One Stop Packing List: Medical Student Edition

Last updated: 2/10/2020

In light of recent circumstances, several universities have released statements to explain how the new term will commence including social distancing guidelines, campus restrictions, virtual lectures and teaching sessions, etc. Here, we would like to help make your move as seamless as possible with a one stop packing list: medical school edition. 

A checklist of items to pack for university


  • Clothes and footwear
  • Stationery
  • Umbrella
  • Door wedge
  • Digital devices: laptop, smartphone, tablet, charging cables, headphones, speakers, storage device (or a Cloud back-up account)
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Face masks 
  • Backpack


  • Bedding (1x duvet, 1x duvet cover, 2x pillows, 2x pillowcase, 1x mattress protector, 1x blanket, 1x fitted bed sheet)
  • Book ends 
  • Bin bags
  • Extension cord, surge protected multi-tab power strip
  • Over the door organiser
  • Laundry basket
  • First aid kit
  • Posters


  • Towel
  • Toilet roll
  • Toiletries, including emergency medications

Kitchen (if not living at a catered residence)

  • Washing up liquid
  • Oven tray
  • Pots and pans
  • Cling wrap
  • Aluminium foil
  • Baking paper
  • Dish cloth
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Tea towel
  • Crockery
  • Oven gloves
  • Tupperware
  • Mugs

Specifically for Medics


As mentioned in our Familiarising Yourself with Medical Equipments article, we don’t recommend you buy one before you start university but you will eventually need one before you start clinical sessions.

A stethoscope

Lab coat

If you don’t already have one, it might be a good idea to buy one before you start medical school. You’ll be needing one for every lab/dissecting session and you might be denied entry to without one. 

Over the ankle socks

While handling scalpels and other sharp objects, over the ankle socks are sometimes required to ensure you don’t cut yourself if you drop what you’re holding. 

Smart Clothing

If your medical school offers early clinical exposure, you might find yourself in a GP clinic or hospital where, unless shadowing in surgery, you will be expected to dress appropriately and to the dress code. The dress code in a GP clinic and hospital is generally the same: keep it smart and clean. Start small, bring a few outfits with you and build on it throughout medical school!

  • Men: Collared shirts with sleeves ending above the elbow and closed toe shoes.
  • Women: Hair ties, tops with sleeves ending above the elbow, and closed toe shoes. Excessively short skirts, exposed midriffs or exposed underwear are not acceptable. Long or dangly jewellery can interfere with patient contact and should be avoided.
  • When in doubt, think about the junior doctors you shadowed while on work experience.


Contrary to what you might be tempted to do, you DO NOT need to bring medical textbooks to university and should definitely NOT buy textbooks to bring with you. Most universities will have a medical library or a medicine section of the library that will stock almost every textbook you seek. Even more options are available online and as textbooks are constantly being updated, new versions are constantly printed making old versions less valuable if you intend to sell them secondhand. 

Exams are usually based on your lecture notes anyway so while textbooks may help explain a concept in more depth, it would be ludicrous, not to mention extremely stressful, to try and base your knowledge off textbooks alone. 

Three stacked textbooks

Erasable white board

A good way to practice active recall, a whiteboard replaces the need to waste paper and is extremely useful for brainstorming, making mind maps and general organisation. Getting through medical school involves learning and memorising several pathways for which a whiteboard can make the process much easier. 

Tendon Hammer

As mentioned in our Familiarising Yourself with Medical Equipment article, a tendon hammer may be listed on your required packing list for medical school but we wouldn’t recommend you buy one at all. Most situations which will require you to use one will have one present for you to practice with.

A tendon hammer

Get Into Medical School

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