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Dentistry Reading List

Get ahead with our top Dentistry reading list!

Chances are when applying to Dentistry you will want to know more about the vast subject, but where do you start? Luckily, I’m coming to the rescue by providing you with four books to add to your Dentistry reading list to strengthen your application.

A great time to get started with your reading list is over the summer prior to your application to give you inspiration for your personal statements. It is also worth doing some reading prior to interviews so that you can show of your knowledge of the subject.

The Top Dentistry Reading List for a Successful Dentistry Application

1.  oxford handbook of clinical dentistry – laura mitchell and david a. mitchell.

This is a concise handbook that outlines all the essential aspects of Dentistry that is needed for clinical practice. The book is written in an easy to understand style and covers a range of specialities within Dentistry.

It is worth reading to gain an insight into Dentistry as a profession as it covers key skills such as professionalism, communication as well as law and ethics. Key areas that are useful to know are dental materials, preventative and community Dentistry.

2.  The British Dental Journal

The British Dental Journal (BDJ) is a peer review journal relating to all aspects of Dentistry. It includes current issues in Dentistry and the latest advancements in the field.

Some articles may be heavy in technical knowledge so try to focus on the news, summaries and practice sections. Aim to get an overall view of the issues affecting Dentistry currently and a few areas of research as these are useful to discuss at interview.

3.  Delivering Better Oral Health: An Evidence-Based Toolkit for Prevention – Public Health England

This document is a guide that Public Health England put together from a variety of research relating to aspects that impact oral health in patients.

Sometimes when thinking about Dentistry it is easy just to focus on filling teeth or applying braces but really there are many simple changes that patients can be encouraged to make to change their overall oral health. For example, the guide outlines the benefits of fluoridation and at what concentration it is required.

In addition to this, the impact of a high sugar diet is discussed along with how alcohol impacts oral health. All of these make great discussion topics for interviews as well as thoughts to consider in a personal statement.

4.  The Medic Portal Weekly News Summary

At the start of every week The Medic Portal uploads a summary of the key news stories relating to health and medicine. To access these pieces, visit the blogs page of the website and filter by ‘Medical News’.

With every Dentistry application it is vital to keep up to date with the news and what is impacting health care. Interviewers will often ask you to discuss something you have read in the news that could impact Dentistry. Rather than reading multiple news sites all of the key information can be found once a week over on the weekly News Summary blog.

The overall idea is to get an overview of Dentistry as a career, gain some knowledge of the main concepts and understand what skills are needed of a Dentist. Try not to get stuck in the technical aspects as these will be taught at Dental School.

Uploaded by Joelle on 6 July, 2016

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books to read for dentistry personal statement

  • Ishtiaq Ali
  • May 30, 2020

Getting Into Dental School: Reading List

Throughout your dentistry application, you will be thinking of ways to "stand out" and "beat" the so-called competition. Pre-reading for Dental School is an often confused topic. Not many students know what to read or if they have to read anything at all. The following blog will highlight some of the texts that you may find useful in helping develop your understanding of dentistry as well as your appreciation of healthcare. But first, let me answer a question I have received throughout the years by aspiring dentists:

What dentistry textbooks should I read and include in my personal statement and interview?

The common misconception amongst dentistry applicants is needing to have an in-depth knowledge of dentistry to stand out and be successful during interviews. This is not the case. Dentistry is a complex science that is taught over many years at university; admission tutors therefore do not expect nor require you to know the ins and outs of dentistry before beginning the course. Reading dental textbooks is difficult enough for dental students let alone anyone who hasn't yet been exposed to dental terminology and treatment methods. Instead, divert your attention to focus on aspects of dentistry which admissions tutors may expect you to have knowledge on. Current affairs within dentistry and the NHS have been a topic used by Dental Schools to see how aware students are of ongoing issues in the profession. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and continuous Brexit negotiations, there is a greater chance of admission tutors asking you questions on how these key historical moments have affected the profession and more broadly the NHS. So don't stress too much about learning the science of dentistry but rather focus on the topics outlined below.

1) Dentistry Articles/Current Affairs:

i) The British Dental Journal

The BDJ is a go-to resource for anyone looking to find articles about key issues within dentistry; both clinical and scientific. A key topic within healthcare at the moment is the global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This raises an ethical dilemma for dentists on the appropriate use of PPE to ensure patient safety whilst ensuring the dental practice as a business can continue. Such issues are discussed in detail in the following article

ii) covers the full spectrum of current affairs within dentistry today. It is a particularly useful resource due to its Young Dentists segment. Articles within this range from advice for undergraduate dentists to the impact which young dentists are having on the profession. For dentistry applicants, a question which may arise during the 2020/21 interview process is the role dentists played in fighting COVID-19. This article is a particular favourite, exploring the impact foundation dentists are having after being redeployed to intensive care units.

2) Medical Ethics:

Knowing how to approach ethical scenarios is paramount to success in this aspect of dentistry interviews. Many Dental Schools now adopt an MMI selection process, including an ethical scenario station. Whilst ethical scenarios can be presented in a number of formats, your fundamental approach to answering them should not change.

Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

- As titled, this book is a short, concise overview of the basis of medical ethics and the key concepts you should consider before answering a question.

- Priced at a modest £5.99, I would definitely recommend this for anyone struggling to understand the concept of medical ethics and how to approach ethical dilemmas.

3) GDC Guidelines:

The General Dental Council (GDC), is the governing body for all dental professionals, aimed at protecting both patients and practitioners. Whilst you are not required to know all the GDC guidelines prior to entering Dental School, you may be required to be familiar with the 9 GDC Principles . Students have been asked in the past what they feel the roles and responsibilities of a dentist are; citing some of the GDC principles is a great way to show that you have researched about what is expected of you within the profession. Remember, you don't need to know this word for word, but having a general idea of what the minimum requirements of a dentist are will stand you in good stead if questioned about it!

4) Medical Stories:

Now the books I will recommend in this section are by no means books that you have to read or are expected to read. Instead, they are medical stories, often patient related, which highlight the intricacies of the human body and demands of being a medical practitioner.

1) When Breath Becomes Air

A personal favourite of mine, this book in a unbelievable memoir of a practitioner turned patient. Paul Kalanithi explains his inspiring transformation from a neurosurgeon saving lives, to a lung cancer patient fighting for his own life. This book is a truly remarkable indicator of the fine margins between life and death and the journey that can take a person through.

2) The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat

Another personal account by a neurologist explaining stories of patients suffering from neurological disorders. It highlights the harsh realities which many people in society face today and the daily struggle to overcome the incredible adversities which life throws at us. This is a fantastic reminder of the need to empathise with the struggles of our patients and that the simplest forms of memory are often taken for granted.

3) This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of A Junior Doctor

A must read for any future NHS practitioner. Adam Kay, a former gynaecologist, gives a diary account of his experiences working within the NHS; from the good, the bad and the downright ugly! Unlike the above two books, this is a much lighter, funnier memoir of life within the confines of a NHS hospital whilst still highlighting the incredibly important truths which exist within our NHS today.

I hope the above "reading list" can provide a greater direction towards texts that may be useful during your dentistry application. As mentioned previously, these are not texts that you are required to know and learn but rather examples which could boost your personal statement and interview answers whilst reminding you of what the profession entails. Feel free to check out The Dental Portal dentistry personal statement and dentistry interview course for further support in your Dental School application!

The Dental Portal

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How To Write A Dentistry Personal Statement

A dentistry personal statement is an essential part of the university application process for dental schools . It is your opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are and why you want to become a dentist. 

In your personal statement for dental school , you should discuss your experiences, goals, and motivations that have led you to pursue a career in dentistry. 

Read our full guide: How To Apply To Dentistry In The UK

What is a dentistry personal statement?

A dentistry personal statement is a written UCAS application document that outlines an individual’s qualifications, experiences, and goals related to pursuing a career in dentistry.

It should provide insight into the applicant’s motivations for wanting to become a dentist or to apply to dental school , as well as their commitment to the profession.

Additionally, it should highlight any unique skills or qualities that make them an ideal candidate for a university course in the UK.

How To Write A Personal Statement For Dentistry

Before you start, it’s important to understand how to write a personal statement for dentistry . We will guide you through some tips and steps to help you write a strong personal statement for dental school.

Start by brainstorming ideas . Before you begin writing, take some time to think about your experiences, goals, and motivations. Make a list of key points that you want to include in your personal statement.

Choose a compelling topic . Focus on a specific topic that is relevant to your experiences and goals. For example, you might choose to write about a specific experience that sparked your interest in dentistry, or your goals for the future and how dental school will help you achieve them.

Use specific examples . Instead of making general statements, use specific examples to illustrate your points. For example, if you want to discuss your passion for dentistry, you might talk about a specific patient you helped or a challenging case that you were able to successfully treat.

Be honest and genuine . Your dentistry personal statement should reflect who you are as a person, so it’s important, to be honest, and genuine in your writing. Avoid using cliches or trying to impress the admissions committee with over-the-top language. Instead, focus on telling your unique story and explaining why you are a good fit for dental school and course.

Edit and proofread carefully . Once you have finished writing, take the time to carefully edit and proofread it. Ask a friend or family member to read it over and provide feedback, and consider working with a professional editor to ensure that your document is error-free and polished – ready for application.

In conclusion , a good personal statement for dental school can make a big difference in the admissions process. By brainstorming ideas, choosing a compelling topic, using specific examples, being honest, and proofreading carefully, you can write a statement that will help you stand out from the competition and show the admissions why you are the right fit for the dentistry course.

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How Long Should My Dental Personal Statement Be?

A dental personal statement should be around 4000 characters in length or a maximum of 47 lines. It’s important to be concise and to the point, as the admissions staff will likely have many applications to read. With a limited word count, you’ll need to carefully consider what to write in a personal statement and what to leave out.

How To Structure A Dentistry Personal Statement In 2023?

