Medical School Essentials: Top 30 Things You Need to Have

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There are basic things to get for medical school.

Whether you recently gained admission into medical school, or you are a serious medical student who wants to engage in active learning, there are certain study tools, essentials, and medical equipment which you cannot do without.

I call them the medical school essentials. And after reading this post, you will be finding some med school essentials and things you need to buy for medical school.

Kindly note that medical students are different as well as medical schools. Some medical students may not have up to half of the med school essentials listed below. While some other medical students actually have all and are making good use of them. This is what makes a good clinician.

Also, some medical schools may not be so strict with regard to ensuring that every medical student has all these medical school requirements.

For instance, some medical schools may not bother much about a student having all the medical school essentials due to the cost. But they don’t turn a closed eye to the basic ones which are useful in the clinics like stethoscopes, lab coats, diagnostic sets, etc.

So what are those things you need for medical school?

The list below contains the ideal things medical students need to make learning faster and easier for them.

Table of Contents

List of Basic Medical School Essentials and things you need for medical school

1. Study Notes

Of course, every university student needs study notes.

But what is more unique about the study notes for medical students is the volume and number of specialized study notes.

An average student in the university may just need one study note to cover all subjects he/she offers.

But the average medical student needs at least one study note for each subject or even one for each branch of the subjects they offer. (Example; one for Embryology under Anatomy).

This is because of how voluminous the courses are, so you need to prepare ahead of this and get as many jotters and study notes as possible for your personal use in medical school.

I know some medical students who never use students and still do very well in class.

But these guys are not average medical students.

They actually learn faster than their colleagues, and all they might just need to pass are their medical textbooks.

So, find out your own strength and use it wisely.

But you must know that study notes are highly recommended medical student must haves that every medical student should get.

medical textbooks library
medical school must haves: Textbooks

Or else you do not have enough money to buy them, there is no reason why you should not have your own medical school textbooks, in which case you can borrow from friends.

You should find out which medical texts your school recommends and get them all.

Textbooks open your eyes to what the lecturers may be struggling to help you understand in class.

There is another post on this website on all the subjects offered in medical school and the recommended medical textbooks.

You can check out the ones you have already from the list and get them all ready.

3. Pens and Highlighters

Every medical student must have a stack of pens for use in the classes, wards, theaters, practical labs, and clinics.

The highlighters are also essential for those who find it a bit difficult to remember what they read at first glance.

You should get different colors of the highlighters for different labels.

For example; Red for names of arteries, Blue for names of veins, etc.

One disadvantage of using highlighters on your medical textbooks is that it makes it difficult for another person to re-use them when you must have completed medical school.

But all the same, there are still some things you can do with the old medical textbooks you think are no longer useful.

4. A Compartmentalized Backpack

Backxpack medical school essentials
medical school essentials: Backpack

Another item that should be at the top of your medical school shopping list is a backpack.

This is a top medical school essential.

You need a bag to keep your textbooks, study notes, pens, highlighters, lab coats, stethoscopes, diagnostic sets, lunch, and so on.

And at the same time, it is a plus if you find a backpack that serves all these purposes and at the same time is cozy and comfortable to carry around.

One of such backpacks which are currently on the market is an anti-theft backpack called BackXPack.

The highlighted link above leads to our shop where you can see the review and qualities of the backpack and easily make an order today.

5. A Good Laptop or Tablet

things you need for medical school
things you need for medical school

Reading and watching those Anatomy, Pathology, and Obstetrics study materials and videos are obviously better on a widescreen.

A widescreen increases clarity and improves retention.

So if you can afford a laptop or a good tablet, go for it.

You will not regret doing so in your medical school journey.

6. A Smartphone

These days, lectures are going digital via Zoom, Google Meet, and many other multi-interactive social platforms.

You can hardly be comfortable studying medicine without your own smartphone no matter how small.

You need it to attend those online lectures, and download and watch medical youtube videos and study materials.

7. Large Storage Hard Drive

Have you seen the file size of Frank-Netters Atlas of Human Anatomy (Soft copy version)?

For most devices it is 78 Megabytes plus, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are thousands of softcopy medical materials and videos which you need a large space to store for easy access and retrieval.

This is exactly why a good storage device or hard drive is one of the things you need for medical school.

