BJPsych Bulletin
Best of Five MCQs for MRCPsych Papers 1, 2 and 3 Pack
Abhinav Rastogi
Oxford Specialty Training: Revision Texts Lena Palaniyappan, Rajeev Krishnadas Oxford University Press, 2010, £59.95 pb, 960 pp. ISBN 9780199553624

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has radically broadened the psychiatry training curriculum with the introduction of the MRCPsych Papers 1, 2 and 3 in 2008. The newness of the curriculum hangs like the sword of Damocles over the trainee’s head as there is no stable question bank at present; new themes and questions keep emerging with each passing diet of the examination. This relative novelty of the curriculum makes the preparation for the exams more strenuous and formidable for the trainees. The book series by Lena Palaniyappan and Rajeev Krishnadas is therefore a welcome addition to the growing number of revision resources for trainees.

The series comprises three books, one each for Paper 1, 2 and 3. Each book is divided into several chapters that closely mirror the College’s curricula for individual examinations. The number of questions in each chapter is variable, with more emphasis on important topics such as core psychiatry and basic statistics. The layout of the books is easy to navigate but a bigger font and better spacing, especially in the explanation sections, would have made the text much more readable. Intermittent use of red font in Paper 2 book may cause some difficulty for readers.

Lena Palaniyappan has wide experience in teaching and training trainees for preparation of the MRCPsych examinations. He has made good use of his knowledge in compiling this series. The authors have actively endeavoured to cover a wide range of topics. The questions are comprehensive and cover both common and uncommon topics. Their format and standard match those of the College’s sample questions and each is followed by a terse yet accurate explanation of the correct answer; the answers are well referenced. Slight over-reliance on a selection of textbooks, particularly one American textbook, may have some implications due to the differences between American and British diagnostic criteria and treatment strategies.

In conclusion, this series is a valuable resource for supplementing knowledge much needed to pass the MRCPsych examination.