The structure of a dentistry personal statement in 2023 will likely be similar to that of a statement for other medical fields. In general, the document should be well-written, concise, and focused on your specific goals and experiences.

Read our tips for structuring your dentistry personal statement in 2023:

  • Start with an introduction that briefly explains your motivation for pursuing a career in dentistry and why you are a good fit for the school programme.
  • In the main body, describe your relevant experiences , such as any clinical experience you have had, any research you have done, and any other activities that have prepared you for a career in dentistry.
  • Discuss any challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them, as well as any unique perspectives or qualities you bring to the programme.
  • In the conclusion , summarise your key points and restate your motivation for pursuing a career in dentistry.

You can also use the 80/20 rule . Where you can write 80% of a document about points 1. and 2, and for points 3. and 4 you can plan around 20% of the document.

What Makes A Good Dentistry Personal Statement?

A good dentistry personal statement should be well-written, straightforward, and interesting. It should highlight the applicant’s strengths , experiences , and goals in a way that makes them stand out from the competition . The statement should also demonstrate the applicant’s passion for dentistry and explain why they want to pursue a career in the field. Additionally, a good personal statement should be free of spelling and grammar errors and should be tailored to the specific programme or university to which the applicant is applying.

Skills And Attributes Of An Ideal Candidate For Dentistry

An ideal candidate for dentistry should have strong communication skills, as dentists need to be able to explain complex dental procedures to patients and listen to their concerns. They should also be detail-oriented, as dentistry requires precise and careful work. 

In addition, an ideal candidate should have good problem-solving skills, as dentists often need to troubleshoot and find solutions to dental problems. They should also be compassionate and patient, as dentistry involves working with people who may be anxious or in pain. Finally, if the candidate is good at teamwork it’s a plus, as dentistry often involves collaborating with other dental professionals.

Skills that an ideal candidate for dentistry should have:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Compassionate and patient
  • Ability to work well in a team
  • Knowledge of dental procedures and techniques
  • Knowledge of dental terminology and anatomy
  • Knowledge of dental equipment and instruments
  • Knowledge of infection control and sterilization procedures
  • Knowledge of dental materials and their properties

Opening Sentences For A Dentistry Personal Statement

Use our examples of opening sentences for a dentistry personal statement as inspiration and guide. A strong introduction is essential , as you will have little time to catch the reader’s attention. Keep in mind that admission staff is dealing with thousands of documents in a short period. It’s important to stand out from the crowd to be accepted at the chosen course. 

Opening Sentence 1

“As a child, I was fascinated by the intricate workings of the human mouth and the amazing transformations that dentistry could achieve. I remember watching in awe as my dentist repaired a chipped tooth and restored my smile, and I knew then that I wanted to pursue a career in dentistry.”

Opening Sentence 2

“From a young age, I have been drawn to the field of dentistry. Watching my parents struggle with dental issues taught me the importance of good oral health, and I have always been fascinated by how dentistry can improve people’s lives.”

Opening Sentence 3

“I have always been passionate about healthcare, and dentistry offers the perfect blend of science and art for me. The idea of helping people maintain their oral health and improve their smiles is incredibly rewarding, and I am excited about the opportunity to pursue a career in this field.”

Opening Sentence 4

“As a volunteer at a local clinic, I had the opportunity to assist with dental procedures and see firsthand the positive impact that dentistry can have on people’s lives. Watching the dentists work, I was struck by the precision and skill required, and I knew then that I wanted to pursue a career in this field.”

Dentistry Personal Statement Conclusion

Writing a personal statement without examples is not an easy task. So, we prepared a few examples of strong conclusions for a dentistry personal statement . Use it to inspire yourself to write a better document.

Conclusion example 1

“I am confident that my passion for dentistry, combined with my skills and experiences, make me a strong candidate for your program. I am excited about the opportunity to learn and grow as a dental professional at your institution, and I am committed to working hard to achieve my goals. Thank you for considering my application.”

Conclusion example 2

“I believe that dentistry is the perfect career for me, and I am eager to begin the next chapter of my education and training. I am confident that I have the skills, experiences, and drive to succeed in your program, and I am excited about the opportunity to learn from your distinguished faculty and work with your talented students. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to your program and the field of dentistry.”

Conclusion example 3

“I am grateful for the opportunity to apply to your dentistry program, and I am excited about the possibility of joining your institution. I believe that my passion for dentistry, combined with my dedication to hard work and my commitment to excellence, make me a strong candidate for your program. I look forward to the opportunity to learn and grow as a dental professional, and I am committed to making the most of this incredible opportunity.”

Things To Avoid In A Personal Statement For Dental School

In addition to all the advice, we have told you, make sure to avoid some things. When writing a statement for dental school , it is vital to avoid the following:

  • Using clichés or overly general sentences
  • Making exaggerated claims or promises
  • Focusing too much on your academic achievements and not enough on your personal qualities
  • Making negative comments about other dentists or dental schools
  • Using overly technical language or jargon that the reader may not understand
  • Don’t copy any other work, UCAS have an automatic plagiarism tool that can detect authenticity
  • Don’t summarise your CV or resume

Dentistry Personal Statement Examples

Writing it’s much easier if you have in front yourself successful examples to use as a guide. Check our section for personal statement examples , especially for dentistry personal statement examples . 

