Book Review - The complete nMRCGP study guide

An excellent all-rounder that will help to ease the workload, says Dr Anuradha Arasu.

This comprehensive book, encompassing clinical and non-clinical work, consultation models and practice questions for the MRCGP, is a book that promises to make life as a GP registrar a little bit easier.

Clinical topics
Divided into five parts, the first and largest section is the clinical section.

It provides evidence-based notes on diagnosis and management, divided according to relevant clinical systems.

It comprehensively covers the syllabus. For each system the relevant national guidelines and reports are succinctly summarised and the evidence for available treatments is provided; for example, each drug used in the treatment of heart failure is followed by a brief list of all the relevant clinical trials, a list that is frequently tested but one that would take countless hours to accumulate by yourself.

Essential information
The second section is the non-clinical section. This consolidates information that might initially seem ambiguous, but nevertheless can feature in up to 10 per cent of the applied knowledge test (AKT) and is also useful in practice.

It contains short definitionsof terms such as 'PMS' (Personal Medical Services) and practical information on how to write a personal development plan or organise a significant event analysis.

There is a quick-reference section about the evidence for alternative treatments, which is invaluable for quoting to patients.

It covers topical issues that you will no doubt discuss with your trainer, such as Lord Darzi's 10-year vision and revalidation. Best of all it reduces medical law to five pages of the things you really need to know.

The third section briefly summarises all the different existing consultation models, which (although not equivalent to reading all the full original texts), provides an overview of each in an easily digestible way.

Exam preparation
The fourth section covers all the basics of statistics through neat explanations of statistical terms, much like the notes you wish you had taken at medical school.

The last section consists of a breakdown of the exam and other assessment tools, followed by practice questions for the nMRCGP. There are 60 practice AKT questions and 12 simulated surgery cases but you might want to invest in more practice question books in addition.

After you qualify
The finale, entitled 'After you qualify', is excellent due to the simplicity with which it describes processes such as registering as being self-employed.

It answers the questions that you would want to ask your seniors, such as the factors to consider when looking for a post.

The best thing about this book is that it includes most of the topics you will need to know about in general practice, so that simply by flicking through it you will be able to identify your weaknesses and work on them.

This up-to-date book is well worth the money (and it will even pay for itself if you read the section at the back on tax-deductible expenses).

  • Dr Arasu is a GP VTS ST1 in west London.

Book Giveaway

GP and Radcliffe Publishing are giving away five copies of The Complete nMRCGP Study Guide by Dr Sarah Gear, worth £27.95 each.

For a chance to win a copy visit

If you are unlucky in the book draw you can order a copy at a discounted price from the Healthcare Republic bookstore.  


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