Best Books for MBBS First Year [NMC Recommended List]

Here I’ll be listing down names of all the top and best books for the first year of MBBS. These books are also recommended by National Medical Commission (NMC) and will be of great use to 1st year MBBS medical students, both to learn and grasp the subject as well as to score well in exams.

Firstly, congrats on making it to a medical college!

After burning the midnight lamp during your NEET preparation, you’ve finally made it here. But things don’t end here, right? In fact, the journey begins here. There’s a lot more to study and also, the first year is very crucial because your fundamentals and basics are built here.

Before talking about the books, there are two important things you need to know:

1. There are 3 subjects in MBBS first year, namely, Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry. Anatomy is further divided into general, gross, histology, embryology, and neuroanatomy.
2. Unlike school, there’s no fixed syllabus here. The more you know, the better for you. Moreover, you will no longer be spoon fed here in med school, it’s you who’ll have to put in efforts on your own!

In medical colleges, books are mainly categorised as standard and non-standard.

Standard books are like the Bible of that particular subject (main reference book). Written in great detail, it’s the perfect type of book to get all your concepts clear which will help you in the long run. These are mostly written by foreign authors. Standard books, being concept-oriented, are well renowned and famous all over the world. But because of its vast volume, it becomes impossible to study and revise for the final exam.

Now coming to non-standard books. They’re written in a concise format that is soothing to our eyes. Arranged in a short and pointwise manner by Indian authors, it becomes relatively straightforward and simple to memorise. These books are mainly exam-oriented and will come in handy during your 1st prof (university professional exam) preparation.

The full list of NMC recommended books is available at the end of this article.

There are numerous books out in the market claiming to be the best. Choosing the right set of books is important and I’m here to assist you with the same. For each subject, I’ll be mentioning the standard books first, followed by the non-standard books.

List of Best Books For MBBS First Year:

These are the best books for Gross Anatomy:

1. Gray’s Anatomy for Students, South Asia Edition

Gray’s Anatomy is considered the gold standard ✨ for Anatomy and covers all the conceptual topics. It helps you learn Anatomy in a lucid way.

It comes in two volumes. 📚📚 Volume One includes The Body, Upper Limb, Lower Limb, Abdomen, Pelvis, and Perineum; and Volume Two includes Thorax, Back, Head and Neck, and Neuroanatomy.

Moreover, it has clinical cases 🩺 at the end of each chapter, making the content more engaging. There are numerous diagrams, flowcharts, and tables to facilitate understanding.

In conclusion, “Gray’s Anatomy for Students” is not just an anatomy book 📖; it’s a comprehensive learning experience 🎓 tailored to the modern-day medical student 🩺.

Given its comprehensive nature, retaining information from this book for university exams can be challenging. Keep a digital copy (PDF) on hand for reference and clarity throughout the academic year.

For your university exams, consider using one of the two recommended books below.

2. BD Chaurasia’s Textbook of Anatomy

BDC or BD Chaurasia is the most widely followed book by Indian medical students for Gross Anatomy in MBBS.

It makes studying Anatomy simple, comfortable, and straightforward.

Instead of paragraphs, the text is mainly in a bullet point format which makes it easy to recall and remember. That’s why majority of students use this textbook.

It’s handy during your exam preparation because it’s in a relatively easy to understand language.

3. Vishram Singh’s Textbook of Anatomy

Vishram Singh is the second most widely followed book for Gross Anatomy, after BDC. It has slightly lesser content than BDC. Nevertheless, both these books are exam-oriented. They’re more or less, very similar.

One of the reasons why students choose Vishram Singh over BD Chaurasia is because of its better diagrams (easy to reproduce in exams). This distinction is crucial, as well-drawn diagrams can significantly boost exam scores. 📈

Also, Head and Neck, and Neuroanatomy are better explained here, when compared to BDC.

I personally used Vishram Singh and found it very convenient. ❤️

4. Netter’s Atlas

Anatomy is mostly about diagrams. A well-renowned atlas will be of great aid especially when you’re starting to learn Anatomy. It helps to visualise and correlate with the text.

Netter’s is the best-selling and most popular atlas. ❤️

I always make sure to go through all the pictures beforehand, it really helps in dissection classes as the diagrams given here are very accurate.

These are the best books for Histology:

5. Inderbir Singh’s Textbook Of Human Histology

Inderbir Singh’s Textbook Of Human Histology is the most widely followed non-standard book for Histology.

It provides a rich understanding of the topics in Histology. I like how the material is presented throughout the book.

The diagrams are complemented by concise discussions and functional correlation boxes that are updated and expanded to include new information throughout all the chapters.

