I created Scott's Notes because I wanted a single source from which to revise medicine and surgery. Although there are lots of great learning resources for medics available, I couldn't find one that had everything I needed. Scott's Notes contain nothing new; they're a structured, simplified synthesis of primary resources. Below are the main books and websites I used plus some extras that I've come to like since I wrote the notes.

General Resources

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

AKA "Cheese and Onion", this is an excellent and regularly updated "pocket-sized" text covering medicine very well. General / emergency surgery is also covered relatively well though perhaps not as well as medical topics. There are some thoughtful sections at the beginning about medical practice in general which make interesting reading. I drew on this book for my Medical notes. You've probably already got it - if not, then I highly recommend you do.

Robbins and Cotran - Pathologic Basis of Disease

This is probably my favourite medical textbook. It provides fascinating insights into the pathophysiology underlying virtually any disease you can think of. If you really want to understand disease at a basic level then this is the book. Is it essential reading for Finals? No, but if you're a Gold medal kind of person then it provides the detail that's hard to find elsewhere.


If you have access to this web-based resource from your institution then you're in luck; it has the latest, evidenced-based management guidelines for virtually every surgerical and medical disease. As a web-based platform it has the major advantage that it's kept contemporaneous. This should be your "go to" for patient management all the way up to FRCP and FRCS level.


Kumar and Clark - Clinical Medicine

Now in its ninth edition, this is something of a stalwart amongst medical textbooks. An excellent reference text for clinical medicine. It takes a thorough, systematic approach to virtually every aspect of clinical medicine including sections on basic science and medical ethics. THere are excellent images and diagrams that facilitate understanding. In combination with the Oxford Handbook of Clinicl Medicine Kumar and Clark formed the cornerstone of my medical notes. The only negative - it's quite pricey...

Memorising Medicine

This is an interesting one. It's very much a revision guide and takes a one-page per topic approach and uses a very consistent layout for each topic. It's heavily mnemonic-based and also has some good diagrams. I drew heavily on this book to develop the style and ethos of my own notes. However, I found some of the mnemonics a bit forced - the authors tried too hard to fit the topic to the mnemonic rather than the mnemonic to the topic. It was published in 2007 so is also quite out of date. If you were going to write your own set of notes then I'd definitely have a look at this book.

Cases for PACES

This is a great little book for learning/revising the examination and question/answer approach for medical clinical examination cases. Yes, the level is higher than required for finals, but if you aim high then finals will be a breeze. It's succinct, clear and and simple which really lends itself to revision. I used this as the foundation for the medical section of my Clinical Assessments in Medicine and Surgery notes but added more detail on disease management with an eye on the viva.


Lecture Notes on General Surgery

This excellent book covers pretty much everything you need to know for surgery apart from ENT and orthopaedics. It's written in a succinct style and is pitched at the level of finals / MRCS. The latest edition was published in 2016 so it's contemporaneous. It covers all relevant surgical topics except orthopaedics. Probably the best surgical testbook available.

Surgical Talk

Surgical Talk is written in a more loquacious style than Lecture Notes - like a written tutorial on a topic. This makes the book more readable but I didn't find it easy to revise from. To its credit, it has a section on orthopaedics so it really covers everything you need for finals. There is also good advice on how to structure your answers in vivas and it contains some little nuggets of clinical detail that consultants like to ask about. Overall, I prefered Lecture Notes but both books have something to offer.

Clinical Cases and OSCEs in Surgery

This is to surgery what "Cases for PACES" is to medicine - a case-based revision book for clinical surgical examinations. However, because it's for surgeons, it has more pictures. ACtually, the pictures tend to be photographs of pathology and examination technique and are an excellent addition. The level is appropriate for finals and MRCS but they've included some pathology that's relatively rare and would be surpriing to find in finals. I drew on this book heavily when writing the surgery section of my linical Assessments in Medicine and Surgery notes.

Clinical Anatomy

Anatomy doesn't form a large part of Finals. However, there are some important clinically orientated concepts that can and do crop up relating to joints, vasculature and hernias. The focus of this book is specifically on clinically-orientated anatomy so is relevant to clinical proactice and to the MRCS exam. I found this book particularly useful when revising for the MRCS but also used it to include key aspects of anatomy in my notes.

Applied Surgical Physiology Vivas

This pocket-sized book (and its companion book below) is really for the MRCS. It takes a very succinct approach to revising key concepts in physiology that are pertinent to surgery. It takes a page-per-topic approach and a question-and-answer style with specific focus on answering viva questions. If you to be able to converse with your anaesthetic colleagues then ths is the book for you. Second hand copies are available for cheap.

Surgical Critical Care: For the MRCS OSCE

Also by Kanani, this book takes the same approach as the above book but is more focussed on critical care topics. I found this very useful for the MRCS. There are also useful sections on procedures (e.g. airway management) that may be relevant to finals depending on your medical school. The older version of this book "Surgical Critical Care Vivas" is also excellent and can be picked up cheaply second hand.

Basic Science for the MRCS

This is often touted as the go to book for the MRCS part A. I borrowed it from the library and certainly used it. However, I found some of the information did not have a strong clinical basis and was perhaps not that relevant to the MRCS exam which tended to be quite clinically focussed.


Rang and Dale's Pharmacology

The best reference text for pharmacology. If you need to revise mechanisms of action in depth then this is best option. I mainly used it during my first few years at medical school. The prescribing section for finals tends to be a bit more practical and, so long as you're familiar with mechanisms of action, Pocket Prescriber (below) is probably more useful.

Pocket Prescriber

This is an excellent little book that I used to write my pharmacology notes. It uses a standardised layout to succinctly cover all the major drugs in clinical practice. Highly recommended.