8 Apps to Help You Make it Through Medical School

Medical school students have it tough – lots to study for, tons of rote memorization, and hundreds upon hundreds of pages to read every single week. Luckily, developers have noticed this problem, and there are plenty of apps out there to help make the average medical student’s life easier. These applications range from detailed, intriguing reference applications to applications that help ease the pain of all the studying require to succeed in medical school.

This roundup contains first and foremost a section dedicated to some of the best reference applications available for students of medicine. Applications range from a medical dictionary to ways to study up on muscles, drugs, and much more. I’ve also included some study and organization tools in the roundup. Knowing how expensive medical school, textbooks and even some of the applications are, I’ve tried to include free alternatives whenever possible. Read on to learn about some of the best applications for medical students on the Mac.

Reference Applications

Grays Anatomy – Student Edition

First up is a classic – the Student Edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Gray’s is a classical medical text that was first published back in the 19th century. Now, the text and illustrations are available for free in the Mac Student Version application. The app contains the complete text, scrollable thumbnails of all 1247 illustrations, bookmarks, and much more. The text is a great reference tool for any student of medicine, and at a cost of nothing it’s definitely a must download.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Archibald Industries

Visible Body 3D Human Anatomy Atlas

Next up is a great way to learn and explore the human anatomical systems and structures. Visible Body 3D Human Anatomy Atlas is an application featuring fully interactive 3D models of over 2,500 different anatomical structures, including all major organs and systems in both the male and female body. Thumbnails and easy search capabilities ensure that this application is easy-to-use and practical for students, whether you need to brush up on some undergraduate knowledge or are trying to master a system for your current classes.

Price: $39.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Argosy Publishing

Muscle System Pro III

Another great way to master the systems and structures of the human body is through 3D4Medical.com’s great series of applications. Applications such as Muscle System Pro III provide an incredibly detailed way to learn about specific parts of the body. The Muscle System Pro application offers 3D views of parts and pieces, images of insertion and origin points, animations of movements and muscles, quizzes and much more. The applications are incredibly detailed and can be used either to learn or as a reference application when needed. The entire series of applications they provide are all well-worth checking out, depending on your study needs at the time.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: 3D4Medical.com

Medical Dictionary!

A good medical dictionary is certainly a tool any medical student or professional needs. The ability to condense the dictionary into a digital format, rather than carrying around books, is definitely helpful. Medical Dictionary! is an application featuring over 15,000 terms and detailed explanations as well as a complete list of diseases, drugs, abbreviations and acronyms. The dictionary is also completely offline, so it is available for reference at any time.

Price: $9.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Aihua Soft

Drugs & Medications

The final application I’ve chosen to include in the reference section is an application by the makers of the Medical Dictionary. This application, however, is known as Drugs & Medications and provides a reference tool featuring over 6000 FDA approved drugs and detailed information. All of the information is available offline, although links are available that go directly to the FDA website for additional information. This is definitely a great way for medical students to learn about the drugs available for use with patients for a variety of symptoms and diseases.

Price: $9.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Aihua Soft

Study and Productivity Applications


Unfortunately, medical school is full of lectures and classes – and that means lots of documents and powerpoint presentations to look over. This means any good medical student is definitely in need of a good office suite. If you are willing to spend money, there are many options, but if you need a full-fledged office suite that is available for free, check out NeoOffice. This suite is a modification of the OpenOffice.org software made specifically for Macs. The suite provides all of the major office programs, including viable alternatives to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and much more. Definitely worth a try if paying for an office suite (even the student version) isn’t quite in your budget.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4/10.5 or later (depending upon the version you download)
Developer: Patrick Luby and Ed Peterlin


Medical school students have a lot to remember to do – classes to attend, exams to study for, labs to complete and much more. Thus, a good to-do application is needed. iProcrastinate is a great application designed with students and homework assignments in mind. Utilize the features in the application to track and organize assignments, break down big projects into smaller items, create repeating tasks, and more. The application is available for Mac and iPhone, and soon for the iPad, to ensure that your tasks are synced across your devices.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Craig Otis


Last but not least is my favorite flash card application for the Mac, iFlash. I haven’t yet found a good, free alternative that supports the features a medical student needs, so I believe it’s best to splurge a bit and invest in an app like iFlash. The app offers all of the great features – ability to add audio and images, unlimited sides for the flash cards, and the ability to print and export the flashcards. iFlash also offers a variety of ways to study, including an interval training system to best help you master the flashcards at hand. There is also an app available for free for the iPhone/iPod Touch so you can easily type up the cards on your computer and then take them to go so you can study no matter your location.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later
Developer: Loopware


Medical students definitely have it tough – long, sleepless nights full of books and studying. Hopefully, these applications can help to ease the stress of medical school. Whether you need an app to learn the muscles and bones of the body, a way to research medications and terminology, a study application, or just a way to read your professor’s notes, there are many different applications to try out. And these are just apps to help in school – once you get into the hospital itself, there are infinitely more applications.

