THE COMPREHENSIVE BOOK GUIDE (PHYSIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY) FOR 1ST YEAR MBBS
2ND YEAR MBBS
Hello juniors! I hope y’all are doing well and still going through the cell module, the test of which is looming closer every day. But you need not take any stress about it, it is just FSc knowledge based. For those who have not read the Cell Module Guide that I posted in the previous blog, you can click here to go read the guide and blow off a little steam.
Coming to the subjects other than Anatomy, as you move towards the end of the year you will come to know that there are actually subjects other than Anatomy but the Anatomy Dept. keeps us so busy with the constant burden of sub-stages and stages that we don’t think about the much neglected Physiology and Biochemistry. Physiology is still relevant throughout the year but until our session, Biochemistry used to be the MOST neglected subject. Giving one week to Biochemistry in Sendups and another 10-15 days in the Prof Preparation used to wrap things up nicely. But in your session, due to a lot of significant changes in the Biochemistry department, you guys are going to have a tough time regarding Biochemistry (well, if it is any consolation, so are we).
Coming to the books, let’s go through the subjects one by one.
Ah, Physiology. The only subject that will make you feel like you’re actually here to become a doctor and not just ratta-fy Anatomy and Biochemistry. There are actual diseases and stuff you will study in Physiology and the Physiology Practicals will be like those fancy Medical Lab tests, very interesting indeed. Most of Physiology is concept-based and not completely ratta-based, so you can really understand every topic with ease. Covering the course can be a pain sometimes, but Physiology Dept. is quite generous when it comes to giving marks in tests and exams. Some even say this is the easiest subject to pass, which is true to some extent.
Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology
This is the book you’re going to use for the next 2 years of your life, so learn to make friends with it real soon. This is an oft redundant but simple and easy to understand book which lays out everything for the reader in very simple terms. The redundancy is what seems to be the most well-known characteristic of this book, meaning that the author mentions something a million times within the same topic such that by the end of the topic, one has not only understood the topic completely but also memorized it to some extent within the first read. The diagrams, scanty but enough for understanding, are good. The text is excellent. And it is a standard textbook almost everywhere.
Now, this is a heavy book. Quite thick in fact, so you have a few options as to make it easy for you to handle the book. The whole book will never fit in your bag completely so you will have to get it partitioned either in a unit-wise manner or get it done in 2 halves, one containing the 1st year portion and the other containing the 2nd year portion. You can, of course, not get it partitioned, in which case you should either learn how to carry the book around in your hands or keep it in a PDF format in your phone which, for me, has been quite handy at a lot of occasions.
Ganong’s Review of Physiology
This is a good book, but it is not meant to be studied as a textbook rather to be kept as a reference book. The information is probably too much, more than required at your level, but you will need to do the NERVE chapter from this book, because in the Nerve and Muscle Unit of Guyton, there is almost no mention of Nerve, only Muscle is discussed at length. Another thing, you should do the MCQs from this book because they can be asked in the Prof, one was asked in our prof from the CVS portion of Ganong. So keep it in PDF for Nerve Chapter and also for the end-of-chapter MCQs.
BRS Physiology by Linda S. Costanzo
This is a review book, but a great one at that. It is meant as a foreign version of the desi Firdaus or even as an alternative to Mini Guyton. As a review book, the text is excellent, Flow Sheets especially the ones in the CVS Portion are really helpful and good. And the format is easy to understand, with every topic being divided into points and headings for better understanding. I’ve heard it is also used by doctors for USMLE preparation so it helps if you already are familiar with the book beforehand. If you want to use Firdaus or Mini Guyton, keep this book in PDF format. Because you will need to do the end-of-chapter MCQs many of which are asked in every module test and even sendups and profs.
Firdaus Review of Physiology
The most widely used review book of Physiology in Pakistan, most probably. It is used by a lot of students as a replacement for Guyton, which quite frankly it is not, it is rather meant as an alternative to BRS or Mini Guyton. This is the book which you will go to when you have no time and a lot of course to do, such as in CVS Module or even Sendups. Firdaus is, in a sense, must-have because you will need to prepare for the Prof Viva from this book, since it has quite a few points not mentioned in Guyton. Mainly because it has been written taking in view a lot of Physiology books like Guyton and Ganong, etc. So I’d advise you to buy this one and even if you want to use Mini Guyton or BRS for review after studying from Guyton, you should have this with you in case you come unprepared for a tutorial or something, which, quite frankly, happens and will happen a lot.
