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By M Mathews. (Pp 200; £14.95.) Royal Society of Medicine, 2001. ISBN 1-85315-505-5.
This book does exactly what it says on the cover. It contains 800 individual statement questions in the new examination format of MRCPsych Part 1. The questions are arranged into four self assessment papers of 200 questions each and are presented in exactly the same format as the real examination. Answers are presented as well as associated explanations.
I trialled this book myself (having taken Part 1 in 2000 in the old format) and also enlisted a current Part 1 candidate who answered all 800 questions the day before the actual examination (which she passed). In terms of difficulty I felt some of these were a little too easy but my experimenter felt they were pitched at about the right level—comparable with the actual examination.
With regard to accuracy I found only one definite error, whereas my experimenter disputed a number of answers, but we feel this was certainly no more and probably less than in comparable examination papers.
With regard to the breakdown of subjects this appeared balanced and the author states that efforts were made to reflect that of the actual examination.
My only criticism of this book is the lack of an introductory section providing guidance on examination technique.
Overall, this book contained well researched, carefully designed, and unambiguous questions which will, I am sure, prove an extremely useful revision aid for Part 1 candidates.
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.