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The Comprehensive Anatomy Book Guide (And Cell Module Guide) For 1st Year MBBS

Ammar Anwar
2nd Year MBBS

Hello, juniors! I hope y’all are doing well with your Cell Module. You’ll be having lectures with various teachers on various topics related to Cell Biology and Histology, and probably a few of Biochemistry and Physiology too. I’ll tell you how to cope with all the seemingly difficult presentations they show you in the lectures and also how to ace the test, but at the end of the blog.

In the meanwhile, I am going to answer some of the biggest concerns of the 1st Year students when they are out to buy books, BD loon ya KLM, Mushtaq loon ya Harper’s, Guyton loon ya Ganong, Langman loon ya KLM. All these questions are asked by every first year student ever, and if you’re confused about which books to buy, your confusion will, hopefully, be gone after reading this blog. Let’s start subject wise.


Gross Anatomy is the subject you’ll be studying the entire year, over the course of many substages and stages. You’ll be studying it on a daily basis and a major chunk of Gross Anatomy is based on ratta so your success in substages and stages will be dependent on how good your ratta is. Before we move on, let me clear your concepts on a few things regarding Gross Anatomy you’ll be experiencing in KE.

Basic Sciences: Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry are called basic sciences, in MBBS.

Demo: A demo is a lecture of Gross Anatomy. A fancy word for it, I presume.

Spotting: In the Stage exam you will have 3 separate exams, one written, one viva and one "spotting". Spotting is basically identifying marked points on the cadavers. More details on that in a separate blog.

Substages and Stages: After about 6-7 demos, over the course of one to two weeks, you’ll be having a Viva from those demos. This viva is called a Substage and what you have to do is to basically pass it. There will be 3 to 4 substages before you move on to a bigger viva (along with written and spotting) called a Stage. But here’s a catch. If you’ve had, say, 4 substages and passed all 4 of them or even 3 you’ll be allowed to appear in the Stage. On the contrary if there are 4 substages and you fail 2 of them, you won’t be allowed to appear in the actual Stage, you’ll be allowed to appear in the Stage supplementary.

Regions: Gross anatomy is based on region wise study of Human Anatomy. There is Upper Limb, Lower Limb and Thorax in 1st Year and Abdomen & Pelvis and Head & Neck in 2nd Year. Which means you’ll be dealing with Anatomy for two years of MBBS. You’ll have a Stage Viva for each of the regions.

Debar: You’ll be hearing this term quite often. In order to appear in a Substage or Stage Viva, you will have to appear in at least 70% of the demos. For example if you have 9 demos you can miss only two demos. If you want to miss another you’d better submit a leave because a leave is not counted as an absent. It is not counted as a present either, but you’ll not be debarred on the basis of a leave.

Now, coming to the books.

Books you’ve (probably) heard of:
  • ·         Anatomy by BD Chaurasia
  • ·         Clinically Oriented Anatomy by KLM
  • ·         Last’s Anatomy
  • ·         Gray’s Anatomy for Students
  • ·         Clinical Anatomy (by Regions) by Richard Snell
  • ·         Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy

BD Chaurasia is the book to follow if you want to clear the substages and stages. Most of the teachers deliver their lectures in the exact BD pattern, and ask questions from it. The book is comprehensive, every topic is neatly arranged into points and tables, diagrams are a bit meh but enough to make you understand everything. My advice would be to keep BD as a primary book. And keep one secondary book, like KLM anatomy or Last’s Anatomy or others that I mentioned above.

KLM Clinically Oriented Anatomy is a very good book. It can be used as a reference book if you decide to use BD as a primary one. KLM has blue colored clinical pages which you’ll need to do if you’re doing BD. The diagrams in this book are very good, the text is excellent and the clinical pages are extremely essential.

Last’s Anatomy is a good book. In K.E it is said that this is the distinction wali book, which is true to some extent. The text is good, diagrams are not, but that doesn’t matter because you’ll have to buy Netter’s Atlas anyways. I have started studying this book in 2nd year as a reference book so I cannot comment a lot on this one, but this book does have some very good points that you’ll find in no other book. It is, however, a bit difficult as compared to BD and KLM. Keep this as a reference book only.