Read Books About Dentistry 

You can read books as inspiration for writing a dentistry personal statement . Reading books can help you gain insight into the field of dentistry and provide you with ideas for your statement. Additionally, reading books can help you develop your writing skills and give you a better understanding of how to structure and format your statement.

The UK dental courses are highly competitive, and it can be difficult to gain an offer with low grades or qualifications. Those who are considering studying Dentistry should be aware that low GCSE / A Level grades or UCAT / BMAT scores may prevent them from being accepted. It is important to ensure that you have the necessary qualifications and scores in order to stand a chance of gaining an offer.

Before the interview, research the school and its programmes to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm. Additionally, practice answering common questions so that you feel confident and prepared. During the interview, be sure to express your passion for dentistry and highlight any unique experiences or skills that set you apart from other applicants.

Recommended reading:

  • Personal Statement Examples
  • How to Write a Personal Statement for a Masters
  • How to Write a Personal Statement for a PhD
  • UCAS Personal Statement: A Writing Guide And Tips For Success
  • How to Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out
  • Tips for Writing a Personal Statement for the University
  • How to Write UCAS Reference Letter

Guides & Info

Personal Statement for Medical and Dental Schools

Last updated: 6/3/2023

  • Is Medicine Right for Me?
  • What do Doctors do?
  • The Daily Life of a Doctor
  • How to apply to medical school
  • Different Routes into Medicine
  • Factors to Consider
  • Medicine at Oxford and Cambridge
  • Your Fifth UCAS Choice
  • Getting Your Grades
  • Extra-curricular Activities
  • What is the UCAT?
  • Preparing for Your UCAT Test Day
  • After Your UCAT
  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
  • Work Experience and Dental Schools
  • NHS Work Experience

Personal Statement

  • Medicine PS Examples
  • Dentistry PS Examples
  • UCAS References
  • Medical and Dental School Interviews
  • Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
  • Medical School Interview Questions
  • Dental School Interview Questions
  • Graduate Entry Courses
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  • What Our "Plan B" Looked Like

Your UCAS personal statement is an essay about yourself.

It’s part of your UCAS application and can be seen by all your universities. It is designed to give admissions tutors an idea of the person behind the application. 

Getting into medical school is a long road and your personal statement is written after much of the journey has already taken place. For this reason, it should be full of what you learnt and reflections.

Read on to find out about:

How is my medicine/dentistry personal statement used?

What are admissions tutors looking for, how is my personal statement marked, how long does the personal statement need to be.

  • Personal statement checklist

What shouldn’t I include in my personal statement?

Answering 'why do you want to study medicine or dentistry', when should i start writing my personal statement, how do i structure my personal statement, how do i reflect deeply on my experience in my personal statement, how should i format my personal statement, can i copy an old personal statement i found.

  • Do I have to be honest in my personal statement?

Once I’ve written my personal statement, what should I do?

Writing a personal statement for oxford or cambridge.

  • Personal statements for graduate entry medicine

Medify’s Medicine and Dentistry Personal Statement Course

  • Selection for interview

The personal statement can be used to rank students prior to being selected for interview.

  • Getting to know you

Admissions tutors want to understand your motivations for becoming a doctor and why you think they should select you. They will see applications from hundreds of people, so the personal statement is a way for you to stand out.

  • Information for interviewers

The personal statement is a resource for interviewers, giving them material for questions about your experiences and activities you’ve mentioned. Need help with reflecting on experiences mentioned in your personal statement during interviews? Check out our UK Interviews Online Course which provides in-depth tutorials and authentic example video responses from real students.

The Medical Schools Council's core values for medicine

You don’t have to get every single one of these skills down in your personal statement but you should try to mention as many as possible while still making it sound natural and creating flow.

Medical and dental schools will differ in how they mark their personal statements. However, each school’s markers will use fixed marking criteria to ensure applicants are fairly marked, and these will align closely with the core values of the Medical and Dental Schools Councils. This means the marking criteria can be predicted and will generally break down into three overall areas.

  • Commitment to the area

They will look at your motivation to study medicine/dentistry, your understanding of medicine/dentistry as a career, and your work experience.

  • Aptitude for medicine/dentistry

They will look at your community activities, leadership qualities, evidence of working in a team, and your general interests.

  • Academic ability

They will look at your GCSE results, predicted/actual grades, and academic distinctions.

Here’s an example of the marking criteria previously used by University College London for medicine:

Motivation to study medicine

Understanding of medicine as a career

Community activities

Evidence of leadership

Evidence of ability to work in a team

General interest

The limit for your personal statement is 4,000 characters, or 47 lines, whichever comes first. This limit is firm - your application simply can’t be submitted if your personal statement is too long. You really have to make every word count!

For good and bad examples of UCAS personal statements, check out ‘ Medical school personal statement examples ’ or ' Dental school personal statement examples' .

What does a good personal statement for medicine and dentistry contain?

