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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a review book intended to assist second year medical students preparing for part one of the USMLE. The prior edition was published in 1993.
Purpose: The major portion of the book provides what the authors consider a series of clinical vignettes designed to cover various aspects of biochemistry. Although this is a creditable goal, it represents a type of shotgun learning with few principles involved. The goals are not effectively met.
Audience: The intended audience is medical students preparing for their first section of the licensing examination. This is clear from both the format and the material covered. The authors are not associated with any of the major textbooks currently in use.
Features: Medical students facing the first section of the licensing examination feel the necessity to review all of the subjects covered during the first two years of their training. Accordingly, a large number of "help" books have been published to address this anxiety. Virtually all of these attempt to mimic the examination format (multiple choice type questions) and the more recent efforts try to present basic concepts in a clinical background. This latter reflects the increrasingly integrated nature of the examination itself and the general trend of most medical curricula. This book follows the trend and has marginal success. Material is presented without any reference to standard textbook sources so that the student is often left with incomplete explanations. Some of the multiple choice questions have as many as 10 answer choices, not at all representative of the examination to be taken. There is little coverage of a number of areas (signal transduction, recombinant molecular biology among others) and too much material on relatively obscure metabolic diseases. This leads to a degree of superficiality and is not conducive to active learning. Most medical students will seek other sources for review material.
Assessment: This book is not a strong effort — coverage is spotty and insufficient explanation is presented to allow for a solid level of understanding. I would not recommend to our students.