Monday, July 30, 2012

Books For Third Year Medical Students

We previously covered books for first year medical students and second year medical students. The section on books for USMLE was important enough to merit its own post. But, as third years, you are through with Step 1, you are through with basic sciences, and you're geared up for the clinics. Alas, day 1 comes and goes and you realize: there is still a ton to learn! Where do you go to find all that information?

The books described here are meant to give you a high yield, high impact approach to each core clerkship you take. Ideally, for each clerkship, try to read one book throughly and use one book for case reviews / questions. Here is a break down of the books you should get, rotation by rotation:

Family Medicine

Family Medicine is generally a nice rotation, with students primarily rotating in outpatient clinics. If you have already done pediatrics and internal medicine, family medicine covers many of the same topics, but in the outpatient setting. Preventative care is also much more emphasized. Blueprints Family Medicine does an excellent job of covering the major topics and preparing you for the shelf exam.

Internal Medicine

As discussed in the post on Books for the Internal Medicine Rotation, the three books above are all you need. Pocket Medicine will get you through the wards on a day-to-day basis while the other two are what you need to power through on your nights and weekends to ace the internal medicine shelf exam.


Neurology should be on the relatively lighter side of the clerkships, especially if you have taken internal medicine already. Since there are relatively few therapeutics, focus on learning how to differentiate major disease patterns.


My recollection of OB/Gyn is somewhat fuzzy as I took it during fourth year just as interviews were starting up. The major challenge in OB/Gyn as I recall was learning the skills as well as knowing how to work up various conditions (such as an abnormal pap smear). For OB, just remember: almost always the treatment is - deliver the baby!


Pediatrics is generally a fun rotation (babies!). The books you should get for pediatrics are much like the other rotations. Conceptually, again there is some overlap with internal medicine, but there is much more of an emphasis on congenital and infectious disorders.


All you need is the book above - First Aid for the Psychiatry Clerkship, Third Edition. 'Nuff said.


Surgery can be a challenging rotation for many students. Not only is there the typical fund of knowledge of disease that needs to be learned, but also anatomy needs to be refreshed as well as technical skills acquired. Many students ask - what books could possibly prepare me for the surgery shelf exam? Studying for the surgery shelf exam will be a constant challenge. If you can wait, pre-order the latest edition of Essentials of General Surgery, so that you can get it right when it is published in October 2012. For the NMS, make sure you get the casebook, not the full surgery review.


Some topics come up routinely on wards, no matter what service you are on. First Aid for the Wards: Fourth Edition is a great book to cover all those topics that might otherwise fall through the cracks.

Hopefully the books listed above will prove as valuable to you as they have to me - best of luck out there in the wilds of the wards!

Updated 2015-12-25

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