Gray’s Anatomy for Students is an okay book but I feel like it is not as comprehensive as BD or even KLM. The diagrams are good and Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy is also available separately in case you’re only interested in the diagrams of this book.

Snell’s Clinical Anatomy by Regions is not a book studied by a lot of students at KE. I have it but I’ve never read it so I cannot really tell you anything about it. If you want to refer to the clinicals it is okay.

Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy:

No matter which book you’re using for the theory, this is a must-buy for every medical student. The diagrams are amazing and make you understand every topic perfectly. It is also a great help in spotting. Do keep this besides BD if you’re not using any reference book.


Buy BD, Netter’s Atlas and KLM and you’re good to go.

Keep the others in a PDF format in your phone because they can be helpful at times.


Embryology is going to be taught to you by Dr. Rafea Tafweez, the HOD of Anatomy and Dean of Basic Sciences. I’m sure you’re familiar with the name.
In the professional exam, you will be asked a short question and a long question from embryology besides some MCQs. The total weightage is about 20-25 marks.
The recommended books are Langman Human Embryology and KLM Clinically Oriented Embryology.

KLM Embryology is a good, comprehensive yet easy-to-do book. The diagrams are excellent for understanding embryology and the text is good too. I did embryology from KLM and it was more than enough. The syllabus of 1st year concerning Embryology is only 6-7 chapters and these are only the basics of embryology so it shouldn’t be an issue of which book to study.

Langman’s Embryology is a good book, I’ve heard. I have never personally read it except for 10-20 pages so I cannot really tell you about this but what I can warn you about is this; there are some topics not present at all in KLM which are only present in Langman. Examples: Development of Somites, which was not given in detail in KLM, only a paragraph or so, but in Langman it was an actual comprehensive topic. We were asked this question in our Anatomy Send-up Exam, and the majority who had not studied Langman was unable to write a full question worth 10-15 marks. Another time this happened was in our Histology-General Anatomy-Embryology combined test, where we were asked about establishment of body axes, another topic not mentioned at all in KLM but given in Langman.

Now the comparison is not being made to show which book is superior but to tell you that you should keep both the books with you while studying embryology, and see which topics are missing in KLM. Do the rest from KLM except the missing topics because Langman is a brief book. I will, however, advise you to do the clinical boxes from Langman too. Clinical problems given at the end of KLM chapters are very interesting if one wants to solve them after understanding the chapter.


Buy both KLM and Langman. Do everything from KLM and then do the topics (which are missing in KLM) from Langman, also do the clinicals from Langman once you’ve done them from KLM.

Watch embryology animations on YouTube to get a better understanding of topics like Folding of Embryo, etc.

Embryology is usually a subject which is neglected all year long, so be sure to keep yourself well up-to-date with the lectures and cover the course early to avoid the stress of completing it all in the Prof. exams.


Histology is a subject limited to the confines of Histology Lab. No one usually studies it right till the Prof, but to avoid any messy situations you should do the topics as soon as they’re taught because the syllabus of Histology is kind of lengthy, 14 chapters in fact. The Histo Lab demo is all about Ma’am asking you guys questions from that day’s practical topic. The topic is displayed on the Anatomy Notice Board a few days before the practical and you are supposed to learn the topic till your Histo Lab, where questions will be asked and besti will be done, lol.

Coming to the books,

Laiq Hussain Histology is a book widely used at King Edward. It is simple, it is easy to do and it has neat smooth pages that help if you’re into neat, smooth pages lol. But seriously though, I did Histology from this book, 99% of students do it from this book and they get through Histology just fine. So keep this as your primary text book of Histology.

Firdaus Review of Histology is the end-stage book, if you know what I mean. It is a short review book and is meant to be studied only if you’ve not done Histology throughout the year and are really stressed out about covering the course in 1-2 days. It can also be used if you’ve come unprepared for the topic in Histology Lab and you don’t want any besti from the teacher, lol. I'd prefer BRS Cell Biology and Histology over it, though.

Junqueira Histology is a good book and the diagrams and actual photos from the slides are excellent. The clinicals are good, the text is good, but read this book only if you’re DEEP into Histology.

