Clinical Rotations

Clinical Rotation Resources

Got a Comment or Question be sure to discuss it at the bottom of the page.


Note on Stethoscopes – There is a large counterfeit stethoscope market, please try to buy from a reputable buyer as the counterfeit stethoscopes function quite poorly and generally are a waste of money. 


3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope

The most popular of all stethoscopes for medical students. While a bit price than alternatives it is quickly becoming the standard stethoscope for medical students and you’ll see it around in all hospitals. It is sensitive enough to pick up anything you’ll need to hear as a medical student and likely as a resident. The Bell and Diaphragm are differentiated by how much pressure you apply to the scope.


3M Littmann 2201 Classic II S.E. Stethoscope, Black, 28 inch

The former king of the medical student Stethoscope market, it is a great stethoscope. While not as sensitive as the Cardiology III it is more than sufficient for most medical students while saving you some money provided you don’t suffer from stethoscope envy.



ADC Disposable Penlight

Quick, easy and cheap what more could you ask for in an evening.. I mean penlight. You’ll need penlights throughout your rotation, and these are some of the cheapest but reasonable ones you’ll find. A must have in your white coat or pant pocket.

Maxwell Quick Medical Reference

A fantastic quick and cheap guide to keep in your white coat pockets. Great review on how to conduct a through interview or physical including how to do a mini mental. Also contains fantastic reference pages on a wide range of topics, extremely useful for any medical student and cheap too!


Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook

A more expensive handbook but simply amazing for internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and other rotations. Want to impress your attending? having extensive medical knowledge at your fingertips so you can look up a condition before presenting will surely help with that. While we are in the age of the internet finding specific detailed facts is not always easily done, this book will allow you to look better but also help the residents when they need to find specific information. A fantastic handbook, easily worth the price.

Note: I’ll be completely honest, in fourth year I replaced carrying both of these books with apps on my phone. Namely Medscape, being able to search things and do calculations without requiring data was incredibly useful.


White Coat Clipboard

Great little resource to keep tucked away in your white coat pockets with normal lab values on a foldable clipboard so you can also write while interviewing a patient easily. A favorite of most medical students, it’s a fantastic purchase.

General Study Resources

USMLE World – 5/5

There really isn’t any better resource to prepare for all the NBME’s you’ll have to take in third year. Some students are wary about burning through the Uworld questions before Step 2, but I wouldn’t be too concerned. You can always repeat the questions and you’ll be doing them in separate sections while preparing for NBME’s. I would say above all other books and any other resources this is the best way to guarantee a productive third year.

FireCracker – 4.5/5

Much like Uworld, Firecracker gives you a great way to prepare for Step 2 throughout 3rd year, but it also allows you to do the topics on a clinical rotation basis. While expensive as it is a subscription model, it’ll ensure you still remember IM while you do pediatrics and vice versa. The only thing I would suggest is if you do IM near the end of your 3rd year try to cover some of the topics in IM ahead of time as it’ll come up on every NBME.



Blueprints Pediatrics – 4/5

A very through book that will teach you everything you need to know for your pediatric clerkship. In general Blueprints makes a great series of books for all topics, the main difference is the format that the students prefer. Blueprints is organized in a way similar to traditional textbooks/review books, focusing on topic by topic in a through and complete way. Their pediatrics book is great and will prepare you well for the Shelf Exam.



Case Files Pediatrics – 4/5

Case Files unlike Blueprints is organized in you guessed it a case by case manner. They teach you topics based on case presentations and classic symptoms and findings. This makes it an easier read, but slightly less through than blueprints. For Pediatrics they do a very good job, and both are sufficient depending on your preferences.



Pediatrics PreTest – 3/5

A great source of questions to prepare you for the shelf exam if you haven’t done a question bank or are simply looking for more questions. While not formatted in a similar manner to the shelf they test a wide array of topics that will more than adequately prepare you for the shelf exam. May function as a good supplement to a question bank.





Case Files Obstetrics and Gynecology – 4/5
Dr. Toy of the Case Files series is actually an OB/Gyn doctor so it comes as no surprise that this book is often seen as the best of the Case Files series. It is through and provides a great understanding of several topics. Because many Ob/Gyn topics can present in a similar manner, reading them as cases is a great way to learn to differentiate what seem like very similar presentations.



Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology – 3.5/5

This blueprints is also commonly referenced as their best of the series, and provides a great amount of detail for each topic. It is more than sufficient for the shelf, and is quite easy to read. A favorite of most Ob/Gyn Medical students and any students who have enjoyed other books in the blueprints series.



Handbook for Clinicians; Pocket Edition – 3/5

While it contains more detail than needed for many medical students this handbook is a great book to keep on you during this rotation. It is highly recommended if you are considering the field, and will serve you through your residency. A fantastic source of information that will more than prepare you for the shelf examination.



Internal Medicine

Step up to Medicine – 4.5/5

While incredibly detailed and daunting Step up to Medicine is the most complete book to prepare and learn while on the IM rotation. It’s actually larger than Step up to Step 2, and is incredibly detailed but then again so is Internal Medicine. If you get a good understanding and feel for this book, you’ll also be doing yourself a huge favor for when Step 2 CK comes around.

