14th December 2022
Preparing for A-Levels and Medical School interviews at the same time can be tough, and finding time to do extra reading is yet another challenge. However, being strategic in the books you read can really help with your interview prep. Here are some book recommendations from a medical student to inspire you before your Med School interviews…

Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction – Tony Hope

This book is short and concise – but there’s a lot of knowledge condensed into it! Tony Hope covers core issues like euthanasia, abortion, blood transfusions, and political questions surrounding medical ethics such as ‘Should people pay to see a GP?’

Reading it will give you more confidence to discuss medical issues and NHS hot topics, and this will come in handy for your interview!

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

An insightful reflection on how the media and the internet have had an impact on how we interact with healthcare. It demonstrates how impressionable people are when it comes to the media and how health anxiety (hypochondria) has been fuelled by the internet.

This book will help you to think about medical ethics and reflect on your own personal experiences with healthcare, the media, the internet and modern technology at interview.

The Other Side – Kate Granger

Kate Granger provides a sobering account of a young Doctor’s experience as a patient with a terminal illness.

This is an eye-opening book that will give you a real insight into the complexities of the patient experience and how the smallest of actions from Doctors, like holding a patient’s hand or sitting eye-level with them, can have a huge impact.


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Life Support – Jim Down

The diary of an ICU Doctor working on the frontline during the Covid pandemic. Jim Down tells the gripping month-by-month story of how he and his colleagues faced down the biggest challenge in the history of the NHS.

This book will give you a stronger understanding of Covid’s impact on the NHS and its staff.

This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay

A frank, funny book following Adam Kay’s experience of being a Junior Doctor for six years, in diary form, before leaving the profession. He uses humour to run through the good, the bad and the ugly of his experiences as a Doctor, and explores the impact that factors like funding and long hours have on NHS staff.

The book should prompt you to think about the mental endurance and commitment needed to be a Doctor. There is also a BBC TV series based on the book and this was written by Adam Kay too.

Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) Doctor – Max Pemberton

From the perspective of a new Junior Doctor, this book highlights the realities of the transition from Medical Student to F1 Junior Doctor. It’s informative and illustrates all of the positives of the new job, but also goes into the challenges such as the work-life balance, dealing with death, mental health and relationships.

This book will help you demonstrate to interviewers that you have an understanding of the less appealing aspects of Medicine, and you can consider how you would potentially deal with them.

Gifted Hands – Ben Carson

An entertaining and inspiring autobiography about a world-class paediatric neurosurgeon who grew up in poverty-stricken Detroit. As Chief of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, he leads complex surgeries, such as separating conjoined twins, and the book follows his journey through different challenges including peer pressure and racial prejudice.

This book demonstrates the resilience needed to pursue a medical career and how fulfilling it can be to develop this resilience.


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The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat – Oliver Sack

This is a compelling read that covers a range of neurological disorders and tells stories of patients’ personal experiences living with them.

It’s informative and empathetic, individualising the life of each patient. We learn how people compensate for neurological deficits such as memory loss by creating their own reality, and how people with difficulties communicating have found alternative ways to communicate through art, music and poetry.

Do No Harm: Stories Of Life, Death And Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

A medical memoir following Henry Marsh’s career as one of the world’s leading brain surgeons. It provides a fascinating insight into the life of a surgeon, delving into all the highs and lows of the career.

Marsh’s book explores what it’s like to hold someone’s life in your hands – and also goes into how it’s possible to live with the consequences when something goes wrong.

War Doctor: Surgery On The Front Line – David Nott

The extraordinary true story of a surgeon who has spent 25+ years volunteering in dangerous war zones, as well as in areas affected by natural disasters.

One of the most experienced trauma surgeons in the world, Nott explains what it’s like to carry out medical treatment and life-saving operations in extreme conditions. Once you’ve read this book, you might be inspired to do something similar in the future!


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