How to reflect on your work experience
Advice from an admissions tutor
Everyone tells you that you need to have lots of work experience, but how do you use it to improve your application to medical school? Recent guidelines from the Medical Schools Council describe the purpose of work experience as threefold: to give you an experience of providing care, to provide you with a realistic understanding of the career, and to see if you have the attitudes and behaviours essential to being a successful doctor.1
However, medical schools want more than a list of your experiences. They want to know what you learnt, both about the medical profession and yourself. To gain this understanding you will need to reflect on your experiences. This entails looking back and thinking about what you have learnt. The learning might relate to the experience, to your response to the experience, or to the actions and reactions of other people.
Showing reflection is important because medical