Charleen Chan Wah Hak, University of Cambridge
Title: Complete Revision Notes for Medical And Surgical Finals (2nd edition)
Author: Kinesh Patel
Initially, I had my doubts on the ambitious title of this book, which made it sound as if it were going to be an incredible task to read. Instead, it was pleasantly surprising to find it very readable with a simple layout, readable typeface, simple illustrations and a smattering of key radiographs throughout. All specialities are covered comprehensively in a system-based format, including a Public Health chapter and a Symptom control / palliative care section under Oncology.
Within each system, conditions are outlined with key, succinct facts. There is only a paragraph or two on each condition, consisting of up into 1-2 lines each under the familiar headings of Pathology, Aetiology, Symptoms/ Signs, Investigations, Management and Complications. They remind you of the kind of answers that you are expected to give on the wards when being quizzed on a patient you have just seen. There are no lengthy elaborations or inclusion of minor detail, for the presentation of essential information alone is which what keeps this book happily under 300 pages.
A key point to note is that this book is destined for revision purposes only. Since everything is in notes, there is no extra background information to ‘tag’ it on to and so it will probably be difficult to retain such lists of information without some prior knowledge. Another possible drawback is if you are a highlight-as-you-read sort of person, it will probably end up being excessive.
As a final year medical student, I think that this book is ideal if you need a quick revision or reference companion at home or on the wards. I can also imagine it being useful on the wards for peer-based learning if you wanted to quiz each other on important facts.