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From The CriticsReviewer: Aaron Plattner, MD (Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services)
Description: This book contains 400 multiple-choice questions from the material in the annual FOCUS self-assessment examinations covering various topics in psychiatry. It follows the first volume published in 2006, which covered slightly different topics.
Purpose: The authors indicate that by completing the questions in this book, the participants will further their education by increasing their understanding of new developments in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, become aware of resources available for further learning, and recognize areas of strength and areas where more study is needed. Those who complete this book also can qualify for up to 50 hours of continuing medical education (CME) credit.
Audience: The intended audience is primarily psychiatric residents and practicing psychiatrists who are preparing to take the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) boards. This population will likely get the most from this book, but the authors also suggest that any psychiatrists wishing to further their knowledge base and obtain CME credits can certainly find it useful.
Features: This volume covers topics in child and adolescent psychiatry, disorders of sleep, eating, sex, ethics and professionalism, genetics and genomics, geriatric psychiatry, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality and temperament, posttraumatic stress disorder and disaster psychiatry, psychopharmacology, psychosomatic medicine, psychotherapy, schizophrenia, and substance abuse. The book presents the questions followed by answers with short explanations and references. It also includes a blank answer sheet and an index of questions by topic, as well as a form to be sent in for CME credit. Very few explanations had tables to help illustrate the information.
Assessment: As a psychiatric resident, I have taken several PRITE exams and found the questions in this book to be similar to the PRITE exam format. However, because this volume is limited to certain topics, several important topics, notably relating to neurology, are missing. While the authors invite readers to subscribe to FOCUS updates and thus have access to various other resources that cover other topics, this one alone is not sufficient to prepare for the ABPN. Further, the explanations are adequately detailed for the correct answers, but often do not sufficiently identify why the other options are incorrect.