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PasTest final FRCA practice papers
  1. RICHARD ELLIOTT, Consultant Anaesthetist
  1. Derbyshire Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, Derby DE1 2QY, UK

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    PasTest final FRCA practice papers, Tim Issitt, Sarah Chieveley-Williams. 240 pp. PasTest, 1998. £17.50, paperback

    The examination for the fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists has recently reverted back from a three-part to a two-part examination, thus making most of the previous revision aids out of date. This book fills this gap in a very satisfactory manner.

    Both the authors are of that soon-to-be-extinct-breed of senior registrar with a medical as well as anaesthetic postgraduate qualification. For the trainee, the book details the structure of the final examination and the marking system. It also gives the eligibility criteria for taking the examination, which unfortunately have already changed since the book was published! Senior House Officers may now take the examination, which previously only registrars could sit. (This change was implemented to help overseas visiting candidates who would have found increasing difficulty obtaining a registrar post.)

    The introduction is particularly useful, explaining the format of the short answers, multiple-choice questions and the two viva sections of the examination. It also gives an indication of the scope of the syllabus, including basic sciences and clinical measurement which were previously emphasised in other parts of the older style of examination.

    Three complete practice exams are then given with the correct solutions. Model short answers and viva responses are also supplied. These are well done, giving examples of good short answers, not simply brief inadequate responses. There is a good breadth of multiple-choice questions which are usually well worded and the answers are explained. There are useful examples of X-rays, electrocardiograms, laboratory results, and clinical scenarios. No book of this type can be exhaustive, but any lacunae of knowledge should be identified.

    Trainers will benefit from this book. The index is thorough and most useful for local revision teaching. The book may act as a stimulus to update certain topics. A few references are supplied and a personal list of helpful books and journals is given. Some authors and editors may be upset at finding themselves absent from this section but the writers of the book do make it clear that this view is an individual one.

    This book should not, nor could be, used as a shortcut for detailed study, but it will appeal to many examination candidates and perhaps some postgraduate tutors.