Shopping list

desert_shawn brought up a good point in another post - pre-medical school shopping! What sorts of things do current med students and others suggest purchasing before the start of classes (when we still have a few dollars in our pocket!)? Off the top of my head, I know I need a new laptop up to school specifications and all kinds of writing and highlighting implements. Any other suggestions?

I got an iPad and I love it. I annotate the handouts during lecture and then if I want a paper copy I can print them out with all my additions. No hand cramps. I like using the bluetooth Belkin keyboard (part of the Belkin case).

I would hold off on books until you determine if any upper years are getting rid of theirs and whether you actually need all the text books listed. The library often has electronic copies too. I know here at KCUMB you could probably get away with only buying about 20% of the book list.


Colored pens – Pilot has a set of 8 colors - get at least that (Wallmart usually carries it). Alternatively (or additionally) colored pencils. Great for anatomy. I ended up color coding notes/notecards.

I second the IPAD advice --a lot of my classmates use it, lets you take notes on powerpoints and then print, works well with flashcard exchange. I haven’t switched over yet but i’m not an “early adopter” with tech.

Hard to say how other schools go but I used a 2 inch binder, or 2 2inch binders/course and currently have about 23 filled ones in my bookcase…so I’d stock up on some. 3 hole punch, stapler, printer, extra print cartriges. Sticky colored “tabs” to label each lecture powerpoints/objectives - I adopted this late first year and it made it a lot quicker when reviewing for tests. I use regular dividers with tabs too, between notes and labs for example, but that’s just me.

And you need a white board and erasable markers, if you don’t already have one.

Those are my ideas–what I used, what the majority of my classmates use. Select what resonates with you


Thanks for the great suggestions Lynda and Kate! Exactly the kind of feedback I’m looking for. Does anyone have an opinion on B/W vs color printer? I currently just have a B/W laser printer - would color be more advantageous? Also, any thoughts on clothing? I have 2 styles - T-shirts/jeans and business suits, with very little in between haha. I read somewhere that once you start seeing patients, you obviously can’t go dressed in the super casual clothes you might wear to lectures. What do females wear under their white coat? Slacks/skirts and blouses? Business casual? My many formal business suits would be overkill (and not conducive to conducting physical exams, etc), so I’ll need to do some shopping now while I have the funds. Any particular suggestions for this? Thanks!

  • Switzerland Said:
Does anyone have an opinion on B/W vs color printer? I currently just have a B/W laser printer - would color be more advantageous?

I know for most business users, 95% of printouts are black and white. Color is used little, ink costs are higher, and they are usually slower. I would stay with laser b/w. btw, probably the oldest piece of technology I own which I still use almost everyday is my my HP LaserJet 4, built in 1994 (yes I said 1994). prints like a work horse

  • Switzerland Said:
Also, any thoughts on clothing? I have 2 styles - T-shirts/jeans and business suits, with very little in between haha.

Men have it easy, Khakis, Shirt, tie, we are set

One other suggestion I have is get a good, a really good, comfortable desk chair as you'll be sitting in it alot.

I’m with Kate on the whiteboard. I have a huge one on my wall in my apartment. Very useful.

Instead of binders, I went with file boxes with hanging folders because I could easily see using 20 binders just this year. I print out all my notes after anotating on my iPad, but some of my classmates are completely paperless.

For things like anatomy and histology, I think a colour printer is essential.

At KCUMB we have to wear professional dress with white coat to see patients (or “pretend” patients). That can be dress pants or skirt with blouse and closed toed shoes - I go with dress pants because I found that when we do our Score 1 program (physicals for school kids) skirts were too restricting (you have to show the kids the various tests you want them to do such was walk like a duck). For class we can’t wear jeans, but can wear casual pants (chinos) or scrubs. I basically live in scrubs because they are comfortable and are required for our labs.

Hope that helps.


My program requires us to have iPads (cost is built into tuition) so good to know they are useful. Also did not think about a good chair. I think I will invest in a new one!

All ideas are good and easy to implement.

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I totally agree with gonnif about the good chair. Have one chair I use almost all the time in my home - you spend a LOT of time in it.

Regarding the clothes, nice slacks or a skirt, and a business type top - but bear in mind that your white coat is long-sleeved so you want to look for short-sleeved light tops (not sweaters, long sleeves) as you may be very hot.

Also, in our school they require dress “comfortable” shoes for clinicals. Find some good flat walking shoes that are presentable - NOT heels.


This is a potentially stupid question, but how different is it annotating powerpoints on an I-pad from doing so on a laptop?

If you are handy with a stylus you can draw, underline and write on your presentations with an iPad. If you get the bluetooth keyboard for the iPad you can type too.

You need a tablet laptop to do the same thing and I tried out a Fujitsu tablet laptop and was not impressed. I have the iPad now and I love it. I still have an HP laptop though for regular computer use (haven’t gone totally mac yet).

Alot of us got the USMLE first aid book and annotated the sections with our class notes for board study. SOme found it helpful. Others just waited. Personal preferance.