First Year MBBS Survival Guide

Embrace the frustration

I remember the day I knew I was getting admission into a medical college. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. I couldn’t wait for the professional course to start and finally wear that apron. It was my dream since I had first thought of being a doctor.

First of all, congratulations, you made it! Cracking JEE/PMT was tough, but you somehow made it, and now you are here, so welcome to the medical college.

Being done with the intro let’s come to why I am writing this topic. A few years back, I was in the same spot as you, but it took me some time to figure out things about the college all by myself, and being a science guy, it was slightly tricky for me to adjust at first to the fast pace college lectures.

If I have to be brutally honest, then I have bad news for you. You will have to work twice/thrice as hard that of your JEE preparation here to pass. There will be sleepless nights, and 1st semester will be challenging, but with the help of this little guide, I guess you will do just fine as I decided to hence in short, write how your 1st-year M.B., B.S. will be, how you will have to study and which books you can use.

Mainly in a medical college, newbies are afraid of being ragged. However, don’t worry, most colleges have powerful anti-ragging committees, and you should have proper protection against any menacing behavior. Y ou won’t be ragged! At least physically.

However, if your seniors try to talk to you, ask your name, rank, or hometown, don’t be shy and run away. To get people talking, most seniors try to devise funny games and weird tasks. Be a sport and play along. These moments will strengthen your bond with them, and believe me; you are going to require their help, A LOT! They can advise you on which books to use, which lectures to attend, and even what clothes to wear on the day of vivas! Being a chicken will only keep you from these words of the gurus!

You are coming to academic affairs. You won’t deal with any patients this year, apart from those asking you for directions for some room.

As you may already know, you have three non-clinical subjects for your first year:

  1. Anatomy
  2. Physiology
  3. Biochemistry

Anatomy is the study of a masterpiece. The intricate structure of the human body. In physiology, you will learn how this creation works fascinating wonders. The body processes. While Biochemistry will tell you how the tiny non-living magician molecules interact to sustain this miracle of life. (you know the Glycolysis pathway and Krebs’ cycle, right?)

Now coming to the examination system. You will have two main semester exams one, usually in January, and another around the end of May. After passing these two exams, you will have to sit for the First Professional MBBS exam conducted by the university, which happens around the end of July a month after your second-semester exam. Apart from these big exams, you will have part completions and items throughout the year as self-assessment tests.

M.B., B.S. is, in fact, a course of 4.5 + 1 (compulsory internship) years.

1st year – is of practically only 8 – 9 months

2nd year – is of 1 year

3rd year – is of 2 years (Don’t ask me why they call it a year then)

Now coming to the books, you will you throughout this course, and coming to books, I should mention our college’s “Cheap Store,” which has all the books and that too at a discounted price. Else you can always rely on Amazon or Flipkart to get you the best deal.


Anatomy is the most extensive of the three, requiring intense hard work and sincere efforts. The first fear that every medical student faces is the fear of new long words; for that, you will need a dictionary, and Dorland is the best medical dictionary.

Coming to the books, and here I want to give you guys a little tip. Use one foreign author review book first to have a good grasp of the subject. Then use the Indian author book to have a good grasp of the questions asked in the exam. This will make you have a solid understanding of the subject as well as you will be able to do good in the exams. So I am going to divide the list of books under two headings for all the three subjects:

Foreign Review Authors for Anatomy:

  • 1. Gray’s Anatomy Student Edition – My personal favorite as this serves both the function of an Atlas(a book with many pictures) and concisely has all the essential clinically relevant points written down.

2. Clinical Anatomy by Systems (Snell) – Some people highly suggest this book.

Indian Authors for Anatomy:

1. Human Anatomy (By AKD) – commonly used by West Bengal students

*2. B.D. Chaurasia’s Human Anatomy

Well, the list goes on and on, but what I can suggest is that whatever book(series) you use for studying anatomy, stick to that don’t try to study SUPEX from both AKD as well as BDC that will just ruin things for you. Instead, what you can do is do SUPEX first from BDC and then just read the clinical correlates and X-rays from some other book, but don’t try to read the whole chapter from both!

3. High Yield Gross Anatomy – Another excellent book for revision before the exams!

Another small tip is that don’t waste much time taking pictures of corpses instead practice regularly with your friends the structures shown the previous day it is more useful than H.D. videos of the teacher showing structures.

*are the must-have books!


Well, you will love this subject as it is the only subject that makes proper sense, and giving it a little time each day will bring you fruitful results, but you will need concepts to ace physiology and to do that your primary selection of book should be perfect!

Foreign Review Authors for Physiology:

1. Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology

  • 2. Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology

*3. BRS Physiology (by Linda S Costanzo)

It would help if you bought Guyton which is better than Ganong, but my personal favorite is BRS Physiology where they provide all the facts from each chapter in a nutshell, and it’s concise, so after buying Guyton or Ganong but BRS

Indian Authors for Physiology:

1. Principles of Physiology (By Debasish Pramanik) – commonly used by West Bengal students

*2. Essentials of Medical Physiology – Sembulingam

Well all of you would need “D.P.” before the exam to prepare for semesters but if you have bought something else then that will work too, but still, I suggest you get a “D.P.” and do all the topics from it.

*are the must-have books!


The subject which you will ignore for most of the year is Biochemistry and since you will only study this before the exam so your choice of books should be right to aid you before the exam.

Foreign Review Authors for Biochemistry:

*1. Lippincott Illustrated Reviews: Biochemistry – This is the religious textbook of biochemistry, you study this you understand biochemistry, no other book is better than this!

2. Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry – Although you will hear many recommending this book, it’s pretty much useless at our level. It’s a book for post-graduate biochem students. Don’t buy it.

Indian Authors for Biochemistry:

1. Textbook of Biochemistry for Medical Students (by Vasudevan)

*2. Biochemistry (by Satyanarayana)

Everyone recommends you buy Vasudevan but believe me, Satyanarayana nails it by being to the point and precise, and it’s just invaluable to those who won’t touch this subject throughout the year but will only sit with biochem when it comes to the exam.


Very informative :pray: