My school didn't require us to purchase one, but I went ahead and got one. I'm glad I did because I spent time practicing on friends, family, etc. It's also nice to have one in your pocket (mainly the otoscope) so you don't have to track one down when you're on the wards or in clinic your third year. The main reason I bought one, however, was because I would need one when I start practicing. It's a while away, but the otoscope should last until then.