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How to Write a Chemistry Personal Statement Worthy of Oxbridge!

Writing a personal statement is a very daunting task, it can seem like the be-all and end-all of your university application. In this post, Oxford PhD Chemistry researcher and 1st Class Oxford Chemistry graduate, Zoe, outlines how to structure your personal statement, as well as discuss the do’s and don’ts when it comes to a Chemistry personal statement. We have also provided an example Chemistry Personal Statement for those looking for inspiration.

General Tips for a Successful Chemistry Personal Statement:

When applying to the top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge or other Russel Group universities, the personal statement is not going to be the single factor determining the success of your application. In that sense, there is no need to spend hours curating the ‘perfect’ personal statement - interview preparation and school grades will have a much stronger weighting in the eyes of the admissions office. That being said, a poorly written personal statement can negatively impact your chances and you’ll want to make sure you have avoided common pitfalls and checked all the boxes for a successful application.

Below I’ll discuss key things your personal statement should include, along with common mistakes people make when trying to impress.

1.      Convey your genuine interest for chemistry – this should be the first paragraph and indicate why you want to study chemistry

-          Don’t write clichés such as ‘I’ve wanted to be a chemist since I was 4 years old’ - they want to know what motivates you now

-          Do be yourself and talk about what you genuinely find interesting and what got you motivated to study Chemistry in the first place e.g. at A-level (you don’t gain points for having stated to like Chemistry at an earlier age). Demonstrate your enthusiasm for chemistry by discussing what motivated you to study the subject, such as a particular experiment or a fascinating discovery

2.      Demonstrate you have the skills and motivation required to pursue the subject at the highest-level – this should be paragraphs 2 and 3 and form the bulk of your personal statement. Don’t get carried away, focus on one or two key examples that demonstrate your commitment to the subject

-          Don’t lie – this may seem obvious, but don’t mention books you haven’t read or experiments you haven’t done just to sound clever; this is the easiest way to get caught out in an interview. Tutors are not expecting you to know the whole 1st year undergraduate course and they will be well aware if you pretend you have.

-          Do include any research or reading you have done which shows commitment to the subject. All they want is for you to show you have taken the time to go beyond the standard A-level syllabus, be that by reading books, keeping up with the literature or even attending talks or visiting an interesting exhibition at a museum. There is no right way to show interest in the subject! Highlight your academic achievements in chemistry, including any relevant coursework, research projects, or awards that showcase your skills and knowledge

3.      Highlight skills that make you suited for the course – This should the final paragraph and should be a couple of sentences at most. Showcase these skills, such as your ability to think critically, work collaboratively, and problem-solve, which are essential for success in the field of Chemistry.

-          Don’t mention extra-curriculars that are not directly relevant to the course. 4000 characters is not a lot and you do not want to waste space or things that tutors will not even consider

-          Do include any extra-curriculars that demonstrate either proficiency and commitment to the subject (e.g., Chemistry Olympiad) or extra-curriculars that will show you are suited to high-paced and demanding environments such as Oxford or Cambridge (e.g. sports or activities that required significant dedication and skills such as time-management)

4. Be concise and focused: Keep your personal statement concise and focused, with a clear structure and well-defined paragraphs. Finally, proofread your personal statement carefully to ensure that it is free of errors and flows smoothly. Consider asking someone else to read it and provide feedback before submitting your application.

things to include in a chemistry personal statement

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Ideas to Show Interest Beyond Your A-level Chemistry Curriculum:

You may feel overwhelmed when it comes to searching beyond the A-level course. Chemistry is a huge subject so how do you find the best, most interesting things to read and talk about?

The short answer is you can’t. There is not right or wrong book to read just as there is no right or wrong thing to be interested in. The breadth of most Chemistry courses highlights this very fact – you can be interested in whatever area of Chemistry you want, and its completely okay if this ends up being a different area to your interviewer! In fact, you are more likely to invest time into learning new content, and thus are more likely to effectively demonstrate your skills if you have chosen something you are genuinely interested in. So, don’t spend ages trying to find the ‘right’ area to research but do pursue your actual interests!

