Wider Reading: Veterinary Personal Statement

In preparation for your Veterinary application, you may have been told that you need to do some “wider reading.” It can be difficult to know what to read, how much to read and how to approach writing about what you have read in your Veterinary Personal Statement. Within this article we aim to outline why reading books and engaging in projects, or societies will boost your Veterinary application.

Common Questions: Wider Reading

What do we mean by “Wider Reading”?

Wider Reading: Veterinary Personal Statement - Book cartoon

Wider reading involves going off to research or read about a topic that is not part of your national. It involves personal efforts to go and learn more about a topic that you may have particular interest in.

Why do I need to do wider reading?

Wider reading allows students to actively demonstrate an interest in Veterinary. Reading is an excellent way to explore your interest in science and the career. By reading you can build up an accurate representation of what being a Veterinary professional is really like. The point of showing that you have done wider reading is to show you have put the effort in to research a topic you’ve probably stumbled across and found interesting and wanted to learn more about.

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What are some examples of wider veterinary reading?

Examples of wider reading that you may include in your personal statement involve: 

Medical journals cartoon - Wider Reading: Veterinary Personal Statement
  • Scientific journals (such as those found on pub med, google scholar etc) 
  • Magazine articles (be careful and only use official veterinary magazines eg In practice or Vet Record). 
  • Books (any veterinary anatomy books such as Dyce, Konig etc) or you may have other veterinary physiology books you can reference. 
  • Internet articles (be VERY careful about saying that you have read something on the internet without being sure it’s from an accredited source. You do not want to be referencing a Facebook comment)! 

Check out the introductory reading list created by the University of Cambridge Department of Veterinary Medicine for ideas of where to start with your reading.

Help! I have not read any Veterinary books…

Wider reading is not essential for having a successful veterinary application. If you have not researched anything or done any wider reading, then do not panic. You do not need to start reading things just to say that you have done wider reading. Try not to stress about having to learn and teach yourself a whole topic just so you can include it in your Veterinary Personal statement. Do not be unkind to yourself by stressing trying to force learn something you do not really enjoy (because also if it comes up at interview this will show). The chances are, that if you have not done any wider reading, then you will likely have engaged with other academic hobbies and have academic achievements.

Talking about your wider reading at Veterinary Interviews

It is fair game for the interviewers to quiz you about anything you have written about. During your veterinary MMI / panel interview admissions officers may ask you about your insights and opinions relating to the books or journals named. If you choose to mention wider reading in your Veterinary Personal Statement, make sure you’ve actually researched it properly. Interviewers are not superhuman and clearly won’t have read every piece of literature; despite this you never know what and interviewer has read or researched. Those interviewing you may have similar interests and be keen to engage in discussion on these topics.

Wider Reading: Veterinary Personal Statement - Interview cartoon

When discussing your wider reading at your Veterinary interview our top tip is to stay calm and not panic. We reassure you that people often enjoy questions about their reading.  Approach them as casual and intellectual discussions.

Top Tips for Writing About Your Veterinary Wider Reading

By taking on board our advice, you will be able to show that you have a genuine passion and interest in Veterinary. Being immersed into the world of Veterinary before you begin your training is key!

Don’t list too many examples of wider reading.

There is no set guidance for how many wider reading examples you should describe. Our general advice is to read as much as possible and make the most of all wider learning opportunities.  Immerse yourself in super-curricular activities because you have a passion for science and are excited to study Veterinary medicine. 

Include a variety of examples of wider reading.

Engaging in super-curricular activities does not just mean reading books relating to Veterinary Science. Any form of wider reading about a topic of interest should be mentioned. Any form of wider reading shows that you are proactive, keen and intellectual.

Show don’t tell.  

Aim not to just list what you have read in your Veterinary Personal Statement. Try to show excitement and passion. The following guidelines may give you some ideas of how to write about what you have read:

  • State what it is that you found interesting.
  • State what you’ve read (i.e. where it’s from) – do not copy and paste the whole journal reference, but instead if you read something in a book (Dyce for example).
  • State what about that topic that interests you. 
  • State how this is going to impact you as a future vet/ what you have learnt from this. 

Keep it brief.

Aim to write a sentence or two at most. Reflections on your wider reading should not make up the bulk of your Veterinary Personal Statement.  Most of your personal statement should be paragraphs about your work experience and motivation for veterinary. Try not to lose focus. If you are very passionate about a particular topic you may get easily carried away writing about it adding excessive detail. Try to remember that the person reading the statement may know nothing about the topic you are talking about, you do not want to cause confusion. Show your enthusiasm for the topic, but in short bursts. 

Structure your Veterinary Personal Statement appropriately

The best place to reference your wider reading is in the penultimate/ last paragraph of your Veterinary Personal Statement. Within this paragraph you should talk about your own achievements, and hobbies etc, and relate them back to how this will make you a good vet. 

Walkthrough Examples: Wider Reading Personal Statement

When writing about wider reading you have done in your Veterinary Personal Statement you want to consider your writing style. Below are examples of good and excellent reflections. Before you read our comments see if you can spot the difference between them yourself.

Veterinary PS: Example 1 – GOOD

‘I particularly enjoyed reading about epigenetics from New Scientist magazine.’ 

This statement does have some merit. Name dropping “New Scientist” shows that the student has engaged with a reputable source. It indicates that the student has read higher level texts. However, this statement is very superficial. Admissions tutors may think that this student is simply ‘fact-dropping’. The student could improve by being more specific as seen below.

Veterinary PS: Example 2- EXCELLENT

‘My interest in epigenetics was sparked by my reading of New Scientist magazine, in particular, I find it fascinating how scientists are now using manipulation of epigenetics in veterinary to treat mammary cancers, in a process called epigenetic dysregulation. I look forward to learning more about this treatment in my time at vet school, and it has made me interested into where the future of veterinary medicine can be if this method is used to treat other diseases.’ 

This student is not just name dropping what they have read but they are discussing the content of their reading and contextualising it related to their application. Give it a go and  try to link how your reading is relevant to being a vet. 

Check out our other Veterinary Personal Statement Guides and feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

How do you mention a wider reading in a personal statement?

The best place to reference your wider reading is in the penultimate/ last paragraph of your Veterinary Personal Statement. Within this paragraph you should talk about your own achievements, and hobbies etc, and relate them back to how this will make you a good vet.

What does wider reading mean?

The best place to reference your wider reading is in the penultimate/ last paragraph of your Veterinary Personal Statement. Within this paragraph you should talk about your own achievements, and hobbies etc, and relate them back to how this will make you a good vet.

What should a vet personal statement include?

A veterinary personal statement is your opportunity to show the admissions tutors why they should give you a place. The statement should include an introduction exploring your origin of interest for Veterinary or science, reflections from your work experience, motivation for veterinary, description of extracurricular and super curricular activities and a conclusion re-emphasising your passion for veterinary and summarising your skill sets.

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