Biomedical Science Personal Statement

This Personal Statement was part of this student’s sucessful application to study Biology in Imperial College London, Natural Sciences in University College London and Durham University as well as Genetics in University of Edinburgh.

What happens if chloroplasts are injected into your bloodstream? How can a human breathe underwater? What happens if you jump into a hole drilled through the earth’s core? These are some of the intriguing questions asked by my younger brother. These are not questions which answers can be found in textbooks so I have to rely on logical reasoning to answer him. Of course, these questions are impractical in reality but I enjoy trying to solve the unsolvable. After a period of intense questioning, I myself developed this peculiar habit of asking why and what. I consider this to be my greatest strength because it allows me to look at science from a different perspective. History shows us that the biggest discoveries are not those with the biggest answers but those with the biggest questions.

Most people will define science by its three main subjects; biology, chemistry and physics. However, my view of science is that there are no rigid boundaries separating the subjects. Learning only one of the subjects is inadequate because those subjects are related in a thousand and one ways. For instance, the chemical composition of purines and pyrimidines is what allows the precise replication of DNA. Even mathematics can be found reappearing in nature as the Golden Ratio. Throughout my studies, it has always been a thrill to be able to apply concepts I learnt from one subject in another. Not only does this enable me to understand the subjects better, it gives me an immense satisfaction of being able to connect them; like same-coloured tiles of a Rubik’s cube coming together.

My particular interest in biology has leaded me to do a hospital attachment. I witnessed a gastroscopy and a biopsy being done to test for H. pylori. One branch of biology which intrigues me more than the others is genetics. Genetics is more than just the study of genes; it explains how one’s phenotype arises from the complex relationship of its genotype with its environment. The idea of nurture vs. nature and which has the upper hand in determining an organism’s characteristics appeals to me. Darwinism and Mendelism complement each other so beautifully and the unification of both theories is something I want to learn to greater detail. Genetics immediately caught my attention when my high-school teacher taught us about DNA replication and transcription. The way free nucleotides which have no sense of order at first, could suddenly line up next to the exposed DNA strands in a precise arrangement is simply elegant; order from chaos. When I read The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean, I stumbled upon transposons. Further research left me in awe because these “jumping genes” further prove that something as inanimate as DNA could do as much as something living, if not more. The way transposons work raises many questions, so I am eager to learn more about it at a higher level. I even requested for an interview with a local geneticist to find out more but I am still waiting for a reply.

During my schooling years, I consistently top my batch in exams and was awarded with numerous top-in-subject awards especially in maths and science subjects. I was also named the Top 50 Best Scorer in Malaysia for the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM). I took part in many maths and science competitions to try a different approach in learning these subjects. As a result, I found out that I enjoy the challenges set by the competitions and gained a lot from them. An example of my achievements is I was awarded a High Distinction in the National Malaysian Chemistry Quiz. I also emerged second for the KDU’s Maths and Science Competition. Badminton and squash is my forte and I took part in tournaments. Debating was also a passion of mine in secondary school and it had taught me to think critically and analytically, which are important assets in the science field. I gained leadership experience by being the Assistant Head Prefect and I was also the Vice Captain for my school’s Blue House.

DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KIND. UCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Of Robes and Long Dining Tables, of Fireplaces and Scholars.


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Besides being THE most prestigious university in the world, Cambridge has been my dream. A dream that never was. I mean, me? Surely, there must be more qualified candidates around the world.

So there I was, scrolling through Cambridge’s entry requirements after receiving my AS Level results. Imagine my joy when I found that I met the minimum entry requirements. But that was only the first step of a long and arduous journey.

Personal Statement

THE personal statement. Quite possibly the most formidable step of the UCAS application. (Interviews aside, of course.) What on earth do you write? How do you get someone to take notice? Well, it might be a good idea to grab hold of some successful samples online, just to have a brief idea of what to include. Generally, the outline would be: catchy introduction and why you chose your subject; what you’ve done that demonstrates your passion towards the subject; your extracurricular involvements and the type of skills they inculcate. But of course, you already know the drill.

  • I like Physics/Chemistry/Biology. No, no, no. Be a little bit more subtle.
  • If you’re going to start your personal statement with some cliched quote from Darwin, Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein, forget it. At least use a slightly obscure quote that no one else ever uses. It might pass you off as slightly more intelligent than the other candidates.
  • If you’re going to mention the New Scientist or Cosmos magazine, please be a little more original. At least every other (if not all) Natural Sciences personal statement includes a mention of those articles.
  • If you have no idea what to write, grabbing a few books off the suggested reading list or watching public lectures related to your subject might be good starting points.
  • Demonstrating how the activities you’ve partaken in qualifies you for a Science degree undoubtedly requires some creativity. Being a club member improves your team-working skills, and that will help when you’re in a research team, for example. Well, if you’re involved in a remotely interesting club (like Geography), that would hone your patience, which is ABSOLUTELY essential when carrying out experiments.
  • But do try getting yourself involved in international science competitions, volunteering for science fairs, attending public lectures and writing about them in your personal statement subsequently. They would vastly increase your chances of getting noticed.