Below are just a few examples of ways in which you can engage with chemistry outside of the classroom, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. So, if you find something else that sparks your interest then by all means, go with that!

Books You Could Mention in Your Chemistry Personal Statement:

Why Chemical Reactions Happen – James Keeler*

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out – Richard Feynman

The Most Beautiful Molecule – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Periodic Tales - Hugh Aldersey-Williams

The Disappearing Spoon – Sam Kean

Napoleon's Buttons – Jay Burreson and Penny Le Couteur

*A very good introduction to some 1st year undergraduate topics but also a pretty big cliché so I would avoid having this as the main book in your personal statement

Chemistry Personal Statement Books

Chemistry Podcasts:

Chemistry for your life : A podcast helping you understand the chemistry of your everyday life

Chemistry in its element : A weekly tour of the periodic table, from Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chemistry Cayk

Distillations : Uncovering moments in science-related history

chemistry personal statement oxford podcasts

Extracurricular Activities For Success in Chemistry University Applications:

UK Chemistry Olympiad

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (Year 12 only)

Giving a talk at your school’s Chemistry/ Science society

Seek out relevant work experience : If you have any relevant work experience, discuss it in your personal statement. This could include internships, volunteer work, or research assistantships

U2 Tuition’s co-curricular division, Minds Underground, host online specialised research projects, with many Chemistry-related options. Gaining research experience can be a valuable opportunity for school students, offering numerous benefits beyond what is typically learned in the classroom. Visit the Research Experience page for more information!

Applying to Oxford for Chemistry? Here Is What You Should Also Do

If Oxford is your dream destination for studying this fascinating subject, there are some crucial tips to consider. Here's a breakdown of key elements to enhance your chemistry personal statement, especially tailored for Oxford:

1. Embrace Depth and Breadth:

Oxford values not just your depth of understanding in chemistry but also your ability to appreciate its broad applications. Showcase both your passion for specific areas of chemistry and your awareness of its interdisciplinary nature.

2. Highlight Research Awareness:

Demonstrate your awareness of cutting-edge research in chemistry. Mention specific projects, studies, or advancements that have caught your attention, showcasing a keen interest in staying updated on the latest developments in the field.

3. Demonstrate Critical Thinking:

Oxford places a strong emphasis on critical thinking and analytical skills. Showcase instances where you've applied these skills in problem-solving, especially in chemistry-related scenarios.

4. Exhibit Your Intellectual Curiosity:

Oxford seeks students who are not only knowledgeable but also intellectually curious. Share instances where you've gone beyond the standard curriculum to explore your interest in chemistry, such as engaging with advanced books, attending seminars, or participating in relevant extracurricular activities.

5. Discuss Your Future Contribution:

Convey a sense of your long-term vision in the field of chemistry. Whether it's contributing to ground-breaking research, advancing technology, or inspiring future generations, Oxford wants to see your commitment to making a meaningful impact.

6. Make Sure You Personal Statement Is An Exciting Springboard For Discussion At Interview

Oxford places significant importance on the interview process, and your personal statement can serve as a crucial catalyst for engaging discussions during this stage. Craft your statement in a way that prompts curiosity, inviting interviewers to delve deeper into your experiences and viewpoints. Incorporate thought-provoking questions or reflections on your experiences, leaving room for insightful conversations. Showcasing your ability to articulate complex ideas and engage in dynamic discussions will not only demonstrate your readiness for the Oxford environment but also set the stage for a compelling interview experience.

Tailoring your statement with these specific considerations for Oxford will help you showcase your suitability for the challenging and enriching academic environment at the University.

Chemistry Personal Statement Example

Below, we have shared a personal statement example for a chemistry degree application. This is a succinct and focused piece, highlighting experiences from engaging with captivating books and podcasts to participating in the UK Chemistry Olympiad. From sugar plastics to sustainability, each facet contributes to a narrative showcasing the dynamic nature of chemistry and the student’s commitment to making a meaningful impact.

