Do I need to buy all my books?

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Jul 28, 2015
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I'm sure this is a really common question, but I just got my book list for my fall semester and it's pretty overwhelming. For my program, Summer 1 required 3 books and some additional free online resources. But, my list for Fall 1 has 11 books, all based around movement science/musculoskeletal + some research and seminar. As a whole, do people find it necessary to have all the books? I'd be less hesitant to bite the bullet and buy them all if I knew I wanted to work in ortho and would refer back to them, or if I was guaranteed to use these books all year (spring 1 is also MSK and movement science). I barely utilized my anatomy text over the summer, so I don't know if I can see this being a smart investment. I'm tempted to see if some of my friends want to split up buying the books, but many of us are commuting a good hour to school, so trading books around as needed wouldn't be a quick/easy task. I appreciate any thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc.!

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Academic books are a racket, you don't need 11 books for 1 semester! I may have bought 3 or 4 books over my entire 3 years. Talk to the upperclassmen of your program, they are always selling off their books; join their Facebook groups, that's where you'll find the "for sale" stuff. They can also tell you which books are really useful.
No! Do not fall down this hole. First, wait until you hear from your teacher on the first day of class. My teachers usually go through the syllabus and then say something like "you HAVE to buy this book because of X, Y, Z so get it now before it's too late" (which means buy that book) or "here's the name of the text listed in your syllabus" (don't buy it). I'm also a rare book buyer. I just find it so pointless that test information comes from lecture material. If I needed clarification on a point, there are TONS of great resources available online or in the library that are free.

Another point to consider is that in this day in age, if you find you are desperate for a book for an assignment or can get an amazon rental (or like company) overnighted to you. That happened once to me...i realized there were a ton of problem sets directly out of a text. So I ordered it and it appeared at my doorstep. The rental option really saves me a lot of money in situations like that where I need the book for an assignment but won't use it again.

Finally, telling yourself you are going to study by reading the book is really inefficient. It's the one of the lowest forms of studying as it's so passive. In other words, if you are short on time, you are much better off actively studying your class notes (i.e. recall, drawing, buddy quizzing) than by passively reading the assigned chapters for the lectures.

If you are looking for a hybrid solution, look out for old editions of the books which sell for next to nothing....great cheap references Definitely reach out to upperclassmen and ask them for their recommendations too.
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I agree with waiting until classes start to ask professors and upperclassmen. You can also share books with your classmates, rent them, or buy them from upperclassmen.

I tend to only buy books if I know that I'll use them in future classes, or if I think they are really helpful books. Otherwise I tend to either just rent them, or share with others.
Out of 5 books I was told to get I only needed 1 for summer semester. Lecture notes are what matters. If you really want the books I hate to be that guy but you can download books for free online....