Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MS1 Book-Buying Guide

A lot of incoming 1st year med students have asked what books to get besides the syllabus.
Image of BRS Gross Anatomy, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Let me start with a disclaimer: my school uses syllabi as the basic text for each course. Our lecturers write their own lectures and they all get compiled into a PDF that’s textbook-length. The syllabi are supposed to contain all testable material (although this isn’t always true). We also get a list of recommended texts. If your school uses a different system, these suggestions may not apply to you.

And if any of my suggestions don’t seem to make sense for you or your school, please ignore them. These are only based on my experience.

General recommendations:
  1. ASK THE MS2’s AT YOUR SCHOOL. At least ask one. These suggestions apply to the curriculum at my school. Many of these will be helpful everywhere, but they might be a waste of time if you’re expected to know more/less information. Plus, check your schedule: you might not take all of these classes during first year.
  2. Don’t buy the recommended textbooks. Exception: buy them if the MS2s at your school say you need to own them. First of all, there are probably multiple copies on reserve at your library or resource center. Second of all, if your school uses the syllabus system, you’re mostly better off reading the syllabus more than once. (If you have a photographic memory and only need to read the syllabus once, then go ahead and read the recommended text too. But know this: I hate you. Just kidding. Kinda.)
  3. You do NOT need to newest versions of these books. Unless some major change happened in the past year. (And it didn’t.) Use Amazon.
  4. Speaking of Amazon… Sign up for Amazon Prime. You get a student discount (unless they’ve changed that). As long as you remember to order books and materials online, it’s well worth the money in saved shipping costs, time, and energy. (Keep in mind you can buy your reflex hammer, stethoscope, scrubs, books, gloves, tuning fork, ophthalmoscope, etc. online. I also buy random items like: coffee filters, small appliances, CamelBaks, backpacks, earplugs, workout DVDs, etc.)

My Absolute Must-Haves:
  1. First Aid for USMLE Step 1 – Use this for every single class. It. Is. AWESOME.
  2. BRS Gross Anatomy
  3. BRS Physiology
  4. BRS Biochem
  5. Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy
  6. BRS Microbiology & Immunology

Optional (depends on study style):
  1. Netter’s or Gray’s Anatomy Flash Cards
  2. Rohen’s Photographic Anatomy Flash Cards

Other study resources are listed on my pages. (Pages are on the left if you’re viewing this on a computer. I think it’s a menu at the top on the mobile version.) I haven’t added everything to those pages (some might actually have nothing right now…) – so please let me know if there’s a subject you want to know about! I’ll add more detail to the page.

As usual: please leave comments or email me. 

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