Top Resources & Tools for Premeds and Medical Students

Session 57

Session 57

In today's episode, Ryan and Allison talk about a number of relevant resources for premeds, medical students, and residents whether you're looking for books to help you prepare for your medical school applications or you simply want to take a breather and read some fun, yet insightful books. (Plus, some movie recommendations and what stethoscope to use!)

By the way, we previously rolled out a post covering some of the top books we highly recommend premeds should read while not studying.

Resources for Premeds:

Important resources when trying to figure out which medical schools to apply to:

Fun books to read:

Atul Gawande's Books – His books cover more on problems relating to healthcare as well as practice of medicine and surgery today, and some resolutions to address those issues

The Intern Blues: The Timeless Classic About the Making of a Doctor

A look into what life is like as a intern which will give you a good view of the different challenges faced

White Coat: Becoming A Doctor At Harvard Medical School

About a physician's medical school experience at Harvard

The House of God

A classic and a great read for any premed or medical student about a doctor's internship journey (Most modern hospital dramas are loosely based on this book)

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong

About a little girl from Laos with severe epilepsy living in California and the book takes you through their struggles and highlights the importance of cultural understanding and appreciation of diversity

Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

The Heartbeat of Success by Alexa Mieses

Everything I Learned in Medical School by Dr. Sujay Kansagra

MCAT Books

Next Step Test Prep Books (Recommended)

The Princeton Review MCAT Material

Barron's MCAT Material

Examkrackers MCAT Material

Kaplan MCAT Material

Practice Tests

AAMC Practice Tests (3, 4, & 5 are too easy. 9 & 11 are the most realistic)

The best thing about practice tests is the REVIEW afterwards!

Movie Recommendations:

Doctors' Diaries

Patch Adams

Gross Anatomy

Resources for 1st/2nd Year Medical Students:

Important things to have:

  • Getting your white coat

  • Lots of pens, highlighters, notebooks
  • Mobile devices like tablet and computer

More things to consider:

  • Have a good study buddy
  • Have a good study environment
  • Bring a change of clothes for the Anatomy Lab


Get Frank Netter's books for classic anatomy stuff

Robbin's Pathology book

Review Guides:

Board Review Series Books

High Yield Books

Rapid Review Books

For allopathic students:

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 (get this early)

Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History-Taking

Resources for 3rd/4th Year Medical Students:


Maxwell Quick Medical Reference

Teaches you how to write SOAP note, transfer note, admissions note, and more cheat sheets

Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia 2014 Deluxe Lab-Coat Edition (Pharmacy bible for medical students and attending physicians)

Other Pocket Books:

Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine (Pocket Notebook)

The Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics, Print + Online

The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy

For Surgical Rotation:

Surgical Recall book with bullet points

iPhone Apps

Epocrates (electronic version of the Pharmacopoeia)

MedCalc (great calculator for different medical formulas)

Dynamed (clinical summaries on different medical topics)

VisualDX (diagnosis and treatment plan)

Boards & Wards for USMLE Steps 2 & 3 (Boards and Wards Series)


3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope (Multiple


Ophthalmoscope & Otoscope:

(you don't really need to buy one though)

Welch Allyn Diagnostic Kit- Panoptic Plus Kit Includes PanOptic Opthalmoscopes, MacroView Otoscope, Convertible Rechargeable Handle, & Nose/Throat Illuminator In Soft Case

Other Stuff You Need to Have:


EKG Caliper

Trömner Reflex Hammer

Tuning Forks

Trauma Shears



Peer-reviewed data on diagnosis, treatment plans, etc. (you only have access to is at the hospital because they're paid for)

Shelf Prep Books:

Step-Up to Medicine (Step-Up Series)

Case Files Books


Recall Series

MKSAP 16: Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (ACP, MKSAP Print Version Parts A&B Pkg)

Bibles for Medicine:

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine: Volumes 1 and 2, 18th Edition

Andreoli and Carpenter's Cecil Essentials of Medicine: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 8e (Cecil Medicine)

Resources for Residents:

AAMC's Roadmap to Residency

Board Review Books



Family Time


Other Links and Resources:

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  • 9th Grade High Schooler

    Merry Christmas! This was a great
    podcast. The MSAR book has been very
    informative. My mom read the Intern Blues (library had both of these books, just
    had to order them) and thought it had a bit too much bad language in it for me
    to read as a 13 year old. Basically it is about 3 interns that get tape
    recorders and they are to record thoughts, comments and experiences they
    encouter during their year of internship. Mom did share some good parts with me
    and I heard her laughing hysterically at times while reading it, something about
    the bird cage smell and the boy patient turning into a parakeet really tickled
    her…lol. Another story from the book that really set her off laughing was (I
    think it was the intern named Mark-he was her favorite) when he talked about not
    having time to eat or do laundry, he wished that they would invent disposable
    clothes and it would be nice too if they were edible…lol. Mom thinks that
    females interested in medicine, that are thinking of having children
    and planning on attending med school should read this book. The view point from
    the intern named Amy is good, she had a baby when she started her internship.
    Mom would love to find out how these three are doing today in medicine, Dr.
    Rober Marion needs to write an update. Mom is currently reading Intern by
    Sandeep Jauhar (she thinks I can read this one myself). She has found it to be
    good, but a VERY slow read. I have read parts of The White Coat by Ellen Rothman it was hard to
    follow, Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson (book & DVD were both really good) I
    got mine autographed when I met him 🙂 I have watched the Dr. Diaries a NOVA
    presentation on PBS, you can find it on I would agree it was very
    depressing, Mom thought so too, but I liked how the doctors took time with their
    patients and treated them as people, not numbers. I liked the ER doc, but felt
    sad for what he was becoming in the end. For those looking for a Christian
    perspective Dr. Walt L Bryson City Tales, Bryson City Seasons and Bryson City
    Secrets are really good books (again free from the library). Dr. Walt Larimore,
    MD, DABFP, FAAFP, is an award-winning medical journalist, a best-selling author,
    and a nationally-recognized family physician. I’m just starting to read the Heartbeat of Sucess by Alexa M.
    Mieses that I won from your podcast, so I can’t comment on it

  • Jaime Davis

    TRAUMA: My Life as an Emergency Surgeon by Dr. James Cole and the two Dr. Michael Collins books are fun reads as well. Both autobiographical looks at the life of a trauma surgeon and med student/ortho resident respectively.

    Absolutely LOVE “House of God” by the way. The Laws of the House are absolutely hilarious. “Intern Blues” is a brilliant book too and a great read.

    The MSAR is invaluable, and I would highly recommend the online version because you can favourite schools and quickly search through them, and for the MCAT Examkrackers is the best.

    And its funny you mentioned carrying books with you on the wards. Granted I am a pre-med but my job requires me to know general stuff about my patients and plenty of opportunity for learning about their medical management. As such I carry a lot of books and have some apps others may find useful for ER and ICU:

    Pockets and/or backpack:
    Tarascon’s Pharmacopoeia/EKG Guide
    Maxwell’s Medical Reference
    Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual
    The little ICU Book
    Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics
    EMRA Antibiotic Guide

    Trauma shears
    Littmann stethoscope

    ECG Guide
    One Minute Ultrasound

    And just for fun: Figure1




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