Medicine personal statement advice - work experience?

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randomstudent0
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I've just started writing my personal statement and am genuinely not sure about the whole work experience section I'm supposed to mention.

Problem is I've done one online virtual work experience (the medic mentor live one that literally every other applicant in the country is doing) - my grades and likely UCAT and BMAT scores mean im probably going to apply to Russell group universities and possibly oxbridge but i don't feel as if that work experience was a valuable experience that I actually learnt from and also if its kind of 'good enough' for these top universities. I know testing scores aren't enough but I haven't done anything else to really distinguish me from other applicants. Even though I was watching a live patient and doctors actively treating them, staring at a screen for eight hours was incredibly draining and I just don't cope well with long online programs (it was over a six month period).

Because of this I avoided all other work experiences this year, as they were all online and instead spent my time educating myself on the field, reading lots of medical related books and spending time on my EPQ (which, conveniently, is more physics related than medicine). Now the only other work experience I have is a young doctor programme I attended two years ago and volunteering at a charity shop (also working in my sixth form part time) - basically the question im trying to ask is what on earth do I write about? a work experience I didn't enjoy? a program that's literally faded in my memory but was useful? volunteering? the books I read? im so confused and just feel like this personal statement im going to write is going to be a boring read for the university officer and that's not really my aim. Does anyone have any advice on what I could write about to not make my application sound as dull as I'm worried it will be - I'd much rather write about the books I've read, my EPQ but I've been told I need to include work experience like care homes, GP placements and hospital placements etc... - I have done other things like olympiads, lil research projects in my school, EAL ambassador (helping people who don't speak English well) but nothing kind of medicine specific. I will literally donate a kidney if someone can help <3

*also I know I sound like a med applicant just worried about getting into 'good' unis but I do enjoy the subject if that wasn't clear - im just a little lost on PS content and would appreciate it if anyone has any advice
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kaorimiyazono
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Hi

Firstly, definitely include one or two of the medical related books. Link them to your A Level subjects and then explain what you got out of reading them e.g. any skills like independent learning and how that will help you be a good student and an insight into medicine. The EPQ is good to mention because you can say that you've developed your academic writing skills, research, time management and organisation skills etc.

For the work experience part, depending on what you learned and got out of the experiences you had, include one or two of the things you listed and link them to skills that will help you be a good doctor. For example, volunteering at the charity shop could have helped you develop you communication skills. In the same paragraph, you could also mention any extracurriculars you did and say how your discipline and time management has helped you balance academics and the things you enjoy doing.

Don't worry too much. Universities care more about what you got out of the stuff you've done rather than the actual experience you did and they'll be aware that getting work experience (especially fo medicine) would've been really difficult this past year and a half. If it makes you feel better, I applied for Biochemistry at Oxford and only had one piece of work experience which wasn't even related to biochem much- it was volunteering at a hospital- but I really milked it and linked it to how I want to make a difference to other people's lives and how it helped me develop communication skills, responsibility, the ability to adapt to new situations etc. and I ended up getting an interview (I didn't get an offer but I think that was because I didn't do very well in it lol and cuz I didn't do maths A Level ).

Good luck I hope this was helpful. If you need more advice I'm happy to help and answer more questions.
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randomstudent0
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(Original post by kaorimiyazono)
Hi

Firstly, definitely include one or two of the medical related books. Link them to your A Level subjects and then explain what you got out of reading them e.g. any skills like independent learning and how that will help you be a good student and an insight into medicine. The EPQ is good to mention because you can say that you've developed your academic writing skills, research, time management and organisation skills etc.

For the work experience part, depending on what you learned and got out of the experiences you had, include one or two of the things you listed and link them to skills that will help you be a good doctor. For example, volunteering at the charity shop could have helped you develop you communication skills. In the same paragraph, you could also mention any extracurriculars you did and say how your discipline and time management has helped you balance academics and the things you enjoy doing.

