For Students: First Semester Books

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here are the books we have purchased for the first semester:



Why? We like the layout and the text. It is easy to read and the text is broken up so it is easy to stay focused.


We have both Netter and Rohan (or Yokochi, as people seem to know it). It’s not necessary to have both, but I think we will benefit from having one with actual photographs and one with drawings. Graphical illustrations have always helped me to better understand things.

Why? Great graphical illustrations.

Why? Real photographs of dissections. Will definitely prepare us for the real thing.


The Thieme pocket books. One student told me that Vol. 1 contained pretty much all he needed to get through the first semester.

Netter’s flashcards


Why? Liked the organization of the book and the format of the text.


Why? Images of real cases. Also more of a compact version than the full textbooks (sufficient for the first semester).

Medical Chemistry

Why? First semester covers more general chemistry, so this book is perfect. I used Zumdahl when I was studying in the states and really liked his textbooks.


These ones we are a little unsure of. We don’t have all of them and are expecting to find out more once classes start.


Here we go!

July 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

Our second round of books came today! They’ve been piled on chairs in the living room and I figured it would make for an interesting photo. I can’t believe that all that information is going to be in our heads! The pile on the left includes Skjalg’s and my books and those on the right are Christian’s. The booklist for Semmelweis won’t be released until August 20th, so we have only ordered ones that we know we will need so far. Christian has double of several of the books because he had to order a second round that would be guaranteed to be delivered before he left and was unable to cancel the first order.

First round of books delivered!

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our books. Nothing makes me feel more like a student than textbooks. The ones that arrived today were those that we ordered through I recently posted blog where I detailed how we went about ordering our books.

This shipment included 1 anatomy atlas, 2 anatomy textbooks, and 2 histology textbooks. We were really excited to look through them. It was crazy to think that these books will be recurring characters in our daily lives for the next 6 or 20 years.

Skjalg checking out the anatomy atlas

He wasn’t quite prepared for some of the images…

Mmmmm! Face cross-section 🙂

Books for the first year: check!

July 14, 2012 § 2 Comments

At 8:00 this morning, I was wide awake. I lay in bed for a while trying to force myself back to sleep but before long, my mind was ticking away. With everyone else still asleep, I decided to tackle one of the big tasks on our to-do list for school: ordering books.

In one of my earlier posts I wrote about the book situation in Hungary. Many bookstores don’t have enough money to stock books that they won’t be able to sell right away. Since there was no guarantee that the books we needed to start our first year would be available, it was recommended that we purchase our books ahead of time.

We receive a set book allowance from Lånekassen (Norwegian Student Aid) at the beginning of the school year. I don’t know yet how much the allowance is, or if it is even really enough to cover the full cost, so I was preparing myself for the task of finding the lowest possible prices. I really believe that a lot of money can be saved with the right preparation. Since I was up early on a Saturday with nothing to distract me, I figured it was the perfect time to search for our books online.

I had initially believed that would have the best prices. Though they have a greater selection of used books at really low prices, the shipping cost is the key determining factor in their ranking as a cheap book source. I decided that wasn’t the best option and instead tried my luck with the UK version. Here I was happy to find that, though the books weren’t AS cheap as they were in the US, the combined purchase and shipping costs were lower in comparison.

In addition to checking on the US and UK versions of amazon, I did google searches to check out options in the area. Once I discovered several Norwegian/Swedish suppliers, I made an excel sheet:

In this chart, I listed out the different websites and the price and shipping for each book at these sources. I had to account for shipping time in some cases; for example, some books were cheaper on if I didn’t mind the 21-42 day delivery time. Since we are planning on moving to Budapest in the middle/end of August and all the books must be delivered before that. At the bottom of each source’s column is the total price if all books were to have been purchased from that site alone.

The “#” column indicates how many copies of the book we need. In my Preparation for the First Semester post, I listed out’s book recommendations for the first year. I sent him an email asking whether or not there were specific books/volumes assigned to each class and he responded that there were only one or two classes that did. He recommended two anatomy atlases, saying that you only needed one of them since they covered the same topics, but that he had both and liked to use them together. Since Skjalg and I are two people, I figured that we could each get a different book and then both of us would have the opportunity to use both of them. We discussed a little about whether or not we thought we’d be able to share any of the other books and at the end agreed that we might as well get one each to avoid any conflict.

