In the opening paragraph, discuss why it is that you want to do Medicine/Dentistry as a career. Many of the best personal statements often start off with a case that the candidate has experienced/witnessed first-hand that has drawn their interest to a medical/dental career. However, it must be noted that a more generalised approach can also be as effective depending on how well it is written.
In the actual body of the personal statement, it very important to give an overview of the range of different work experiences that a person has had e.g. in the community setting (GP, dental practice, nursing home etc.); hospital setting (different medical and surgical departments shadowed); emergency setting (A&E); other settings (e.g. research labs, mental health placements, volunteer/charitable activities both nationally and internationally etc.). In my opinion, it is also important to have at least one work experience placement in a non-medical/non-dental setting so that in the interview stage, you can give further insight into how other careers were not really for you.
Although it is important to give an overview of how good and consistent you have been academically, including all the different personal accolades you have won, don’t dwell too much on it!
They like diversity so do mention lots of extra-curricular activities. Music, art, drama, sport, DoE, cadets and charity work (e.g. volunteer teaching, mentoring etc.) are popular and often go down well. It is very important to show manual dexterity (Dentists love this!) through your hobbies and extra-curricular activities.
Show awareness of GMC/GDC principles (e.g. life-long learning) which will obviously be further tested in the interviews/MMIs.
It is very important to show awareness of
1. Multi-disciplinary team
2. Patient-centred/led care
3. Guidelines and pathways e.g. NICE
4. Biological, Psychological and Social aspects to health.
6. Ageing population
7. Technological advancements and research
8. Teamwork and leadership
Remember, they are more interested in you as a person (e.g. your all-round character) and how you will fit into the career rather than pure academics.
The final paragraph is as important as the first paragraph. Here, it is best to summarise why they should choose you over another candidate, why you think that you are right for the profession and what you will contribute to the University and University life in general.
NB: As you will see from my profile on Tavistock Tutors, I offer lots of advice, preparation and coaching on personal statements, entrance exams (UKCAT, BMAT and GAMSAT) and medical/dental interviews/MMIs.