Which medical books will help me get into University?
Reading is an essential part of preparing for medical school interviews. You will read the news to keep up to date with current medical affairs, you will read your personal statement to ensure you know every detail like the back of your hand, and you will read through any extra scientific reading you want to discuss in the interview. But, is reading fiction and non-fiction medical books worthwhile? The short answer is yes. There are several books I would say every medical-student-to-be must read. Not only will they give you ideas for things to discuss as ‘extra-reading’ in the interview, but they will also give you a far greater insight into the medical professional (and its flaws). They will broaden your view of medicine and hopefully provoke thought about how you will try to be the best doctor possible.
Do No Harm – Henry Marsh
This book is perfect for any wannabe surgeons out there (neuro or otherwise). It gives a great detailed description of being a medical professional and particularly the pitfalls surgeons and doctors face. It provides a realistic view of training as a surgeon, treating patients in the NHS and of the emotional impact of being a doctor.
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi & Being Mortal – Atual Gawande
I group these two books together as they are often mentioned in the same sentence. They are frequently described as ‘life-changing’ and are often said to change your viewpoint on treating patients. They deal with death, dying and patient’s journeys at the end of life. These are beautiful written and incredibly moving. To anybody who cries easy – be warned.
Bad Science – Ben Goldacre
This book discusses the flawed nature of the scientific community. It’s a good place to start to learn how to analyse data given and teaches you to be more sceptical about the research you read! This would give you plenty to talk about in the science focused parts of the interview. Bed Goldacre’s Bad Pharma is also worth a read, but Bad Science is a better starting point.
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Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction – Tony Hope
This book is an incredible intro to anyone lacking in medical ethics knowledge, or for those who want a quick recap summary. It is definitely worth reading in the build-up to your interview to help prepared for any ethics questions that arise. It covers all the essentials and all the common topics at medical school interviews ask about.
House of God – Samuel Shem
This book is less serious than those above, but no less essential. This satirical view of medicine is still relevant nearly 40 years later. Some things in medicine never change and this book highlights them all perfectly in an over the top manner. Maybe not one to mention in your interview directly, but is incredibly thought provoking about the flaws in modern medicine.
The above books are just a start and is by no means an exhaustive list of the best medical books to read. These are just the five I would recommend (and have recommended) to anyone interested in medicine. If you can’t find time to read them all then pick the ones that appeal to you the most.
These books will help you to stand out from the crowd when discussing interests during interviews and applications; but what about the more important aspects of you application like the UKCAT/ BMAT and medical interview?