Silver Duke of Edinburgh schemes and I'm the Deputy-Head boy of my school. All this has made me an effective leader, an efficient team member, strengthen my communication skills, and ability to listen and consider everyone's views. This, again, is a great demonstration of using extracurricular activities to show off all your key qualities, in this case, teamwork and communication. To summarize the main body as a whole, the first section should be devoted to work experience, and arguably this should be the bulk. Then you should talk about academics, and finally, you should talk about extracurricular activities, which probably should form the smallest part of the whole main body. Throughout use all of the pillars that we've talked about to help you organize your thoughts within each of these sections. Especially use things like passion and personality to help you stand out. 25. Writing the Conclusion: Now finally, we're at the last part of the personal statement structure, which is the conclusion. Now this quite seamlessly introduction carries a lot of weight. Just as a good introduction makes a good first impression, a good conclusion leaves a good lasting impression. Now, the conclusion, just like the introduction, should include two sections. The first section should be to sum up all your key qualities, and the second section should be related to a degree of projection and passion towards medicine. Here's an example of what I mean by that. My experiences have made me compassionate, empathetic and also incited an ever-growing desire to care for others. I would relish the opportunity to read medicine and rise to every challenge. So as you can see here, sentence one sums up the key qualities and sentence two hits at home with a passion of projection that shows how much studying medicine will mean to them. Throughout the views, passionate words like compassionate, relish and more complex passionate concept like ever-growing desire. Here's another example. Through my work experience, I realized that medicine can be a challenging job, demanding sacrifices; nevertheless, once given the opportunity, I know I have the motivation and capacity to succeed in this rewarding and intellectually fulfilling vacation. Now this conclusion perfectly executes the formula we've been talking about. They talk of the key qualities that they have. That means that would be ideal for medicine, things like motivation and capacity to succeed. Then they also talk about some degree of consideration they've given to the challenges of medicine by saying things like challenging job, demanding sacrifices. Lastly, here's an example of just a single short sentence that achieves both of these elements. Fully aware of the challenges and expectations of a medical career, I believe my strong work ethic, caring nature and enthusiasm will make me a successful, well-rounded doctor. So to summarize this lesson, the conclusion can be just as important as the introduction because it leaves a lasting impression. You should use it to some up your key qualities and also show a degree of passionate projections where you deeply consider all the challenges of medicine and come to the conclusion that it's still worth it. 26. Oxbridge Pointers: Now this lesson is all about applying Oxbridge. If you already know that you have no interest in applying to Oxbridge, feel free to skip this and move on to the next lesson. But if you are interested in applying, then we can have a look at some Oxbridge pointers that's going to strengthen your application. Oxford and Cambridge both massively pride themselves on academics, and as a result, if you are applying here, this should be reflected in your personal statement, especially when it comes to talking about super curricular activity. These are the activities that you've done that's kind of related to medicine, but outside the normal curriculum of your A level subjects. Here is the guidance that are pulled from one of the colleges in Cambridge University. Strong applicants to Cambridge and other campuses universities have often explored their chosen subjects through wider reading and enrichment work outside of their A level studies. This is called super curricular activity rather than extracurricular activities, as it is primarily academic exploration, building on and going beyond what you are studying in school or college. With this in mind, the academics section of your main body should heavily focus on super curricular activities you've done, reflect on it, and link it to key qualities. Here's an example from a student who was accepted into Cambridge University. Writing my own Medlink research paper on the link between exercise and brain-derived neurotrophic factor gave me invaluable experience in self-reliance and organization. This ignited my interest in the complexity of our brain and I wrote my EPQ on the segregation of psychological and physiological treatment in the NHS and how the power of the brain, such as the placebo effects, can be used to help cure patients. Cross referencing sources, especially while participating in the Chemistry Research Club led me to question what I read, making me realize the importance of scrutinizing scientific knowledge. This is a fantastic demonstration of talking about super curricular activities, linking into a key quality, and then reflecting on it to an extent. To summarize this lesson, the Oxbridge personal statement should heavily include super curricular activities within the Academics section. You should link it to key qualities and reflect on it where possible. Now if you're sitting there thinking, damn, I haven't actually done many super curricular activities and nowhere near things like publishing and meddling or anything like that, then don't worry, it's not a problem. Go to the resources section of this course, where you'll find guidance from Christ's College at Cambridge University, and they give you a list of things you can quickly read and listen to and hopefully you can use that as super curricular activities you can put within your personal statement. Now, the next few lessons are going to be in-depth analysis and breakdown of several personal statements that were both excepted into Oxbridge as well as top UK universities. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of how to structure things, how to word things, and how much weight to give to each section. Because it can always be a little bit confusing to decide how much you should actually write for the introduction, conclusion, and the different parts of the main body. Hopefully with the examples you'll have a much better idea of all of this. 27. Sujan's Personal Statement : So in this lesson, we're going to through a personal statement written by Sujan, who like me, went to Downing College, and he's a recently qualified doctor. His personal statement is a great example of the structure we've discussed in the past few lessons, and on top of this, is a very well balanced personal statement. As a result, it earned him offers from both UCL and Cambridge. This would be an ideal personal statement for you to take inspiration from, if you want to keep your personal statement quite general, well-rounded, and appealing to most universities. Let's first begin by breaking down the structure. This personal statement was 639 words in total. For the introduction, Sujan devoted about eight percent of the words. The work experience section of the main body made up 49 percent, academics made up 17 percent, whilst extra-curricular activities made up 18 percent, and finally, the conclusion was given eight percent of words. Now, let's dive in a little bit deeper into each of these sections to see why this is such a well-rounded personal statement. Here's the introduction, "Working with people from different disciplines in various health and social care settings has developed my interests in both the clinical and academic aspects of medicine. Being a keen scientist with an interest in people, I look forward to the professional and personal satisfactions, that a career in medicine can offer." These sentences nicely follow the motivation engagement structure we've been suggesting for the introduction. Sujan mentions, clearly, that he hopes to gain satisfaction from medicine, which serves as his motivation, and he also speaks about the academic interest in medicine, which is another important part of the motivation pillar. Sujan also introduces his work experience, therefore talking about engagement, and this sets him up quite nicely for the next part, which is the work experience section of the main body. This helps him flow very well from one section to the next, and allows him to tell a nice story, and allows his personal statements to be very coherent. Let's take a look at the first part of the work experience section of the main body, "Work experience at the Headstone Lane Medical Centre gave me an insight into the challenges that arise on a daily basis in primary care. Through shadowing the phlebotomist and the nurse, I appreciated the importance of creating a comforting environment for the patients. My time at Hillingdon hospital's Colorectal department taught me the importance of building relationships with patients. This was especially evident during ward rounds. I also witnessed both open and key hole surgeries, including right hemicolectomy and laparoscopic open cholecystectomy, in which I realized the importance of communication between the multi-disciplinary team throughout the operation." These sentences are fantastic examples of reflection, where he's talked about the important lessons he's learned from each experience, and so he perfectly follows the formula we've been suggesting, which is to talk about an experience, and then reflect on it. Now, of course, in the structure that we've met in previous lessons, there is an important step between talking about an experience, and reflecting on it, and that is to talk about the key qualities you gained. To make these sentences even better, Sujan could have talked about the key qualities he gained from each experience. But to be honest, for a short-term experience like this, talking about the experience and reflecting on it, is appropriate, and he can save talking about key qualities for when he's talking about longer-term volunteering he's undertaken. Anyway, moving on to the next part, the work experience, "Attending meetings in the morning about patients made it clear that sometimes there is no right answer in medicine. It is important to get a range of opinions from multiple doctors to ensure the best care for a patient. For example, one of the patients discussed was a young female who had inflammation of the bowel and a decision had to be made about whether she would have a colostomy, or if this would affect her lifestyle." This is a great example of extended reflection, where he talks in detail about a specific example, and extracts the lessons he's gained from it. This level of detail, massively adds to the authenticity of his claims. Notice how Sujan use this specific example to carry out some deep reflection on, while he's keeping his previous reflections at a much lower level. This is the best strategy when it comes to reflecting, because like we've discussed in previous lessons, reflecting deeply on something is very word consuming. You really can't afford to carry out deep perfection for every single example. But at the same time, you can't just move on without reflecting at any level. What Sujan done here is ideal, where he's reflected at a lower level for all the other examples, and he's chosen this one, in particular, to reflect more deeply on. Moving on, "Experiencing a wide range of cases including patients who were terminally ill helped me understand the holistic approach required by doctors, whilst the variety in the role appealed to me." Again, this is similar to the previous sentences, in that he shows a low level reflection on an experience. In this way, he shows that every experience led to a lesson, but at the same time, keeping the reflection at this lower level allows him to talk about more points, and he picks and chooses specific examples to reflect at a deeper level. This is why Sujan's personal statement is so good. Remember, reflection is such a core pillar in allowing you to stand out from the crowd, and it also shows the reader that you're a deep thinker. I highly recommend this strategy that Sujan has been using throughout this whole section. Moving on, next, Sujan speaks about voluntary, which fits in quite well with his work experience, because they're both part of the engagement pillar, "Regularly volunteering at Kensington Nursing Home has developed my empathy for the elderly, who I have enjoyed caring for and comforting. The residents I support suffer from dementia, and although this can be emotionally challenging at times, I enjoy talking and listening to them, and seeing that they feel appreciated is always a rewarding feeling." Now, this is a brilliant demonstration of the structure we've come across in previous lessons. That is, to talk about an experience, link it to a key quality, and then reflect on it. Of course, to complete this full structure, Sujan should have gone on to talk about how this would make him a better doctor in the future. But to be honest, this lowest bit in the structure is probably the least important, because you can almost allow the reader to make this inference. If you are stopped for space, this is probably an element that you can lose. But when you can, try to link the key quality back to medicine to make it clear to the reader that you are thinking about how this is going to allow you to become the best doctor in the feature, and here's the last bit in the work experience for that volunteering section, "I was curious about the