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Orthopaedic Basic Science for the Postgraduate Examination: Practice MCQs and EMQs

S.J. Dawson-Bowling (Author), I.R. McNamara (Author), B.J. Ollivere (Author), A. Angadji (Editor). pp. 294. Orthopaedic Research UK Publishing, ISBN: 978-0957346901

This book is a comprehensive cover of basic science to help those undertaking the part 1 written FRCS (Tr & Orth) or equivalent exams. It is published by Orthopaedic Research UK and written by  three orthopaedic surgeons with up-to-date experience of the exam who have recently been appointed to consultant posts. (One of them is on the Editorial Board of this journal and edits a related journal.)

Fifteen key topics in basic science are nicely split into specific chapters making review of the topics easy. At the end of each chapter a clear and concise explanation to the answers is given, and a comprehensive index at the end of the book aids rapid access to key topics.

Practice multiple choice questions are widely available, but it is much harder to find extended matching questions (EMQs). This book contains over 500 questions, of which 150 are EMQs. The difficulty of the questions is appropriate and varied and the time it takes to go through the questions closely matches that of the real exam, with a mixture of some simple and some longer stems, some harder questions and some easier. I gauge the overall difficulty as a little harder than the actual FRCS examination.

I did find it difficult to answer questions asking ‘Which of the following is true?’ followed immediately by ‘Which is false?’, and double-negative questions. These force the reader to think carefully about their understanding of the topic in question, however though it can be frustrating and confusing!  This problem is not present to the same degree in the actual exam.

Certain topics, particularly anatomical, would benefit from diagrams, although there are some useful tables.

The book is written for British examinations, but is appropriate for international trainees undertaking board or equivalent examinations.

Overall, despite some minor reservations, I think this book fills a gap in preparation for the FRCS written examination. I benefitted from it, and the price is small for improving one’s chance of passing the exam!

Reviewed by Mr Luke Brunton, Orthopaedic Trainee