Third Year Essentials (MS3) Part 2

Hey darlings! I am so sad that I have not been able to get this post live until now but if you read my review of the Morphe Rose Gold collection, you’ll know that life got complicated halfway through last semester. I know so many of you have been awaiting this post. So as I struggle to balance all that is going on let’s get on with it. Just like the last one, this will be an extensive post but I will do my best to keep it as concise as possible.

On this post I will share my experience and personal opinions on the essentials for the rotations of Ob-Gyn, Surgery, and Family Medicine. I have a few tips of books, supplies, and equipment. I was going to include makeup here, but this post is already very extensive, so I will give it it’s own post. I have linked everything, and some similar finds. This post is based on my experience and what works for me might not work for everyone.

Let’s get into the good stuff!

Med School Essentials


Obstetrics and Gynecology: For ob-gyn, which was my first rotation, and what I liked for the future I struggled and debated on finding the best books out there to give me the best chance at getting a good grade on the shelf. I read endless blog posts and forums and decided to get the Case Files, Blue Prints, and the Comprehensive Handbook of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The Case Files is great and definitely one of the best for class quizzes, the shelf, and even the clinic. The format is that it presents a case and asks you open questions. It then gives you the answers and discusses the topic in depth but concise, and finally you get several multiple choice questions. The cases are short and you can definitely read anywhere and carry in you white coat or handbag easily.

The Blueprints is more like a review book and it has everything you need for the whole clerkship. It is in a sort of outline format and it is all summarized information. You definitely need to have a good base of reproduction from MS1 and MS2 to get the most from this book. I really liked this book in conjunction with the APGO  videos and felt like it served as a good base for the clerkship knowledge.

Finally the Comprehensive Handbook of Obstetrics and Gynecology is a great resource for those interested in the field of Oc-Gyn. Most of the residents have this on hand at all the Morning Rounds and it is a great little book to help you out with patients, management, and pimp questions.


Surgery: Surgery had a LOT of resources and it varies a lot by school which are more beneficial for quizzes and such. So I will focus on the ones that helped me for the shelf per se. We used several text books for class discussions but I don’t know that those are widely used, mainly Essentials of General Surgery by Lawrence, we used both the 2012 and the 2000 editions.

A good and handy classic is Pestana’s Surgery Notes . This is a little gem because it is concise and well written, compact and easy to read. You can keep this in your purse or white coat at all times and it will not disappoint. It has all the high yield information as well as a good assortment of questions to test your knowledge. Now MY advice is to not use this as your only resource because it is mainly high yield, there are a lot of important facts and details that are not found here. So always have other resources.

The other Surgery Shelf life saver was the Surgery Pretest. If you have used pretest before you know this is a great resource all through med school. If you have no idea, then this little gem is a questions book designed to help you prepare for shelfs and boards. It’s got a lot of board like questions and detailed explanations in the back of the book. Honestly, aside from pathophysiology shelf, I had never used it before, but this was a GREAT help for surgery quizzes and the shelf.

Surgery Rotation Books

Family Medicine: I had a rough time during this rotation, a lot of things were going on in my life and I did not use any books but I have head great things about the Family Medicine Case Files. Like I said, I did not use it but several of my class mates did, and it has the same concept as the ObGyn Case Files. What I did use was the AAFP and ABFM question banks. AAFP Question Bank is a great resource and it has over 1000 questions designed for family medicine resident to practice for in training exams and boards. ABFM Question Bank is an app for iPhone and Android phones that had again over 1000 questions for family physicians to practice and prepare for boards. They are both great resources and I used them both fairly. My only critique is that they can sometimes be a little too broad for our shelf but it still helps you prepare for the shelf and for your own clinical knowledge.

General: Finally I have found the Master the Boards Step 2CK particularly useful to read the Sunday before the Shelf exams. I am still on the lookout for a good Step 2 CK prep book but this is a good one to have. There is a new edition coming out in April 2017 so I might get my hands on it and review it later on. This book is very basic but has a good foundation of the knowledge we need. It is not complete by far but this is something that can be worked on and filled in, like we do for the FA for step 1. This I would not say is a must have, but if you like having different resources this is definitely a contender.