Chemistry captivates me as a subject that blends curiosity and practical understanding. My journey began with Hugh Aldersey-Williams' 'The Most Beautiful Molecule,' a book that provided a captivating exploration of molecular structures. What fascinated me most was the author's ability to unravel the complexities of these structures in a way that felt accessible and intriguing. Aldersey-Williams seamlessly blended scientific detail with a narrative that made me appreciate the elegance hidden within the microscopic world of molecules. This narrative approach to scientific storytelling resonated with me, creating a bridge between the abstract concepts of chemistry and their real-world implications. I enjoy listening to Chemistry podcasts and found the ChemTalk podcast episode featuring Dr. Karen Wooley discussing Sugar Plastics and Sustainability particularly fascinating. Unlike conventional plastics, which contribute to pollution and resource depletion, sugar plastics offer a renewable and biodegradable alternative. Her insights into sustainability, sugars, and their applications in industry resonated with me. This podcast demonstrated the bridge between theory and real-world challenges, showcasing the versatility of chemistry in creating alternative materials and emphasising the practical role of chemistry in addressing global issues. Inspired by Dr. Wooley's work, I undertook a project focused on developing sustainable alternatives to conventional plastics using sugars. Collaborating with peers, we explored the synthesis and properties of sugar-based plastics, aiming to contribute to environmentally friendly solutions. This hands-on project allowed me to witness the tangible applications of chemistry in addressing contemporary issues, reinforcing the importance of sustainable practices within the field. Attending a lecture on sustainability in chemistry further deepened my appreciation for the discipline's potential impact on global challenges. The lecture illuminated innovative approaches and advancements in sustainable chemistry, emphasising the role of environmentally friendly practices in research and industry. What fascinated me was the integration of green chemistry principles, showcasing how the field is evolving to minimise environmental impact and enhance efficiency. This experience broadened my perspective on the practical applications of sustainable practices within the realm of chemistry, reaffirming my commitment to contributing to solutions that align with the principles of environmental responsibility. Participating in the UK Chemistry Olympiad further deepened my understanding of the versatile nature of chemistry, challenging me to apply theoretical knowledge to solve real-world problems. Being a passionate debater, I have also honed my communication and critical thinking skills, learning to articulate complex ideas effectively. Additionally, running my school's Chemistry Society has provided a platform to share my enthusiasm for the subject with peers, organising events and discussions that foster a collaborative and interactive learning environment. These activities showcase my commitment to both academic excellence and fostering a broader understanding and appreciation for chemistry beyond the classroom. These experiences have solidified my passion for chemistry and its real-world applications. Eager to delve deeper, I am motivated to pursue a chemistry degree, driven by a genuine curiosity and a commitment to contribute meaningfully to this impactful discipline.

In conclusion, writing a strong Chemistry degree personal statement requires careful planning, organisation, and attention to detail. A successful Chemistry personal statement should demonstrate your passion for the subject, showcase your academic achievements, highlight your relevant experiences, and emphasise your skills. By following these guidelines and taking the time to craft a well-written and compelling personal statement, you can increase your chances of being accepted into the Chemistry degree of your choice. Remember to proofread your statement carefully, seek feedback from others, and let your unique voice and personality shine through. Good luck with your application!

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Our experienced Oxbridge-educated tutors are experts in their field and have a proven track record of success in helping students achieve their goals and gain admission to some of the top universities in the UK. We also offer admissions test and interview preparation for those applying to Oxbridge and also top Russell Group Universities who interview such as Imperial.

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Successful Personal Statement For Chemistry At Oxford

Last Updated: 7th April 2022

Author: Rob Needleman

Table of Contents

Welcome to our popular Personal Statement series where we present a successful Personal Statement, and our Oxbridge Tutors provide their feedback on it. 

Today, we are looking through a Chemistry applicant’s Personal Statement that helped secure a place at Oxford University. The Chemistry Course at Oxford is taught in a world-leading chemistry department with state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories and world-class research.

