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Essential books for MS1

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You won't really know until you start. It also depends on your school's curriculum. I downloaded a ton of atlases, texts, etc. Mostly I barely touched them with a few exceptions:

 

- anatomy atlases (Rohen's for photographs, then another atlas with drawings like Grant's) for quick reference (used it in the lab and at home for quick reference, but really google is great too)

 

- I ended up reading Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials, by West (http://www.amazon.ca/Respiratory-Physiology-Essentials-John-West/dp/0683307347) since I wasn't crazy about how some of our profs taught the resp block, and reading this book the weekend before the exam was more than enough.

 

- I read the majority of Langman's embryology as well since it followed pretty well exactly the way we were taught it.

 

Even these were not required to do well as everything we needed to know was in a lecture somewhere and/or in notes (save for PBL cases, which we had to research, but textbooks aren't great for that anyway).

 

I would suggest not buying any books until you start to see what you need/want as you will find that most people use very few or no books at all.

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All good choices so far, though I never had much use for an anatomy atlas. I liked Gray's for Students though.

 

Another great pick is the Board Review Series Physiology book - very easy to read and understand.

 

For CV, you can't wrong owning a copy of Lille's Pathophysiology of Heart Disease.

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All good choices so far, though I never had much use for an anatomy atlas. I liked Gray's for Students though.

 

Another great pick is the Board Review Series Physiology book - very easy to read and understand.

 

For CV, you can't wrong owning a copy of Lille's Pathophysiology of Heart Disease.

 

I second Lilly's Cardiology. One of the best textbooks I've ever read, very clear and concise

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I disagree. TO Notes isn't really adequate for pre-clerkship and is - at best - a bare bones and not always accurate reference.

 

I liked T Notes in med school. I supplemented it with class notes and the occasional text reading.

 

If you use it right, it's a great tool.

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Couldn't read Dubin's...I tried....several times...it didn't work for me.

Also not a fan of TO Notes as pre-clerkship material. Best to start with original sources and use it as review--like clerkship, LMCC, etc.

 

Another vote for Lilly!!! Essential cardio text. Learned a lot more about EKG from online teaching resources (plug for teachingmedicine.com from our school's Dr. Jason Waechter!)

 

A suggestion would be to try different learning modalities...I used casefiles and PreTest in clerkship as they provided same material, different approach (practice through questions) and it was great. In retrospect, they would have been wonderful in preclerkship as well for block exam prep.

 

I was lucky enough to win a copy of the big Harrison's, so when the going got tough often just reading a few pages in there made things a lot clearer. I know MANY people who used little harrison's and cecil's essentials in preclerkship and loved those.

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You won't really know until you start. It also depends on your school's curriculum. I downloaded a ton of atlases, texts, etc. Mostly I barely touched them with a few exceptions:

 

- anatomy atlases (Rohen's for photographs, then another atlas with drawings like Grant's) for quick reference (used it in the lab and at home for quick reference, but really google is great too)

 

- I ended up reading Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials, by West (http://www.amazon.ca/Respiratory-Physiology-Essentials-John-West/dp/0683307347) since I wasn't crazy about how some of our profs taught the resp block, and reading this book the weekend before the exam was more than enough.

 

- I read the majority of Langman's embryology as well since it followed pretty well exactly the way we were taught it.

 

Even these were not required to do well as everything we needed to know was in a lecture somewhere and/or in notes (save for PBL cases, which we had to research, but textbooks aren't great for that anyway).

 

I would suggest not buying any books until you start to see what you need/want as you will find that most people use very few or no books at all.

 

In general, what's a good way to know about which professors may not be good? (preferably before a course starts, since it would be nice to take some time bargain shop books).

 

Also, for all these big fat books being recommended, do ebooks work just as well? Ebooks usually work for me but I've never had to read such voluminous ones.

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Couldn't read Dubin's...I tried....several times...it didn't work for me.

Also not a fan of TO Notes as pre-clerkship material. Best to start with original sources and use it as review--like clerkship, LMCC, etc.

 

Another vote for Lilly!!! Essential cardio text. Learned a lot more about EKG from online teaching resources (plug for teachingmedicine.com from our school's Dr. Jason Waechter!)

 

A suggestion would be to try different learning modalities...I used casefiles and PreTest in clerkship as they provided same material, different approach (practice through questions) and it was great. In retrospect, they would have been wonderful in preclerkship as well for block exam prep.

 

I was lucky enough to win a copy of the big Harrison's, so when the going got tough often just reading a few pages in there made things a lot clearer. I know MANY people who used little harrison's and cecil's essentials in preclerkship and loved those.

 

As a good example of how different approaches work for different people, I didn't like Case Files.

 

I HATED Cecil's essentials. It spent a huge amount of time focusing on pathophysiology, but then barely talked about how to work up and treat anything. Maybe it's just my surgical personality but I found it minimally helpful as a clerk.

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As a good example of how different approaches work for different people, I didn't like Case Files.