Interviews (Or not)

Next go hours, days and months sitting before the computer screen, waiting for that all-important email. Certain colleges require that you send in copies of your written work prior to your interview (essays, assignments etc.). But don’t worry if you don’t have any – just send them an email to explain. I didn’t have any either.

As the interview would likely be centred on your personal statement and whatever else you wrote on your COPA, it would be helpful if you familiarize yourself with whatever you wrote. Say, if you wrote that you like evolution, read a few books about it so that you are ready for whatever the interviewer throws at you. They’ll probe you just to check that you actually know what you wrote about, but that’s about it. The other questions will likely be about A level topics, specifically, the modules you wrote about in your COPA.

There will also inevitably be a section on drawing graphs, so just be prepared to draw a graph for a given equation and explain why it should be like this or that, etc. Oh, while I’m at it, just think aloud. It’s good entertainment for the interviewer as he/she tries to figure out your thought process and deliberate on whether you’re teachable. My interviewer was actually trying to teach me about proteins during the interview session. There will also be paper and pencil laid before you, so feel free to use them if you need to illustrate your thoughts.

The good thing about Cambridge interviews is that you don’t need to smile and put on a whole bubbly, cheerful personality. Just be yourself (in the truest sense of the word). One interviewer once said that what distinguishes offer-holders from non-offer-holders is the sparkle in their eye. Be really passionate and treat the interview as a tutorial session.

If you were having your interviews in Malaysia, there will be a TSA assessment followed by an essay question a few days after the interview session. It would be worth going through “Thinking Skills” by John Butterworth and AS Level Thinking Skills past papers. As for the essays, they would likely be on stuff that you have learnt during your A levels. You might find some sample questions on college websites (I think Magdalene College has it).

That’s about it for applying, I guess. Good luck and may you achieve your dreams!

This student will be pursuing Biology in University of Cambridge, although she has also received an offer from Imperial College London. The aforementioned student has chosen to remain anonymous for fear of invoking the anger of Geography students.

Biology Personal Statement

This personal statement helped her gain admissions to pursue Natural Sciences in University of Cambridge and Biology in Imperial College London.

Infectious particles in blatant violation of the central dogma, propagating via a putative seeding-nucleation mechanism, in infectivity virus-like, yet in resistivity markedly dissimilar, prion proteins are fibrillary tangles of a confounding nature, arcane and unorthodox. Following a brief introduction to PrP through the “History of BSE in Britain”, my interest began to expand to include amyloid fibrils and its related pathological conditions.

The independent maturation of two different developmental pathways in metamorphosing marine creatures – whereupon pentaradial adults are formed from bipinnaria larvae – is astonishing, especially when both adopt radically different niches, as if they were of different species. I am particularly piqued by the life cycle of Luidia Sarsi, whose larvae lives on, unscathed, for a remarkable time period following the emergence of the juvenile starfish from the larvae.

Regular attendance of Royal Society lectures helped consolidate my interest in Science, “Understanding Epigenetics through Mathematics” by Terry Speed introduced me to the world in which events that occurred early in development may trigger a cascade of events that affects not only an individual, but also its offspring through such mechanisms as genomic imprinting, DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. A visit to Life Technologies, meanwhile, provided an insight to the manufacture of blood products such as the bovine serum and also of the preventive measures taken to avoid contamination. I learnt about the production of drugs, of the painstaking process of running through millions of promising molecules in the hope of producing a viable, effective drug through a visit to Douglas Pharmaceuticals and a talk by Margaret Bramble. At the Liggins Institute, meanwhile, I was given a chance to conduct the polymerase chain reaction.

My interest in Science is evident through the subjects I took for my A levels, notably, Biology, Physics and Mathematics, which are vital for the development of observational, analytical and deductive skills in order to perceive the “obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes”, as noted by the world famous sleuth. I am currently undertaking A level Chemistry to bridge the gaps in my knowledge. Having been privileged to attend one of the UN Youth NZ events besides being an active member of the West Auckland Youth Council, I was able to experience and be a part of the inspiring achievements of those young in body, but not in soul, of those who believed that change upon the world began with change upon oneself, that passion, determination and failures are key to achieving one’s dreams.

Being the President of the School Band and Vice-president of the Literary, Drama and Debating society, I was endowed with the honour of leading a team of individuals, of the banding of these, different as the instruments of an orchestra, yet each possessing its own vital and irreplaceable roles, coalescing to result in a harmonious symphony. Listening to lectures along with the perusal of books has helped elucidate a number of inexplicable phenomena including that pertaining to apoptosis and the archaeal domain. Volunteering in the zoo allowed direct observation of the behavior and habits of animals as real, living beings, as “endless forms most beautiful” – according to the great Darwin himself – as opposed to being mere theoretical concepts.

Being a part-time tutor of Physics, meanwhile, helped solidify my groundings in Science, for “nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person”, – again, by Sherlock Holmes. I’ve also been playing the trumpet for 5 years in several musical groups, which helped hone patience, concentration and dedication which I believe is of crucial importance in conducting scientific research.

A degree in Biology may provide just the “mental exaltation” for which I crave, for “my mind rebels at stagnation”.

DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KIND. UCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.