8. Headphones, Earbuds, Earpiece

things to buy for medical school
things to buy for medical school

Medical students need lots of quiet time to be able to carry out their studies effectively.

But it is disappointing that the whole world is very noisy these days with little consideration for the innocent medical student.

A good soundproof headphone, earpiece, or earbuds is all you need to log out of your noisy environment and replace the ambiance with a selected sound suitable for your studies.

If you are looking for the kind of music to play while studying, consider downloading songs from people like Yanni and other instrumentals which has a low level of distraction.

You can check for the availability of Dango Earbuds; top-notch earbuds.

9. A Power Bank with USB chords

You will have to carry your mobile phones and tablets around the wards and clinics during your clinical rotations.

And you may not have the time to find a charging port for your phone or tablet even when their batteries are drained.

A simple solution is to get the backpack in number 4 above, as well as a good power bank.

The backpack has a special compartment for charging your gadgets with a free USB chord.

This will solve all your problems of power supply in the hospital wards in one shot.

10. Convenient Shoes and Clothes

Remember that as a clinical medical student, you will be spending long hours per day standing from one patient’s bed to another in ward rounds and reviews.

Now you know, don’t say you never knew this.

If your shoes are not comfortable, better change them or you might develop corn foot during your clinical postings.

Also, make sure that your clothes are as comfortable as possible based on the school’s recommendations.

11. A Comfy Reading Desk and Chair

This is among the top medical school essentials and requirements for every medical student.

You will need a study desk and a comfortable chair for your daily studies in the dormitories or at home especially if your medical school does not provide any of the ones they provide is not good enough.

It is a worthwhile investment that you need to make and it should serve you throughout your stay in medical school.

Check out our top 5 best study desks recommended for medical students.

12. A Good Reading Spot

Not everyone is lucky enough to be living in a separate room in medical school. Living alone has lots of advantages as you can easily read comfortably whenever you want without distractions.

It also has its own demerits and that is the inspiration to read.

Whichever the case may be, you should make sure you find a good study spot as early as possible in medical school.

The spot should fulfill your personal requirements of a good reading space.

Find out; How to Stay motivated in medical school

13. Comfy Scrubs and Theater Footwear

what to buy for first year medical school
what to buy for medical school

If you are still in your pre-clinical classes, you should start saving up for your brand new scrubs which are to be used in the surgical theaters.

A scrub is that clothe (Usually green or blue colored) worn by surgeons in the operational theater during surgery.

It can also come in many other colors, the most important thing is to make it as comfortable as possible as well as the footwear.

Remember how many hours an average surgery lasts?

14. White Labcoats

What you need for medical school
What you need for medical school

A lab coat is a top medical school essential that every medical student must-have. I think this one is self-explanatory.

You cannot be in the practical labs or clinics of almost all medical schools without your white labcoats.

Luckily, we have reviewed 15 quality lab coat designs which we recommend you to buy for use during clinical rotations.

15. A Good Stethoscope

what to buy for medical school
what to buy for medical school

The most popular stethoscope used by medical students is the Littmann stethoscope.

As a medical student, you do not need any of those high-tech cardiology stethoscopes.

Just a simple one to help you carry out your physical examinations.

You can browse the list of available good stethoscopes using the link here.

16. Tendon Hammer

A tendon hammer is used to elicit tendon reflexes (Deep and superficial reflexes) as a means to measure the activity of the muscles and nerves in a particular muscle group in the body.

It is one of the medical school essentials which you will be needing in your clinical years of medical school.

Remember that there is a Paediatrics tendon hammer used for children and an adult tendon hammer used for adults.

17. Pen Torch

A pen torch is used for a variety of things like checking for trans-illumination of masses, pupillary light reflexes, etc.

It is also one of the most important things in medical school which you need to buy during your clinical rotations.

Pen torch is one medical school necessity you would need to have and keep handy during ward rounds, clinics, and rotations.

18. Meter Rules

Meter rules also have many uses in the clinic like measuring the length of some masses, Jugular venous pressure, etc.

You need a minimum of 2-meter rules in your clinical rotations.

19. Sphygmomanometer

Although it is not really a top medical school requirement since it is provided by most hospitals and made available for doctors and medical students to use.

But many medical students have given testimonies about how they learned how to measure blood pressure using their friend’s sphygmomanometers in the hostels.

Also, you can check the blood pressure of your relatives at home if need be.