 

I HATED Cecil's essentials. It spent a huge amount of time focusing on pathophysiology, but then barely talked about how to work up and treat anything. Maybe it's just my surgical personality but I found it minimally helpful as a clerk.

 

 

It seems like PBL and a significant portion of the exams in first two years are about pathophysiology, and maybe that's a redeeming trait of Cecils. I agree with you that it is not useful in clerkship, but still need to get through preclerkship before clerkship.

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Here's three texts I really enjoyed reading and still reference. They also extend well beyond pre-clerkship.

 

Gray's Anatomy by Susan Standring

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine

Basic and Clinical Pharmacology by Bertram Katzung

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Some of my favorite pre-clerkship texts, that I still go back to from time to time even during residency.

 

John West - Respiratory Physiology

Leonard Lily - Pathophysiology of heart disease

Clinical microbiology made Ridiculously Simple

TO Notes - good overview, works for me, might not for others.

Netter's Concise Orthopedic Anatomy - great for MSK, includes clinical pearls, excellent format, easy to carry

 

Not a big fan of Dubin's

 

There's a lot of clinical stuff that you won't remember if you read too early. Focus on the basics during the first two years. No point in reading papers, review articles and big textbooks when you're still learning the fundamental stuff.

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Dang, we got some gunners up in this thread.

 

1) Depends on your school and curriculum.

 

2) If it is a lecture heavy curriculum: don't even worry about textbooks, my man. Just study from the notes they give you. If you don't get something, go look it up on the internet or ask a friend.

 

If it's PBL based, why the hell are you reading a textbook? Go read some papers and use Up-to-Date.

 

In short, THE ONLY ONE, I would really get is Rohan's atlas for studying anat. even this textbook will only be useful for like a few months depending on what structure the anat is in your school. forget the rest.

 

3) Spend said money saved on books on something you like or save it in a fund which you can access in the future to bribe residency committees. 

 

You'll still get the gold medal, no worries.

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If it's PBL based, why the hell are you reading a textbook? 

Because they're awesome! :) Lange Pathophys was what got me to actually commit to going back for med in the first place. Textbooks can be a good generalising tool, and as you've seen, different strokes for different folks in each of the replies here.

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I was like greasemonkey when I was in med school and I have to say I wish I read more textbooks. Your lectures should be your primary source but textbooks are an excellent supplement. They can fill in your knowledge gaps or teach you lecture topics from a slightly different perspective, which I feel helps with retention. Uptodate articles are helpful but sometimes they are too detailed. You also don't know what you don't know, and risk creating holes if you tackle a completely new subject with isolated articles from uptodate. Textbook chapters are more comprehensive.

 

The cost can be drastically reduced if you just buy used textbooks. It doesn't matter if they're one edition older because you're expected to know the basics. In my opinion, the difference between well-known textbooks is negligible. Introductory texts will teach you the foundations. Just read. You'll be noticeably stronger than your peers in clerkship!

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Anatomy: Rohans and Netters

The other "classics" I still look at once in a while even in residency: West Respirology, Dubins EKG

 

To be honest, it was only in clerkship that I started going beyond lecture notes (with the exception of the aforementioned texts) 

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TO notes is not what you should use in preclerkship. Even for clerkship it is pretty questionable...

 

The only book I would buy is Netters or Rohans for anatomy.

I don't know. So far I like it. I use it just to get an overview of a topic before small group or whatever. I've also heard about the accuracy issues, but I feel like between class and other sources, I should be okay.

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I don't know. So far I like it. I use it just to get an overview of a topic before small group or whatever. I've also heard about the accuracy issues, but I feel like between class and other sources, I should be okay.

Arg, now I have to rant...

 

Toronto notes is like using a big stack of disorganized papers with random lists as your primary source. Also many of the lists are bull***t FYI, they are blatantly wrong.

 

TO notes is like carrying around a big comfy teddy bear. You carry it around because it "summarizes" stuff you "need to know". It's big, it covers everything and everything albeit in a completely superficial and often incorrect manner. But it feels safe and useful. It is a one stop shop. How can it let you down? Can you pass your exams with it? Yeah of course. I used it occasionally during clerkship. Heck I even helped edit a chapter. But I regret using it.

 

Why? The problem is that TO notes teddy bear is stuffed with old dirty rags. The content stinks. It's organized in a crappy manner. It's written by a bunch of med students trolling up to date. It's just a bunch of trashy lists. It provides no deeper understanding of anything. It reduces everything into a bunch of lists... This is exactly what is wrong with medical education today. Read a real source. Force yourself to think critically and constructively. Give yourself a good foundation upon which to grow your medical knowledge. TO notes as a regular resource will give you a meagre and superficial understanding of most important topics and waste your time with redundant, wrong or useless information as you sift through the endless rubbish it contains. Remember TO notes is designed for MCC exam review. Pick it up if you must when studying for the final exam. But not any earlier.

 

My advice as a former user of this book. Take it or leave it.

Edited by rogerroger

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