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The Essential Pre-Med Back to School Shopping List

August 25, 2017
Emily Hause

Prepare for your back to school shopping spree.

Every pre-med should equip themselves with these six essentials.

Back to school shopping season is upon us. You—the hardworking pre-medical student—deserve to treat yourself to the classroom essentials that will get your school year off to a great start. So, what are the must-have items on the pre-med shopping list?

1. Pre-med daily planner

No pre-med back to school shopping checklist would be complete without a planner. Your busy schedule isn’t going to remember itself. A fresh year deserves a fresh calendar to start putting in all your extracurricular activities, work schedule, and upcoming exams.

2. Multicolor highlighters

Parsing your lecture notes or textbooks is made so much easier if you approach it with a premium highlighter in hand. Start off the new school year with a set of brand new highlighters. Instead of getting the basic yellow, spring for the fancier colors and get some pink, orange, or blue to create your own color-coded systems for labeling key points.

3. Lunchbox upgrade

Stop reusing old plastic bags from the grocery store and invest in a lunchbox that you’ll be proud to be seen with in a lecture hall or clinic. These days you can get lunchboxes with all sorts of fancy features like slots for ice packs, individual tupperware, and thermoses. There are also all sorts of snazzy patterns and designs to spice up your lunch life and express your pre-med personality.

4. Laptop or tablet

The internet is an essential component to success in pre-med classes these days. From lectures online, to electronic textbooks, to online study groups, an increasing amount of your pre-med coursework is exclusively done online. You can even take entire online MCAT classes—in addition to downloading all of your practice tests and other MCAT resources.

This is perhaps the most expensive item on your back to school shopping list, but if you’re using an older model of a laptop or tablet, you might be losing valuable time on downloads and accessing resources. Consider investing in a new laptop or tablet to keep on the cutting edge of your classwork.

5. Printer, paper, and ink

These go hand-in-hand with the previous item on your back to school shopping list: Having your own printer and an ample supply of paper and ink comes in handy for making sure you get important documents printed and sent on time.

You’ll need to print notes, practice exams, term papers for proofreading, and anything else that requires reading outside of a computer screen. You can, of course, use library or campus printers, but don’t underestimate the value of being able to print from the comfort of home or at the last minute before class.

6. Better bedding

This may not be the most obvious item on your back to school shopping list, but it’s one of the most important. A good night’s sleep is essential for any high-achieving pre-med. You need some comfy sheets, pillows, and blankets to get cozy and grab that necessary shut-eye.

After you’ve finished back to school shopping, add a higher MCAT score to your to-do list. Sign up for a Free Online Practice Test to get started.



Emily Hause Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over eight years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.


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