delusion some of the residents had and their difficulty in communicating, but the lecture, 'Geriatrics: Dementia, Delirium and Depression,' was insightful. A valuable lesson learned was that in a caring professions such as medicine, it is important to acknowledge patients as individuals, not by their illness." Similar to the previous example of deep reflection, where he spoke about the young female with bowel inflammation, here again, Sujan shows a nice deep level of reflection, extracting a very important lesson of treating patients as individuals. The first sentence also alludes to some super curricular engagement, which sets him up quite nicely for the next section of the main body, which is academics. Sujan begins the academics section like this, "A student's guide to DNA and Genetics gave me an insight into the range of research involving genes, including 'Gene therapy for Cystic Fibrosis.' The science of medicine is ever evolving due to technological advancements, such as this, and I look forward to the endless learning process of a medical career." The first sentence is a great example of super curricular engagement, and it's nicely complimented by the second sentence, where he reflect on what his reading taught him. Moving on to the final part of the academics, he says, "I was fascinated by the theory of MHC dissimilarity and mate choice mentioned in Dr. Leslie Knapp's talk, 'Opposites Attract: is it in the genes?,' which inspired my EPQ. Working on my EPQ over the past year has developed my ability to organize and plan ahead, and I have relished critiquing the application of theories of mate choice to humans." This again, is a great example where he talks a lot about his super curricular activities, both attending the talk, and doing an EPQ, and notice how he structured it in such a way that allows him to tell a story. In the second sentence, he goes further and links how all of these super curricular activities, has resulted in him developing various key qualities. Now, let's take a look at the final sections of the main body, which is the extra-curricular activities, "I enjoy football, swimming and table tennis and relax by drawing and playing piano." This is a great example of activity compounding, which is a very nice space-saving strategy. But really, this sentence could use with a little bit more reflection and linking to key qualities. It's very nice to say that you have ways of coping with stress and you can relax, but you need to explicitly clear how this is going to help you become a better doctor, by allowing you to deal with stress and allowing you to relax and switch off when you come back from work. Moving on to the next bit about extra curricular activities, "Over the summer of 2012, I took part in 'The Challenge,' and I'm now a member of the 'National Citizen Service.' During this time I volunteered with the Alzheimer's Society and in my team of 12, we organized a successful sponsorship event." These sentences are perfectly fine examples of talking about extra-curricular activities. But, there is no real reflection or linking to key quality going on here. In that sense it's almost a waste of talking about these experiences. It's almost as if he's talking about it just for the sake of it. But unfortunately, this is the price we'll pay if we end up reflecting too much in the other sections. However, I do agree with Sujan, in that, if we're all going to call our reflection is better to do it in the extra-curricular section, rather than doing it in the work experience or academics section, which arguably carries a little bit more weight. Moving on to the final part of the extra-curricular section, "I also underwent the personal challenge involving rock climbing, kayaking, and other activities which developed myself confidence. Leading my team in arranging children's football matches developed my ability to delegate tasks, and cooperate with others as a team leader. My role as a senior prefect has also developed my teamwork skills in working to supervise the school." Now, these last three sentences are much better. They talk about extra-curricular experience, and they link it to a key quality he gained out of it. Now finally, his conclusion, "In summary, my experiences, particularly work shadowing and volunteering, have convinced me that medicine is the career I want to pursue. I'm aware of the responsibilities, stresses and intellectual challenges that I am putting myself forward for, but I believe that my determination and ambition to study medicine will allow me to succeed." This perfectly follows the conclusion structure we've been talking about in previous lessons. That is, to carry out some deep consideration about the challenges that medicine will bring, but so arriving at the conclusion that it's worth it, and then showing some passionate projection, and finally, summing up all your key qualities. All in all, this is a very well-rounded personal statement, and it's the one that I recommend that you take inspiration from, when you're writing your personal statement, especially if you want it to be appealing to a lot of universities. 28. Osaid's Personal Statement: Today I'm going to be analyzing my friend SH, person statement in depth. To give you guys a bit of background about SH, he's originally qualified doctor from Cambridge University. He's consistently ranked within the top three of the whole University. He's probably one of the smartest people I know. Let's first begin by breaking down the person statement into its structural components. The whole personal segment is about 620 words long. For the introduction he's dedicated about 25 words. That works out to be around folks. For the work experience section, SH dedicated, 55 percent of the word's 27 percent of the words for academia, 7 percent of the words for extra curricular activities, and finally, 6 percent of the words for the confusion. Right now, let's dive into the introduction. The first paragraph in medicine, I see a purposeful and versatile vacation. Yet what I love most is its fusion of a scientific core with a philanthropic heart. This perfectly follows the introduction formulas that I've been suggesting. It clearly lays out the motivation to do medicine and why it's such a great subject. He links his academic interests by talking about scientific cope with the personal opportunity that doing medicine will bring him. That's clear use of passion throughout with words like love and also use a very nice writing style which almost personifies medicine to an exam. This strategy in particular is going to help him stand out from the crowd. This personal segment seamlessly transitions into the next section which is about the work experience. But we normally suggest that he should include some sentences by engagement within the introduction itself. Now this works because the second section of the introduction, which is all about engagement, is essentially talking about a degree of work experience. Because the first part of the main body is work experience, there's a good flow. This is why the structure that I suggest allows you to tell a story and flow from one section to another seamlessly. This is the first part of his main body, which is all to do with work experience. "Last year, my work experience at Dow University Hospital in Karachi was one of the most interesting yet exhausting experiences of my life. Although it was both emotionally and physically demanding, its instilled in me a resolute desire to study and practice medicine." That sentence was great at showing deliberation and consideration of the challenges that medicine will bring. By talking about this work experience, he's showing that he's engaged with medicine and actually gone out of his way to learn more about it. He's also used a good amount of reflection here where he's extracted the lessons he's learnt, and he talks about how it's made him move resolute, going forwards. Moving on but still staying within the work experience section. "Here, I was inspired by the altruistic concern of specialists who offered supererogarotory." That's a big word, but I looked it up and it means doing a morally good thing that's above and beyond what's expected of you, anyway going on. "Supererogatory, reduced rate evening appointments for those in financial difficulty. This led me to qualify in basic life support and volunteer both the mallets hospice and in a geriatric ward where I feed patients while keeping them company, although engaging with terminally ill and infirm patients has shown me the reality of medicine, I fill that doctors hold a great privilege in supporting them and their families at such a difficult time." These sentences are again great demonstrating his work experiences and they show plenty of reflection. They essentially tell the reader, "Hey, I care so much about medicines that have gone away to engage with and learn more about it. I've considered it deeply and I've arrived at the decision that it's still for me,." Still sticking with work experience. He goes on to say "Throughout my placements I have been able to empathize with patients and speak with doctors, developing more understanding of the importance of the holistic care that the multidisciplinary team provides. At the royal Sussex County Hospital, I witnessed a knee replacement and was captivated by the surgical precision in fixing the prosthesis. In addition, the surgeons patience when teaching trainees, stress the vital role of doctors as teachers, I decided to develop this skills by providing ICT lessons for the elderly." Now this is a brilliant sentence. It really shows his usability by growing up the key qualities that he has and doing this is something that most people struggle with because well, we don't really know how to reflect well, but it's actually quite straightforward. Reflection is all about attracting a lesson and seen how an experience has changed you and how you will act differently going forwards and say, does this really well placed in the first and last sentences, especially where he talks about the role of doctors as teachers and how we went on to provide ICT lessons for the elderly. Moving on, "I feel that the schools for communicating with a limited vocabulary are akin to the schools for explaining complex concepts. Something I have learned through my study of AS Spanish this year." Now this sentence alludes to how his A level subjects have given them key qualities that are going to be useful in medicine, especially in regards to his communications skills. Now, you could argue that they should have been put maybe in the Academics section just to keep things tidy. This is a perfect example of how we should use the structures that people give us as more of a guide and not be afraid to shift things around if they flow better in a different order. Here, the example of AS Spanish fits really well within the work experience section because it shows communication and that's what he was talking about previously. This is a great example of another type of structuring where you structure things based on key quality rather than what the activity type is. Moving on to the final bits about the work experience. "As a GP practice, I noticed how clear communication between primary and secondary care through detailed referral letters allows effective, ongoing care. Moreover, I helped comfort children in a dedicated immunization clinic, which impressed upon me the role of a doctor to care for the whole community, not just the individual." Again, this is a great demonstration of showing engagement with medicine and also sharing, he understands what are the important key qualities that make up a good doctor. The last bit shows that he has an awareness of an important concept in medicine, which is public health. That refers to doctors caring for a community of people rather than just the individual. Right. Moving on to the academic section next, "In Mukherjee's The Emperor of all Maladies, the perseverance of individuals such as Sidney Farber in the development of the cure for acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired me to write an essay on the subject that won the school science essay prize. I found this particularly interesting as I analyzed primary research papers for the first time." Now this is a great demonstration of engaging with the academic side of medicine and especially talking about super curricular activity, which is why you go beyond the A Level curriculum, but still learn and read about things to do with medicine. Now this type of super curricula engagement is exactly what Oxford is after. They put massive emphasis on academics and especially the super curricular, getting involved in extra things outside of your curriculum, but soon related to the academic side of your subject. Moving on, "Additionally, Mukherjee highlighted how randomized control trials underpin evidence-based medicine. For this reason, I took the initiative to study further maths in my spare time covering statistical models crucial for medical research. I also took the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and was ranked first nationally. I thoroughly enjoyed the residential camp where I learned more about pharmacology." These sentences show that he has a real appreciation for academia and the science, especially when he talks about randomized control trials. However, the second sentence, even though it took a really great super curricular achievement, he really doesn't develop it further by saying what schools he gained at as well. Really there is no reflection here. To make things even better. He could have followed the structure that we suggest, which essentially given an example, link it to a key quality, reflect on it and then link back to the subject. Here's the final bit on academics. "Furthermore, I regularly read The New England Journal of Medicine for articles on ethics and topical issues, leading me to organize debates under my elected role, as debating secretary, which I've developed my abilities to take prudent decisions under pressure I therefore helped to resurrect the college debating society and have lead my team to the Oxford Union schools debating national finals." Again, he gives more examples of super curricular activities which Oxbridge absolutely love, and importantly here he is linking them to key qualities such as decision-making under pressure. Now let's move on to the extra curricular part of his person. "Outside my academic life, I find that music and tennis help me relax and I've been able to balance my preparation for a piano diploma and Gold Duke of Edinburgh with my pastoral row as a school prefect, allowing me to develop my prioritization skills." This is a very efficient sentence that utilizes several of the space-saver strategies that we discussed, especially activity compounded, where he's managed to group together several activities to communicate the same ideas with fewer words. Importantly, he still links all of these activities to key qualities. Now finally, the conclusion. "Through my work experience, I have realized that medicine can be a challenging job, demanding sacrifices. Nevertheless, once given the opportunity, I know I have the motivation and capacity to succeed in this rewarding and intellectually fulfilling vocation." Now this conclusion nicely follows the formula that we've suggested, which is to summarize the key qualities and share passionate projection by weighing up the demands of medicine but still deciding it's worth it. To summarize his person statement. This was a great Oxbridge centric personal statement. If you're applying to Oxbridge, This is one of the main ones you should use as a guide. 