One of the first questions I am asked is: what books do I need to buy before starting Medicine?
My response will always be, unless you have required summer reading, leave out the book buying until you’re actually studying the course.
This is because the university provides a wide range of books in the library or digitally. An example is the latest edition of Kumar and Clarke being available as an e-book to all students in Medicine. With more and more of us preferring to have access to e-resources this has been excellent as I have been able to make notes, copy and paste and print relevant pages to help with my revision. There are also several physical books in the library that students are more than welcome to check out.
Below I have listed my top five resources, a mixture of free and paid, that helped me in my first year of medical school, but please do bear in mind that you do not need to buy anything in advance unless you want to get ahead.
1. Zero to Finals: Book (£)
There are a few different resources here, the main resource I used was the book to aid my revision during the consolidation period of my learning. It was an excellent way to summarise lots of subtopics and ensure my basic understanding was clear. The author of this book also has a Zero to Finals website where they have question banks, links to podcasts and videos and the option to buy pre-made flashcards.
2. Passmedicine: Free online resource
Arguably, the most popular resource available for the written exams. This is a question bank contributed to by doctors all over the UK. It is free for year 1-3 and was an invaluable tool when I was revising for my first finals. It allows for spaced repetition and active recall learning. There is also a comment section for discussion.
3. Geeky Medics: Free online resource
This is my favourite resource for any clinical practice revision. With full checklists of clinical scenarios, it is a great way to prepare for OSCE exams. The accompanying videos are also useful to help ensure your technique is correct.
4. 500 Single Best Answers in Medicine: Book (£)
This book was recommended to me to help with practicing answering single best answer questions. Overall, it was an excellent way to go over the principles of each topic whilst revising. There were clear explanations given with the answer which I found useful.
5. Quesmed: Online resource (££)
This is a subscription-based resource, similar to Passmedicine however with more of a user-friendly experience. There is also an app you can download onto your phone making it a great way to use travel time to revise during exam season.
There are many more resources available, free, or paid for, which can be used when studying medicine. There are no ‘right’ ones to pick. Some tips I would give would be to look for free trial periods to see if it is worth the expense, buy second-hand books, find out if the university or medical societies have discount codes and check out what books/resources are available already in the university library before making any purchases. With good resources, a revision technique that works for you and a schedule to keep on track, you will sail through exams.
Fatima studies Medicine with ARU in Chelmsford. If you're interested in this, or other courses, come along to an Open Day to find out more about studying with us.