Personal statement that got me into Cambridge

Here is the personal statement that I used to apply to Cambridge. I removed sensitive information (about others) in []. Huge thanks to people1 who helped me proof-read this essay and I hope this helps you in pursuing your dreams.


Medical science enthralls me for it integrates many fields to provide wide clinical applications: basic physical properties like nuclear decay are used in Tc99 to diagnose embolism. Each stage in the complex chemical reactions behind biological processes can be utilised to treat diseases. This is seen in how inhibiting production of a single folic acid intermediate, dihydropteroate, can kill microorganisms. On a macro level, a simple act of tilting to abduct shoulder can be used to diagnose conditions in the supraspinatus, which I learnt during Anatomy Challenge and internship at orthopaedic clinics. To me, the greatest gain was to realise my passion in various chemical and mechanical workings behind our fine biological structures and their applications.

Unsatisfied by reading theories, I went on to explore sciences through research projects. Honoured to be the only student from my school chosen for NUS’s research programme, I exploited the opportunity to [improve neurogenetic diagnosis]. I learnt to design primers that produce DNA strands of different lengths to overcome failures in replicating the AFF2 gene to diagnose Fragile XE and X Syndrome. Although experiments did not work well at first due to minor procedural errors, I persisted to perfect my lab skills to obtain more reliable results. When I emerged as the 2nd runner-up in NUS Chemistry Practical Challenge, I proved my dexterity and meticulousness by transferring my biomedical experimental techniques under time constraints. After completing the first project, I delved further with more independence by self-learning bioinformatics and exploring molecular diagnoses with Nanopore Sequencing, where I designed my own protocols and reagents. Presenting my Gold-award project at the Singapore Science Engineering Fair and International Researchers Club’s Conference not only improved my scientific communication skills, but also confirmed my career choice as a clinician scientist to contribute to push the frontiers of science.

Medical science is exciting, but only meaningful when aptly applied to benefit the public. I learnt the clinical side of medical science in biweekly hospital volunteering: I coordinated with volunteers and engaged patients with cognitive activities to prevent delirium. It not only bettered my interpersonal skills, but also enlightened me on how simple clinical procedures like orientation can reduce post-operative complications. As a certified CPR AED instructor, I observed how attentive trainees were when I lectured how AED resuscitates, which taught me the importance to bring the science to application. When working at SG Hospital as a research associate, I learnt how statistical tools like KM estimator helps decision making. With observation in Chinese hospitals where herbs began to be used in evidence-based ways, the various ways to improve medical sciences inspired me. This resonated with my literature research and observation on improved cardiologic treatments: although interventions can be physically exhausting, they are all worthwhile for they prolong patients’ lives. When I saw the patients discharged from the hospital brimming with hopes for a better life in front of them, I thought to myself, nothing can be more gratifying than an opportunity to study medicine, not just at as a degree, but as a lifelong commitment.


That is it. It is not a perfect personal statement but the authentic version is probably more useful than a better edited one that I would have written now.

  1. Peihao Xu, Kaiwen Wang, Kevin Sim, Yezhou Li, Huiting Liu ↩︎


Personalizing medicine

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