29. Raihan's Personal Statement: In this lesson, we'll be going through a personal statement written by Rayhan who's a recently qualified doctor from Cambridge and he's been publishing scientific research papers even when he was a pre-clinical student. This personal statement is quite similar to Essaid's in that it has a very academic focus, which is perfect for Oxbridge. But at the same time, this also does a pretty good job at striking a fine enough balance to appeal to other universities as well. This personal statement consists of 628 words, with the introduction making up 13 percent, followed, interestingly, by the academic section which makes up 28 percent of the personal statement. Then work experience with 23 percent, followed by extracurricular activities with 21 percent, and finally, the conclusion with eight percent. There's a fairly even distribution between the work experience section and the extracurricular section of the main body, but there's a greater weighting given towards the academic session. Let's now go on and see each of these sections in detail. This was Rayhan's introduction. A distressing fact of life is that most people remain somewhat unaware of their body until it malfunctions, taking its intricate complexity for granted. Be it managing heart failure or a neurodegenerative condition, a doctor's vocation is unique and constantly changing due to medical advances. Work experience has increased my appreciation of this demanding and fulfilling career and my desire to both be part of and hopefully further the advancement of such a dynamic profession and to have a beneficial impact on the community. This introduction perfectly follows the structure we've met in previous lessons in that it sets the scene about the subject and talks about why it's such a great subject to study. Then it goes on to talk about engagement and the work experience he's undertaking. It clearly outlines both aspects of motivation, talking about the academic interests, as well as the personal opportunity he gets from studying it. This perfectly executes the motivation pillar. This is a great example of an introduction and notice how he's used passionate words throughout. Moving on to the first part of the main body. Now you'd expect this to be talking about work experience, but interestingly, Rayhan is choosing to speak by academics. Let's see how this works. Academic pursuits offer me the chance to quench my scientific curiosity, presenting me with opportunities to extend and apply my knowledge. This sentence is great at showing the reader that he appreciates academia and he enjoys science. But right now it's not really specific to medicine. It's very general like, "Oh, look at me. I like science," instead of, "I like the science that medicine has to offer." This sentence could have been improved with some link towards medicine. But to be honest, we can say introduction was so strong and it featured a lot of academic interest in medicine, it's quite fair for him to make this a little bit vague. It works overall. Moving on to the next bit of the academics, writing my own Medlink research paper on the link between exercise and brain-derived neurotrophic factor gave me invaluable experience in self-reliance and organization. This ignited my interests in the complexity of our brain and I wrote my EPQ on the segregation of psychological and physiological treatment in the NHS and how the power of the brain, such as the placebo effect, can be used to help cure patients. Cross-referencing sources, especially whilst participating in the Chemistry Research Club led me to question what I read making me realize the importance of scrutinizing scientific knowledge. This first sentence is great at sharing supercritical engagements, and importantly, it has been linked to the key qualities he gained. Now, the second sentence follows on from this so it says a nice story and it's a nice opportunity for him to talk about another super curricular engagement. Again, lots of passionate words used here to show that he has a real connection with these experiences. Then the third sentence here shows a good level of reflection. Broadly, all of this follows the structure we've met in the previous lessons. That is, to talk about an experience, link it to a key quality, and reflect on it. To complete, he could have linked it back to medicine but like we've discussed, this is probably the least important element of this whole structure. Moving on to the last bit on academics. An inspiring talk on the neuroinvasive nature of the rabies virus at the Villiers Park Neuroscience course stimulated my interest in nerve impulses and how our body is so susceptible to infection. Reaching the national finals of the RSC Analytical Competition, gaining a silver award in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and a Gold award in the Senior UKMT Challenge have allowed me to overcome scientific challenges beyond the confines of my A-Level curriculum. Both these sentences are great examples of how to work, super creatively, engagement, and achievement. Notice how he's reflected on each experience to show that he's learning from each of them. Moving on to the work experience section of the main body. Work experience shadowing a Consultant Psychiatrist complemented my interest in the brain and left me with admiration and respect for the sensitive way the doctors treated each patient as an individual. Whether they had Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, each had their own exclusive sets of challenges, especially now neurological conditions are becoming more prevalent in an aging society. This is a brilliant way to enter the next section because it builds on the previous section where he spoke about the academic interests he has in the brain. In this way, he's telling a nice story about how it went from theory to real-life experience. Again, he showed lots of reflection in these sentences. Moving on, the teamwork and cooperation between the nurses and doctors I witnessed whilst on rounds taught me how essential good communication skills, patience, and willingness to assume responsibility are in the clinical environment. I learned how indispensable empathy and good interpersonal skills are during a GP placement when the GP managed to reassure and help a teenage girl who is self-harming due to bullying and school pressure. This is a great example of presenting work experience and reflecting on it to extract key lessons. He's also identified several key qualities that are important to be a good doctor. However, he hasn't directly linked that to any of the key qualities that he has or he has developed. To improve things, he could have explicitly said how these experiences led to him developing his own abilities and earn skills. In that way, he can tell the reader that, "Yes, I appreciate these are important key qualities in doctors, but I also have these key qualities or I have taken steps to help me develop them." The final part of work experience. In contrast, during a Respiratory clinic, I was able to see the other side of being a doctor as many patients who entered were diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, doctors can't save everyone. This shows good awareness and projection and shows deep consideration of the challenges that doctor's face. The final part of the main body, which is the extracurricular section. As an escape from academia, playing field hockey, where I captain both my school and county team, has strengthened my teamwork and leadership skills. Alongside this, volunteering at a local care home every week and at an Adventure Playground for special needs children, both for two years has heightened my communication skills and I now appreciate the compassion and empathy required to deal with difficult conditions such as autism. Now, both these sentences are fantastic at talking about experiences and linking them to key qualities. The second sentence takes it even further and shows some nice reflection. However, arguably, the second sentence is better placed in the work experience/volunteering section. That being said, this is possibly another way of structuring your personal statement. It's possible that Rayhan structures his personal statement to group together the key qualities he's observed and then grouped together key qualities he has or he has gained. In that sense, in the second section of the main body where he spoke about work experience, he spoke about the main qualities that he observed from doctors, then in this extracurricular section, he now speaks about the key qualities that he has. This serves as a great example to show you guys that whatever structure that people suggest to you, you can play around with and choose the one that helps you tell a better story for yourself. This structure that Rayhan used is possibly another example that you can take inspiration from. Ultimately, choose the one that you think allows you to tell a better story. The final bit on extracurricular activities. I have taught myself the guitar for my Gold DofE award and I have become proficient enough to join a band. Juggling these activities, as well as my academic work has taught me the value of commitment, dedication, and time management. After participating in the Oxford and MACE debating competitions, I developed the skills to work and think quickly under pressure and they have enlightened me on controversial topics such as euthanasia. The first sentence here is great assuring both space-saving strategies we've come across. It shows both activity compounding and quality compounding. Which is fine because he's still linking together an experience with the key quality he gained. The final sentence is arguably something related to super curricular engagement so it might have been better placed in the academia section. But anyway, he does link into key qualities and reflects on it so it is still a great sentence. Finally, the conclusion. On reflection through work experience, I became more aware of the stresses and demands of a doctor's role, yet this only helped to strengthen my ambition to work in such an ethically challenging and intellectually stimulating field. I believe I possess the probity and dedication to succeed in the medical profession and contribute fully to university life. This conclusion perfectly follows a structure we've suggested in that the first sentence considers the challenges that doctors will face and he still decides that medicine is worth it, and the final sentence nicely sums up his key qualities. Overall, this personal statement was a great demonstration of quite a lot of concepts we've met in previous lessons and it's also been a very good example to teach us a different way of structuring. Absolutely, don't be afraid to play around with the structure. Pick the one that allows you to tell the nicer story. 