As part of your university course, you will be required to purchase textbooks and equipment. These costs can mount up, and before you know it, you’ve spent a large chunk of your monthly allowance on textbooks and supplies.

  • Remember, you’re not expected to read every book on the reading list – use it as a starting point to find the best books and choose the one(s) you prefer.
  • Don’t buy any books before starting the course or during the first couple of weeks. Before deciding to buy a textbook, borrow it from the library first if possible and see how useful it is to you.
  • Online second-hand bookstores such as Sell Student Stuff can be useful. It can be worth looking at these before buying new copies of books, as you may find the titles you need at a lower price.
  • If you live with other medical students, make an arrangement to share textbooks – buy one key text each and keep the collection in a communal area.
  • Ask students in other years for recommended key texts, which can be supplemented with library books for more specific areas of learning.
  • Check out reputable online medical information/education resources.
  • Buy second hand books from your university bookstall, department noticeboards, senior students, bookshops or websites (for online auctions always check the date/edition number, as medical textbooks age fast, and price of postage).
  • If you’ve finished with textbooks, sell them to recoup some of the costs.

Online resources

There may be times when the books you need are not available in the library or bookshop. These online resources may help.

GP Notebook

Online encyclopaedia of clinical medicine used by GPs in consultations.


Information for clinicians and patients on hundreds of disorders, drawing on the latest evidence-based research.


Hundreds of online textbooks in multiple languages.

NCBI Books

Online biomedical textbooks on subjects including medical microbiology, molecular cell biology, immunobiology, genetics and neuroscience.


MSD Manual

Information on medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, and more.

Elsevier Health Sciences

Medical books, e-books and journals for students and professionals.


For discounted equipment e.g. stethoscopes, look for special deals when you join medical organisations.

Medical equipment suppliers often offer discounts for bulk orders. Search for suppliers online and ring around to find the cheapest deal for an order of, say, 50 stethoscopes. Collect cheques from all the interested students in your year and arrange for the order to be delivered to the medical school (but check with a member of staff first).

Related pages