▢ Motivation to study medicine/dentistry

You need to demonstrate why you really want to study your chosen course. This means showing passion and deep reflection, and is most powerful when tied into your personal experience.

▢ Commitment to study medicine/dentistry

You need to show that you’re committed to medicine or dentistry. 5+ years is a long time and medicine/dentistry is a lifelong career. You can show your commitment by discussing extra reading and work experience.

▢ Key personal attributes 

Get a few important attributes into your personal statement, such as communication, teamwork and empathy.

▢ Any work experience

Write about your work experience, what you did, and more importantly, what you learnt from it.

▢ Any voluntary work

Talking about voluntary work is an effective way of showing your empathetic side. 

▢ Academic achievements

Be proud of what you’ve achieved and talk about it, such as how the courses you studied at A-Level or equivalent grew your interest in medicine or dentistry.

▢ Extra reading

Write about books, articles and anything else that you’ve read that fuelled your passion for medicine/dentistry. 

▢ Extracurricular activities

Sometimes this is easy to overlook when you've got a lot of things to fit into your personal statement, but this is important to mention. 

Healthcare careers can be stressful, and admissions tutors want to see that you have stress-release mechanisms in place to help you cope. 

  • Descriptions of feelings

Compare ‘I love working with others’ with ‘I visited a care home every day for 2 months to get a feel for the difficulties the elderly face’. The latter is concrete and specific, while the former only uses empty phrases.

  • Long, waffling sentences

Long sentences dilute the impact of the message, so keep it short and avoid repetition.

  • Sentences like ‘I want to help people...’

This phrase is overused and naive. If you write it, the admissions department will assume you haven’t fully thought about why you want to become a doctor or a dentist. Show, don’t tell.

  • Family tradition as a motivation for studying medicine or dentistry

This is not good motivation to study medicine or dentistry. The fact that some members of your family are healthcare professionals will not make you a better doctor or dentist. Universities want applicants with intrinsic motivation. This means showing why medicine or dentistry is right for you and how your skills and attributes are best suited to it.

  • Any examples which show immaturity

Don’t write ‘I will be running from one hospital room to another saving lives’. Instead, write about your experience of shadowing a doctor or a dentist and having a realistic understanding of what they do.

  • Apologies for low grades/lack of experience

The personal statement is for you to build yourself up. Use your UCAS reference letter , written by someone in authority, to explain any extenuating circumstances.

  • Controversial topics

For example, abortion or religion. Your reader might have differing views, and you will put them in a difficult position by forcing them to make a decision based on your personal beliefs rather than your ability to become a doctor.

This is overused and a bit clichéd. It doesn't add anything to your personal statement so it’s best not to include it. 

  • Overuse of metaphors and poetic language

Don’t waste characters with expressions like 'My passion for studying dentistry is as boundless as the night sky.' You’re applying to study medicine or dentistry, not English literature, and taking up space with sentences like this suggests that you don’t have enough to say about what's important.

Keep your statement succinct and to the point. It’s perfectly fine to be passionate about medicine or dentistry, but try to show this through your insight and reflection rather than stating it directly.

  • Listing achievement after achievement

'I volunteered in my local care home, organised work experience in the ICU of a large hospital, completed my gold Duke of Edinburgh…' Don’t list your achievements. Schools are looking for quality over quantity, so focus on one of these experiences and explore it in more detail. For example, what did you learn about yourself? What skills did you develop? How has your perception changed as a result of this?

Withholding some of your experiences and placements entirely from your statement (if you have more than enough already) means you’ll have more space to focus on the few you choose to include. This will also give you ammunition in your interview that your assessors might not be expecting.

This question is absolutely central to writing your personal statement. Avoid using clichés and give an honest answer. For instance, many students connect this to some childhood event, so you only want to say this if it’s overwhelmingly true and convincing.

Other ideas might be:

  • Your love for practical science
  • A strong desire to help people
  • Work experience that you enjoyed
  • Wanting an empathetic career
  • An ability to problem solve
  • Opportunities for lifelong learning
  • A balance of practical and theoretical learning

But don’t just say 'I love practical science.' Prove it, then link it to your chosen career, such as:

'I am part of a science club in which we test hypotheses through experimentation. For example, we tested whether there is a correlation between time spent playing video games and eyesight. This experience taught me how to create and test hypotheses in a systematic way.

'I saw how I could apply these skills during my work experience at a local GP surgery. I witnessed the doctor making a diagnosis, interpreting the test results and adapting their response based on the evidence. I get a lot of intellectual satisfaction from this type of process and the fact that it is in aid of helping others enhances this.'

Good things don’t always come to those who wait. 

Preparing a compelling personal statement takes time and planning. With applications for medicine and dentistry due on 16 October, you should start drafting your personal statement in the summer before Year 13, just after your UCAT exam. It may take several drafts to refine your statement, and the earlier you start, the more time you will have to make improvements.

Personal statements can be hard to write. We have all experienced writer’s block, so start by listing all the things you want to mention and work from there.