The realistic and colour images show an idealized view, while the photomicrographs and electron micrographs provide the actual view of histologic structures (microanatomy) which helps us in identifying the slides.

It also contains questions in each chapter for a quick assessment and revision.

These are the best books for Embryology:

6. Inderbir Singh’s Textbook Of Human Embryology

Inderbir Singh’s Textbook Of Human Embryology is the most recommended book for Embryology. It’s specific and well written. At first, Embryology is indeed hard to comprehend but as and when you read it, you will eventually understand it over time.

Topics are comprehensively covered and ideal for reading. For a better understanding and to clear all your pertaining doubts, it has a lot of pictures and illustrations.

With the all-new competency-based curriculum, the latest edition is really helpful because it’s updated to cover all the topics along with their clinical aspects and corrections.

Chapters are summarised in the end for a quick recall. Useful for last-minute revision!

These are the best books for Biochemistry:

7. Harpers’ Illustrated Biochemistry

Harpers is among the best books for Biochemistry and the latest edition maintain the same stature.

For a deep conceptual understanding of the subject, nothing beats it. It’s by far the most detailed book on Biochemistry.

Easy to understand with amazing flowcharts and diagrams. Clears all your doubts and helps to improve your overall knowledge.

Brilliantly written and best option for students that want to actually know the subject and not just rote learn in MBBS.

But again, it’s not exam-oriented.

8. Biochemistry by Satyanarayana

Along with Harper, Satyanarayana will give you a good base of Biochemistry and also help you form good answers to present in the examinations.

It’s an ideal book for exams as the text is followed by well-defined flowcharts and diagrams, making it easy to understand and learn but some topics are far more detailed than needed.

Another alternative book is Textbook of Biochemistry for Medical Students, DM Vasudevan. Both of these are good textbooks to study from and it’s enough if you buy one of them and not both.

I have used both the books and I personally feel Satyanarayana gives you a bit more subject matter and is easier to understand.

These are the best books for Physiology:

9. Guyton and Hall, Text of Medical Physiology (South Asian edition)

Guyton and Hall is considered one of the world’s favourite and best-selling physiology textbooks. From a content point of view, it’s the best. Read it for building rock-solid concepts.

It explains complex concepts in a language that’s not only easy to read but also easy to understand. To meet the needs of undergraduate (UG) medical students in South Asian countries like India, there’s a special edition (South Asia Edition).

For strengthening your basics and fundamentals, Guyton is your go-to book. The text is written in a lucid manner and is accompanied by a substantial number of illustrations. Language is simple. The flow of topics is great and approachable.

For a first year MBBS student, it’s a great book to develop an interest in the subject and get a good grasp over it.

The only con of this book is that it’s difficult to revise due to its vastness and detailed information. But the best part about it is that you wouldn’t find a better understanding of the subject in any other book. Go for it if you really want to know the subject.

10. Textbook of Medical Physiology, G K Pal

If you feel Guyton is too voluminous and just want to score decently in finals without compromising much on concept clarity, you can go for GK Pal.

The newer 4th edition (single volume) has a significantly reduced number of pages thus making it very concise.

11. Textbook of Medical Physiology, D Venkatesh, H H Sudhakar

It’s our professor’s book! From a strict exam point of view, I feel the text here is great.

As outlined by NMC, it covers all the topics of Physiology and also lays special emphasis on clinical correlations.

It’s organised in a very concise manner which is extremely easy to revise during exams.

It doesn’t really explain all the minute concepts as it’s in a point-wise format, so there’s less reasoning and more facts. It’s good to know the facts but it’s even better to know the reasons behind it, for reasons helps consolidate the facts.

So along with this useful handy book, make sure you also refer to a detailed book, mentioned above.

NOTE: Most of the seniors might suggest books like AK Jain or Sembulingum. These are two of the most widely followed non-standard books. But, they are nowhere to be found in the NMC suggested list of books. So I’d obviously advise you not to go for them.

Books Recommended by NMC

Although I highly suggest the above books, they aren’t the only ones available. Now I’ll be listing down all the books for MBBS 1st year recommended by National Medical Commission (NMC)



  • Gray’s Anatomy for Students, South Asia Edition
  • BD Chaurasia’s Textbook of Anatomy, all volumes
  • Vishram Singh’s Textbook of Anatomy, all volumes
  • Dutta’s Textbook of Anatomy, all volumes


  • diFiore’s Atlas of Human Histology with Functional Correlation, Victor P Eroschenko
  • Wheater’s Functional Histology: A Text and Colour Atlas
  • Textbook of Human Histology with colour Atlas, Inderbir Singh
  • Textbook of Histology and Practical Guide, Gunasegaran
  • Histology: Text and Atlas, Brijesh Kumar


  • Langman’s’s textbook of Medical Embryology, TW Sadler
  • Textbook of Human Embryology, Inderbir Singh


  • Grant’s atlas
  • McMinn’s atlas
  • Netter’s atlas


  • Human Genetics, SD Gangane
  • Medical Genetics, GP Pal
  • Emery’s Elements of Human Genetics, Peter Turnpenny and Sian Ellard


  • Cunningham’s Manual of Practical Anatomy Volumes I, II and III

NOTE: Cunningham’s is widely used as an instruction manual for dissection. It is to be read before and during dissection in most of the medical colleges accoss various universities in India.