Pocket Companion to Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology a.k.a “Mini Guyton”
This is an excellent book which keeps all the major points of Guyton excluding all the redundancy and fazooliat that Guyton sometimes presents. This is not to be taken wrongly, as Guyton is still your main textbook. This book is in the league of BRS and Firdaus. It can be helpful in case you need to do too much in too little time. Like I did my Circulation Unit from this book. It also helps if you read the topic first from Mini Guyton then from actual full length Guyton. It helps you understand quickly while preparing you for ratta-fying the topic later on lol. So I’d advise you to buy this as well, and use this in case of huge low-yield units like Circulation for example.
Essentials of Medical Physiology a.k.a “Jaypee Physiology”
This is a very, very good reference book. You can obviously not use it as a primary textbook. But it is very useful if kept as a PDF in your phone or laptop such that you can refer to it in case of topics not discussed at length in Guyton. This book falls somewhere in the middle of being a review book and a full length book. But as I have mentioned before, it is a very good reference book.
It is to be kept as a reference book only. The text is good and the diagrams too. Keep it in a PDF format because it can be useful at times.
Dr. Najeeb's Video Lectures
These lectures are easily available on YouTube. They can be helpful if you cannot understand a topic or missed out on an important lecture. They can be very slow at times, but very good nonetheless.
"Remember kids, to avoid the tag of theeta, never tell anyone you watch my lectures"
Throughout the year, the Physiology Dept. is going to try its best to stay relevant. You’re going to appear in quite a few Physiology Tests at the end of each unit, the schedule of which is given below:
Cell Module Test: You guys are going to have your Cell Module sometime next week (on 16th I’ve heard). The Physiology course which you cover with this short and sweet module is the 1st Unit (containing 3 Chapters) from Guyton Physiology. Out of these 3 chapters only 2 and 3 are really relevant to the module.
‘Blood’ Test: You’re going to have this test sometime in January, most probably towards the end of January and in the Inter-modular Block I. The course which you will cover in this one will be Unit 7 comprising 5 Chapters related to Blood Physiology from Guyton. Blood Physiology will be taught to you in between Cell and Respiratory Modules hence the name “Inter-modular Block” but I suppose you already knew that.
Respiratory Module: Lengthier and obviously more important than your first module, Cell, this one is going to have a lengthy course and more chapters related to Physiology, 8 Chapters to be precise. This is going to cover the Respiratory Physiology Unit of Guyton which is Unit 8, if I’m not wrong. This test will come towards the end of March, right before the most hyped and awaited event of the year, The Sports Week.
‘Nerve & Muscle’ Test: After the Respiratory Module and before the final CVS Module, you are going to have an Inter-modular Block 2 in between, in which you will ‘bear’ the Nerve and Muscle lectures, which, trust me, are very painful to attend (you’ll know when the time comes). Khair, your Nerve & Muscle assessment will cover the 4 Chapter based Unit 2 of Guyton related to Nerve and Muscle Physiology. This test will be conducted sometime near end of April or towards the start of May.
Cardiovascular Module a.k.a CVS Module: The final module of the year, the longest one too. This one will cover two Units of Guyton, Unit 4 of Heart Physiology (5 Chapters) and Unit 5 of Circulation Physiology (11 Chapters). Throughout the module, the intense garmi is not going to let you take the lectures regularly as you’ll come to know yourself and if you’re fortunate enough like the previous sessions and our session, you will have your trip in the 1st week of the CVS Module. This will have a terrible impact on the CVS Module Assessment, but that effect is nullified by the amazing fun you’ll have at the trip. Although Circulation is the Unit of least-yield as far as the Profs go, you will still need to do those 11 chapters of this unit for this module assessment. Good luck, lol.
