Recommended PA Books

Here you’ll find almost every book and tool I have found useful and resources recommended to me by PA colleagues and students!

An important disclosure: These links are Amazon Associate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase through the link I will earn a commission which helps me support my activity on Canadian PA. You are more than welcome to purchase the books at your local bookstore, or just go directly to search the book titles and purchase that way. Using the links below comes at no additional cost to you – however I do recommend these books because they are helpful and useful. Do not spend money on these books if you do not feel they would be helpful in achieving your goals. 

Medical Equipment for PA School

Medical Equipment

At most you require a stethoscope. Take advantage of student discounts that may be available through your school. The 3M Littman is the standard purchased by my class of PAs and from what I’ve seen from subsequent PA classes. Other equipment like a blood pressure cuff, ophthalmoscope and otoscope are available to borrow from the program to practice, and you are not required to buy them. However if you would like your own set, what is listed above is what I’ve seen used at Canadian practices. 


All hospitals that you do rotations at will have scrubs available. You can also choose to purchase your own pair (not uncommon for hospital staff). The selection above were based on ratings, fit and cut. 

Books for the Didactic 1st Year of PA School

These are books that are helpful for your 1st year of PA school, where you learn the medical foundation and acquire basic clinical skills.

Test Review Books

  • Essential Med Notes (a.k.a. Toronto Notes) – key points of common conditions in different areas of medicine, structured for test review & quick reference during rotations. Includes Relevant Anatomy, Pathophys, Signs and Symptoms, Investigations & Treatment for each condition. With helpful diagrams, organized by area of medicine. When approaching a new topic in class, I would usually start with reading a textbook, then use Toronto Notes to reinforce key points what I learned. 

Anatomy & Physiology

Books for 2nd Year Clinical Clerkship

Based on resources most commonly used by Canadian PA students and medical students during clinical clerkship rotations.

PA Certification Exam, Study Resources

Resources used by Canadian PAs to study for the exam


  • RxFiles Drug Comparison Chart A handy flip chart that organized medications by category and in tables. Based on Canadian names & prices.
  • Tarascon Pocket PharmacopeiaOrganized by Category, with dosages based on indication and side effects. Great flip through pocket book for clinical rotations & observerships.


  • Handbook of Neurosurgery by Greenburg (this is very comprehensive and best reserved for people interested in pursuing neurosurgery as a career)
  • Neurosurgery for Basic Surgical Trainees” by W.A.Leibenberg & R.D. Johnson helpful
  • High-Yield Neuroanatomy by Lippincott, Willians & Wilkins
  • Internal Medicine Residency Training Program Resident Survival Guide” (“the red book”). This is always helpful for inpatient management for overall medical management
  • Toronto Notes” (neurosurgery section)

Recommendations from Tracy Watson, Neurosurgery PA

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