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Top Tech Tools for First-Year Medical Students – 2020

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"Top tech tools for first-year medical students 2020"

Disclaimers: This article is offered as an opinion article and does not seek to be an exhaustive reference for the tools listed below. As of writing this article, we have no partnerships or financial incentives connecting us to any of these products.

During the summer of the Covid pandemic, incoming medical students have more time than ever to plan for the upcoming academic year. While the past advice of, “enjoy your last summer!” doesn’t offer the same options this year, we wanted to suggest some Top Tech Tools that will assist most soon-to-be M1 students.

Web Browser Tools / Plugins

  1. Video Speed Controllerzoom zoom
    • If nothing else, this tool will come in clutch as you find the perfect playback pacing for recorded lectures.
    • Speed up, slow down, and jump around timing on most all web-embedded videos you will come across.
    • Read more about this plugin at: iStarsoft
    • Downloads | Firefox: here || Chrome: here
  2. LastPassfreemium password manager
    • This is going to be a busy year filled with tons of newly acquired accounts. Let your computer/smartphone do the legwork of maintaining your login information in a single secure location!
    • Visit the homepage to learn how it works / Download: here
  3. uBlock Originfree open-source ad-blocking tool
    • Although not directly related to medical education, this tool is an incredible timesaver when you are browsing through webpages of crafty mnemonics.
    • Learn more about this free product: here
    • Downloads | Firefox: here || Chrome: here
  4. Zoteroresearch citation manager
    • Even if you hope to never complete another research project in your life, Zotero is a must-have Citation Manager. It allows you to track, store, and sort research as you browse the web. Never worry about losing a compelling article again! This tool will grab a snapshot and local copy. When you have finished your writing it will generate a properly formatted citation page!
    • This tool is powerful so it is worth installing it to play around before you plan on using it.
    • Learn more & Download: here

Mobile Apps Android/Apple

  1. Human Anatomy Atlas 2021 – by Visible Body
    • Be Aware! – There are many, many anatomy atlas apps for download on every mobile store, and they all seem to follow the same naming patterns. The app produced by Visible Body is a spiffy little tool that is updated every year!
    • This app tends to go on sale a few times a year for $0.99!! This is a steal for the depth of information it provides, especially since many schools will be starting the year with online curriculum.
    • Learn more about this tool: here
    • $ Downloads: | Apple: $here$ || Android: $here$
  2. TMAnatomy App
    • is an incredible resource with a mix of free and premium content to help you learn Anatomy.
    • Even with a free account, you gain access to a handful of example questions for each and every system to provide instant feedback on your understanding of the content.
    • Use the website to learn about the app: here
    • Downloads: | Apple: here || Android: here
  3. CDC Vaccine Schedules
    • This free resource provides a quick reference for vaccination information available from the CDC.
    • Learn more about the app: here
    • Downloads: | Apple: here || Android: here
  4. FEMA App
    • Moving to a new area across the country can entail a new set of weather hazards that you may not be accustomed to. This app will provide you with FEMA-issued warnings based on your preferences for a wide range of potentially dangerous situations.
    • Learn more about this tool: here
    • Downloads: | Apple: here || Android: here
  5. Google Photos
    • It’s time to back up the content on your mobile device! The importance of having easy and frequent backups of your electronic devices is best handled early so that you can make a habit of keeping your data properly stored.
    • Using the “High Quality” setting in the Google Photos app, you are provided free UNLIMITED backups! Unless you are a semi-pro photographer, chances are your image quality will not even be reduced (and if it was, lower quality is better than no photo at all).
    • Read more about this app: on Google
    • Downloads: | Apple: here || Android: here

Home Gadgets

  1. Smart-Outlet by Geeni
    • Although the idea of a smart-phone enabled outlet might feel a bit gimmicky, the ability to control your devices from afar can be surprisingly beneficial. Using included features you can set an attached lamp to turn on at sunset. You can use the timer features to provide visual reminders for your to-do list. These can even be used to give you a sense of security by making it difficult to tell when you are home or not.
    • There are many of these outlets on the market essentially offering the same features. We have found the Geeni brand, sold in Walmart stores, to be an extremely cost-efficient option (even marked at prices lower than the manufacture website).
    • BE AWARE! These cost savings comes at a price! Please be aware of the security concerns Geeni devices are know for and take that into consideration with these products.
    • Learn more about this brand of smart-outlets: here
  2. Flat Ethernet Cable
    • With or without roommates, many students find themselves renting during medical school. To avoid an eyesore, consider finding a flat Ethernet cable to provide a reliable internet connection in your study space and avoid the interference that you may experience on WiFi.
    • These long cables can run along baseboards discretely when connecting distant rooms.
    • There are many options, but here is an Amazon link: example
  3. Automatic Pet Feederthis is THE game changer for pet owners!!
    • Medical school aside, there is no single product more liberating for a cat owner than an Automatic Feeder! In our experience, kitty quickly learns that you can sleep in on your rare weekend off without fear of starving.
    • Study session on campus running late? No problem! Fluffy gets fed without the guilt of a delayed meal.
    • There are many options out there, but as of June 2020 we have had zero issues with the model linked below (although it appears to be sold under several different company names). With outlet and battery options included, you could even spare Mr. Whiskers the car ride home over Thanksgiving weekend.
    • Amazon link to the model we have used: here
    • (Yes, it is really worth the ~$50 price tag!)
  4. Sun-Light Alarm Clock
    • If you haven’t heard it yet, your school will be sure to remind you repeatedly that a good sleep schedule is an undeniable benefit for the long hours ahead. These Sun Light “Wake Up” alarms are a surprisingly refreshing way to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
    • Even with the changing seasons, these lights mimic the rising of the sun each morning at the same time allowing you to develop the sleep hygiene needed to rock your first year.
    • There are many options to choose from, such as these listings on Amazon: here


  • Spaced repetition flashcard magic~
  • This topic has been covered much better than I ever could, but no med school tool list would be complete without it!
  • Visit the homepage: here
  • Apple App costs a chunk of change, but I think using the desktop program for a short time will show you how worth it it is!
  • Android also has a forked-version that is Free and is lovely!


Starting medical school will involve an immense amount of trial-and-error to learn how to best study. We think the tools above are pretty darn spiffy, but don’t re-invent the wheel! Second year students will help you narrow down ways to tailor your studies to your school’s curriculum.

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