Category Archives: Books to Avoid
Another common mistake new medical students make is securing a medical dictionary. Usually these are used as incentives for signing up with one of the medical societies that want your money, but as a whole, they are not needed. That’s not to say they are inaccurate or unhelpful, so much as outdated. If you need to look up the definition of a specific medical term, chances are you will be effortlessly turning to Dr. Google or Wikipedia, instead of digging out a book from your shelf and using your mastery over alphabetical order and small print font.
With that being said, there is a small sub-population of people who will argue over which medical dictionary is the best out there. The fact is, they all get the job done to about the same degree and ease. If you have to pick one because your medical book starter set wouldn’t be complete without it, I would say go with Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. It’s the one that has been endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA), and is one of their incentives for joining (as referenced above). This not only means that you have the opportunity of obtaining it at no additional cost if you were to sign up with them anyway, but it also usually means that they are plentiful and freely given away by other med students who didn’t want it.
Again, it’s a common mistake to buy a medical dictionary. They just aren’t needed. But if you insist on getting one anyway, grab a copy of Stedman’s.
The purpose of this site is to utilize the first-hand experiences of medical students to create insightful advice when it comes to books and resources. While many of the resources posted so far have had very positive reviews, it is finally time to recommend avoiding the mistake known as Blueprints Pediatrics.
There are a few reasons why this is a common pitfall for third year med students looking for books on their pediatrics rotation. First, it is relatively cheap and easy to come by. Even if you don’t buy it yourself, it’s easy to pick up a free copy that is being given (thrown) away in a med student lounge. Keep in mind it’s being given away for free for a reason.
Secondly, and perhaps the more evil of its qualities, is that it is incredibly easy to read, and herein lies the deceit: reading through Blueprints Pediatrics will make you feel like a medical student superstar genius. You can pick this book up, breeze through any chapter quickly, and feel like you know most of the information already because of your USMLE Step 1 knowledge. Whereas some books really bog the reader down on details, Blueprints Pediatrics takes the exact opposite approach. The end result is a med student who believes they possess mastery of the material for their pediatrics clerkship, when in reality they are ill prepared for the NBME Pediatrics Shelf Exam, NBME Ambulatory Shelf Exam, or wards pimping.
Chapter topics appear like they cover all the bases, but the depth of content is just shallow. The material it does present is accurate, and there is nothing grossly wrong with the book as far as what it does give. It just doesn’t give what is truly needed.
As such, I won’t be linking out to online retailers to purchase this book, or using our handy Price Check plugin. Instead, I recommend Nelson’s Essentials of Pediatrics (reviewed here), as well as Pre-Test Pediatrics for USMLE style questions. Better yet, just check back to the section on this site for Pediatrics Books from time to time, as more books are reviewed and added.