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Orthopaedic Basic and Clinical Science for the Postgraduate Examination: Viva practice & Diagrams

S. D. Bowling, I. McNamara. pp.400 Orthopaedic Research UK Publishing, 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0957346918

This new paperback is aimed at trainee orthopaedic surgeons preparing to sit the FRCS (Tr & Orth) oral section, or equivalent orthopaedic exit examination. Published under the banner of the ORUK (Orthopaedic Research UK) it is written by three UK orthopaedic consultants (one of whom is on the editorial board of the BJJ). Although not current examiners due to limitations of college legislation, they run the ORUK basic science revision courses, and have recent experience of the exam.  The same stable have previously published Orthopaedic Basic Science for the Postgraduate Examination: Practice MCQs and EMQs.

The book comprises four chapters which cover the four FRCS examination areas:

  • Hands and Paediatrics
  • Basic Science
  • Trauma
  • Adult Pathology

Each chapter contains a number of the most commonly tested topics (68 in total) presented in the viva format of an opening basic question followed by sequentially harder problems (several hundred in all).  At the beginning of each answer section are lists of key topics that the authors feel candidates should be able to talk about within each subject area.

The questions are those that are commonly asked in exams and on courses. They include a number of difficult problems that candidates often worry about such as which hip arthroplasty to implant (and why!) and how to describe a free body diagram. The questions are realistic, concise and well written. There are a number of images including radiographs and explanatory diagrams. The book clearly states that it has, as with the real exam, a strong focus on basic science which is certainly the case with the answers. If candidates can get to this level they will achieve strong pass marks.

It should not be used as a text to gain basic principles – this is a book is for polishing viva skills. However, it is certainly more comprehensive than some similar books on the market and will undoubtedly clear some gaps up. It can be used as a revision guide for individuals to test themselves or as a useful aid for small group practice, which is the key to exam success. Notes on viva preparation are also included which is a nice touch.

This book is likely to become a popular revision aid for the FRCS (Tr & Orth) oral examination.

Reviewed by Sam Heaton