Read on to see how this candidate wrote a Personal Statement that helped secure their place on a reputable degree. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Personal Statement:

SUCCESSFUL?

The universities this candidate applied to were the following:

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With our  Oxford Chemistry Premium Programme, we help you craft the perfect Personal   Statement  and teach you how to  Interview effectively .

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Chemistry Personal Statement

Few aspects of our lives remain unaffected by the fundamental subject of chemistry. Chemists have revolutionised the way we live; from the medicines we use to the water we drink, it is hard to imagine what our everyday life would be like without the help of this vast subject. I wish to be a part of the chemical discoveries of the future which is what entices me to study chemistry in greater depth at university.

My interest in chemistry has developed a great deal since starting the AS level course. Each time I learn something new, it inspires me to develop my knowledge even further. I have particularly enjoyed the organic chemistry involved in the AS course due to the practical work it entails. Laboratory work for me is enjoyable because it provides an opportunity to test out the theoretical knowledge you have gained and is also great fun! For example, I particularly enjoyed making azo dyes as it was interesting to recreate a process in the lab which is so frequently used in industry.

I have been able to develop my passion for chemistry through wider reading. I have recently enjoyed reading Molecules at an Exhibition. The range of molecules which can have profound effects on our lives surprised me and showed me again how relevant chemistry is to our lives. I have a subscription to New Scientist. An article I particularly enjoyed reading over the summer was “Rogue elements” which explores some of the unanswered questions associated with the periodic table. For example, when the elements will stop and whether superheavy elements, which exist for fractions of a second only one atom at a time, can be considered elements at all. The article also looked at the issues of where to place the elements hydrogen and helium and where the metal/non-metal divide should be. This showed me that although the periodic table is often considered to be complete, there is still much to uncover. Reading Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You introduced me to the concept of relativity and I was amazed to find out how this theory affects chemistry as well as physics. For example without relativity the properties of some of the heavier elements such as gold would simply not be the same. I have been developing my interest in maths and have taken up AS further maths which will be largely self-taught, I know this will complement the chemistry syllabus.

Recently I took part in a UNIQ summer school at Oxford University which allowed me to have a great insight into undergraduate chemistry. I thoroughly enjoyed my week, particularly the lecture on chirality. This was a new concept for me and I was surprised by the huge differences that can result from this form of isomerism. My subject knowledge was greatly enhanced and the skills I gained have been even more valuable. I was taught to question, develop and evaluate my knowledge at every stage and become a more independent learner.

During Year 12 I acted as a science tutor for GCSE students, helping them with exam technique. I found that explaining the subject matter to others helped to enhance and consolidate my own knowledge. My success both in and out of school was rewarded when I received Clevedon’s 2014 Academic Achievement Award in chemistry.

I enjoy playing the piano and recently achieved Grade 6 during my GCSE year, developing my time management skills. My other hobbies include drama and singing and I am a member of Clevedon Light Opera Club as well as the school choir. I have taken part in several productions as well as performing in school stage shows and concerts. All of which contributed to me gaining my Gold Arts Award. I volunteer with a Rainbow group. When I started I found the prospect of running activities for a group of people quite daunting, but 2 years later I think my confidence and communication skills have improved greatly. I have developed my knowledge, skills and aptitude both in and out of school and I look forward to being able to extend these further by studying at university.

For more inspiration, take a look through our other successful Personal Statement a nalysis articles:

Successful Personal Statement For Natural Science (Physical) At Cambridge

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Download our Free Personal Statement Starter Guide 

Good Points Of The Personal Statement

This is a well written and well-structured statement. The student places points in order of relevance, making the statement easy to read. All points are clearly explained, and their impacts on the student are clear. There is a clear introduction, main body and conclusion.

