Textbooks of Physiology: A Comparative Review

As a part of my series of comparative reviews, I am writing this article about a compartive review of Textbooks of Physiology for MBBS and other medical science graduates. I have also mentioned few MCQ’s books for those students who want to read MCQ’s for MCQ section of UG papers and those who want to prepare for PG medical entrance exams. Books marked by me as Recommended are the ones which students should buy and read according to their needs.


Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology by John E Hall (Recommended)

Guyton’s Physiology is counted as one of the best books by almost everyone and is recommended book to read by all the faculty of medical colleges. Book is very big and gives all topics of Physiology in details. I had read this book in and out during my UG days, but I am personally not a fan of this book. This book according to me is unnecessarily extended and big. Topics could have been explained in much better manner, for example mechanism of action of muscle fiber which is given best in Vander’s Physiology. I still remember few lines of a topic in a chapter of CNS, which was repeated thrice on the same page. This thing was there in entire book. I was debating with a friend of mine few weeks back about the same and he was insisting that Guyton is one of the best books to read in MBBS and I disagreed with him. I have not read the recent editions of this book, so I cannot really comment about the improvement done to the book. But still this is a recommended book to read by all MBBS students.

Essentials of Medical Physiology by K. Sembulingam, Prema Sembulingam (Recommended)

In my UG days, there are some memories which always remains, and Sembulingam name will always remain in my mind. But the reason is not what you would expect. Head of Department of Physiology in my times used to hate this book and so did other faculty members. She used to tell us the stories that whenever any student used to say that he/she has read Sembulingam, she used to ask the student to leave from the Viva but used to pass the students. They hated this book so much. My batchmates who had read this book used to love it. Probable reason why the teachers hated it could be that this book simplifies Physiology and in 1st year MBBS itself if students read such easy book they will have difficulty reading books like Harrison in future. Students can go through this book and see if it matches their liking and style of reading.

Physiology: Prep Manual for Undergraduates by Vijaya D Joshi (Recommended)

This is a savior book. Even those students who had read Guyton in and out (e.g. myself) used to read this book at the time of exams so that we will be able to write the answers easily. This book is a short version of Physiology and gives topics in a list forms which is very easy to read and remember for the exams. I would recommend this book to all students to read before the exams as it is very difficult to write exam answers from books like Guyton and Ganong.

Ganong’s Review Of Medical Physiology by Kim E. Barrett (Recommended)

Just like all other LANGE books, even this is an excellent book for understanding the subject which is in this case Physiology. Book is shorter than Guyton but I would say better quality-wise. In my UG days PMT students used to read this book over Guyton.

Vander’s Human Physiology by Eric P. Widmaier, Hershel Raff, Kevin T. Strang

This book was recommended to us by one of our teachers who had got a review copy of this book. I had taken her recommendation and bought this book. Book is not as detailed as Guyton or Ganong but explains basic Physiology much better than those. You cannot read this book as a standalone option. You have to refer to other books along with this. But this book gives certain topics excellently. Best example is mechanism of working of a muscle fiber. I understood that topic in my UG only and only because of this book which has an excellent diagram to explain the same. I would not recommend any students to really buy this book as I find it expensive, so go to library and read the topics which you do not understand from other books of Physiology from this book.

Textbook of Medical Physiology by Indu Khurana, Arushi Khurana

Physiology: with Student Consult Online Access by Costanzo

Berne And Levy Physiology by Koeppen

Human Physiology by C.C.Chatterjee


There are few shorter versions of Guyton which I have mentioned below but I do not recommend those.

Pocket Companion to Guyton’s And Hall Textbook Of Medical Physiology by Hall

Guyton & Hall Physiology Review by John E. Hall

Human Physiology in Nutshell by Dr A K Jain

Physiology Solved Question Papers by Yatiraj Singi

Viva in Anatomy, Physiology & Biochemistry by VIj Anjula

MCQ’s Books

Review of Physiology by Manna Soumen

This book is high rated on all the book store websites and is probably the best one to read. I cannot comment as I have not read this book.

Self Assessment & Review Of Basic Subjects Physiology And Biochemistry Vol 1 by Arvind Arora

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