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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This set of nine books provides case history format preparation for part I of the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) usually taken by second year medical students. The set includes volumes on anatomy; biochemistry; pharmacology; two on microbiology; three on pathophysiology; and behavioral science. The books have a unique two-page format with the case presented on the first page, and the differential, discussion, and treatment on the second page, allowing the reader to think about the case before comparing answers. The previous edition was published in 2005.
Purpose: The authors intend this to be a review in preparation for step 1 of the USMLE without mimicking the actual exam vignettes. It is a very worthy purpose as after two years of basic science study, students can use this to orient themselves to the general principles of what the examination is looking toward. The authors have done a very good job of presenting a variety of representative cases, and admittedly do not present real patients.
Audience: This is a set of books for medical students, with limited use by residents or attending physicians not involved in teaching medical students. It has some illustrations, but is not complete enough to make it useful for preparing for certification boards.
Features: Each volume has 100 cases covering typical subjects that should be understood by students after completion of their preclinical years. The index is quite complete, but specific references would be a useful addition for students who may have additional questions. The illustrations are black and white, which does not project skin lesions or microscope pathology pictures very well.
Assessment: These books have utility for medical students preparing for step I of the USMLE boards, but are of limited use beyond that. With color illustrations and the addition of references, their use could be expanded to residents, etc. There are a number of such reviews on the market, and the limitations of this one prevent it from being a worthwhile addition to one's library.