Otolaryngology ? Head and Neck Surgery: Rapid Clinical and Board Review

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

Many a book hopes to aid in last minute revision before that exit exam. We have all done it at some time. We sit outside the examination hall (especially the candidates), 5 minutes before the bell, frantically trying to glean pearls of wisdom from some battered little handbook, just in case. In practice, we all know that never does pay off and, ideally, exams should test higher order thinkingand problem solving, not fact retention and recall. And yetIf across that viva table you can rattle off Wullsteins five types of tympanoplasty, or Chandlers stages of sinogenic orbital sepsis, that cannot hurt your cause.

This is a heavy paperback (over 400 pages), with 9000 questions and model answers, so it is no pocket book. It would spoil the cut of your exam suit jacket. Actually, there is also a facility to register online with Winking Skull.comfor another 4500 questions! Questions and answers are presented in two columns on each page, and both are appropriately brief and snappy. Text that could have been daunting and monotonous is instead well supported by coloured tables, diagrams, and even slides of histology and well-produced imaging.

Now, Ill confess I could not differentiate an Epstein pearl from a Bohn nodule of the palate. It is news to me that the chemotherapeutic agents, which cause stabilisation of microtubules leading to G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, are the taxanes. Fear not, candidates; if you can introduce such knowledge into your answers, those across the table are unlikely to disagree.

This book is crammed with facts. Inevitably, questions vary in their complexity and relevance, and answers vary in their subjectivity. Do not start this book in the final days pre-exam. It is instead an excellent revision book to use one month before the exam, if only to terrify you into reading more. Consider the cost of this book against that of an examination re-sit. The bullet point style, concise text is ideal for rapid reading. If you only learn half a dozen new facts, then you are certainly well on course already; one of those facts just might come up on the big day.

Remember that examiners too read books like this. Ill be dipping into this again, certainly.

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