30. Ore's Personal Statement: In this lesson, we're going to go through the personal statement written by Ore who is a recently qualified doctor from Cambridge. Now, this personal statement in particular is a great example of one that's very well rounded and it brilliantly demonstrates several of the features we've encountered in previous lessons. Let's first begin by breaking down the structure. This personal statement was 630 words in total. The introduction makes up nine percent, work experience and voluntary makes up 45 percent, academics was given 16 percent, and the extracurricular section was given 24 percent, and the conclusion makes up four percent. Let's now dive in and look at each of these sections in detail. Here's the introduction. An appetite for scientific knowledge, hard work and altruistic outlook are essential characteristics of doctors and aspects of my character that have drawn me to study medicine. I'm thrilled by the prospect of exploring the causes and treatments for diseases that affect individuals and the opportunities to contribute whenever possible to improving their quality of life. Now, this introduction quite nicely talks about the motivations behind studying medicine, discussing both academic interests and the personal opportunity. Now, if Ore was sticking to the structure that we've met in previous lessons, he should have gone on to talk about some work experience, or some volunteering to share his engagement with medicine. But instead, Ore has chosen to talk about his suitability and introduce some of his key qualities. Actually, this is a great example of a different style of structuring your introduction, where you essentially set the scene about the subject and your motivations and then you go on to talk about the key qualities that you have that makes you ideal and suitable for medicine. Like we've said before, ultimately, the choice of how to structure things and how to work things is yours. Feel free to change things around to whatever order that allows you to tell the best story. That's why we're spending the first part of the course going through the theory to help you appreciate what factors make up a good personal statement that, hopefully, will give you the freedom to play around with that and put it to whatever structure that allows you to tell your very own story. Let's now move on to the first part of the main body where I talked about work experience. Shadowing a consultant Psychiatrist for a week in Basildon hospital has given me a realistic understanding of the challenges of a career in medicine. I observed ward rounds and meetings highlighting the importance of building trust and a rapport with patients. I discovered the partnership with other vital health care professionals in a meeting discussing care plans, now appreciating the multi-disciplinary approach to delivering holistic patient care. All of these are great sentences that talk about an experience and immediately offers some reflection after it. Now, to improve this and take this a little bit further, he could have offered some more specific examples and reflected on these to a deeper level and possibly, he could have linked some of these experiences to his own key qualities. But it's likely the Ore has streamlined these sentences to allow him to reflect more deeply in later examples. Let's go on and see. Memorably, I saw the composure and sensitivity needed by doctors in an emotionally charged family meeting as a mother with dementia was told it was not safe to return home. From an ethical perspective, this taught me to respect patient autonomy and to always act in the best interests of patients, treating them as individuals. Now, this is a great example of a deeper reflection where he's talked about a specific example, and then immediately, goes on to extract a key important lesson from this. Now, the final bit on work experience. Two weeks of work experience at care homes for the elderly and disabled showed me the devastating effects of age-related disease and physical disabilities while giving me an insight into healthcare outside of hospitals. Again, this follows on from his previous sentences where he's talking about an experience and then talking about lessons he's learned from them, showing that he's a continuous learner who's able to extract key information and lessons from experiences. Now, this skill is one of the most valuable things you can get across in your personal statement, and Ore is doing it fantastically. Let's now look at the next section of the main body, which is academics. I enjoy taking my scientific interest beyond the extent of the curriculum, attending a dissection club and Debate Chamber course where I learned about medical specialties. Now, this is a great sentence where he talked about his super curricular activities and how this is widened his appreciation of medicine. Moving on, he says, in conversation with a lecturer at the practical lab workshop on DNA, I learnt that his wife suffered from multiple sclerosis. I have since developed a strong interest in neurological conditions, exploring books such as the Chemistry of Life and John Ratey's, A user's guide to the brain, which was excellent at simplifying complex ideas, but frustratingly limited in referencing to research. This is a great demonstration of using a specific example to help him tell the story and seem more authentic. Now, this specific example allows him to talk about super curricular engagement activities under a bit of an emotional branch. It's almost showing the reader that I have academic interests, but it's driven by my care for people. The last part here where he hints at referencing and research, certainly shows that he's interested in academia and he has a very good awareness of what research entails. It also shows that he's eager to go into the primary source and learn from the core. Now, the final part of academics. I listen to BBC health podcasts and read the Student BMJ, boosting my medical awareness. This again is a nice sentence that uses activity compounding, but still links it to what he gained from each of these experiences. Now, let's have a look at the volunteering section of the main body. Normally, we'd expect volunteering to be put within the work experience section, and often, we just use them interchangeably. But it's interesting to see how Ore has split this up with academic section. Let's see how this works. I volunteer weekly as an Age Concern Day Center, helping in the kitchen and serving food to the elderly visitors. Though at times stressful and fast-paced, it is very rewarding work, which I am diligent in, earning the nickname, service with a smile. This has indirectly prepared me for medicine, developing my skills in listening and dealing with the public. This is a fantastic demonstration of the point structuring we've come across in previous lessons. That is to talk about an experience, link them to key qualities, reflect on them, and then link it back to medicine. Now,, of course, Ore has done this in a slightly different order to what we recommend, but he hits all the points, and as a result, this is a great section. Let's now move on to the next part of volunteering. Likewise, I have spent the last two summers working with Pegasus Playscheme for children with learning difficulties. I gain great satisfaction from being a source of receptive ears and genuine interests for the elderly and disadvantaged in the community. Both these sentences are great examples of talking about an experience and extracting important lessons from it. Now, the final parts of volunteering. Teaching English in a high school in China for three weeks has demonstrated my responsibility and maturity. Overcoming language, age and cultural barriers was demanding and required patients an intellectual agility. Now, these sentences are great at talking about his volunteering experiences and linking them to key qualities he's gained from them. Now, to make this even better, he could have given a more specific example and reflected on it. But to be honest, in order to save words, is completely acceptable to keep it at this level. Now, a quick point on structure before we move on. I mentioned that Ore has decided to split up his work experience and volunteering with academic section in between. Now, this might seem a little bit odd to us, especially, because we have understood why it's important to include both of those things into one section and how that allows you to tell a better story. However, consider this. In the work experience section, we often observe things and we often observe key qualities expressed by other healthcare practitioners, whilst in the extracurricular section and with volunteering, we're actually engaging into the experience ourselves, and as a result, we're developing key qualities as well as showing off our key qualities. It does make some degree of sense in the way the Ore has grouped them, because straight after talking about this volunteering, he's now going to talk about extra curricular activities. As a result, he's essentially grouped activities based on key qualities he has and key qualities he has observed in the workplace. This is fantastic at demonstrating a different type of structuring and by all means take inspiration from this and just like I've been saying, pick whatever structure that allows you to tell the better story. At the end of the day, it's your story and it has to be your structure. All I can do is give you examples and show why they work really well. Anyway, let's now move on to the next part of the main body, which is the extracurricular section. Being proactive in school life, I was elected as school prefect, serving as a role model and taking responsibility over the welfare of younger students in buddying schemes. Involvement and success in debates has improved my communication skills, critically evaluating information from a range of sources and presenting them in a coherent manner. Each of these sentences talk about important roles and experiences, and importantly, links them to key qualities. They're nicely shown how is very well suited for medicine. On to the next part. Paying club football for the past six years has provided a positive and enjoyable outlet for stress, whilst earning awards for most improved to Manager's Player. It has developed my personal drive and team skills, training through cold winters and encouraging team mates, all while in a two season losing streak. Again, this is nicely following the structure of talking about an experience and linking them to key quality. Hopefully, by repeating this over and over again, I'm hoping you can start to see the value of using this structure. It means that every single thing you say has a purpose and it's adding to the case that you're building up, which is that you're great and ideally suited for medicine. Now, let's go on to the final part about the extracurricular activities. I play the piano and after earning a first aid qualification, I have since volunteered with St. John Ambulance for the past year, applying and reflecting on my ethical approach. These activities are essential to my work-life balance and I use my organizational skills to juggle them with my academics. Now, the first sentence here utilizes activity compounding to minimize the number of words he's using. However, it doesn't really work on this occasion, mainly because playing the piano and first aid are two very different activities. He does go on to link it to key qualities and the last sentence talks about a very important skill that's going to help him become a good doctor. Now, finally the conclusion. Fully aware of the challenges and expectations of a medical career, I believe my strong work ethic, caring nature and enthusiasm will make me a successful, well-rounded doctor. Now, this one sentence conclusion perfectly executes the two parts that are important in a conclusion which is to consider the challenges that medicine will bring, but still deciding that it's for you and also to sum up the key qualities that have. All in all, this was a fantastic personal statement that demonstrated several features that we've come across in previous lessons and it's also introduced us to a new style of structuring. 31. Denise's Personal Statement: In this lesson, we're going to go through the personal statement written by Denise, who's a recently qualified doctor from Cambridge University, and she was also an international student from Singapore. In fact, she's currently over there working as a junior doctor. This personal statement, in particular, is a fantastic example of a unique writing style. She's used this to show off her connection to medicine, and also her wider understanding. It's also a great example of a totally different style of structuring. Let's actually break this new structure down. This personal statement was 616 words in total. Denise, interestingly, integrated 48 percent of the words to the introduction, for work experience, she actually gave zero percent, for the academic section, she gave 28 percent, and for extracurricular activities, she gave 13 percent, and finally, the conclusion was given 11 percent. Now, this is, of course, a very bold structure, and I would, of course, highly advise giving a little bit more space for work experience. However, let's go on and see how Denise has made this structure work, and let's pay careful attention to the unique writing style that Denise has used. Let's take a look at the extended introduction, "The attainment of balance is an underlying concepts of nature. From the balance between night and day, predator and prey, and even attraction and repulsion, balance permeates all phenomena. In my quest of knowledge to satisfy my curiosity about the world around me, I seek a balance between breadth and depth, which the study of medicine offers. Breadth comes in the form of knowledge about all internal body systems, their interactions, and their responses to various stimuli. Armed with this basic awareness of the human body and how it works, depth can be pursued by delving deeper into the unique structures and functions of particular organs, tissues and even cells." Now, this is a very interesting style of writing. She spent a lot of time setting the scene about the subject, and talking about her academic interests in medicine, and so she clearly explains her motivations and attractions towards medicine. The way that Denise has analyzed medicine as a subject shows that she truly values the academic side of it, and she spent a lot of time considering how unique the science in medicine actually is. Throughout, she's used fantastic passionate words and personification to set herself apart and come across with a unique writing style. Moving onto the next part of the introduction, "By absorbing these two different types of information through my various encounters with medicine, I