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Una Coales and Seema Khan. (Pp 287; £19.95.) Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2002. ISBN 1-85315-546-2.
The title of this book says a lot about some attitudes to medical education. It is unlikely that one could get through medical school by being able to pass 1000 or even 10 000 single best answer/best of five and extended matching questions. Nevertheless these types of questions are being used more frequently in medical schools since they are in general better tests of knowledge in context than the more traditional multiple choice question paper.
The questions cover a broad range of common topics with those from general medicine and surgery predominating and are generally well constructed with only a few inaccuracies. The emphasis is on the final examination.
The origins of the questions are not clear. Did the authors construct them all themselves? Have they been tried out in practice? Even highly experienced question setters will know how sometimes their best efforts fail the comprehension test when tried out for real. Some knowledge of their track record would be reassuring.
The answers appear as a block at the end of each chapter. This makes rapid checking difficult. A system of page referencing would improve this.
Overall this will be a helpful book for students preparing for finals.
The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.