Bad Points Of The Personal Statement

Although the statement is written in a logical order, there are a lot of paragraphs. Whilst it is very good that the student has a wide range of interests and hobbies, the student dedicates two paragraphs to these. It would have been possible to shorten the statement by removing some of the points mentioned, without taking away from the quality of the statement. The student clearly has many experiences from outside of the A-level syllabus, such as the UNIQ summer school and working as a GCSE science tutor. Whilst is it of course important to describe individual experiences and achievements, focussing on the positives alone limits the impact that mentioning such experiences will have. It would have been nice to see what challenges the student faced through their experiences, and how the student overcame these.

UniAdmissions Overall Score:

This is an excellent statement. The Personal Statement is clearly written and easy to read. The length of the statement could have been reduced, however, there are no other areas in which the student needs to make significant improvements.

This Personal Statement for Chemistry is a great example of a well-written Statement that demonstrates a wealth of experience and interest, vital to Admissions Tutors.

Remember, at Oxford, these Admissions Tutors are often the people who will be teaching you for the next few years, so you need to appeal directly to them.

You can find more successful personal statements and our expert guides on our Free Personal Statement Resources page.

Our expert tutors are on hand to help you craft the perfect Personal Statement for your Oxford Chemistry application.

With our  Oxford Chemistry Premium Programme, we help you craft the perfect Personal   Statement , perform strongly on the Written Test  and teach you how to  Interview effectively .

Discover our Oxford Chemistry Premium Programme  by clicking the button below to  enrol and triple your chances of success.

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PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE Chemistry Personal Statement

Submitted by Filiz

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Get a gold-standard education at Leicester University (REF 2023).

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Chemistry Personal Statement

Swimming from a young age always made me ponder the thought, who cleans the pool and how do they do it? As I grew older I realised it wasn't a case of who, it is a case of what. Essentially, chemistry held the answer. This example, along with many others, enhance my desire to study how chemistry works within modern day life. By choosing demanding A-level subjects that focus on essay writing with analytical skill and problem solving, I believe that I am able to excel in undergraduate study.

I take particular interest in green chemistry, inorganic molecules and IR spectra which explains my desire to study Chemistry. I find inorganic chemistry extremely captivating explaining my fascination with the Haber process; without this process a third of the population would not be fed. Global warming is becoming a prominent issue and the frequency of tropical cyclones is largely due to an increased consumption of fossil fuels, this has then led to technological advances that lie behind green chemistry. BTEC Science has strengthened my ability to analyse scientific techniques in experiments. This subject has enhanced my ability to work as a team but also to work independently when carrying out practical work. BTEC has taught me the importance of time management due to strict assignment deadlines.

Studying A-level Mathematics has given me the confidence to approach challenging chemical calculations. It's extremely rewarding to be able to apply my knowledge of finding the gradients of curves and use it for measuring the rate of reaction or my knowledge of natural logarithms and applying this to the Arrhenius Equation. Studying Mathematics makes me appreciate the fundamentals that it teaches and how they apply to the world of science. An important encounter with Chemistry that enhanced the appeal of the subject was a visit from PhD students studying at Cardiff University . They brought 'spectroscopy in a suitcase' allowing us, in small groups, to find the absorption frequencies of an unknown sample in order to identify its identity. Being pushed further using real life equipment elevated my desire to study Chemistry.

My dedication to the subject extends further than the academic side - in my year of AS Chemistry at St David's I was elected class representative becoming a vehicle for the student voice. In 2014 I was honoured to represent the United Kingdom for the Euro Project in Denmark. Team work was essential in this process with innovation as the topic of the 5 day project. I take pride in being able to balance the demands of A-level study with a part time job as well as other extra-curricular activities such as swimming for Barry Swimming Club. Swimming for 16 hours a week highlights my commitment and determination, attributes that would be transferable to university life. My part time job at a jewellery store has given me the refined understanding of how fast silver can oxidise dependant on how you store the metal. Through learning to play the piano and achieving a Grade 6 Merit, I have become a creative and fast paced learner, something that is useful when conducting chemical experiments. My quick thinking skills are also evident in my ability to translate Turkish due to my bilingual tongue. When in Turkey I often have to translate from English to Turkish for my Turkish family and British father accentuating my ability to relay information concisely.