have taken particularly to how the systems amalgamate elegantly to form a working human body. Specifically, I'm intrigued by the complexities of the human brain, and how the related nervous system is able to convey messages that evoke a wide range of characteristically human emotional and physical responses. Given further that there's an increasing prevalence of patients with neurological disorders in my society, my interests seem to align with this trend, and it is therefore my personal conviction to gain a better understanding of my community, through the study of medicine." Here, she continues to set the scene about the subject, and she uses specific examples about the complexity of the human brain to substantiate her claims and make them seem more authentic. Then she goes on to reflect on this by talking about how neurological conditions are becoming more prevalent. She nicely rounds it off by talking about her motivation to study medicine, but this time, not just the academic interests, but she also talks about her personal opportunity of understanding more about the community. Denise also alludes to some work experience, when she says various encounters with medicine, but really, she should have expanded more about this and given more specific examples, linked them to key qualities, and reflected on them. Again, she uses fantastic passionate words, and an exciting writing style throughout. Now, onto the final part of the introduction. "Furthermore, in the ever-changing landscape of the world today, reality poses unpredictable scenarios which may often throw one off guard. This demands mental flexibility and dexterity in effectively handling each new situation. Consequently, the mere possession of knowledge on how the human body ticks is insufficient, so the constant challenge to come up with approaches that can effectively counter the dynamic causes of different patients conditions is a demanding yet highly engaging activity that I am keen on undertaking." The first sentence here shows the degree of deep consideration, where she appreciates the challenges that she's likely to encounter. But to be honest, it would have been much nicer if she'd linked it more specifically to medicine. Then the final sentence again wraps up motivation and the personal opportunity that she hopes to get from studying medicine. Overall, I think this is a fantastic introduction that has lots of passionate words and a unique exciting writing style. However, I feel this introduction is a bit too lengthy, and it's obviously come at a cost of cutting down talking about work experience. Now, while this is a unique and interesting structure, I personally wouldn't recommend that everyone go away and do this, mainly because a lot of universities value work experience. Even during COVID-19, there have been plenty of opportunities to carry out virtual work experience. Really, there's no excuse to not include anything about work experience. I was really puzzled and confused why Denise went down this route. Initially, I thought, maybe she didn't have that many work experiences to talk about, so she decided to extend the introduction. I actually, also, why she did this and if it was because she didn't have much work experience, but actually it turns out that she'd had plenty of work experience. She had experienced shadowing a breast cancer surgeon, and she'd also had experience volunteering with a charity that went over to Cambodia to build water tanks. Now, both of these experiences would have given her loads of examples that she could have used to link to key qualities and reflect upon. That just confused me even more. So I was, why she didn't put this in? She basically said that she didn't think that these were big enough experiences for her to talk about. This goes to show two things. One, don't underestimate the work experience of volunteering that you have, and two, always find a way to talk about volunteering and work experience. It's social fundamental pillar, and it's such an important part of your application. It's great to set the scene about the subjects, and take a very philosophical view like Denise has, but don't let it come at a cost of cutting down your work experience section. The whole point of this personal statement is to show off your engagement with medicine, your key qualities, your suitability, and you can't do that very effectively if you sacrifice the work experience section. Anyway, moving on to the main body, Denise goes on to talk about the academics. "Furthermore, due to the wide scope of medicine, it manages to involve the three main domains of science, biology, chemistry, and physics. In the formative years of my education, I have been sufficiently exposed to all three fields by participating in Astronomy Olympiads, environmental conservation projects, organic synthesis modules, and attachments to local research institutions, universities and hospitals, for the carrying out of higher-level scientific research." The first sentence here nicely follows on from the previous section, and allows her to tell a very nice story. This, again, expands on her academic interests in medicine and shows her true appreciation for the science behind it. The second sentence here utilizes activity compounding to show off all her supercritical engagement. Now, let's go on to see if she'll reflect on these experiences. "A particularly poignant experience was my attachment to the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis research laboratory in the National University Hospital of Singapore, where I designed a more efficient diagnostic test for myotonic dystrophy. This provided me with a first taste of how medicine comprised a mesh work of the three domains as knowledge of genetics, chemical interaction between nucleotides, and physical separation techniques, such as gel electrophoresis was required. As such, through these diverse experiences in science, the enticement of being able to find out more about all of these various fields of science, through the study of medicine, strengthens my conviction to pursue it in my studies." This section nicely shows off her super curricular activities and engagement, and it nicely follows the structure that we've met before, that's to talk about an example, reflect on it, and then link it back to medicine. It could have been improved by maybe some links towards the key quality she gained from these experiences. Let's move onto the next part of the main body now, and meet the extracurricular section, "Apart from academics, I've strived to achieve a balance between my interests and responsibilities in daily life. As a student in a highly stressful school environments, I've had to face the competing demands of playing tennis to represent the school in national competitions, and studying to attain the desired academic grades. Though it was not easy initially, I managed to schedule my time efficiently to satisfy both my interests and responsibilities in the sporting and academic arenas." These sentences, again, nicely show a structure that we've met before, that is, to talk about an example, extract key qualities, and reflect on it, just as she reflected on the challenges she faced and the importance of balance. Although this section is great, it could have been delivered a little bit more concisely using the space saving strategies we discussed before, like activity compounding and quality compounding, to allow her to include more things. Now, finally onto the conclusion. "The art of balance seems to be effortlessly attained when observing natural phenomena. However, beneath these manifestations lie fundamental processes that are constantly at work to maintain it. Similarly, I seek to maintain this balance in my life, through hard work and passion, which the study of medicine will definitely be able to cater for me, as it is a demanding course that I'm passionate about." Interestingly, this conclusion features of philosophical first sentence, which adds to her writing style. The second sentence here nicely shows some passionate projection, and alludes to some of the key qualities. But to be honest, ideally, she should've included a more direct sentence that laid out all of the key qualities, or at least summarize them. All know, this is a beautifully written personal statement, that utilizes a very unique and exciting writing style. It uses passionate language throughout, and I highly recommend taking inspiration from this when you're going about writing your own personal statement. 32. Akshay's Personal Statement: In this lesson, we're going to go through a personal statement written by Akshay, he's a recently qualified doctor from Trinity College Cambridge. This one is a great demonstration of the structure and features we've come across in previous lessons. Let's first begin by breaking down the structure. This personal statement is 623 words in total. Actually it's introduction makes of 13 percent, then at right-hand actually chosen to talk about academics in the first part of the main body which makes up 19 percent of the words. Then he goes on to talk work experience which makes up 36 percent, then extra curricular activities which makes up 11 percent. Finally, the conclusion which was given a larger chunk than normal at 21 percent. Let's now dive in a bit deeper into each of these sections. Here's the introduction. "Volunteering on the Lifeline Express, a hospital train in Morena, India first inspired me to study medicine. The team on the train worked voluntarily in unfamiliar conditions. The smile on the man's face when his perforated eardrum was repaired spoke 1,000 words. Medicine will allow me to study the intricacies of the human body with the opportunity for problem solving in a caring, compassionate environment. The Decision was reinforced through experiences gained in hospital placements and my voluntary work." This is a great demonstration of the introduction structuring we've come across before. That is to set the scene about the subject and talk about your motivations, including your academic interest and the personal opportunity you hope to gain from studying medicine. He also talks about the engagement, talking about things like work experience. However, a new thing that actually is used is something called a creation story. That's essentially to talk about something that inspired you to actually pursue medicine. Often, this is done very vaguely in almost cliche manner, and as a result people often advise to stay away from creation stories. But what actually he's done is perfect, he's taken a very specific example and explained why that made him so inspired to study medicine. At the same time, this creation story allows him to talk about his volunteering, and his engagement with medicine. Not only is actually he's creation story authentic and genuine, but it also allows him to talk about his engagement with medicine and how he's gone out of his way to learn more about it. This therefore is a brilliantly executed example of an introduction that utilizes several of the conventional things we've come across before, but also uses a very powerful strategy of the creation story. Let's now move on to the first part of the main body, which in this case is academics. "My interest in science particularly human physiology prompted me to participate in a pre-medical course. As part of this, I published a research paper on the Medlink website on the effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates neurogenesis within the brain." This is definitely a fantastic super curricular activity to talk about, but unfortunately he hasn't actually linked it to any important key qualities nor has he reflected on it to any extent. To make this even better and to get the maximum out of this experience, he should have gone on to link it to some of the key qualities he gave. Possibly link it to independent research skills, or time management that's he developed by doing this. Then gone on to reflect on possibly a more specific example, and that together would have allowed him to get the maximum out of this experience. Anyway, let's now move on and see if he actually does this at a later point. "Furthermore, a placements in the Research Department at my local hospital demonstrated the value of medical research in improving quality of care. The use of codes highlighted the importance of maintaining patient safety, and dignity within research as well as clinical practice. I keep up to date with current medical affairs through Student BMJ and BBC Health, in which an article about how sleep promotes the formation of myelin surrounding nerve cells by activating genes in oligodendrocytes caught my attention." The first two sentences are exactly what we were talking about, the presented example, link them to key qualities and reflect on them. The last sentence again is going to giving a specific example, but to be honest hasn't gone into link into any key qualities or sharing any degree of reflection. It's almost as if actually he's using the sentence to flex all the cool words that he knows or about the article that he's read, rather than actually extracting the lesson that he gained from this. Takeaways from these examples so far are one: use specific examples, and two: always reflect on them to make sure you extract the maximum out of the points you're making. To be honest, it doesn't have to be lengthy. For example, in the last sentence he could have talked about what actually caught his attention and how this inspired them, and how he went on to learn more about this topic. Moving onto the next part of the main body, which is work experience. "I completed a two week work experience at the local hospital. A ward placement provided me with an idea of the duties and responsibilities of a junior doctor, alongside an