  • Clinically Oriented Anatomy, K L Moore
  • Clinical Anatomy by Regions, Richard Snell
  • Clinical Neuroanatomy, Richard Snell
  • Textbook of Neuroanatomy, IB Singh
  • Textbook of Clinical Neuroanatomy, Vishram Singh
  • Clinical Anatomy (A Problem Solving Approach) (2 volumes), Neeta Kulkarni


  • Surface and radiological anatomy, A Halim
  • Surface and radiological anatomy, Ashwini Appaji and Roopa Kulkarni


  • Handbook of General Anatomy, BD Chaurasia
  • General Anatomy, Vishram Singh


  • Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
  • Gray’s Anatomy – The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice



  • Harpers’ Illustrated Biochemistry
  • Lippincotts’ Illustrated reviews – Biochemistry
  • Textbook of Biochemistry for Medical students, DM Vasudevan
  • S.K.Gupta, Biochemistry for MBBS
  • Pankaja Naik, Biochemistry
  • Textbook of Medical Biochemistry, Dinesh Puri
  • Case oriented approach towards Biochemistry, Namrata Chhabra
  • An easy guide to Practical Biochemistry, Divya shanti D’sza, Sowbhagyalakhsmi


  • Clinical Chemistry, Marshall and Bangert
  • Medical Biochemistry, Baynes and Dominiczak
  • Bhagavan and Ha. Essentials of Medical Biochemistry with clinical cases
  • Biochemistry, Stryer
  • Molecular biology of gene, James Watson



  • Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology
  • Guyton and Hall. Text of Medical Physiology (South Asian edition), Mario Vaz, Anura Kurpad, Tony Raj
  • Human Physiology, Lauralee Sherwood
  • Berne and Levy Physiology. BM Koeppen, BA Stanton
  • Vander’s Human Physiology
  • Principles of Medical Physiology, Sabyasachi Sircar
  • Text book of Medical Physiology, Indu Khurana
  • Text book of Medical Physiology, D Venkatesh, H H Sudhakar
  • Text book of medical physiology, G K Pal
  • Essentials of Medical Physiology, ABS Mahapatra


  • McLeod’s Clinical Examination
  • Hutchison’s Clinical Methods
  • Text book of practical physiology, GK Pal and Pravati Pal
  • A textbook of Practical Physiology, CL Ghai

What’s The Cost of MBBS 1st Year Books?

The cost of 1st year MBBS books can vary greatly based on the kind and number of books (whether they are standard or non-standard) one decides to purchase. On average, it might range from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000. However, if one wishes to buy multiple books for a single subject, the expenses can climb higher.

To get a precise figure, consider adding the desired books to your Amazon shopping cart, which will give you an accurate total.

Pro tip: Bookmark this page for a quicker revisit!

Should You Read Standard Books For MBBS?

In MBBS, there’s not really a “best” book, it all depends on how you make the best out of your books. You should refer to the standard books first to make sure your concepts are clear, broaden your understanding, and then study the non-standard books to discover the best methods for learning, framing, and memorizing your answers to score well in the 1st year MBBS final exam.

You will have many people suggest you stick to one book and not up jump from one to the other and that it’s counterproductive. But for me personally, it has been really useful, I typically read topics from a different set of books to cover a wider perspective, and I’ve also discovered that some topics are best explained in a particular book.

Another reason why I’m suggesting you purchase and refer to standard books is that it will come into use again during your PG preparation and will be of great help at that time. It’s very important to know how to correlate theory with clinical knowledge for better application.

At some point in time, we will have to read the standard books, why not now in the first year when we’re just starting out and have an ample amount of time. Makes sense, right?

Here’s what NMC said in the newly revised MBBS curriculum: “A single textbook may not cover the entire curriculum. Referring to more than one book is recommended. It is suggested that students use the latest editions of the books.”

If you’d like the download a pdf of the newly revised competency-based undergraduate RS4 MBBS curriculum, it’s available on the RGUHS website.

Hope you found the above article helpful! Comment below if you did.

Good luck Medicoholics! Until next time.

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