Through my work experience at a Dentist's Practice I attained an insight into how chemical products are used in a working environment by aiding several dental procedures, highlighting my ability to adapt and learn at a demanding pace. The subject of Chemistry and its applications to real life is particularly fascinating to me; I fervently await the depth of knowledge that a Chemistry degree has to offer. I am a determined and hardworking individual, delighted at the prospect of studying exclusively Chemistry at university.

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Preparing your UCAS personal statement

By Sue Thompson 2012-07-01T11:38:00+01:00

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Sue Thompson helps you get yourself noticed

It can seem quite daunting to sit down to write your UCAS personal statement. Don’t worry, if you write it in stages and follow these guidelines, you should make a positive impression on any admissions tutor who reads it. Remember, the golden rule is quality, not quantity.

Getting started

A student on her laptop giving a thumbs up

Source: iStock

Write your statement offline in Microsoft Word and save it regularly. When you are finished, paste it into the online UCAS form. The form times-out after 35 minutes, so this will help to avoid losing any of your precious work.

  • The aims of a personal statement are to show the admissions tutor why you should be accepted on your chosen course.
  • Read some examples of good personal statements, but do not copy them as UCAS uses a plagiarism checker.
  • Reasons for choosing the course
  •  Personal achievements and relevant experience
  •  Hobbies and interests that show your skills and abilities.

A first draft

Now put this together but remember, you have limited space – 47 lines or 4000 characters.

  • Use language which makes you sound enthusiastic and interesting.
  • Be concise and be yourself – don’t use long words you would not usually use.
  • Steer clear from trying to be funny – admissions tutors may not share your sense of humour!
  • When discussing your experience say why you did it or what you have learned from it.
  • Be honest and specific – only write things that you would be prepared to discuss in an interview.

Polishing off

  • Good spelling and grammar is essential – don’t rely on a spellchecker.
  • Structure is important. Begin with why you want to study your subject and finish with why you want to go university, or your career aspirations.
  • Show your statement to other people you trust and make changes.
  • Expect to produce a number of drafts!

Choosing your chemistry course

The university you choose to study chemistry at is important. It needs to be an informed choice and suit what you hope to achieve. Check university and college prospectuses, websites and entry profiles. These will tell you the criteria and qualities universities want their students to demonstrate. Finding the answers to these questions should help you to focus:

  • If the course is not pure chemistry how much chemistry is there relative to the other subjects throughout the degree? Eg is there a difference between ‘Chemistry and….’ and ‘Chemistry with….’ courses?
  • How much maths/physics support is there if I need it?
  • How many hours are spent in the teaching lab?
  • Is there a choice of modules to study? Do they interest me?
  • What is the format of practical work in the final year ie what is the amount of independent research compared to other lab based activities?
  • Can I do an external placement?
  • Will this course help me to develop transferrable skills?
  • Up to half of the statement can be reasons for your choice of course.
  • Don’t use repetitive language eg ‘I like’.
  • Avoid using clichés.
  • No formatting is allowed by UCAS (except capital letters) so any bold, italic or underlined words will disappear!
  • When working online remember to regularly save your work as UCAS Apply will time-out after 35 mins of inactivity.

These handy websites will help you to compose the perfect personal statement:

Originally published in The Mole

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Oxbridge-Mind

Biochemistry Personal Statement at Oxford: TOP Tips

Oxford biochemistry personal statement tips: – top 10 dos and don’ts.

The Oxford Personal Statement is a crucial component of your university application as it presents a unique opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other applicants. In your Biochemistry personal statement, Oxford admissions tutors will be looking for you to be able to articulate your story and explain your interests beyond that of numbers on an admissions test. Furthermore, it gives the interviewer a chance to understand who you are, providing a platform to bounce off questions during your interview. 

They can tailor questions to your personality, interests, and commitment to who you are as a person and your amalgamation of experiences before you. To guide you through the arduous university application process, our Oxbridge application experts have compiled a list of top 10 Biochemistry Personal Statement Oxford tips. This includes dos and don’ts for your personal statement for biochemistry for the 2023/24 application cycle. 