Biochemistry is the most neglected subject ever mainly because no one studies it on a regular basis. This subject does not have a huge course, which partly accounts for the “neglecting” part. Biochemistry is easily done at the end but it is better if you do it sath sath because it will save you from too much stress in the Prof. season. Khair, I suppose with Dr. Nakshab being the new HOD some substantial changes are going to take place this year both for you and us, because Biochemistry Dept. is apparently very eager to make its otherwise mild presence known. They are taking some steps, right or wrong only the time will tell. And I’ve also heard that Dr. Nakshab has never accepted any book other than Harper’s for an answer. Tough luck guys, tough luck.
Coming to the books,
The most widely used book at KE. Comes in two volumes, Volume 1 having mostly the 1st Year Topics and Volume 2 having mostly the 2nd Year topics but the course has chapters from both books, more from Book 1 than 2. This book is, frankly, VERY bland and the most unappetizing and most uninviting book ever created. EVER. But since this is one of the two primary textbooks of Biochemistry, you’re stuck with this whether you like it or not. Once you get a hang of this, reading it might even be enjoyable. The text is really good and very comprehensive, at times way too comprehensive, but too much knowledge never hurt anybody, lol. On a serious note, though, this book is a must-have even if Dr. Nakshab insists on making you study Harper’s Biochemistry as your primary textbook.
This is an excellent book, meant as a textbook, because if you’re using Mushtaq to do almost all of the stuff, there are still a few topics you’ll need to do from this book. Many prefer this as the primary textbook over Mushtaq, but I think that only the knowledge from this book is not enough. For example Vitamins are discussed at great length in Mushtaq Vol. 2, but in Lippincott it is just a few pages of core information which is not quite enough when it comes to “Vitamins”.
If you’re using only Lippincott, keep Mushtaq as its necessary companion. This duo will take you places, lol.
Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry
While I was preparing Biochemistry in the Prof. holidays at home, I kept Harper’s as a reference book to give it a read after doing the things from Mushtaq and Lippincott. This book, I must say, is very good but most importantly: difficult as hell. I mean, I couldn’t even understand half of the stuff written in it related to the most common topics that I had studied all year long. Harper’s is a good book but it is a tough act to follow it as a primary textbook because it is too difficult for a 1st Year or even a 2nd Year student. But if Dr. Nakshab insists on making it your primary textbook, do it. It will be quite difficult at first but you will get used to it, hopefully, as will we, because we also have to follow Harper’s in 2nd Year. Goodbye freedom, welcome Harper’s. *sigh*
I’ve heard it is a good book but it is mainly used in the UHS affiliated institutions as a substitute for Mushtaq Biochemistry. It is not commonly used by students at KEMU. Keep it as a reference book in a PDF format in your phone. I’ve heard that “Minerals” topic is very good in this book, but I personally did my minerals from Mushtaq Vol. 2 so I cannot really comment on the quality of the text of this book.
Biochemistry by Mukhtar Hashmi
This is a good book, the text is very comprehensive. The end-of-chapter MCQs are very useful and asked VERY frequently in the professional exams, in fact more than half of our MCQ paper was from this book. This is a personal favorite of Ma'am Tehmina Tariq for the Vitamins chapter and can be very useful for the topics not discussed in detail in other books.
Biochemistry Review by Faiq Hussain
This is a review book which is used by students everywhere and also at KEMU. This is a good review book but you will be needing it only for the GIT topic, because doing that from Mushtaq is a nearly impossible task. For other topics, I personally found it to be an average review book. When it comes to Biochemistry, keeping away from review books is good. But you will need Faiq for the GIT Chapter. So it depends on whether you can take photos of the chapter and study it from the photos or actually buy the book. It depends on you. But even if you become dependent on this book as a review book, you should never mention its name to any teacher because it is quite frowned upon by many teachers.
Firdaus Review of Biochemistry
A substandard book, so I've heard. Haven't studied from this so cannot really comment but this is meant as a review book only.
Throughout the year we had only two tests, one from the Proteins chapter and the other one from the Enzymes chapter. I do not know about your exact schedule but it is going to be a tight schedule because of recent changes the Dept. is bringing both to the curriculum as well as the schedule for the entire academic year. Best of luck!