How to structure your personal statement

Remember, whatever structure you use for your personal statement, make it punchy and memorable.

When reflecting on an experience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What could I have done better?
  • What did I learn from this?
  • What skills have I developed from this and how?
  • How does this relate to the medical/dental field?
  • How did my decisions affect the people around me?
  • What if I looked at this scenario from another person's perspective, such as that of the patient or the patient’s family?
  • Did anything surprise me?

A good model for reflection is the 'What? So What? Now What?' model:

How to reflect on your experience in your personal statement

There are no formatting options on the UCAS site. All personal statements will be the same font and size. The only way you can make it different to someone else's is through writing better content, so focus on that.

Reading some example personal statements can be helpful when you’re getting started or are facing writer’s block.

However, remember that all personal statements submitted to UCAS go through a plagiarism checker. If any part of your personal statement is found to be plagiarised, this information will be passed on to the universities you’ve applied to and could result in your disqualification.

Do I have to be honest in my personal statement? 

A tiny white lie that no one will ever discover? Don’t do it. It can be tempting, but don’t. 

Your personal statement isn’t only read by admissions tutors, you may also be asked questions about it in your interview.

It doesn't take much for an interviewer to work out that you’re lying. If you’re found to have lied on your personal statement, your application will be rejected.

You wouldn't lie about your grades on your UCAS form or the school that you went to, so don’t lie in your personal statement.

Medify on mobile phone

You should take care in writing and editing your personal statement as there is a lot riding on it. Show it to your teachers for their input and advice. Then rewrite it again and again until you have perfected it.

There is always room for improvement. You should give it to at least two or three people for their input. An English teacher would be helpful for checking your grammar and use of English. 

Your reference writer can be another useful person to proofread your personal statement, as they can fill in the gaps in your application with their reference.

  • Pitch and tone ‍

Make sure your pitch and tone are appropriate - your statement should be personal and specific to make you memorable while avoiding the use of abbreviations or slang.  

Imagine you’re the admissions tutor and use our sample marking criteria above to help you. Are you impressed by what you’re reading? If not, then go back and re-draft.

  • Print a copy ‍

Keep a copy of your statement close by throughout your application process, even after you have finished and submitted it. Your interviewers can base their questions on your personal statement, so you need to be able to recall what you have written quickly and effectively.

Cecilia, from the University of Liverpool, told us:

‘After writing my personal statement, I gave it to several people I trusted to read it - my parents, close friends and career advisor. 

'I received generally positive feedback. However, since they were people who knew me well, they observed my PS was too rigid and wooden, and my enthusiasm for this career path wasn’t shining through. I scrapped my initial PS, only retaining the salient points which I was confident about. 

'Then, I took a step back and reflected on my work experience more deeply and went on to produce a more heartfelt personal statement which embodied my passion leaps and bounds more than my first version. 

'Needless to say I felt more confident speaking about my experiences during my interview, which was based on the new and improved version of my PS.’

The focus of a personal statement in this case should be academics. Oxford University recommends an 80:20 split between academics and extracurricular activities. 

Don’t just list the qualifications you have, and don’t mention any qualifications you’ve mentioned elsewhere in your UCAS application, like your GCSE grades. 

Talk about:

If you’ve read any books related to medicine, talk about them. Discuss what you learnt, what interested you and your further reading on any topics mentioned in the book. 

Oxford also has a recommended reading list . It’s not compulsory, but if you have the time, read a couple of books from there that interest you.

You can also check out Medify’s top books to read before medical school.

  • Work experience

Be sure to take a reflective approach with your work experience. Discuss the personal attributes that you have developed, any specific clinical cases that interest you, as well as any further research you have done.

  • Interest beyond the classroom

Discuss how you’ve completed further reading on topics studied at school. You could reflect on how these relate to medicine.

  • The selection criteria

Oxford has specific selection criteria, which are as follows:

Oxford Selection Criteria

Addressing attributes from this list will make it clear to admissions tutors that you’re suited to study medicine. Take a look at an admissions tutor’s analysis of a personal statement for medicine .

Personal statements for graduate entry medicine 

Graduate entry medicine (GEM) is extremely competitive, even more than direct entry. You have had more time to build life experience and demonstrate your aptitude for medicine, so your personal statement needs to reflect that.

Differences between direct entry and graduate entry medicine personal statements

As well as demonstrating a motivation for medicine, you need to be able to justify why you’re deciding on medicine now. If you’re coming from an unrelated field like finance, then this becomes especially important. You need to convince tutors that your interest in medicine isn’t just a passing phase.

Having already undertaken a degree, you need to show a deeper level of reflection based on a richer repertoire of experience, as well as a firm understanding of medicine/dentistry as a career and how your personal attributes align. 

  • Writing style

The candidates you will be competing with have taken one or more degrees. This means you all have much more experience with formal writing. As a result, it is doubly important that the quality of writing is of a consistently high level with an appropriate style.

  • Previous degree and qualifications  

Reflect on your previous degree(s). Discuss what you learnt from it/them and what skills it/they helped you to develop.