Oxford Biochemistry personal statement

General Advice for the Biochemistry Personal Statement Oxford

Biochemistry is a course that uses molecular procedures to investigate and explain biological processes. The understanding and knowledge of these vital processes that are necessary for life are constantly growing and expanding. Biochemists have designed applications in drug design, environmental monitoring, and forensic sciences, amongst other fields.

Your Biochemistry Oxford personal statement must clearly demonstrate your interest in biological processes and the study of them at a molecular level. Moreover, when planning out your personal statement for biochemistry, make sure you research the University’s achievements in their relevant fields and use it as a guide to illustrate your interest in Biochemistry. 

Top 5 Tips for Oxford Biochemistry Personal Statement

1. explain why you are interested in biochemistry.

Oxford tutors are looking to teach students with genuine interest and passion for their course. Hence, make this the focus of your Oxford personal statement, explaining why you want to study your chosen subject. Using concrete examples that display your interest will go a long way in demonstrating this interest. For example, this could include participating in biology or chemistry competitions. It could also be partaking in research projects, and reading up on the latest innovations published in articles or books. Do not worry if you do not have a specific example or time where your ambition became crystal clear to you. Your decision in choosing to study biochemistry can be illuminated through an amalgamation of your experiences or understanding of yourself and your strengths. Take your time in explaining why you align well with the course!

2. Display a good understanding of the course

Understand the course that you are applying for. Ensure that you do not have a superficial or misguided view of what the course entails. Most people’s perception of a course is shaped by what they see in the media or by their high school subjects. However, this is not always the case and it leads to a one-dimensional view of the course. Try to talk to graduates or people currently working in the field to gain a better understanding of the course and your options post-graduation. You can demonstrate this understanding in your Oxford personal statement by linking similarities in your past experiences to aspects of Biochemistry (if applicable). Or you can elaborate on personal qualities or traits that make you suitable for Biochemistry. For example, Biochemistry is research-heavy, which would make perseverance a good quality for an applicant to have.

oxbridge personal statements

3. Read around the subject you’re applying for

Of course, Oxford does not expect you to be an expert in your field of study. You are going to university to study the material after all. However, being well-read in your course and reading ahead is a great way of demonstrating your interest in it. Look at it this way: if we are interested in a movie star, we would want to find out everything about him. Similarly, if you are genuinely interested in your course, you would also naturally want to learn more and explore the topic on your own. Reading does not only include books. This could also include podcasts, magazine articles, or even Netflix documentaries. Listening to a podcast on your ride home from school can be a nice way to ease such material into your lifestyle. You can find some good articles in Nature or Scientific American that publishes the latest innovations in biochemistry. You can also visit Oxford’s recommended reading list for some book inspirations: Oxford Biochemistry  

Oxford Biochemistry personal statement additional reading

4. Have a good structure for your Biochemistry personal statement

The points listed above give you a lot of content to write about. However, all of that information can be difficult to get through for the reader if it’s not organised well! Try and follow a fixed overall structure for your Oxford personal statement. Also try and structure it into individual paragraphs to enhance readability. For example, your introduction could be a short 2-3 lines outlining your interest in Biochemistry. You could use one paragraph explaining your interest in academic vigour, and another paragraph explaining how you display perseverance. You can conclude by wrapping up the points mentioned above! For individual paragraphs, start off the paragraph with a point (such as your interest in the research aspect of biochemistry). Next, use concrete examples to support this.

5. Ask your friends and family to proofread your Oxford personal statement

Sometimes we are not able to be objective about our own work, especially when we are telling our own story. Try and approach friends, family, or seniors (especially those already in the same course or university!) to proofread your Biochemistry personal statement Oxford and to provide you with feedback. They can comment on the structure and readability of your Oxford personal statement, which could be really valuable! That being said, don’t share your personal statement for biochemistry in case it gets plagiarised by someone else.

Oxbridge Interview Tips Questions Tutoring

Top 5 things to AVOID for your Biochemistry Oxford Personal Statement

1. writing a list of achievements.

