If you’re applying to study Biomedical Science, then you’ll probably already know that these degree programmes are notoriously competitive. One area that is particularly important and can help your application stand out is your personal statement.
Your personal statement is a chance to highlight your skills and qualities that would make you a great candidate for a Biomedical Science degree. Your personal statement should be solely written by you and can follow any format you desire. However, based on the experience of our professional Biomedical Science tutors, who have helped many students get into top universities, there are some guidelines you should follow. This article goes through the key stages of writing a Biomedical Science personal statement, including some top tips and how to access support.
Important changes to the UCAS personal statement: All students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.
What is Biomedical Science?
Biomedical Science is a varied, highly scientific course that focuses on how cells, organs and systems function in the human body. It is particularly relevant to the understanding and treatment of human diseases, however it does not provide specific medical training, instead focusing on the science and research that underpins medicine and medical practice.
Many Biomedical Science students go on to study at postgraduate level or work in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Some courses (those accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)) allow students to become qualified Biomedical Scientists, while others provide a solid foundation from which to apply to accelerated graduate-entry Medicine courses (the course needed to become a doctor).
Before you start, think about the goal of your personal statement
Your personal statement is essentially your sales pitch to your chosen universities. The goal is to tell them why you would be a great Biomedical Science student and, later, a successful professional or researcher within the field. Keep the overarching goal of your personal statement in mind as you write it and make sure that everything you say is supported by an action or example.
Top tip: While it’s important to showcase your personality and interests, make sure that every sentence has a purpose and relates back to that overarching goal. The bulk of your personal statement should be demonstrating how and why your experiences and skills would make you a great Biomedical Science student, not just what you have done. Don’t waste valuable characters talking about hobbies or passions that are unrelated to your chosen degree pathway – always keep it relevant.
How long should your personal statement be?
Your personal statement must be between 1,000 and 4,000 characters long. It is best to use as many of the 4,000 characters (approximately 47 lines) as possible in order to showcase all of your best qualities and experience.
Step 1. What are your motivations for studying Biomedical Science?
Once you’ve got the goal of your personal statement at the forefront of your mind, start thinking about why you want to study a degree in Biomedical Science. Your motivations for studying the subject should be included in the first paragraph of your personal statement.
Try not to be too generic with your motivations – instead, think about your own personal reasons for wanting to study Biomedical Science. For example, is there an area of research in particular that has always interested you and, if so, why? Alternatively, is there a specific career you’d like to pursue after completing your degree, such as a Biomedical Scientist (note that your course should ideally be accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) to achieve this). Make sure your answer is also honest and shows a degree of introspection.
Note: Many universities recognise that Biomedical Science is a popular fifth choice for Medicine applicants and may therefore be applying with a UCAS personal statement that is tailored towards Medicine, rather than Biomedical Science specifically. These universities will account for this in the application process and a Medicine personal statement will not count against you. However, if you are only applying to Biomedical Science courses, you should tailor your personal statement to this subject specifically.
Step 2. What work experience do you have and what did you learn?
Work experience and volunteering can be important for Biomedical Science applications, as the subject is competitive and requires a demonstrable interest in Biomedicine. It is also the best way to get the real-life knowledge and experience of what Biomedicine involves, the careers available, and the skills and dedication that are required in the field.
Use this section of your personal statement to show you really understand the challenges and complexities of studying Biomedical Science. Talk about how your work experience has helped you to appreciate these challenges and think about how you would overcome them based on your observations/experience.
When it comes to writing about your work experience and volunteering in your personal statement, it’s important not to simply list the placements you have done. Instead, you should reflect on your work experience and think about what you learnt from it and how it will enrich your future studies and career.
How do you get work experience in the Biomedical industry?
Work experience takes time to find and complete, so it’s best to start thinking about it long before you come to write your personal statement. There are some work experience placements you may be able to get that are specific to Biomedical Science, such as those offered by the MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. However, many students will complete more general experience in the wider medical or healthcare industries. Watch our helpful YouTube video for tips on the types of work experience you can get and how to go about securing them.
Step 3. What relevant skills do you have?
Next, think about what skills you have that would make you a great Biomedical Science student. There are some skills that universities will be keeping an eye out for in applicants’ personal statements. These are the same skills that you may be assessed on in any potential interviews, and may include:
- Analytical and data interpretation skills
- Close attention to detail
- Research skills
- Organisational skills
- Rational and logical thinking
- Problem-solving skills
Make sure you highlight these skills in your personal statement and explain how you have developed them. For example, has there been a particular work experience placement in which you had to use great teamwork skills in order to solve a problem? Have you witnessed first-hand the close attention to detail that is required by biomedical scientists, and how have you learnt from that experience?
Step 4. What wider reading and studying have you done?
While the studying you do at school in relevant subjects (Chemistry, Biology, etc.) is certainly useful from an academic standpoint, your personal statement is your chance to show universities that you have gone above and beyond. Relevant wider reading and studying that you have done in your personal time shows that you are passionate and dedicated to your chosen field.