Are you prepared for the 16 October UCAS application deadline? Have you perfected your personal statement yet?

Medify’s Personal Statement Course can help you to complete a ready-to-submit personal statement in just three days. You’ll be guided by admissions experts on how to frame your experiences and demonstrate your suitability for medicine or dentistry. You’ll also get access to over 100 personal statement examples.

Medify's Medicine and Dentistry Personal Statement Course, Library and Writer on mobile phone

How do I write my personal statement if I’m an international student?

Here's some key information for international students - you should aim to mention everything discussed on this page. Additionally, you should also talk about why you want to study medicine or dentistry in the UK and how you think that will benefit you. You can also reflect on the differences in healthcare systems between your home country and in the UK.

If I’m taking a gap year, do I need to talk about it in my personal statement?

If you’re deferring your entry so that you can take a gap year, you should mention it in your personal statement. Talk about why you’re taking a gap year, what you’re going to do, and what you hope to learn from it. This will show admissions tutors that you’re an organised individual.

If you’ve already taken a gap year and are now applying, you should mention what you did during your gap year and what you learnt from it. The most important part of all that you write is how you reflect on it.

How many personal statements do I write?

You only write one personal statement, and the same one goes to all the universities you apply to, irrespective of the course. Be careful not to mention anything overly specific, like the name of the medical school you like.

I’m applying to another course as well. Should I do anything differently?

It can be hard to write a personal statement for two separate courses. If medicine or dentistry is really what you want to do then you need to give it your best shot. Focus your application entirely on medicine or dentistry. Sometimes if the rest of your application is strong, you’ll still get an offer from your fifth option.

Should I talk about my grades and qualifications?

You don’t need to mention your qualifications in your personal statement, as you’ll have already mentioned it in another part of your UCAS application. You don’t need to waste your characters repeating information your admissions tutors already know about you.

What’s more important? My personal statement or my UCAT/BMAT?

Different universities give different weights to different parts of your application. Some universities may give a greater weighting to your personal statement, but on the whole your UCAT/BMAT score tends to have a greater impact on your chance of success.

Don’t let that stop you from focusing on your personal statement though. In the case where your interview score, UCAT/ BMAT score and your academics are the same as someone else’s, it could be your personal statement that swings the decision in your favour.

I’m still stuck on how to write my personal statement. What should I do?

It’s perfectly normal to feel stuck when writing your personal statement. Summarising your motivation and life experience in 4,000 characters can be challenging.

Remember, we offer a Personal Statement Course with in-depth tutorials, guidance from admissions experts, and over 100 personal statement examples for just £20.

Lost for words?

Need a helping hand?

Create a ready-to-submit PS in 3 days

Find your voice with medify’s ps course.

Personal Statement Examples

—Get into Medical School

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BeMo's Ultimate Guide to Dental School Personal Statements & Supplemental Essays: How to Write Captivating Statements and Essays Even If You Are Not a Natural Writer

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BeMo's Ultimate Guide to Dental School Personal Statements & Supplemental Essays: How to Write Captivating Statements and Essays Even If You Are Not a Natural Writer Kindle Edition

BeMo’s Ultimate Guide to Dental School Personal Statements & Supplemental Essays is the most comprehensive resource to use when preparing for your dental school applications. Written by former admissions committee members and award-winning scientists, this guide is a must-read for all dental school applicants. The guide includes effective strategies, 10 sample personal statements, and 10 sample supplemental essays, all of which were analyzed and reviewed by our admissions experts, so you are better able to understand the strategies.

  • Top 5 reasons that get most applicants rejected,
  • 7 common personal statement errors,
  • 10 outstanding personal statement examples sent in by our students,
  • 10 outstanding supplemental essay examples sent in by our students,
  • A guideline of how to brainstorm for your personal statements and supplemental essays,
  • Key components for your outline,
  • An interactive step-by-step guide, which lets you write your own personal statement from scratch,
  • The final secret used by students who get accepted,
  • Bonus resources that help you understand the application process and what you need to write your own personal statement,
  • Over 300 pages of tips, strategies, and advice from admission experts, including former admissions committee members and award-winning scientists

BeMo Academic Consulting Inc. (“BeMo®”) is a global leader in dental school admissions. BeMo’s expertise is sought after by media and official university career centers. BeMo’s core value is to help reduce the social gap at professional schools by teaching students the essential qualities required by such programs. BeMo’s team members believe everyone deserves access to higher education, and they want to make sure every student gets a fair chance at admission to these very competitive programs regardless of their socioeconomic, racial, or cultural background.

BeMo®, BeMo Academic™, BeMo Consulting™, BeMo Academic Consulting™, MMI SIM™, InterviewProf™, and Get In Or Your Money Back are trademarks of BeMo Academic Consulting Inc.