appreciation of what potential future training entails." This example is much better at the structure we are talking about, which is to present example and to reflect on it. It also shows the degree of consideration behind all the challenges that a doctor might face. Moving on. "Whilst observing a coronary angiogram during my second placement with cardiology, I was impressed how narrowed arteries could be centered via a small incision in the thigh, and how medical imaging technology has evolved. When difficulty arose during the procedure, the calm, reassuring manner of the cardiologists when interacting with the patients and other multi-disciplinary team members enabled me to understand the importance of teamwork and communication skills in medicine. Similar skills were needed when I volunteered at a day center for the elderly, playing board games and talking to residents. Many were hard of hearing, necessitating adjustments in my speech." Again, actually he is giving very specific examples here, and importantly he's going on to reflect on them to extract key lessons he's learned. Notice how this section flows really well. In the first part, he talks about communication skills that he observed in the workplace, and then he goes on to talk about communication skills that he has himself. As a result he shows that, "You know what, I appreciate communication is important but I also have that skill." In effect it perfectly follows the structure of giving an example, extracting the key qualities, reflecting on it, and then linking back to medicine or be it in a slightly different order. Anyway, moving on, "My team work and leadership skills have enhanced through completion of my Duke of Edinburgh expedition, where I was responsible for mapping the route. At the last minute to the route required alteration, and the rest of the team had to be informed. This demonstrates my ability to work under pressure, which is highly desirable in medicine. Joining St. John's Ambulance enabled me to broaden my knowledge of first aid, with the benefit of gaining valuable experience in handling vulnerable and traumatized people by going out on duty." The first two sentences nail the structure we've just been talking about. That is to talk about an experience, extract a key quality, and then link it back to medicine. To make this even better, he could have reflected a little bit more on these examples. The last sentence here is a relatively standard sentence to show off his super curricular engagement with medicine. But again to improve this he could have used more specific examples, extracted some other key qualities and offered some reflection. But because actually he's done this pretty well in the previous sections is likely he's left this to save words. Let's now move on to the next part main body which is the extracurricular section. "Outside of my studies I attended cricket coaching club for young children. This enables me to play a game I enjoy whilst coaching young players. I was also a member of the year cricket and hockey teams at my secondary school. Playing the guitar has improved my manual dexterity, which is aided in practical procedures. I enjoy reading fiction in my spare time, including Hindu mythology." This section nicely discusses his extracurricular activities, but to be honest they offer very little extraction of key qualities nor do they offer any reflection. The best this man should do is link playing guitar with dexterity and how that's going to help him with practical procedures. To be honest, this is a bit of a hard push connection. So to improve this he could have talked about other key qualities that these experiences show. For example, time management, leadership skills, and teaching skills. He could have used some space saving strategies like activity compounding and quality compounding to allow him to say more things and link them to key qualities. Finally, onto the extended conclusion, here's the first part. "Whilst volunteering in the Emergency Department, I noticed that there was a consistent optimistic spirit among staff, regardless of their workload. This attitude was mirrored by a cardiologist who emerged smiling from the lab after a demanding procedure. This has made me realized that a career in medicine involves long hours in potentially stressful and upsetting situations, and at time I will question whether it is all worth it. Yet the morale of the doctors I observed has made me realize that it offers reward and fulfillment like no other profession. A lifetime of further education in a constantly evolving profession provides a strong basis for my enthusiasm for medicine." The first part here seems a little bit out of place because he talks about a specific work experience example, and he's already covered work experience in the previous sections. He does then go on to reflect on this and offer some deep consideration about the challenges that medicine will bring, and then ultimately goes on to decide that it's still for him. Now, the final part of the conclusion. "Vitally I feel I have the work ethic, communications skills, and empathetic qualities to allow me to succeed in this challenging professions." Here actually nicely completes the conclusion by summing up his key qualities, and rounding things up. Overall this was a great personal statement that taught us the value of using specific examples, and also how to use creation stories very well. We've also learned from this to always link experiences to key qualities, and offer some love of reflection. Let's now move on to the next lesson. 33. Ali's Personal Statement: [MUSIC] So in this lesson, we're going to be going through the personal statement written by none other than Ali Abdallah. Now, this one in particular is a great example of a well-rounded personal statement, and as a result, it earned him offers from both KCL as well as Imperial, on top of it is Cambridge offer. This is definitely a great personal statement to take inspiration from, if you're applying to those top ranking universities. Anyway, let's get on with it and break down Ali's personal statement. So this personal statement is 669 words in total. Ali's introduction makes up 10 percent. The work experience of volunteering section was given 48 percent, academics was given 14 percent, extra curricular activities makes up 20 percent, and finally, the conclusion made up eight percent. Let's now go ahead, and take a look at each of these sections in detail, and see how closely aligns with the framework that I've developed. So this is Ali's introduction. "Standing in theater for seven hours during a triple bypass surgery made me appreciate the resilience, and tenacity required to be a successful doctor. The level of focus and adrenaline flowing through the room was tangible, as the surgical team worked calmly through every complication that arose, stopping only when the final stitch was sewn. The display of sheer determination inspired me, and strengthen my resolve to study medicine." Now, this introduction is a great demonstration of several concept we've come across in the past lessons. The first two sentences shows his engagement with medicine, and uses his specific example to increase its authenticity. As we can see from the last sentence here, Ali has chosen to go down the creation story route, which works out because he uses a specific enough example. Often with cliche creation stories, they always share the same feature. That is that very vague and don't really have a genuine story too that. He's also shown a degree of reflection by extracting the key qualities he observed from doctors. Again, he uses several tools from the personality, and passion pillars, using a unique writing style as well as lots of passionate words throughout. However, even with a specific creation story, there's always a pitfall of the person reading this and thinking, okay, this is one example. Is this just a knee-jerk response? Has this person actually gone away to learn more about medicine? So to combat that for, it's always important to follow up the creation story with engagement, especially talking about work experience and voluntary. This way you can immediately convince the reader that its not just a knee-jerk response. Yes, you inspiration might have been because of a specific thing, but actually you've gone away and learned more about medicine, and that's just strengthen your result. That's exactly what Ali has done. So let's move on next and start the work experience section. This is Ali's work experience section. "To gain a better insight into the lives of doctors, I observed ward rounds and clinics in different hospitals. I was struck by the patient's gratitude towards an utmost respect for the doctors even when things weren't going as planned." This again is a great demonstration of reflection ways given an example, and extracted a lesson from it. This way he's showing that he's mindful of all his experiences, and he's not just taking them at face value, but he's diving in deeper to find a more meaningful lesson. To improve this, he could have given a specific example and reflected at a little bit more deeply on it. But like we've said before, we just don't have the space to give specific examples for every experience, nor do we have the space to reflect deeply each time. So really it becomes a balancing act. For the majority of experiences, you should give a gentle enough example, and reflect other surface level, and choose a few good ones to give more specific examples on, and then really go to town with those and give some deep reflection. Ali seems to be doing this pretty well so far, especially because he started off with a very specific example, and a deep reflection. Now we can afford to give a lower level of reflection. So hopefully through these personal statements, you get a better idea of what ratio to use between deep-level reflection, and superficial level of reflection. Anyway, moving on, he says, "I was able to contrast experience with the healthcare system in Pakistan, where I spent two weeks shadowing both consultants and junior. Although there was a huge disparity in facilities, I could see that doctors everywhere work towards a common goal, doing everything they can for the patient, with teamwork and communication playing a vital role in that process. I'm enthused by the prospect of becoming a part of social dynamic and simulating field" The first few sentences are great, providing a specific example and extracting a deeper meaning. Ali is basically attracted that fundamentally, all doctors work towards a common goal, and they all share a common group of key qualities, that enables them to be a good doctor. Not only that, but these sentences also allow him to show off his wide range of work experience. Essentially building up the case that, you know what, I care so much about medicine that have gone totally out of the way to learn more about it. It also shows that he's a deep thinker who's able to distill key qualities of doctors, that transcends cultural, and economic boundaries. The last sentence here is greater offering some passionate projection, that also Ali's motivations and his personal opportunities he hopes again by studying medicine. On to the next part of work experience, he says, "Two week spent in a GP surgery, coupled with five years of being a St. John Ambulance Cadet, highlighted to me the importance of primary care and society's dependence upon the services. What stood out most was how the doctor was able to explain her observations to the patient in an understandable and relatable manner, a style that I hope to emulate in my own work." I think about a million people can agree we already caught that Ali. But yeah, this is a great demonstration of the syntax and paragraph structure we've been suggesting. That is to talk about an example, extract the key qualities, reflect on it, and then link that to medicine. Notice with all these examples, Ali is using his experience as gateway to talk more about his ambitions as well as his deeper understandings. Now, this use of projection really shows that he is someone who thinks far into the future. He's already thinking about what type of a doctor he wants to become. This is a very powerful way to show the reader that you truly care about medicine. Next, he speaks about voluntary. "I also volunteered at a school over the last year where I taught ICT to mentally, and physically disabled young people. Although this was a challenge at times, I learned valuable lessons and patients and empathy and the experience was immensely rewarding. I was particularly drawn to and worked with a child with autism. He was quiet and reserved, but our various discussions about trivial matters really brought out his personality, which shone brightly in his final presentation to the class." So this is a pretty textbook demonstration of the structure we relate, he's just been talking about, where Ali essentially begins with the experience, then goes on to reflect on the challenges he faced, and then goes on to link that to the key qualities he gained as a result of overcoming these challenges. To absolutely nailed the section, Ali has provided a very specific and heartwarming experience right at the end. Hopefully this is showing you the value of using specific examples. It massively boost your authenticity and amplifies the point you're making. Anyone can say they have patience and empathy, but only the people who provide a specific enough example, are going to come across as someone who is truly showing those things. Notice again, the unique writing style as well as passionate words he's using throughout. Anyway, on to the last part on work experience and volunteer. "In addition, I have worked at a math study center for the past four years where I enjoy identifying