Oxford isn’t necessarily choosing the most decorated candidate that applies– they are looking for students who are genuinely interested in the course, and students who are a good fit for it. This means that you could have started a non-profit and dedicated 10,000 hours to volunteering, but if you don’t show how this is relevant to your studying of biochemistry, the Oxford tutors may not necessarily think you are suited for the programme. When talking about your achievements, always link back to how this is relevant to either your interest or your suitability for biochemistry.

2. Valuing vocabulary over conciseness

Some students feel the need to use bombastic words or flowery language in order to impress Oxford tutors and use it as a way to demonstrate their strong command of the English language. However, this usually works against them– the Biochemistry personal statement (Oxford) comes off as sounding unnatural and difficult to read. Understand that the Biochemistry personal statement is a medium for you to tell your story and your passion. If using a thesaurus is getting in the way of that, opt for simple language. Oxford tutors value a personal statement for biochemistry that they can read with ease and understand! If you’re not familiar with certain words, don’t use them as it might work against you instead!

3. Not showing the link to biochemistry

When writing your Biochemistry personal statement, Oxford tutors are not necessarily looking for good students– they are looking for students who are a good match for the course. Always make sure to draw any personal experiences, quality or trait mentioned to how it is relevant to your passion for biochemistry or how it makes you a good fit for the course.

4. Misunderstanding what the course is about

Make sure you thoroughly research the course– this includes the course syllabus, attending seminars or speaking to seniors who are currently studying biochemistry (preferably at Oxford!) or have graduated from the course. A simple google search and thoroughly reading all university brochure materials is a good start on understanding what you are in for! Try to forget all previous assumptions you have about the course, and make sure you thoroughly understand what you would be studying.

5. Being cliché

When talking about your interest and passion for biochemistry, try to explain it in a genuine and authentic way. You don’t need a movie-like moment, such as your whole life-changing because of applications in biochemistry, to justify your motivation for the course. A simple explanation of how unique aspects of biochemistry intrigues you or draws you in, although seemingly simple and ordinary, would be even more valuable if explained well. Try to be authentic and original, and really understand why YOU would love to study biochemistry.

→ What is the Oxford Biochemistry programme?

The Oxford Biochemistry programme is an undergraduate degree programme offered by the University of Oxford’s Department of Biochemistry. The program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the chemical and molecular processes that occur in living organisms, with a focus on the biochemistry of cells, genetics, and molecular biology.

→ What are some tips for writing a strong Oxford Biochemistry personal statement?

Some tips for writing a strong Biochemistry Oxford personal statement include demonstrating a clear understanding of the subject and why it interests the candidate, highlighting relevant academic achievements and extracurricular activities, showcasing research experience and analytical skills, and demonstrating a genuine passion for biochemistry and molecular biology.

→ What should be included in an Oxford Biochemistry personal statement?

A Biochemistry personal statement for Oxford should include information about the candidate’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities, research experience, and personal qualities that are relevant to the program. It should also include specific examples of how the candidate has demonstrated analytical skills, critical thinking, and an understanding of the subject.

→ How long should an Oxford Biochemistry personal statement be?

The Biochemistry personal statement for Oxford should be no more than 4,000 characters or 47 lines, whichever comes first. Candidates should use this space wisely to showcase their strengths and demonstrate their suitability for the programme.

→ Is it important to tailor the personal statement to the Oxford Biochemistry programme specifically?

Yes, it is important to tailor the personal statement to the Oxford Biochemistry programme specifically. This includes researching the program and understanding its unique features and requirements, as well as demonstrating a genuine interest in the subject and a strong motivation to study at the University of Oxford.

→ How important is the personal statement for the Oxford Biochemistry programme?

The personal statement is a crucial part of the Oxford Biochemistry application process as it allows candidates to showcase their passion for the subject and their potential to succeed in the programme. The personal statement also provides the admissions team with insight into a candidate’s motivation, academic background, and personal qualities.

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