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Dentistry Personal Statements

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Dentistry Personal Statement Advice

Your dentistry UCAS personal statement accompanies your grades and teacher’s reference to give the university course leaders a fully-rounded vision of you as a student. Naturally, you want your graduate dentistry personal statement to make a good impression. Your dentistry personal statement structure doesn’t need to be complex. A sentence or two explaining why you want to study this degree makes an ideal dentistry personal statement opening. For the main part of the statement, you should consider the course demands and explain how you can demonstrate the skills to meet them. A personable manner, attention to detail, and technical understanding can be evidenced from experiences at college, work, home, work experience etc. You don’t necessarily need a dentistry personal statement conclusion, but you could round things up neatly by summarising your main strengths or reiterating your goals and ambitions. Give your dentistry personal statement sample to a teacher to read before you commit to sending a final version! If you're struggling on how to start, we recommend including these key areas beforehand: If you’ve gained any dentistry work experience, it will really strengthen your application if you can discuss what insights or skills you’ve gained from this. If you’ve taken a year out to travel or work, you might wonder what dentistry gap year personal statements look like. Basically, you will have more experiences to draw upon: what has this time taught you? What skills have you developed? What will you take from your gap year into the future? You can reference personal details too, if they seem relevant. A gaggle of younger brothers and sisters, or a weekend job as a babysitter could help explain how you will relate to young patients in a paediatric dentistry personal statement sample.

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    Part 2: How to write a dental school personal statement. According to the ADEA, "Your personal statement is a one-page essay (not to exceed 4,500 characters, including spaces, carriages, numbers, letters, etc.) that gives dental schools a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in dentistry.". That doesn't quite convey the real goal of your ...

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    Mature students - getting ready to start your course. Mature students: five things to include in your personal statement. Preparing for study as a mature student - choosing where to study. Preparing for study as a mature student - student support. Preparing for study as a mature student - your qualifications.

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    This blog will help you understand the key things you must do (and that you must avoid) in composing your essay, with dental school personal statement examples that demonstrate these strategies, so that you can draft the strongest, most compelling dental school personal statement possible. 1. Tell a story. Ideally, you will craft a story or ...

  8. Dentistry Personal Statement Examples

    Welcome to 6med's collection of Dentistry Personal Statement Examples. Read through Saif's successful Personal Statement for KCL, where he will analyse the strengths, weaknesses and overall quality of his statement to inspire your own writing. We believe in leveling the playing field.

  9. How do I structure my dentistry personal statement?

    When deciding what to include in your dentistry personal statement, it is a good idea to break it down into several sections. Start with an introduction, have several paragraphs in the main body of text, and end with a conclusion. We recommend trying to include a section on each of the following in the main body of text: Motivation for dentistry.

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    Weak personal statement example. "Dentistry has fascinated me from a very early age, as to me it seems like the perfect combination of practical and mental challenges. This has become even stronger since my brother found work as a dentist, having recently graduated from manchester University.

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    Dentistry Personal Statement. Everyone has the right to a good smile. A smile can have a major effect on a person's self-esteem, confidence and happiness. It would give me great satisfaction being able to have a positive effect on a patient's quality of life by being able to influence these and many more factors.

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    Tip 6: Only write a dentistry personal statement for one course. Don't try to make your dentistry personal statement include your backup 5 th option, keep it focussed on dentistry. Your backup option will give you an offer regardless - they are used to people applying for dentistry and having them as a 5 th choice.

  13. Your Essential Guide to Dental School... by Yang, Helen

    Kindle. $9.99 Read with our free app. Paperback. $14.99 8 Used from $8.47 7 New from $14.89. A GUIDE FOR PRE-DENTS, WRITTEN BY DENTISTS Each year, more than 11,000 aspiring pre-dents apply for admission to US dental schools. It is no longer enough to get above-average grades and DAT scores.

  14. Medicine & Dentistry Personal Statements

    Medify's Personal Statement Course can help you to complete a ready-to-submit personal statement in just three days. You'll be guided by admissions experts on how to frame your experiences and demonstrate your suitability for medicine or dentistry. You'll also get access to over 100 personal statement examples.

  15. Dentistry Personal Statement Guidance & Examples for applicants to UK

    A clear and concise structure is important for a dentistry personal statement to ensure that the statement is easy to read and effectively showcases the applicant's qualifications and experiences. By organizing the statement in a logical and coherent manner, the applicant can effectively communicate their passion for the field of dentistry ...

  16. BeMo's Ultimate Guide to Dental School Personal Statements

    BeMo's Ultimate Guide to Dental School Personal Statements & Supplemental Essays is the most comprehensive resource to use when preparing for your dental school applications. Written by former admissions committee members and award-winning scientists, this guide is a must-read for all dental school applicants.

  17. Dentistry Personal Statement Examples

    A sentence or two explaining why you want to study this degree makes an ideal dentistry personal statement opening. For the main part of the statement, you should consider the course demands and explain how you can demonstrate the skills to meet them. A personable manner, attention to detail, and technical understanding can be evidenced from ...

  18. "Top Books for Your Dentistry Application in the UK

    150+ 5* Reviews on Trustpilot. +442034885468. FREE consultation. Whatsapp Us. 2025 Entry Packages. Full Packages. Discover top books for UK dentistry applications. Boost your personal statement & interviews with our expert-recommended reading list - 2023.