Why? Because in the final exam and the sendup, the only question asked from Histology is to draw a diagram and write the stuff related to the diagram. So for the professional exam preparation all you have to do is to practice the diagrams, do the theory regarding the diagrams only and you’re done. So there is no need to sweat over Histology. Do the stuff sath sath as Ma’am Mah Jabeen is teaching you and you won’t have to stress out about it in the end when you have only one day for Histology and cannot complete the whole course. Yikes.

BRS Cell Biology & Histology is an excellent review book, useful for studying histo in a hurry before a test or general revision. Go for this one as a review book instead of the Firdaus Review of Histology.


Do not stress over Histology. Do it from Laiq Hussain and do it sath sath. If you want to read more Histology, use Junqueira, but it is totally your choice. Keep Junqueira in PDF though, it might prove helpful at some time.


Wow, wow, wow. This is the “forever alone” of all subjects in the entire universe. NO ONE does General Anatomy right till the end or till the combined Anatomy written test (which is sometime in April).

General Anatomy is basically just the intro about Joints, Bones, Muscles, etc. In the professional exam this is the one with the least weightage, only around 10 marks, out of which there will be a short question worth 7 marks.

Coming to the books,

General Anatomy by Ghulam Ahmad a.k.a “GA by GA”

The most widely used book for G.A at K.E. This book is short and sweet, not delving in unnecessary details at all. Very helpful if you’re reading G.A for an immediate test, etc.

General Anatomy by Tasadduq Hussain

This book is recommended by Ma’am Mah Jabeen and if she gets a hold of this in any of your exams she is going to find the most difficult questions from this book. I had bought this book and even tried to read it many times, but I couldn’t. It is complex, it is fazool main lengthy and it is not the kind of book that you can do right at the end if you’ve not done G.A all year long. I will recommend this book only because you should read this if you can and because Ma’am Mah Jabeen asks questions in the Sendups from this book. Plus some topics are given in good detail in this book which are quite helpful.

Laiq Hussain General Anatomy

A very short, pocket sized book. Good text. But you’re better off reading GA by GA than this.

General Anatomy by BD Chaurasia

A good book indeed. Alternative for GA by GA. Very comprehensive. I did the “Joints” topic from this one. The colored illustrations similar to BD Gross Anatomy are very good for understanding.


Buy G.A by G.A but keep Tasadduq nearby for a few topics.


Throughout the year, you are going to have a lot of Anatomy Tests. In fact if you’re lucky enough, Anatomy tests are the only tests you’ll have.

Gross Anatomy: For every region, for example upper limb, lower limb and thorax (the three regions you’ll study in 1st Year), you will have one stage. But for appearing in that stage you will have to clear 3 out of 4 substages successfully. A substage will be conducted whenever you read all about a sub-part of a region, examples of sub-parts are like for Upper Limb, you will have one substage after Axilla, etc. one after arm, one after forearm and hand etc. But that depends.

Embryology: No separate tests for this one. But one long question from Embryology is asked in the combined Embryo-GA-Histo test.

General Anatomy: Same as above.

Histology: Two tests throughout the year, one will be the combined test as mentioned above. The other one will be a Histology Practical Test towards the end of the year, right before the sendups.


Stop whatever you’re doing and listen to me very carefully.

If you miss the post-MCAT holidays, enjoy in this module. Go out, explore Lahore. Don’t stress out over this module test which is worth 50 marks for 50 MCQs. Let me tell you this: the MCQs are 99% from FSc and pre-FSc knowledge. So no need to fret over it.

You must be confused as hell regarding the names of subjects like Pharmacology, Pathology, etc. the lectures of which are probably being delivered to you in the module, but trust me, this knowledge is purely restricted to the module. No one is going to ask you any questions from these subjects in the profs. 

Coming to the preparation of the test itself, do all the presentations or slides of the lectures delivered to you throughout the module. These lectures/presentations/slides are available in the Learning Resources section of the KEMU website,

To be honest you don’t need to touch a single book for this module test preparation, but if you are oh-so-eager, you can read the “Cell” chapter (Chapter 2) from Laiq Hussain Histology. And if you want to, you can read Cahpter 2 and Chapter 3 of Unit I from Guyton. But you won’t understand a lot of stuff which is really fine, because all you need to do for the test are the lecture presentations/slides and you’re good to go.

Next: The Comprehensive Book Guide For 1st Year MBBS (Physiology & Biochemistry)


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