students strengths and weaknesses, and working with them over a long period of time. This is another aspect of medicine which I am attracted to being possible patient's life and seeing them progress through treatment to hopeful recovery." This again is a great example of reflection, and he is also leading to his motivations and the personal opportunity he hopes to gain by studying medicine. The last sentence here says, he tell the reader that, "You know what, I truly care about the person." Which again, is a great quality that you need to look for in a personal statement but rarely find. Now let's take a look at the academics section of the main body. "Being a nationally inquisitive person, I've always been drawn by the allure of science. I'm fascinated by the workings of the human body in particular, and recently came across Oliver Sacks. "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," which introduced me to other mental disorders and opened my eyes to the world of neurology. I find it amazing how even the smallest defects has the potential to alter a person's entire being, and hope to learn more about this intriguing subjects long with others at medical school." The first sentence here uses great passionate words as well as personifying science, which adds to its writing style. The second sentence here mentions a specific super correctly engagement, which of course, Ox-bridge will love, but it also shows that he's taken meaningful actions towards learning more about the academic side of medicine. I notice how he's not just name dropping the book and moving on. Instead, he actually reflects on what he gained from the book, and in the last sentence, he nicely links it back to medicine, to emphasize why all of this is relevant to its medical school application. Now let's move on to the extracurricular section. "Having spoken to many doctors and students, I understand that medicine can be a stressful profession, which is why it is important to find a good work-life balance. I personally enjoy playing tennis and chess, and I've also been running my own web design studios since the age of 13. This along with my prefect duties, has really improved my organization and ability to work under pressure." This first sentence is a great gateway into the extracurricular section. Because it shows he understands the importance of work-life balance, and how that is so paramount in being a doctor. Because at the end of the day, this is why the extracurricular section even exists, is to show that you're able to function outside of academia, and you have healthy coping mechanisms that are going to help you cope with the stresses of studying medicine. Ali does this perfectly, by talking by his extra curricular activities and positions of responsibility and linking it to the key quality he's gained out of them. Moving on, he says, "Finally, I've recently discovered the world of magic and hypnosis, the psychology behind which I find incredibly fascinating. I take pleasure in sharing with people that moments of wonder, and I've found that becoming a magician has also improved my confidence and communication skills. After a year of practice, I gave my first public performance as a hospital last month, and I'm now a regular volunteer there." Now with these sentences as well as throughout the personal statement, he's always linking examples to key qualities he knows that universities will value. In this case, confidence and communication skills. Again, he's used a nice specific example to add authenticity to his script. Now finally, the conclusion. "From watching open heart surgery to caring for vulnerable children, I have really enjoyed the blend of science, and human interaction that medicine offers. No other career would allow me to combine my love of science with an inherently carrying nature while making a profound difference in people's lives." The first sentence here nicely sums up his experiences and engagement with medicine. By using this contrast, he's effectively saying, "Look, I've seen the whole range of what medicine and care has to offer, and I like every bit." Usually we say in the conclusion to summarize your key qualities and share your passionate projection. Instead, Ali has chosen to talk about his engagement and round that off, and to be honest, it works because it helps to round off the story that he's been saying throughout his personal state. The second sentence here does go into share passionate projection and sums up some of his key qualities. But he's added another element, which he's just talk about his engagement in a very conclusive manner. So all in all, this was a great, well-rounded personal statement that shared several of the features we've met in previous lessons, and it's probably been the best example, of linking every example with a key quality and offering at least as surface level of reflection. [MUSIC] 34. Serena's Personal Statement: In this lesson, we're going to be going through the personal statement written by Serena. She's a reasonably qualified doctor from Trinity College Cambridge. Now, this one is a very interesting way of structuring the personal statement because it focuses heavily on the engagement pillar. Let's first break down the structures to see how this works. Serena's personal statement was 543 words in total, the introduction was given 14 percent, work experience and volunteering was given 46 percent, academia was given 13 percent, extracurricular section was given 19 percent, and finally, the conclusion was given eight percent. Let's now take a look at each of these sections in detail to see how she made this work. Here's the introduction. "My motivation to study medicine has emerged from my enthusiasm for the ever evolving science, and the recognition that doctors have the ability to provide healthcare that allows patients to improve their own lives, which makes medicine for me, undoubtedly one of the most rewarding professions. The privilege of shadowing healthcare professionals at a hospital, GP surgery, nursing and care homes, a community pharmacy and a research laboratory provided invaluable experience and reinforced my aspirations to pursue medicine." Now, this introduction perfectly follows the structure we've met in previous lessons. The first sentence nicely outlines her motivations to study medicine covering both the academic interests, as well as the personal opportunity of helping people, and the second sentence nicely shows her engagement with medicine, talking about the variety of different work experiences she has undertaken. Throughout she used lots of passionate ways to increase the impact of what she's saying. The second sentence here nicely sets her up to talk about her work experience, which is the next section. This was the first part of her work experience section. "During my experience in respiratory, orthopaedic and surgical clinics, I observe the importance of effective communication and organizational skills within a multidisciplinary team. I was able to appreciate the trust, rapport and personalized care in a doctor-patient relationship whilst witnessing a sportsman requiring an urgent skin grafts following a post-operative infection on Achilles heal. From the post-operative appointments of patients with skin melanomas, I learned the significance of critical assessment and record-keeping." Now, the first sentence is a great example of both activity and quality compounding where she's showing that she appreciates what are the key qualities that make her a great doctor. Now, the issue of using the space saver strategies too extensively, is that you run the risk of coming across a little bit disingenuous. Almost like you're willing off a list of buzzwords you found on the Internet without any real appreciation. However, to combat this, Serena has followed this up with a very nice specific example. This helps to increase the authenticity of her claims and makes her sentence seem more genuine. This is a pretty good takeaway from this example. Try to have a specific enough example close by to any space saver sentences you end up using. The third sentence here is a pretty good middle ground where she spoken about a specific enough example, which has been followed by an important lesson that she has learnt. Moving on, she says, " I attended a Medicine master-class and Taste of Medicine Summer School, where I found challenges in evaluating patients symptoms through differential diagnosis and the ethical dilemmas faced by doctors, to be intellectually stimulating and captivated." Now this is a great example of super curricular engagement where she's gone out of our way to learn more about medicine. Now, you could argue this might've been better placed in the academics section, where you're talking about the other super curricular activity. But to be honest with this example, she's not actually talking about the academic elements, instead, she's talking about the real life experiences and the real life practicalities she gained from this experience. It still works within this section. That being said, this is still a good example for us to realize that some experiences don't neatly fit into one box only. Instead, they might belong to quite a few. If you end up having an experience that you think, it could fit into the work experience section or the academia section, make the decision based on the fundamental components. If you mentioned the experience because of academic gain you got from it, then by all means put it in the academic section. But if you're using the super curricular engagement to talk about the real life lessons you gained, then it might be better place in the work experience section. But like we've said before, ultimately, the story is yours and therefore the choice is also yours. All I can do is show you what other people have done and show you what works. Anyway, let's go on to the next part of the work experience. "Shadowing a pharmacist, I understood the importance of advice and support when counseling patients about medicine adherence and the possibility of adverse side effects. I have also learned key molecular biology techniques such as PCR and gene transfection, through my work experience in the research laboratory in France. The relevance of research at the forefront of modern day medicine became evident, an aspect I'm keen to explore." Now the first sentence here is a great example that shows that she's capable of learning lessons from her experiences. The next few lessons show off her academic engagement with medicine, especially on the research side. The last sentence in particular shows that she appreciates the importance of research in driving medicine forward. Next, Serena goes on to speak extensively about volunteering. "Volunteering at nursing and care homes, I was exposed to the harsh realities of aging. Caring for vulnerable elderly patients receiving palliative care, and those with physical disabilities and dementia required outmost respect and sensitivity. Witnessing the emotional distress and heartbreak faced by healthcare professionals and the relatives, I was able to empathize and felt humbled as I fed, listened, and spoke to the patients." These sentences talk about her volunteering experience, and offers some passionate and emotional reflection, as well as linking to key qualities. Therefore this perfectly follows the structure that we've discussed in previous lessons, that is she took one experience, link it to key quality, and reflect on it. The appropriate use of emotional and passionate words, shows that she has a true connection and increases the impacts of these sentences. Next, Serena speaks about the academics. "Caring for dementia patients also intensified my interests in neurological disorders that lead me to read Oliver Sacks book, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat". This provided an insight into the difficulties patients face as a result of losing a part of their identity to these conditions." These sentences nicely showed her super curricular engagement with medicine, and flows very nicely from the previous section where she was talking about caring for patients with dementia. The second sentence offers a nice piece of reflection which makes this a solid section. Now the last parts of academics. "In school have received multiple awards for academic achievements, including Gold and Best in School certificates for the UKMT Maths challenges." Now this one is more of a flex sentence. It doesn't really offer that much reflection or linking to key quality, just says, "Look at me, I'm pretty small." To improve this sentence, she could have linked it to the key qualities that she gained from these experiences, maybe linking it to time management, resilience and determination. Now, let's move on to the extracurricular section. "My interpersonal skills and the ability to build strong relationships in a team have enabled me to thrive in the roles of school council representative, sports captain and as a leader of Medical Ethics and Enterprise clubs. I cultivated a strong sense of responsibility and community spirits whilst working at Barnardo's charity shop and fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Winds of Hope Achievement award." These sentences are great because they each link an experience with the key quality she gained. Notice how the first sentence utilizes both quality and activity compounding to allow her to show off as many schools as possible with the fewest amount of words. Now, the second sentence here arguably could have worked better in the work experience and volunteering section. Anyway, onto the last part of the extracurricular section. "As a volunteer for victim support, I hope to enhance my mentoring and counseling skills. Being creative, I enjoy personal blogging, painting and pottery. I also enjoy swimming and playing tennis. Activities that have been calming and relaxing." The first sentence is quite nice because it shows that she has ambitions and she wants to gain new skills and improve herself through her volunteering experiences. However, again, the sensors could have worked better within the volunteering section rather here. The last sentence here is a pretty good at showing that she's able to relax outside of academics. But she doesn't make that expisily okay because she hasn't linked it to any of the key qualities that this shows. Really to improve this, she should have gone further and linked it to some of the key qualities. Like how this enables her to have a healthy work-life balance, and how this is going to help her cope with the stresses of studying medicine.Now finally, the conclusion. "My experiences have enhanced my understanding of the personal sacrifice required of such a rigorous career. I remain resolute and confident that with the qualities I possess and my determination to make a positive impact on society will motivate me to persevere and succeed." This is a great demonstration of the conclusion structure we've come across in previous lessons, where she begins by deeply considering the challenges that medicine will bring and still deciding it's for her. Then in the last sentence, she sums up her key qualities to show that she has what it takes to be a great doctor. Overall, this has been a great personal statement that has taught us a lot about how to word our engagement, How experiences fit in more than one section, and it's also shown us the importance of double-checking the structure. Definitely take inspiration from this personal statement, especially when you're talking about engagement. Now, let's move on to the next lesson. 