Updated: Oct 2, 2018
There are so many Medical Textbooks to choose from and they’re far from cheap. You may get some textbooks handed down to you from old medical students, borrow books from the library or use online versions but we do recommend that you gradually build your own library. The medical profession consists of constant reading and no book becomes useless, they’re all beneficial. It is best to start with an anatomy textbook and physiology textbook at the very least and over the years add to your collection covering topics like Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Histology, Cell Biology and Clinical Medicine.
Please note that every medical student/ lecturer will recommend different books. We advise that you do not buy any of the textbooks listed down below without having tried them out for yourself. Additionally, we ask that you use the reading list you may be provided with by the university and also do not hesitate to ask more senior medical students what they would recommend. Here is a list of the textbooks we recommend:
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Moore’s Essential Clinical Anatomy: A detailed but concise anatomy textbook for medical students, it is the perfect size and includes examples of clinical practise as well as well-labelled, colourful diagrams. The layout is clear and logical making learning easier.
Gray’s Anatomy Flashcards: This is a great revision tool and caters for everyone, they’re easy to use while on the go, you can use them in your lectures, dissection and group tutorials. It comes with a ring holder so you can concentrate on a limited section. The flashcards break down and colour-code the body into separate sections also contain clinical sections.
Netter’s Anatomy Colouring Book: This book provides a great way of learning without the need for endless lines of text. It is simple and well organised into organ systems. This book allows you to engage with anatomy in a relaxed and fun way. We also advise photocopying the pages that you want to use, and colouring them in rather than the book itself allowing you to reuse the book as often as you want.
McMinns & Abrahams Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy: It is a great tool to use alongside human dissection sessions, it contains clear photographs of human dissection helping students form mental images of bones, muscles, and vessels in the human body. It is a high quality textbook with useful images of clinical presentations/conditions. However, it lacks illustrated images and there is not much text apart from labels.
Pococks Human Physiology: This is an excellent textbook, it’s clear, colourful layout is appealing to eye and makes studying seamless. It details many important concepts and explains them really easily. providing enough depth and topic coverage without being over detailed. The summaries, Multiple Choice Questions and Case Scenario’s at the end of each chapter are extremely helpful.
Rang & Dales Pharmacology: This textbook is easy to read as it is written in simple easy prose, it is very useful and informative and we recommend medical students use this alongside their pharmacology modules. It covers a large range of topics, if not everything and lists many named examples of drugs, their use and their common side effects for each class of drug.
Baynes & Dominiczak Medical Biochemistry: This textbook is very detailed, comprehensive and can be a bit overwhelming. It provides a good overview of the metabolic pathways and the clinical boxes highlight clinically relevant information. There are several colourful diagrams that are easy to follow, well-labelled and well explained. There are also a variety of revision questions at the back which are useful for exam practice.
Lodish Molecular Cell Biology: This is a very large and highly detailed book. As a medical student a lot of the content of this textbook isn’t necessary to learn meaning this textbook is only useful for specific topics. There are several illustrations which compliment the text and this book can be used for extra reading
Stevens & Lowe Histology: This is an excellent introduction to histology for anybody who is studying medicine, it is extremely easy to understand and provides detailed explanations. It can be a bit wordy at times however there are also bold sections in the text that make it really easy to identify the most important points and also act as useful key pointers for revision. This textbook also contains examples of correlations with clinical syndromes in simple terms, which is extremely helpful.
Kumar & Clark Clinical Medicine: This book is a must-have for every medical student and is legendary. A comprehensive, colourful text with detailed information carefully arranged in specific sections. This textbook covers a variety of topics in astonishing detail including law, ethics, clinical science, and systems. Although the downside is that this book is extremely heavy, some universities provide online versions.
Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine: We highly recommend this handbook and consider it essential to every medical student at every stage of medical school. It’s small and concise nature means you can always carry it with you as it is incredibly helpful in almost all situations. This handbook is well-laid out making information easy to find and encourages thinking about the world from the patient’s perspective, offering a holistic, patient-centred approach.
MacCleod’s Clinical Examination: This textbook is perfect for Medical Students OSCE preparation and is great for clinical practise. It is very well written textbook, clearly organised with useful images making it easy to understand and follow the steps when performing clinical examinations. This textbook is also highly beneficial in gaining a broader knowledge on assessment methods and working out differential diagnosis.
Oxford Medical Dictionary: Great learning tool and comprehensive for such a compact dictionary. This is given for free when you sign up with the Medical Defence Union as a student.
Buy most recent edition
Buy second hand textbooks/ old editions
Borrow from the library
Get old textbooks from old medical students
Use online versions of textbooks