When researching your university courses, make a note of any recommended reading lists you find and use these as a starting point to find books, papers and academics that will expand your knowledge on certain topics. For example, Oxford’s introductory reading list for Biomedical Science includes a range of general readings as well as specific readings on Physiology, Neurophysiology, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Statistics, and Scientific Thought. You’ll also find recommended podcasts and videos (expanding your knowledge doesn’t always have to be via reading!).
Step 5. Do you take part in any relevant extracurricular activities?
Once you’ve demonstrated your motivations for studying Biomedical Science, your relevant skills and your work experience, you can include a line or two about any other extracurricular activities you feel are relevant. For example, if you attend any after-school clubs or have any hobbies that you have excelled in, this is the time to include them. Activities that showcase particularly good mathematical or analytical skills, such as participation in the UK Maths Challenge or attending a Computer Science after school club, are highly recommended.
Top tip: You only have so many words in your personal statement, so everything you include should be impactful and support your point that you’d be an excellent Biomedical Science student. When it comes to extracurricular activities and hobbies, unless you have competed at national level or won an award, really consider if it would be beneficial to include it in your personal statement. Only include it if you have characters to spare!
Step 6. Think ahead to your interview
Some Biomedical Science courses may interview applicants that pass the initial screening stage of the admissions process. Your personal statement will be an important deciding factor in whether you get offered an interview with your chosen university and may also be used as the basis for questions to ask you and topics to discuss in the interview itself.
Before you submit your personal statement, look at each sentence you have written and think about what questions you could be asked about at your interview. If you are able to expand on the sentence or talk more about the topic then keep the sentence in. If you’re unable to go into any more depth, consider removing it or reframing it in a way that will make it easier for you in the interview.
Top tip: It should go without saying, but always tell the truth on your personal statement. That applies to your work experience and volunteering, your extra reading and studying, and anything else that relates to your skills and interests. You could be asked questions on anything you write in your personal statement in your interview, and you don’t want to get caught in a lie! Nothing will put off a university more than if you are caught lying in your application, especially when considering the responsibility and integrity required in the Biomedical Science field.
Step 7. Summarise why you are well-suited to the course
The final paragraph of your personal statement should summarise everything you’ve described throughout. You should conclude by stating why you think you’d be well-suited to a Biomedical Science degree course. You do not need to include any new examples or information here. Rather, you should summarise the key points you’ve already made and tie them back to the overarching goal and the motivations you established at the start of your statement.
How can you get help?
Your personal statement is an important part of your Biomedical Science application, so it’s a good idea to get professional help to make it as compelling as possible. Our personal statement tutors can help you by:
- Giving a statement of review on your personal statement – Once you’re in touch with one of our personal statement tutors, you can submit a draft for review. Based on many years of experience helping students refine their personal statements and get into top universities, our experts will provide detailed feedback with action points advising you on how to improve it. Nobody, not even a tutor, is allowed to make direct changes to your personal statement, and it is ultimately up to you what you write and whether you make changes based on any feedback you receive.
- Proofreading for grammar – Though it might seem obvious, proofreading for grammar before you submit your personal statement is critical to your application’s success. Grammatical mistakes – even small ones – could detract from the contents of your personal statement and prevent assessors from focusing on all of the fantastic skills and work experience you have. Use a document that has a spelling and grammar checker incorporated in it to avoid mistakes, and always ask a tutor, friend or family member to read over it to check for errors.
- Helping you develop your skills and academic profile – A great personal statement relies on great skills and experience. Our tutors can advise you on what you can do to help build your academic profile and ensure that your personal statement stands out for all the right reasons.
- Wider application support – Our team can also help you with your wider medical application, including improving your grades, preparing for the BMAT (if required), and providing training for interviews. Get in touch with us to start your admissions tutoring today.
What can you do with a Biomedical Science degree?
Biomedical Science students can go into a range of careers, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, health science, energy and the environment. Common roles that Biomedical Science graduates take up include: analytical/medical chemist, biotechnologist, biomedical/clinical/forensic/research scientist, crime scene investigator, neuroscientist, science writer, toxicologist, and many more.
Can I become a doctor with a Biomedical Science degree?
A degree in Biomedical Science does not qualify you to become a doctor. However, it does give you a good foundation of knowledge and allow you to apply for a graduate entry Medicine programme. Graduate entry Medicine degrees are accelerated programmes that take around 4 years to complete.
How will Biomedical Science personal statements change in 2024?
All students applying for university in 2023 for courses beginning in 2024 will be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal, and all information on this page still applies. However, from 2024/2025 onwards, there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.
The questions you will need to answer are very likely to be many of the same questions posed in this guide. According to UCAS, the questions identified by universities so far include:
- Motivation for the course: Why do you want to study these courses?
- Preparedness for the course: How has your learning so far helped you to be ready to succeed on these courses?
- Preparation through other experiences: What else have you done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences useful?
- Extenuating circumstances: Is there anything that the universities and colleges need to know about, to help them put your achievements and experiences so far into context?
- Preparedness for study: What have you done to prepare yourself for student life?
- Preferred learning styles: Which learning and assessment styles best suit you, and how do your course choices match that?