Great books/resources for pre-clinical Medics

As a new academic year is fastly approaching now september is upon us, and many new first year medics will be starting medical school, I thought it was the right time to share the resources which I found useful during my first year.

As a disclaimer I study as CBL style course, so we are required to do a lot of independant study outside of the timetable, every single book I am including today I have used to study from to fulfil my CBL learning outcomes. I also firmly believe that every one of these resources have great content in a well laid out easy to use manner, and they have been a great asset during my first year of medical school.

Pocock and Richards Human physiology (****)

This textbook has a brilliant, well laid out and very detailed explanation of all things medical and human physiology. It is very easy to follow and has brilliant diagrams which make the exppococklaination in the text much clearer. There are many physiology books out there but this one really is comprehensive.

The only downside to this book is that it can be slightly to wordy during explanations of key concepts, and I have found that the sheer amount of words on the page can be a little overwhelming when trying to find the relevant information. But providing you know what you are looking for you get the hang of skim reading.


Gray’s anatomy for students (***)

Gray’s anatomy for students is an outstanding anatomy resource with brilliant large images which help beginners to anatomy have a much clearer understanding and appreciation and the location of structures within the human body. grays

Do not be fooled, this is nothing to do with the TV show, it is actually based off the original Gray’s anatomy book published in 1858 by Henry Gray. The textbook is much more modern today, and has much better digitally produced images to make it clearer though so dont worry.

As for the downsides to this textbook, similar to Pocock and Richards human physiology it is a very very wordy text, and often has a lot more detail than will be required of a first or second year medical student, it is often hard to distinguish between what is useful and what is not so can be a little more confusing to read than others. The images really do make up for it though.

Moore’s essential clinical anatomy (*****)

This was my go to anatomy textbook during sessions in year 1. I found it concise, well laid out and easier to use than Gray’s as the text including mostly essential information rather than having a giant explanation for everything.

I really loved Mmoores.jpgoore’s anatomy for the summary tables also, especially the ones for the cranial nerves, upper and lower limb muscles as they very so clear and very easy to understand compared to having to read through text to pick out the essential information.

Also Moore’s is brilliant if you follow a PBL/CBL course as it has clinical boxes to explain the clinical anatomy for certain parts of the body, a really great edition. Definetly the better (and also one of the cheaper) of all the anatomy textbooks I have used and thoroughly reccomend it.

grays cards.jpgGray’s anatomy flashcards (*****)

These flashcards are a MUST HAVE for any medical student, I would honestly give them 6 stars! They are such a great resource to practice naming and labelling the anatomical structures you have been studying, and essential for anatomy spotter examination revision. The numerous flashcards allow you to study anything from muscle location to radiological image identification.

100% a must have, cannot reccomend more.

Teach me anatomy website (****)

Sometimes when I did not have my anatomy textbook to hand in classes I would go online to find useful information, and many many times I came across TMA, I have to say it is absolutely fabulous!

The website has a clear menu and is well laid out into sections, it has brilliant hand drawn and annotated images to enhance your anatomical knowledge and also has clinical anatomy boxes to learn about the clinical aspect of anatomy.

I would have to say the only downside to this webpage is that it isn’t as comprehensive as the books, it is a very concise overview of the anatomy but is often lacking some of the information the textbooks posses about the finer details. Great for a summary though.

Kumar and Clark’s clinical medicine (*****)

By far my most used textbook for case based learning. It encompasses all you need to know about clinical medicine and I would go as far as saying it really is my clinical medicine bible.

kc.jpgFormat wise the book is incredibly large and heavy, but this is because it is so detailed with brilliant colour coded headings for different topics, great summary tables throughout and very useful images of the body which are so useful for clinical examination practice. The book is so comprehensive I find I rarely reach for another resource unless I cannot find the information within here, which I have to admit is very rare, especially with the 9th edition. It is so well laid out, clear and easy to follow.

What I also love about this book is the student consult online features, which allow you to access the textbook online from any computer through your account (perfect in lectures and classes as it is so heavy), and allows you print out notes and make annotations to the book.

Would definetly reccomend to any clinical or pre-clinical medic.

Khan Academy videos (*****)

I found revising from a textbook or webpage can often be boring, and when on the go or wanting something a little different to study from I always reach for KA’s videos on their medicine page.

These videos can be found on youtube or via the KA app, and they are brilliant. The videos are sorted into section so you can see the relevant videos under 1 topic heading, they involve are very comprehensive and the explanations used by the narrators for each topic is brilliant.

Really highly reccomend to any visual learner.

Hand-written tutorials (*****)

Another great website I used for revision, the videos are much like khan academies in the sense they are well narrated, but often they have better image and diagram quality than the KA videos.

Really great resource again.

Geeky Medics (*****)ytsckser

Geeky medics is a great online and App based website for OSCE practice as well as some great easy to read summaries of various pre-clinical and clinical medicine.

Highly reccomend, especially for OSCE practice.


These resources were my holy grail throughout year 1 of medical school, and I have rated them above out of 5*’s to show how useful I found each of them. To go to each of the resources/buy them I have included links to the pages in the headings so just click on those.

As a disclaimer make sure you check your medical schools required texts before purchasing anything, every medical school uses different textbooks and reccomend different textbooks for their students.

Nat x


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