Don't worry too much. Universities care more about what you got out of the stuff you've done rather than the actual experience you did and they'll be aware that getting work experience (especially fo medicine) would've been really difficult this past year and a half. If it makes you feel better, I applied for Biochemistry at Oxford and only had one piece of work experience which wasn't even related to biochem much- it was volunteering at a hospital- but I really milked it and linked it to how I want to make a difference to other people's lives and how it helped me develop communication skills, responsibility, the ability to adapt to new situations etc. and I ended up getting an interview (I didn't get an offer but I think that was because I didn't do very well in it lol and cuz I didn't do maths A Level ).

Good luck I hope this was helpful. If you need more advice I'm happy to help and answer more questions.
thank you so much and well done on getting that interview! I've heard about how difficult it is to even get one at Oxford.
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randomstudent0
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(Original post by kaorimiyazono)
Hi

Firstly, definitely include one or two of the medical related books. Link them to your A Level subjects and then explain what you got out of reading them e.g. any skills like independent learning and how that will help you be a good student and an insight into medicine. The EPQ is good to mention because you can say that you've developed your academic writing skills, research, time management and organisation skills etc.

For the work experience part, depending on what you learned and got out of the experiences you had, include one or two of the things you listed and link them to skills that will help you be a good doctor. For example, volunteering at the charity shop could have helped you develop you communication skills. In the same paragraph, you could also mention any extracurriculars you did and say how your discipline and time management has helped you balance academics and the things you enjoy doing.

Don't worry too much. Universities care more about what you got out of the stuff you've done rather than the actual experience you did and they'll be aware that getting work experience (especially fo medicine) would've been really difficult this past year and a half. If it makes you feel better, I applied for Biochemistry at Oxford and only had one piece of work experience which wasn't even related to biochem much- it was volunteering at a hospital- but I really milked it and linked it to how I want to make a difference to other people's lives and how it helped me develop communication skills, responsibility, the ability to adapt to new situations etc. and I ended up getting an interview (I didn't get an offer but I think that was because I didn't do very well in it lol and cuz I didn't do maths A Level ).

Good luck I hope this was helpful. If you need more advice I'm happy to help and answer more questions.
I have one more question if that's alright - what did you start with? did you have a lil introduction paragraph or just jump straight into everything.
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Turning_A_Corner
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I would second what’s been said above. However, I would encourage you to really reflect on that experience. It sounds like you actually identified something very important about medicine: it can be dastardly dull and mundane, especially to watch! Not that I encourage you to put it in those exact terms but I think you’ve got enough from that to realise that a medic doesn’t just learn from watching other people, and that you’ve perhaps learned a lot about yourself as a learner: that you learn by doing, hence all the other things that you’ve done as a proactive learner, as a volunteer, doing your EPQ.

It all depends on the narrative you tell. If you think what you’ve done is boring, it will come across as such. You’ve been busy, not idle. But if you write it as you did there – or even not that you’ve actively avoided other work experiences but that you’ve not taken advantage of other work experience opportunities that others have done – you may come across poorly.

That said, very few universities actively select based on the personal statement. I think, though, that the interview question you need to watch out for is: what have you done to prepare yourself for a career in medicine? You don’t want to come across as someone who hasn’t done more than the bare minimum. There are applicants who will have literally devoured every opportunity going who will have reflected well on their experiences and will perform well in a question like that. Make sure you have something to say for that. I nearly tripped up on a question like this because I hadn’t so much prepared as I had tried to build on my experience in healthcare. I had to really think about what that question was asking me and come up with a response in about 8 seconds! You’ve done a lot that is relevant to a career in medicine but something about your post suggests that you were being a good student rather than necessarily actively preparing yourself for medicine and seeking out as many opportunities as you could.

You sound like you’ve got the core components but you need to take care when it comes to the assembly. Maybe there’s a couple of components missing. I would suggest maybe picking up the BSMS course and thinking: what can I get from this? Maybe think about doing some volunteering where you’re providing care or support to someone and thinking about what is it about providing hands on care that I would be taking over to medicine? What can I learn about myself from that?