For each book, I highlighted the cheapest option. On the right-hand side I created two columns. The first listed the average price for the book, calculated from the prices I found on the different websites, and the second listed the difference between the average and the cheapest option. In almost every case, we saved about 100 kroner ($17). After I was finished, the total cost of the books was 5444 kroner ($894) and we saved 1232 ($202) from the average price. The best part was realizing that, had I ordered all my books on as I had previously intended, we would have paid about 4000 ($658) more than we did.

I felt pretty good after I placed the orders. I’m almost 100% certain that I found the cheapest, quickest options and am happy that we aren’t going to blow a bunch of money on overpriced books. Plus, maybe we’ll have money leftover for a microscope….? 😉

Preparing for the first semester

July 7, 2012 § 4 Comments

It’s possible that I am equally thankful for the resources available at as I am for Khan Academy (which I stand behind as being the reason I was able to do so well on the entrance exam). Øystein Hovi Rognerud is a doctor in Norway who studied at Semmelweis University. He does an amazing service to both future and current students by providing an extensive information platform covering everything from street smart tips, recommended books, apartment advice, and his personal notes from his studies. He even updates it with current information.

As I wrote in my last blog, I have a tendency towards over-preparing myself for future challenges to avoid the element of surprise, and thus degrade the degree of the challenge. While there are a number of these that I need to weed out, those that can be dealt with much later in the future, budapeststudent is providing me with the “right ones”. There are a lot of things I haven’t considered that I am sure would have made my life more difficult when faced with them after the start of the semester.

Subjects for the First Year

(updated for 2011/2012 school year)

1st year 1st semester (September-January):

    1. Medical Chemistry
    2. Anatomy, Cell, Histology and Embryology I
    3. Basics in Biostatistics
    4. Medical Sociology
    5. First Aid
    6. Physical Education I
    7. Hungarian Medical Terminology I
    8. Medical Terminology (Latin)

1st year 2nd semester (February-July):

    1. Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology I
    2. Anatomy, Cell, Histology and Embryology II
    3. Medical Biophysics
    4. Introduction to Clinical Medicine
    5. Medical Communication
    6. Physical Education II
    7. Hungarian Medical Terminology II
Plus: Compulsory nursing practice during the summer

Course Books

According to budapeststudent, the first year is basically science classes and not pure medicine. The Hungarian system is built on a pre-clinical and clinical structure.

  • Anatomy
  • Histology (anatomy at the microscopic level)
    • Department Manual – has pictures of the slides and good explanations.
    • Textbook
      • Ross: Histology – A Text and Atlas – strongly suggested to have a good histology book, but not necessary if you take good notes and pay attention in class. I’m definitely getting one, especially if it’s strongly suggested. 
  • Embyrology
    • Langman’s Medical Embryology – not one of the two most popular, but budapeststudent’s favorite. I checked out the books using’s “look inside” feature and I liked this one the best. It had pictures of actual cases in addition to colorful diagrams. 
  • Biology
    • Molecular Biology of The Cell A large book that is much more comprehensive than it’s smaller counterpart, The Essential Cell. There is not a big cost difference, so it is better to get the larger one. 
  • Chemistry
    • Zumdahl’s General Chemistry – just to cover general chemistry

What you need in addition to books

  • First year
    • Scalpel – can be purchased at the NET building. The best blade size to get is a 22.
    • Microscope – can also use the ones at the Histology consultations or rent one of the few available from the Dept. of Anatomy (but must be early in the semester). The advantage to having one of your own is that, during the semester, you can borrow slide boxes containing all the slides needed to know for exams. I brought this up to Skjalg and he said we can “talk about it later” 🙂 There are student ones available online for around $120 (735 kroner). If we split the cost, it really isn’t that bad…we could just make some cuts somewhere else to make up for it. I feel like it would be worth the cost.
  • Second year
    • Stethoscope – needed for the third year, but recommended for the second (when you start with EKG and heart sounds in Physiology). Learning the sounds in the second year will better prepare us for the first part of pathophysiology and internal medicine.
  • Third year
    • White coat – there is a dressing room with different sizes if you don’t want to get your own. If you get your own, make sure to keep it clean.

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