I’m curious, as always, to hear from you. Do you know of an app that every good medical student should have? Let’s hear from the students themselves! What are your favorite applications to use during your time in medical school?


Add Yours
  • I find myself using byword to make my notes. It has much more pleasant writing/reading interface than most other purpose built note taking apps.

    I’m open to suggestions though, any note taking apps out there that aren’t ugly?

    • I personally used iA Writer to write out plain text notes in college ;)

    • I should also mention: One of the best ways to take plain-text notes is using Simplenote with an app syncing your notes to your Mac. Justnotes (http://selfcoded.com/justnotes/) is a very nice new app that syncs with Simplenote, while Notational Velocity or NvAlt are nice free options. With Simplenote, you can write and save plain-text notes optionally with Markdown formatting, sync them to all your devices, search through them quickly, and organize them with tags. It’s great.

      • Memonote is another choice for simplenote. Memonote help you remember notes with Space Repetition( for long term memory) and Leitner (short term goal, useful for exam).

  • Over here at Meharry – we are incredibly (locked) PDF / Powerpoint heavy – not by choice, but largely because the professors tend to send out un-editable documents. (I expect most avid readers of Appstorm already have some pdf editor) but there are several that should definitely make any “Medical Student” necessity list
    iAnnotate Pdf is pretty popular over here, as is Notability. (Nobody uses Taposé)
    Evernote is popular – because of the ability to record voiceover’s in the middle of a note-taking stream.

    Flashcards deluxe $3.99 – was solid – and saved my life when it came to finding quizlets online (for free). I believe it has the features you noted in the above app.

    As far as the content apps – what happened to epocrates?
    (most medical students over here are VERY hesitant to download $40 apps that rarely offer frequent updates / the ability to “draw” directly on the app – do you know of any that do this? Otherwise we are very likely to continue downloading pdf versions for the flexibility”

    Anyway – thanks for making us feel special. nobody ever takes the time to truly apps for us (poor) medical students.
    (good catch on the neooffice – i’ll try that)

  • Excelentes… yo tambien recomiendo MedicalData para iPad
    Es fácil de usar y me permite administrar mis expedientes.

  • Great list! This isn’t a reference app but I’ve started to use Doximity. It’s basically a LinkedIn for med students & doctors with HIPAA texting, directories of every MD in the U.S. and pharmacy/hospital locations. A lot of features are probably more useful for MS3/MS4 though. I’m starting my residency this year and I can see it being useful in a clinical setting. Oh I also think it’s by the same guy who founded Epocrates.

  • As a med student, I must say its a great collection of apps but I’d have to add one more key app to this list. Being in med school means taking notes, pictures, etc from different sources like lectures, textbooks and journals and then bringing them all together to help when it comes to revising for finals. So I find that circus ponies notebook is a great app that does exactly this and if you are type of person who prefers to study from his/her computer/ipad rather than juggling sheets and sheets of lecture handouts then this app is for you.

    The key thing about this app is that you can sync notebooks between your mac and iPad which is sort of lackluster in other note taking apps of this scale. (Not including evernote here).

    My secondary list of apps include the following;

    Dropbox – perfect when you syncing histology or anatomy slides or even lecture notes between an iPad and a mac.


    Fluid – Can easily capture my blackboard URL from my college and creates an awesome app which you can customise with adding your own school’s icon

  • I would recommend tue software Pear Note to anyone in a lecture setting. As a medical student or just a student in college or university. Heck this software would be helpful for students in high school who have a jar time taking notes.

    What it does is or records video and audio (you’ll most likely to only record audio) while you take notes and once the lecture is over, you can go back and click on a part of your notes and it will start playing the audio 30 seconds before the part of the note you clicked so you don’t miss anything, you can fill in gaps in your notes and go over harder concepts you didn’t understand from your prof the first time around. It also has a feature to bring power point presentations in and flip through them as the prof does as a reference but none of my profs ever give me their power points so I don’t use this feature.

    This is the note taking software for students! It’s UI in my opinion could use a little work but what it does, it does perfectly!

  • http://www.quizlet.com is great for making flashcards too. It’s free and it has different learning methods (fill in the blank, quizzes, and a race against the clock game to get the answers.) I love quizlet because it saves so much time and you can even print them out after you type them. If you don’t want to print them then it lets you study them online (in order or shuffled.) Its definitely something to check out if you’re a visual learner or love making flashcards to study like me.

  • I make notes as well on my PDF documents via the ipad using the writepdf app when I am attending lectures