The one thing you perhaps lack is a sense of responsibility to other people. Maybe you’ve just not included it but I would say that there are things that come from doing work which has a direct impact on people’s lives, minds and bodies that you cannot learn from anywhere else. It was on these interview questions that I was able to make my answers sing and yes they do ask you about times when you’ve been responsible for others. So maybe try and fill that gap.
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randomstudent0
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(Original post by Turning_A_Corner)
I would second what’s been said above. However, I would encourage you to really reflect on that experience. It sounds like you actually identified something very important about medicine: it can be dastardly dull and mundane, especially to watch! Not that I encourage you to put it in those exact terms but I think you’ve got enough from that to realise that a medic doesn’t just learn from watching other people, and that you’ve perhaps learned a lot about yourself as a learner: that you learn by doing, hence all the other things that you’ve done as a proactive learner, as a volunteer, doing your EPQ.

It all depends on the narrative you tell. If you think what you’ve done is boring, it will come across as such. You’ve been busy, not idle. But if you write it as you did there – or even not that you’ve actively avoided other work experiences but that you’ve not taken advantage of other work experience opportunities that others have done – you may come across poorly.

That said, very few universities actively select based on the personal statement. I think, though, that the interview question you need to watch out for is: what have you done to prepare yourself for a career in medicine? You don’t want to come across as someone who hasn’t done more than the bare minimum. There are applicants who will have literally devoured every opportunity going who will have reflected well on their experiences and will perform well in a question like that. Make sure you have something to say for that. I nearly tripped up on a question like this because I hadn’t so much prepared as I had tried to build on my experience in healthcare. I had to really think about what that question was asking me and come up with a response in about 8 seconds! You’ve done a lot that is relevant to a career in medicine but something about your post suggests that you were being a good student rather than necessarily actively preparing yourself for medicine and seeking out as many opportunities as you could.

You sound like you’ve got the core components but you need to take care when it comes to the assembly. Maybe there’s a couple of components missing. I would suggest maybe picking up the BSMS course and thinking: what can I get from this? Maybe think about doing some volunteering where you’re providing care or support to someone and thinking about what is it about providing hands on care that I would be taking over to medicine? What can I learn about myself from that?

The one thing you perhaps lack is a sense of responsibility to other people. Maybe you’ve just not included it but I would say that there are things that come from doing work which has a direct impact on people’s lives, minds and bodies that you cannot learn from anywhere else. It was on these interview questions that I was able to make my answers sing and yes they do ask you about times when you’ve been responsible for others. So maybe try and fill that gap.
thank you for the advice, you're right about the lack of sense of responsibility - I'll try my best to get a volunteering post at a care home in an attempt to fix that.
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kaorimiyazono
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(Original post by randomstudent0)
thank you so much and well done on getting that interview! I've heard about how difficult it is to even get one at Oxford.
Np And thank you
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kaorimiyazono
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(Original post by randomstudent0)
I have one more question if that's alright - what did you start with? did you have a lil introduction paragraph or just jump straight into everything.
Oh yeah definitely have an introduction. Cover the reasons why you want to study medicine and what fascinates you about it. I talked about why I first became interested in Biochem and gave specific subtopics that interest me in particular, inluding how I liked the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, and then ended with a phrase about how I wanna use the knowledge I gain after my degree to research drugs, diseases and diagnostic techniques to improve people's lives.
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Turning_A_Corner
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(Original post by kaorimiyazono)
Oh yeah definitely have an introduction. Cover the reasons why you want to study medicine and what fascinates you about it. I talked about why I first became interested in Biochem and gave specific subtopics that interest me in particular, inluding how I liked the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, and then ended with a phrase about how I wanna use the knowledge I gain after my degree to research drugs, diseases and diagnostic techniques to improve people's lives.
Definitely include an introduction but don’t use it to say anything you’re going to repeat later. Try not to be overly grandiose or ambitious and for the love of god do not include a quote!
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kaorimiyazono
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(Original post by Turning_A_Corner)
Definitely include an introduction but don’t use it to say anything you’re going to repeat later. Try not to be overly grandiose or ambitious and for the love of god do not include a quote!
Yes!
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