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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bezalel Dantz, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is the latest edition in a series of question-and-answer review books designed to help fourth-year medical students pass the USMLE step 2 examination. It is composed of 500 USMLE-style questions in psychiatry divided into 13 topical sections, with detailed answers at the end of each section.
Purpose: The purpose is to help medical students pass the psychiatry portion of their step 2 exams. While the coverage is comprehensive and the questions are at the appropriate level for fourth-year medical students, the 300+ pages may be daunting for students preparing for the step 2 exam. The book is helpful, however, for third-year medical students preparing for their shelf exams at the end of their psychiatry clerkship.
Audience: The book is targeted at medical students, but also may be useful for residents in their first two years of residency, particularly in preparation for the PRITE exam. The two authors are on the faculty of Southern Illinois University, where Dr. Klamen is chair of medical education and Dr. Pan is director of outpatient services. Together, they have developed a credible collection of questions and answers that simulate the style of the USMLE.
Features: Of the 13 sections, I most appreciated the ones on the mental status exam, psychotherapies, and developmental theories, particularly since these areas may be neglected in most psychiatry clerkships. The authors obtained the material from four standard textbooks which are cited as references. Each answer is referenced to a page or section in the corresponding textbook. The Q&A format is an excellent model for interactive learning, and I found the questions engaging. The correct answers, at the end of each section, are explained in one paragraph. While this helps keep the number of pages manageable, it might be helpful to include a discussion of why the incorrect answers are wrong. Instead, this task is served by the references, requiring students to procure the textbook to review the corresponding material. Another shortcoming is that there is occasional duplication of questions within and between sections.
Assessment: As a medical educator in psychiatry, I hope to include questions in this book in student and/or psychiatry resident exams. For students who have a particular interest in psychiatry and are motivated to devote the time to a review of 500 USMLE-style questions, this is an excellent resource.