35. Getting Started: Now that we've gone through some examples, you hopefully have a better idea of how the theory translates into the reality. All that's left to do now is to make a stop. If you're watching this and you haven't written a single word down, don't worry. In this lesson, we're going to go through a step-by-step process to help you make the best stuff possible. Step one, use the [inaudible] search tool, which I've left in the project resource section, or simply go on Google and typing the subject that you want to do in this case, medicine, followed by one of the universities that you're hoping to apply to. Then, click on the course website and have a read of the course description and what they're looking for. Get a feel for what skills and attributes that university values for that subject. These are essentially the key qualities or key persons specification points that we've been banging on about throughout this whole class. Then step two, open up Word and create a table with five columns. Title the first column key quality, the second column work experience, the third column super curricular activities, the fourth column intra-curricular activities, and the last fifth column extra-curricular activities. You can also find a template of this table under the project resources section. Now after you've done this, move onto step three. Copy the key qualities that you find from the course website, one row per key quality. Then in step four, this is where the real thinking begins. Select the first key quality and think of any work experience you've done, any supercritical activities, intra-curricular activities or anything extra-curricular you've done that shows this key quality and write it down in the corresponding columns. Now, at the end of this process you're guaranteed to have a list of things you can talk about that you know is going to be relevant. All you have to really do is string a few connecting words, throw in some extra words for caching and the basics of your personal statement is dumb. Obviously, we need to play around the structure a little bit and we need to use things like reflection, personality, and projection, but the broad bones of your personal statement is pretty much there by following these four steps. You can pretty much do a similar thing for motivation. Just bullet point the things that you want to talk about and develop them into full sentences later. Now the key point here is planning, and planning well before sitting down to write the full personal statement. This will make sure that you have a very focused and stress-free start to the writing process. It'll mean that you have much less fluff to cut out later down the line and you can be confident that everything you're going to be talking about is relevant to a key quality that a university desires. However, at this stage don't worry too much about the character count or the word limit, just right as much as you feel is relevant. Use a lot of passion, develop your own unique writing style using things like similes, metaphors, and maybe some personification. Once you feel like you've written down everything you want to, then we can start thinking about refining and cutting things out, which brings us on perfectly to the next lesson. 36. Cutting Down and Refining: So, in the previous lesson, we saw how we can make it start using the key quality table. I basically encourage you to write to your heart's content after doing some planning. But of course the time has now come to cut things down and refine your personal statement. The process of cutting down can be quite tricky and to an extent, a little bit emotionally draining, because you've spent hours crafting these beautiful sentences only to get rid of it or kind of make them less good than they originally were on the hope of fitting it down to the full thousand character limit. You could even argue that refining your personal statement is more of a challenge than writing it in the first place, but by using a systematic approach we can remove the emotion out of it and we can be confident that only the high-yield sentences are left in and the low yield ones are taken out. Here are four questions that you need to apply to every sentence you write to help identify the low yield sentences. The first question to ask is, is this sentence linked to motivation, engagement, or suitability? If the answer is yes, then ask the question, is this same idea repeated elsewhere? If the answer to that one is also yes, then lose the least powerful sentence. But if the answer to the second question is no, then consider keeping it. Now, if the answer was no to the original question, then ask this third question, is this sentence showing reflection or any projection? If the answer to this third question is yes, then consider keeping it. If the answer is no, then ask a fourth question, is the sentence showing any passion or personality. If the answer is yes, then mark it as one of the lower priority sentences that you could potentially take out if the character count is very tight. If the answer is no,well it's pretty much no-brainer, it serves no real purpose and you can chuck it. Now, if you've applied all these questions to each of the sentences, but you're still struggling with the character count, here are two strategies that you can use to save space. These strategies allow you to communicate the same ideas and keep the same content, but just use fewer words. These strategies are; quality compounding and activity compounding. Let's take a look at examples of these. The first one I mentioned was quality compounding and this involves linking together lots of different qualities and attaching it to an example that you talk about. Here's an example of what I mean, juggling these activities as well as my academic work has taught me the value of commitment, dedication, and time management. Now this is a great demonstration of quality compounding where they've linked together several key qualities to one example, but be careful with this strategy. If you use it too much, you'll end up just listing key qualities without any real reflection and that as a result, is going to make you sound less genuine, so definitely use this strategy sparingly when you're really stuck. The second space saver strategy is something called activity compounding. This is where you link several activities together in a single sentence. Here's an example of that. I have taught myself the guitar for my Gold DofE award, and I have become proficient enough to join the band. Now this is a great sentence and a great demonstration of activity compounding. It has linked together three activities all in one. Here's another example of that happening. Outside my academic life, I find that music and tennis helped me relax and I have been able to balance my preparation for a piano diploma and Gold Duke of Edinburgh with my pastoral role as a school prefect, allowing me to develop my prioritization skills. To summarize this lesson, when you're cutting and refining your personal statement, apply the four questions we spoke about at the beginning to every sentence and get rid of the low yield useless sentences and only keep the high-yield ones. But if you're still over on the character count after you've done that, then use strategies like quality compounding and activity compounding to save space and communicate the same ideas, but with fewer words. 37. Pitfalls to Avoid: So far, we've talked a lot about the best thing to do. Now let's take a moment to discuss the common mistakes that happen and what we should avoid. The first common mistake is to start writing without any planning. To be honest, I don't blame you. It's something that I used to do, especially when I was at GCSE, and my essays would always turn out very, very chaotic. That's definitely not something you want for something as important as the personal statement. Actually follow the first steps that I suggested in the Getting Started lesson. By creating the key qualities table, you have a focus list of things that you want to talk about instead of randomly shooting in the dark. Also, it allows you to tell a story and develop it rather than just randomly piecing together different things you've done. The second common mistake that people often end up doing is overusing the space saver strategies, especially quality compounding. When we do this, we essentially just end up listing key qualities that we've taken off from the internet. Whoever's reading the personal statement is looking at that and being, okay, this person can google key qualities, but they haven't really reflected on anything, neither have they provided good examples to back it up. So whilst quality compounding is a very powerful way to maximize what you can say in the fewest amount of words, don't overuse it. Remember that majority of your personal statement needs to focus on examples and reflection. Hopefully, the example personal statements that we've analyzed has given you a good idea of what level of reflection is appropriate and what you can get away with. The third mistake that people often end up making is not linking an example to a key quality. They essentially just say that they've done a thing. They've done some volunteering or they've got a great achievement, but they don't link it to a key quality that they gained from this. It's essentially a wasted sentence and a bit of a wasted experience. That experience that you had definitely links to a key quality. But if you haven't done that, then the reader is going to assume that you're not aware of any lessons you learnt from it. So they're just going be like, okay, he just had a superficial level. There are much better candidates out there. So don't waste the great examples and experiences that you have to talk about. Always link it to a key quality and reflect wherever possible. That means extracting lessons from them and talking about how that changed you as a person going forwards. Now, the final common mistake that a lot of people make is poor grammar and spelling. It's actually such an easy thing to avoid. Use spell and grammar check, but don't rely solely on it because it can miss a few things. Read it yourself several times and scrutinize it and also give it to people that you trust, maybe your parents, your teachers, etc., and get them to comment on how it flows, how the structure is, as well as how is the spelling, how is the grammar? These are the easy things that you don't want to make mistakes on. Those were the main mistakes to avoid. Now let's move on to some final thoughts. 38. Final Thoughts: After all that we are at the final lesson of the course, which is more first to round things off and for me to give you guys a bit of a pep talk. Here it goes. The eight pillar framework that we've talked about as well as the personal statements we've analyzed in depth, should give you a good idea of what you should write and how you should structure your very own unique personal statements. Use the key qualities table as a good starting point for you to begin your full process and writing journey. Include your motivations, engagements, and link them to your suitability and key quality. Remember to always use a sentence structure of example, key quality, reflection, and link back to the subject and use this extensively wherever possible. Use especially the pillars of reflection, passion and personality to stand out and make yourself look unique. But most importantly, sell yourself. You are amazing. You've done spectacular things which have taught you meaningful lessons. Hopefully throughout the course of this course, I've helped you realize all of those things. If you're looking for more example personal statements that I've analyzed, then feel free to check out my YouTube channel where I have a few of these. Hopefully, I've contributed even in a small way in helping you in your journey. All that's left to say is I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to working with you guys as colleagues.