How To Prepare for Your First Year at Medical School
So you have that long-awaited email to say you have an unconditional offer – you are officially on your way to medical school! But what now? Do you need to buy any textbooks? A stethoscope, a white coat, a surgical scalpel??
Those are the questions we were all left with once the celebrations settled down and the realisation that starting medical school wasn’t actually that far away. Of course, make the most of your summer and use the time to relax, but you can never be too organised! So here are a few suggestions which I wish someone had taken the time to give me before I started my first year at university.
Books, Books, Books
Do not bother buying any textbooks before you are given your reading list during your inductions. They are extortionately expensive and you run the risk of wasting hundreds of pounds if you end up purchasing the wrong ones.
Your uni will recommend specific books and authors tailored to your course. And they tell you which are MUST HAVE books and which are only suggested reading. Many you will be able to find in your university library so you can even get away with not buying a single book all year!
Do you need a stethoscope?
Probably not. The medical school will probably have tonnes which you are able to use during clinical skills. But if you want to practice in your own time then, of course, you’re welcome to buy one. A cheap one from Amazon will do for now (put the Littmann on your Christmas wish-list).
Do you need to do any pre-reading?
Maybe just the basics. Revisit AS human biology and look over the fundamentals of each body system. A little bit of anatomy, a little bit of physiology. Just so you have some knowledge to build upon when you’re thrown into the dissection labs.
What are the studying essentials?
Just the usual stationery, you don’t need anything special or fancy for medical school. Decide beforehand whether you’re going to be taking a laptop to lecturers or just writing in a notebook. If you have this figured out you will save yourself stressing about how to make and organise your notes. (If you need supplies you can get 10% off at Ryman with code: GIRLSTETH10).
A few indispensable apps…
All you will EVER need to know about Anatomy. With stunning visuals and the ability to make your own revision quizzes. What more could you need?
Pharmacology may not be something you need to know tonnes about in first year but it is always handy to get into good habits early on. The mobile version of the British National Formulary lists every medication you will ever come across, their indication, dosage and so on.
There are so many amazing YouTube accounts which will become your best friend, especially if you have a not so great lecturer for a subject. Check out the Top 5 YouTube channels to subscribe to here!
“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” Getting yourself all sorted out and organised before even setting foot into your new halls of residence means you can make the most of freshers and spend (at least) your first few weeks of medical school worry free.
About the Author
My name is Georgia and I am currently a third year medical student. I am passionate about all things mental health related. I have an Instagram page @girlwithastethoscope which follows my journey through medical school. Don’t forget if you are shopping for stationery at Ryman use the code GIRLSTETH10 to save some £££.