19. A Diagnostic Set

A complete diagnostic set contains an Otoscope, ear cannulas, Ophthalmoscope, Laryngoscope, etc.

It is one other medical school essential that many medical students tend to neglect probably because it is quite expensive for students to get.

But be rest assured that once you get a single diagnostic set, it can serve you up to more than half of your medical career.

21. Dissection Set

dissection kits
dissection kits

A dissection set is useful during the anatomy and Pharmacology practicals.

If you love surgery, getting a dissecting set and using it during your Anatomy dissection practical is not a bad way to start.

22. Wrist Watch

There are different grades of wristwatches.

The medical school requirement is to have a working wrist to help you reed arterial pulse.

But if you want something more, then you might consider a smart wristwatch to make you stand out among your peers.

You can consider any of the following;

23. Bandage Scissors

Bandage scissors are not usually part of a diagnostic set or dissection set. So you will have to get one for yourself as a medical student. This medical school necessity is ideally used to cut plasters and bandages used in wound dressing for patients.

24. Stethoscope Parts

While in medical school, you will from time to time lose some parts of your stethoscope. These parts may either be lost or damaged. In this case, buying a new stethoscope is not usually the wisest thing to do. You can simply order the specific parts you are looking for and get them at your doorstep without losing a breath.

Luckily, I know a way you can get any damaged or lost part of your stethoscope irrespective of the make of the stethoscope by simply filling out a form. The link to the website where you can do this is below.

25. Otoscope

An otoscope is a medical instrument used to examine the ear of patients to check for hearing loss or damage to the inner ear. Although most hospitals will provide one for you, it is usually best if you have yours for convenience and a better learning experience.

26. Tuning Fork

Tuning forks are medical school necessities used with an otoscope in determining the type of hearing loss in a patient; whether it is conductive or sensorineural hearing loss. It is usually contained in the diagnostic set, but if the diagnostic set is just too expensive for you to buy at this time, you can simply get a tuning fork as it is very much needed for your clinical exams in medical school.

27. Thermometer

Every medical student must have a thermometer. There is no way you can complete a medical exam successfully on a patient without checking the patient’s temperature. However, you can readily find one in hospital wards as it is so common and essential in medical practice. But who says you don’t need a personal thermometer for your personal use at home and in school during rotations? You can easily find very affordable thermometers that can be delivered to your doorstep today.

28. Personal Protective Gears

This is basically provided by some hospitals.

But just in case of the opposite, as a medical student, you must have a stash of disposable surgical facemasks for regular use and hand sanitizers.

Remember that your own safety is a priority.

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29. A Stress Outlet

One of the unconventional medical school essentials is a stress outlet.

It is so important to have something which relieves built-up stress from the medical school struggle from time to time.

It could be the stress from the medical school exams, studies, clinical rotations, or whatever.

You can consider playing a musical instrument, partying, hanging out with friends, playing video games, etc. Depending on what makes you stress-free.

30. Follow Medarchive Magazine

One of the most recommended medical school essentials you will find very beneficial throughout your stay in medical school is to connect with a community of like-minded individuals and medical students all over the world and have a broader horizon of medical practice in different places.

Medarchive Magazine offers such a conducive environment for growth in your medical school journey.

Our newsletters are sent out every week.

And we share content not just related to medical school but also other content that will enlighten, inspire and motivate you to be your best self.

We won’t send you more than two emails weekly and we will never spam you.

Follow this website for more content like this by subscribing to our newsletter and joining our WhatsApp Communities.

Also, follow our social channels for relevant information and updates from us. Do not forget to show us some love by sharing this post.

Final Thoughts On Medical School Essentials!

Passing through medical school is very expensive if you want to live optimally.

There are lots of things to buy in medical school and lots of medical school essentials to get.

But it is good you apply wisdom especially if you cannot afford to get all of them.

Just select a few that you think are vital for you to learn well and pass your medical exams.

Thanks for reading! Remember that sharing is caring.

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  2. Wow i found Joy in this information above pls keep it up am really impress
    So what’s the fees for medicine and surgery in the university collage of ibadan

    • Hi Festus,
      Thank you for your kind comments

      If you are looking for the school fees of the best medical schools in Nigeria which the University of Ibadan is among, you can get these details here

  3. Very informative for an aspiring medical student like my younger sibling. I will definitely share this post to him.

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