Books for Psych

Books Preferred for Psychiatry Rotation

  • PreTest

    Votes: 3 4.4%
  • Appleton and Lange

    Votes: 9 13.2%
  • Blueprints

    Votes: 10 14.7%
  • BRS

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • First Aid

    Votes: 35 51.5%
  • High Yield

    Votes: 3 4.4%
  • Current Clinical Strategies

    Votes: 5 7.4%
  • Kaplan & Sadock

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • Rhoda & Hahn

    Votes: 2 2.9%

  • Total voters

Scooby Moo

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2004
Houston, Texas
  1. Attending Physician
    At the suggestion of a friend, I used First Aid for the Psychiatry Clerkship initially. It's high-yield and a quick read, plus it seemed to cover most of the basics...which helped me feel not as lost as I might have otherwise felt towards the start of the rotation.

    Over the remainder of the clerkship, I found Blueprints helpful for filling in some of the remaining gaps.

    A good handbook to have is the latest edition of Current Clinical Strategies: Psychiatry. I guess a good description of it would be: a slightly more detailed, more up-to-date kind of First Aid...great for getting a handle on much of the pharmacology you'll run across during the clerkship. You never know when you'll run into a situation where you wish you had access to your textbooks but don't...I don't have any experience with the other titles in this series, but I thought this was one worth having.

    Doing practice questions is also important in getting ready for any shelf exam, so I picked Psychiatry Pretest as it appeared to give reasonably detailed explanations along with the Q&A.

    These are just the books I used. I'm sure others here have found some alternatives which may be better, but I'm happy with how this set did for me. Just remember that you will also have a huge resource in the members on your team. Pick their brains from time-to-time. Good luck! :D


    Senior Member
    10+ Year Member
    15+ Year Member
    Feb 28, 2002
    The Golden State
      Hi All,

      I'm starting my psychiatry rotation next week. I was wondering if you could tell me which is better, BRS Psychiatry or Blueprints Psychiatry? Thank you. Sorry in advance if this thread is a repeat of previous threads.

      :thumbup: or :thumbdown: would be helpful. I really want to do well in my roations, and, when it comes to studying, it always depends on the book I use.

      If you think both books are bad, please suggest other books. Also, if you could weigh in on your opinions regarding PreTest or Appleton & Lange for questions, please do so.
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      the citizen

      10+ Year Member
      5+ Year Member
      May 17, 2004
        I don't think you really need a review book for psych; there is not that much material. I suggest the following:

        CCS Psychiatry (green handbook)
        CCS Handbook of Psychiatric Drugs (also green)
        Question book (I used A and L and it was ok)

        If you really want to be good, get a pocket DSM-IV.

        I found the shelf to be straight forward, but there were a number of questions that split hairs about the criteria for DSM-IV diagnosis.


        Membership Revoked
        10+ Year Member
        Sep 3, 2004
        moral high ground
          Child psych was not super-important on my psych shelf. The three biggest things are med/psych, drugs and dsm. But from everyone I know who has done that rotation and from the few on-call child psych cases I worked this is a real eye-opening experience. You'll see a lot of stuff that will change your understanding of families, kids and maybe yourself. My advice is to open your mind, reserve judgement and just soak it in for later processing. Oh yeah, if you get depressed, tell your attending. They will NOT hold it against you and will be able to help. It's stagering to see how many students become clinically depressed on psych and don't seek any help. That being said it's a pretty fascinating experience even if not always pleasant. And the psych shelf is hard so take it seriously and start your study early. Good luck. :)


          SDN Donor
          7+ Year Member
          15+ Year Member
          Feb 21, 2002
            Agreed w/ above. Blueprints was a mere 80 pages of crap. And you'll be shocked how little is crammed into the 80 pages!

            I really liked the A&L question book and PreTest. I think questions are key. And browse the DSM-IV's tables to get an idea of criteria. It was a difficult test. I'll get my results back in a week, so I'll know more about what works and I'll re-post.


            15+ Year Member
            Nov 29, 2001
            perpetually cranky
              I took the psych shelf on Friday, and like all shelves, it wasn't easy. My version of the shelf was very heavy on child psych. The rest of the questions required good knowledge of DSM IV criteria, meds, and some medicine stuff.

              I thought NMS for psych was a great prep for this shelf (the child psych chapter is great, as are the other chapters). I also used pretest. I thought pretest was great, and I only wished that I had gotten a chance to read the answer section once more before my shelf.


              7+ Year Member
              15+ Year Member
              Oct 16, 2002
                What books are best for this rotation? Should I go back and review BRS Behavioral for the shelf? So far, I have been reading First Aid for Psych. Clerkship, CCS Psych, and some of Clincical Psych for medical students by Stoudmire.

                I have read the stickies that say mostly question books are best. It just seems odd to use question books without some kind of study/foundation before hand.

                Any thoughts?
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                Full Member
                10+ Year Member
                5+ Year Member
                Nov 3, 2006
                1. Medical Student
                  Studied FA for psych (1X) and Lange Q & A (1st 500 q's). Took test in August. Scored a 95 NBME scaled score, 97th percentile for last year, 98th percentile for those who took it in August. FA for Psych + Lange Q & A is definitely more than enough.
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