Ahhh supplies, the obsession of so many of us. For rotations there are not so many things that are needed, unlike the previous years. For me at least the true essentials are pens, highlighters, notebook/notepad, and clipboard.

Pens: I have a small anxiety tick that involved clicky pens so to avoid that situation I looked for felt tip pens with a cap. I bought the Foray porous felt tip pens in black and I really enjoy them. My only down side is that since it is a porous felt tip there are certain angles that are not the best and when things are is rush it can be a little annoying. I have seen a lot of attendings and residents that use TUL gel fine point pens in black. They have a really fine point, are clickable, and last a very long time.

Highlighters: I just bought Office Depot brand 12 pack of skinny highlighters because they are not as strong as sharpie brand and do not bleed though the shiny or thin pages.

Notebooks: I do not have a link for the ones I have used because I usually find them in Marshalls and TJ Maxx but that will also depend on your personal preferences.

Clipboard: Almost everyone in my school/class has the White Coat Clipboard in a variety of colors. I have mine in Teal. There are other retailers that have them and there are two stiles, horizontal and vertical fold. These are awesome. I love that it has a los of handy info on the stickers and it allows you to stay on top of certain values while on rounds and doing notes. Makes a busy day a lot smoother.


Medical Equipment

My favorite part of this post is the equipment!


No medical student or professional is complete without a stethoscope. This item is the single most prized possession of a medical student because it hallmarks the transition from the desk to the clinic. There are 2 classic stethoscopes most people have, both from Littmann: The Classic II SE and the Cardiology III. I own the Classic II SE in caribbean blue with rainbow finish on the chest piece.

The major difference between these is that the classic is for use only in adults and it has the bell on one side and the diaphragm on the other. Both of these have different specific uses but in summary they provide two ways to listen to the heart and lungs, depending on the type of sounds. The Classic II SE should only be used in adults because it features only one size of diaphragm while the Cardiology III has two sides, one for children and one for adults, and has both the bell and diaphragm built into the same piece on both sides. I chose the Classic because 1) it was more affordable and 2) I wanted the rainbow chest piece, and in that moment I could only get it in that style.


Others: The other equipment I have found useful to have is listed below with at least 2 options. One is the same that I own and another similar with a price difference. This list will vary a lot depending on the area where you are. Here we sometimes do need to have Blood Pressure cuffs at hand, or the neuro set or tuning fork because sadly not all clinics or hospitals have them on hand for us, other times we need to do complete physical exams on specialties where they do not use certain equipment. So we use them in first and second year when we are trained for physical exams and then in the clinical setting.

a) Neuro Set: I like the completeness of this set and the different options you get for the reflex hammer because I have found some people find one style useful, while others prefer another.  Mine, similar

b) Pulse Oximeter: Minesimilar

c) Blood Pressure Cuff: I bought mine in a local supply store but here are some similar options: option 1option 2option 3

d) Penlight: Minesimilar

e) Tuning fork: Minesimilar

f) Maxwell’s Pocket Refence: Mine


If you have read all of this, thank you much for your support, and congrats! This was a a very long post.


Jani V <3

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by anyone, just based on my own personal experience. Some links are monetizeable/affiliate links
3 comments so far.

3 responses to “Third Year Essentials (MS3) Part 2”

  1. […] spoke about my essentials for medical school here and here, and there I have a list of what I have used for clerkships so far including books, […]

  2. pinossecret says:

    I really like the set up of ur blog! So happenly, I want to go into med school as well. I will def use ur blog as a guide.

    • Jani V says:

      Thank you and welcome! Med school is great even when it’s hard and tiresome. Feel free to contact me for anything you might need! I hope you enjoy the blog and your own Med school journey

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Hey There! I am a 4th year medical student from Puerto Rico going into Obstetrics and Gynecology. I love all things fashion, beauty, and lifestyle so come join me on my life as a doctor and blogger!

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