Tag Archives: USMLE Step 3 Books
For those of you who have not yet found a good source for quick free online pathology review, we recommend checking out the University of Utah WebPath site.
The site breaks down major path areas and provides images with specific gross images and histological slides of most major pathology items that come up on Step 1 and Step 2. We don’t recommend this as a sole pathology study suite, but there’s no better place that helps with image pattern recognition. The site is easy enough to navigate without an explanation here. Check it out.
Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple edition 5 by Mark Gladwin is another one of those must-have best books you can safely purchase upon entering medical school. The focus is to overview all of the bugs (microbiology pathogens) and drugs that medical students encounter in preclinical Microbiology, the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams, and the wards.
Whether you are incredibly interested in Microbiology or find it to be a gigantic anxiety provoking and overwhelming burden on your medical school career, Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple will keep you sane. The strength of the book is taking the daunting task of mass memorization and breaking it down into digestible memorable portions, and using very silly drawings (see collage below). The drawings themselves are either produced by a really bad adult artist, or a really talented second grader. Either way, they have a habit of really sticking. I have yet to forget that salmonella hangs out in the gallbladder, despite never being tested on that factoid. In all actuality, the book might as well be named Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculous, because that’s what you’re getting. The book even has its own set of cited “Mneomonists” that helped with the ridiculousness.
If you’re into serious reads, this is not the book for you. The reader of Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple needs to be able to laugh and/or eye-roll at the images. The text itself is completely accurate, though one of the ongoing complaints of this book (and series) is the typos and grammatical errors that pop up (they’re an off-label publisher). The only other people who complain are the hardcore Microbiology PhD students who really do just want a serious text to hit nitty gritty advanced details for which you won’t be responsible to any reasonable degree whilst in medical school.
This book is specifically designed for review and ground up learning for the microbiology newbie. I continue to pull it out for boards and wards, specifically including Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Ob/Gyn (STDs are everywhere!). Individual sections include an Introduction to Bacteria, Gram Positive Bacteria, Gram Negative Bacteria, Acid Fast Bacteria, Bacteria Without Cell Walls, Anti-Bacterial Medications, Fungi, Viruses, Parasites, Very Strange Critters (prions), Antimicrobial Resistance, and a final chapter on Agents of Bioterrorism. Remember that microbiology and pharmacology books can give a good overview of antibiotic selection, but medical practices should utilize local data on bug susceptibility to direct care.
Overall, Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple is highly recommended as one of the best microbiology textbooks available to medical students, to be complemented with MicroCards to enhance learning. I leave you with a sampling:
It is finally time to review Goljan: Epic King of Pathology. All of the legends and rumors you heard were true. He’s an arm wrestling champion, rides a white stallion around his massive pathology fun house, and can break a man’s finger clean off during rectal exam. Indeed, some believe that the mere act of saying his name aloud increases their board score by one point every time. If you don’t understand these things, it is simply because you are not yet enlightened.
Edward Goljan is a world class Pathology Chair from Oklahoma State University. Back in the day, he began doing pathology review courses for his medical students, which have been condensed over the years into the most comprehensive yet concise pathology review available. More importantly, it is perfectly tailored to the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and even USMLE Step 3 boards exams, as Dr. Goljan has further refined his teachings based on constant feedback he receives from students after they take the boards. As he states:
These notes took 25 years to put together over time. And it dwindled down to the absolute quintessence. It’s like espresso. You just have a little drop and you’re already fixed.
At some point, one of his students recorded his epic lecture series, which continues to float around the internet and med school back-alleys to this day, obtained and abused like crack for the boards. To complement his lectures, he handed out his condensed notes, mentioned above. Over time, these notes coalesced into Edward Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology book.
The book itself is newer than the audio and has undergone further revisions, whereas the audio remains in its temporally frozen preservation.
Specific chapters of Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology include: Cell Injury, Inflammation and Repair, Immunopathology, Hemodynamic Disorders (Acid, Base, Electrolytes, Water), Genetic and Developmental Disorders, Environmental Pathology, Nutritional Disorders, Neoplasia, Vascular, Heart, Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, Lymphoid Tissue, Hemostasis, Immunohematology, Upper and Lower Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, Hepatobilliary and Pancreatic, Kidneys, Lower Urinary Tract and Male Reproductive Disorders, Female Reproductive Tract and Breast Disorders, Endocrine, Musculoskeletal and Soft Tissue, Skin, Nervous System, and Special Sensory Disorders.
Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology also comes with Student Consult, the online portal and electronic copy of the book, giving you access to all of the text remotely, as well as the images (which come in handy for powerpoint presentations). Student Consult for Rapid Review Pathology also comes with a little over 400 USMLE style pathology questions related to the book itself. However, to truly lock in the information with a fantastic complementary USMLE style pathology question bank, Robbins and Cotran’s Review of Pathology (reviewed here) is the recommended book of choice.
Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology, 3rd Edition, AKA “Red Robbins,” is the best pathology USMLE style question bank/book for the boards, and a great complement to Goljan’s review books and audio. The true strength is mixing clinical scenarios with pathology concepts, which makes a topic that is easily boring for many medical students into a very relevant and high yield exercise in the thought process necessary for excelling in pre-clinical class exams, USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 3 boards.
The pertinent questions is: should this be used with a question bank such as USMLE World or Kaplan? The answer is definitively yes. At some point, you’re going to hit up Goljan (to be reviewed later), and this book is what will lock in that information with an alternate perspective on the same topics. This should not replace or be used as a substitute for a primary question bank. As for using it with “Big Robbins” or “Baby Robbins,” neither are really needed for the boards past Goljan. At times you may want to reference these resources for topics that require a bit more detail, but they are not a necessity, and can usually be borrowed from friends or the library. (Both of these will also be reviewed in more detail later.)
Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology does a particularly good job of pulling glossy high resolution color microscopic and gross images that are actually representative of the pathology being reviewed. This really is one of the most important aspects of any pathology teaching. Explanations are thorough, including why the wrong answers are wrong, and the questions are representative of what comes up on the boards.
The three major pathology review sections are comprehensive. Unit 1, General Pathology, covers Cellular Path, Acute and Chronic Inflammation, Tissue Renewal and Repair, Regeneration, Healing, Fibrosis, Hemodynamic Disorders, Thromboembolic Disease, Shock, Genetic Disorders, Diseases of Immunity, Neoplasia, Infectious Disease, Environmental and Nutritional Diseases, and Diseases of Infancy and Childhood. Unit 2, Organ Systemic Pathology, has individual chapters on Blood Vessels, the Heart, Diseases of White Blood Cells, Lymph Nodes, the Spleen, the Thymus, Red Blood Cells and Bleeding Disorders, the Lung, Head and Neck Pathology, the Gastrointestinal Tract, Liver and Biliary Tracts, the Pancreas, the Kidney, the male and female lower urinary tract, the Breast, the Endocrine System, the Skin / Bones / Soft Tissue Tumors, Peripheral Nerve and Skeletal Muscle, the Central Nervous System, and the Eye. Clearly, all of these chapters combined hit every organ system from the large to the microscopic, but I listed them as a reference. The final Unit III, Integrative Reviews, has two long chapters on Clinical Pathology and a Final Review and Assessment that combines information from prior chapters. Robbins and Cotran Pathology Review can also be purchased for Kindle as an eBook on Amazon, but that is not recommended.