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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is intended as a quick study guide in biochemistry for medical students preparing for their licensing examinations. The previous edition was published in 1999.
Purpose: This is an aid for students wishing to review biochemistry in advance of taking their licensing examinations. Commonly used, this is not necessarily a good way to either learn or review. The book has limited value.
Audience: Second year medical students are the intended audience. One of the authors has a background in biochemistry.
Features: The national licensing examinations have, for years, been a major source of anxiety for medical students. Hence the large number of review volumes aimed at providing this group with easy access to key facts, sample questions, clinical correlates, etc. This is one such offering. Coverage is more or less in the usual order of presentation (molecules, proteins, metabolism, homeostasis, DNA, etc.). The material is presented in a terse fashion with highlighted material, presumably intended for memorization. There is little effort to provide any explanation. Each section is accompanied by a set of typical multiple choice questions; a comprehensive exam-type set is at the end of the book. Students using this book can profit by memorizing much of what is presented. The mock examination questions require little or no reasoning, contrary to the aims of the National Board of Medical Examiners. The clinical vignettes are likewise disappointing. In many cases, they are simply window dressing with no substantive content relating to the question at issue. Their presence is a testimony to the changing nature of the board examination, but integrative material is not offered. Note that the long standing part I basic science examination is being phased out, making the lack of reasoning type material in this volume a serious drawback.
Assessment: This is not a strong contribution. It caters to exactly that which most medical educators are trying to avoid. In addition, little reasoning is asked for and few explanations of material provided. The message — memorize.