Case Files Internal Medicine – 3.5/5

The Case Files series does a good job with their Internal Medicine review book. As Internal medicine is incredibly broad, being able to see a wide variety of cases is a great way to learn the many topics that encompass Internal Medicine. It is through and comprehensive and very useful for the shelf exam but not sufficient alone, you will likely need to do more questions to see all the wide range of topics that internal medicine encompasses.


Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine – 4/5

Harrison’s is the “Bible” of Internal Medicine, incredibly through and in depth it is more than enough knowledge for medical students and for most residents. If you have a strong interest in going into internal medicine it may be worth your while to pick up a copy as it’ll serve you well throughout residency, but for a medical student it is likely overkill. An absolutely fantastic resource that is extremely comprehensive and has details of even the rarest conditions.


MKSAP for Students 5  – 4.5/5

Often the greatest source of questions to prepare you for the Internal Medicine shelf exam, most students recommend it over even much more recognizable question banks. The questions are put together in a fantastic manner, and are made specifically for students. I would recommend it for anyone doing an Internal Medicine rotation that has a standardized NBME shelf at the end.



Medicine PreTest – 3.5/5

Another great source of questions for students. The questions are in depth and cover numerous topics, while not as highly praised as the MKSAP, they are great preparation for the shelf exams. If you do not have a question bank, they are a great source of additional questions.



NMS Surgery Casebook – 4/5

An exceptional casebook to learn everything you need to for your surgery rotation. Likely the most highly recommended resource for the surgery clerkship, it provides a great amount of detail for all things surgery and is incredibly useful. I would say it’s low yield for preparing right before going into the OR, but a high yield resource for oral exams as well as NBME shelf examinations.



Surgical Recall – 4/5

Surgical Recall is a great book to keep on you in the hospital. It will adequately prepare you for all the “pimping” that surgeons love, thus keeping you in their good graces. It however is not a fantastic book to learn fundamentals nor is it sufficient for the shelf. It is so highly recommended due to it’s use in the hospital and for preparing you for the OR. It is an essential book for anyone looking to excel in their surgery rotation.



First Aid for the Surgery Clerkship – 3.5/5

The makers of First Aid for Step 1 also make books for each of the major clerkships and for the wards. Their surgery book is well liked, and provides good preparation for the standardized shelf exam. It isn’t as popular as many of the other surgery books suggested here, so I’d recommend flipping through one if possible before deciding to purchase it.




Lange Q&A Surgery – 3/5

Surgery is often not covered extensively in online question banks, so finding a good source of questions for the shelf is often difficult. Lange provides a great resource to test your surgical knowledge and help prepare you for the shelf exam, conceptually at least. Once again it’s a good supplement to other resources.



Pestana Review – 4/5

One of the more talked about surgery resources but one that may slip by some students. It’s a bit old now and thus has some outdated information but there are copies floating around of this ~100 page review book. It is case vignette based and is designed to prepare you for oral and written examinations.



Blueprints Psychiatry 3.5/5

Blueprints make a great Psychiatry reference book, and will provide you with more than enough information not only for the shelf exam but also for the Psych ward. The book is extensive and set up in an easy to understand manner. It also allows for quick review of any specific topic, and a list of all accompanying DSM criteria.


First Aid for the Psychiatry Clerkship – 3.5/5

Aside from Blueprints, First Aid also make a great book for the Psychiatry clerkship. It too will prepare you for the shelf exam and the wards. It also contains a good deal of information on interview techniques and is a better book in terms of getting the most out of the actual rotation. I’m not sure if either books live up to the reputation of their brands in other topics, but both have the essentials to get you a good score on the Shelf examination.



Note: No scores as I haven’t used any of these, and have not found enough others who have to be able to leave a sufficient review. 

Blueprints Family Medicine

Like many other topics Blueprints has an excellent guide for Family Medicine. While many of the topics are similar to Internal Medicine, this specific guide is useful for anyone whose school has Core rotations in Family medicine, or anyone considering entering the field.



Swanson’s Family Medicine

A favorite of many students and residents, Swanson’s provides a problem-oriented approach to Family Medicine. Highly recommended if you are considering the field, and a great book to introduce you to family medicine.



Tarascon Internal Medicine & Critical Care Pocketbook

Tarascon is often a favorite book of many attendings. This pocketbook really comes into it’s own in the ICU and critical care setting. It provides excellent references and is very useful for anyone interesting in working in that sort of field, or doing elective rotations in an ICU setting.



Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual

Tintinalli’s is famous throughout Emergency Medicine for providing one of the best if not the best Emergency Medicine Manuals. Anyone seriously considering the field would be well served to read Tintinalli’s. A great book for other students as well who would like to know how to act in Emergency Settings.



ECG in 10 Days

In our basic sciences many if not all medical students do not learn the ECG particularly well. This quick guide provides a comprehensive and easy way to learn the ECG quite well. It is one of the best quick ECG guides and is a great read for any medical student.



Learning Radiology

Often identified by Radiologists as the best introductory radiology book. A very useful book not only for students considering radiology but for the many others who will be dealing with radiological images on a daily basis. Having a great understanding of the fundamentals of diagnostic radiology will not only help you be successful as a student but likely throughout your medical career.