Most CSA books are designed for candidates to role play common scenarios. In contrast, this text seems more suitable for personal study, providing a structure for covering data gathering and clinical management for commonly assessed topics. It is one of the few books where topics are categorised according to RCGP curriculum areas.
One of the book's great strengths is that it provides relevant, focused information - the depth and detail are just right, neither too excessive nor too scarce. Each topic starts with a short synopsis and key points followed by 'data gathering' and 'clinical management' sections.
'Data gathering' is neatly divided into open and closed questions as well as 'red flags'; while 'clinical management' covers key investigation and management strategies, and has a useful paragraph on explaining the diagnosis to the patient in terms they will understand.
Excerpts from universally recognised guidelines give credibility, and the useful links are provided. There is a role play at the end of each section and while this is useful, most will find it too brief.
The most unique part of this book is the last section - a guide on focused clinical examinations in the CSA.
Due to the nature of role play-based revision in study groups, candidates often neglect this aspect until the last minute. This will be an invaluable resource in the run up to the exam.
A minor criticism is that the 'red flags' in the history section could be highlighted more prominently, as they are a crucial part of data gathering. The text could also be improved by covering interpersonal skills in more depth, perhaps with a dedicated section for every topic.
In summary though, this is an excellent book which I would unreservedly recommend to all CSA candidates.
Its razor-sharp focus, user-friendly layout, emphasis on the RCGP curriculum and marking criteria make it a priceless resource for CSA candidates.
The content is concise, relevant and comprehensive.
It has sufficient information to be a worthy core text for the CSA, and could even be used as reference guide in daily practice.
- Dr Khan is a GP registrar in Croydon, south London
GP and Scion Publishing are giving away five copies of CS revision notes by Jennifer Stannett.