Rapid Recall for the Internal Medicine Boards Volume 1 is a test preparation book intended for use by candidates who are preparing for the American Board of Internal Medicine certification examination. It is distinguished from other study guides in the field by its cut-to-the-chase methodology. Author and medical doctor Chinedu Ivonye clearly understands the time constraints of medical residents and has responded with a test preparation book that is dense, succinct, high-yield, and easy to use.
He dispenses with textbook verbiage and goes directly to sample questions. Most of these offer a selection of multiple choice answers from which the candidate must choose the best answer, not the right answer.
Each sample question is followed by a discussion of the recall process that yielded the correct response. Here again, Ivonye illustrates an empathy with the busy resident or professional. Immediate question-by-question feedback provides instant reinforcement and dispenses with the annoyance of going back and forth between sample questions and answers, which are typically posted in another location. The candidate isn’t left to guess why his answer was wrong. Ivonye, in effect, holds the student’s hand, and explains the thought process that yields the best choice. Simultaneously, the format mirrors that of the actual test, preparing the student for the type of questions that are likely to be asked.
The brevity of his approach is illustrated in this sample question:
A calcified contrast enhancing right renal lesion was seen on CT during the evaluation of abdominal pain in a 49 year old man. His past medical history was only significant for depression and a 20 pack per year tobacco use. What will you do for this patient?
A. Refer for a CT guided biopsy
B. Refer for nephrectomy
C. Refer for the right renal artery embolisation
D. Check C-ANCA
Renal cell cancer is the likely diagnosis and a nephrectomy should be performed. A biopsy is subject to sampling error and may seed the tumor. The presentation is not consistent with Wegener’s granulomatosis in the absence of upper and lower respiratory symptoms and signs.
The book would be more accessible if this same abridgement hadn’t extended to indexing and organization. Missing is an introduction that explains the mechanics of the book’s design, which would orient the reader and lend credibility to the text. Additionally, the different sections are not clearly delineated. The questions are not organized by discipline. The pretest is not linked in any way to the following section.
Chinedu Ivonye is an award-winning associate professor of medicine in the Internal Medicine Department of Morehouse School of Medicine and associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Morehouse. Rapid Recall for the Internal Medicine Boards represents a valuable addition to the field.