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Compiled by Dr Hany George El-Sayeh. Additional material by Dr Alastair Cardno and Dr Gemma Traviss-Turner. Some descriptions of textbooks etc from Royal College of Psychiatrists’ website.
We welcome updates and suggestions for additional material to be included in the future.
HE, AC & GTT.
Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry 3rd edition 2013
This is a very useful and worthy handbag-friendly book, ideal for carrying around at work for basic trainees getting to grips with the subject. It has a surprising amount of information packed into a small volume, with encyclopaedic well-referenced detail available on most key topics. A real gem with useful ICD-10 codings at the back and also introductory sections on the sub-specialities.
Maudsley Handbook of Practical Psychiatry 2014
Owen G et al.
Smaller than the Oxford Handbook and now in its 6th edition, the orange book, as its title suggests, is enormously useful in day-to-day clinical practice, whether it is brushing up on your mental state examination or working out when to refer tricky cases to more senior folk. This really is worth buying, studying and revisiting during your first few posts.
Companion to Psychiatric Studies 8th edition 2010
Lawrie S, Cunningham Owens D, Lawrie SM, Sharpe M, Freeman CPL
A well written and comprehensive general textbook edited by a group of Edinburgh psychiatrists. Popular as a general reference with useful chapters on neurosciences basic to psychiatry, as well as epidemiology and research methods, good for the new papers II and III.
Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry 6th edition 2012
Cowen P, Harrison P and Burns T
An excellent introductory text rivalling the Companion; trainees often prefer one or the other in writing style. The first few chapters serve as a good introduction to the basics of how to assess patients and how to classify disorders. There are well referenced and up-to-date chapters on all of the major disorders including taster chapters on the sub-specialities. Nice touches are the green summary boxes that provide helpful explanations, and summary tables.
Kaplan and Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry 9th edition 2009
Sadock VA, Sadock, and Pedro Ruiz B
A thoroughly comprehensive textbook. As it is American, DSM 4 references predominate. It includes chapters on all the sciences basic to psychiatry such as statistics, psychoanalysis, neural sciences, with plenty of illustrations and interview transcripts. Very detailed, with scrupulously researched chapters, by a multitude of US experts. Useful if you want to spend some time reading into a topic for in-depth study.
Seminars in General Adult Psychiatry 2nd edition 2007
Stein G, Wilkinson G.
Aimed at trainees who are following the exam syllabus. Clear and comprehensive chapters on the major disorders as well as therapy. Well researched and evidence based. Can be a foreboding ‘fat brick’ to contemplate but editors’ guidance explains to the new trainee how to get stuck in. A good reference text, which is refreshingly up-to-date.
New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry 3rd edition 2012
Gelder M, Andreasen N, Lopez-Ibor J, Geddes J.
More detailed, two volume psychiatry textbook in the mould of the Oxford Textbook of Medicine et al. Too big even to carry, but an excellent resource to look up in the library.
Psychology for the MRCPsych 2002
Well written and a fairly slim and jargon-free introduction to basic concepts in psychology as required by the syllabus. Does not contain all relevant topics but is a good starting point, especially for those who wish to brush up on some key concepts from medical school psychology.
Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology 1999
Atkinson RL et al.
Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour 7th Edition 2015
As a specialist psychology text it covers much more psychology than you will need for the exam. It is a text of excellent depth, especially for trainees with an interest in psychology. Worth perusing from the library as it covers introductions to the main areas of the discipline including social, cognitive and clinical. It is well written and looking up subsections can help clarify parts of the syllabus.
Psychology for Psychiatrists 1999
Written in 1999 but still in line with the basic syllabic content of the psychology component of the MRCPsych. It has some clear explanations and explains concepts well. It is also fairly compact and digestible.
Ghodse’s Drugs and Addictive Behaviour: A Guide to Treatment 4th edition 2010
Useful and practical guide with evidence base of treatments clearly explained by this learned London Professor of Addictions, who is critically acclaimed and an international leader in the addiction field. Useful appendices at the end.
Seminars in Alcohol and Drug Misuse 1994
Chick J, Cantwell R.
A handy reference text which was also written to the college syllabus. It gives useful epidemiological data and is well-researched into the effects of most of the major substances of abuse. It will also give a good background to a Substance Misuse job.
Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind 5th Edition 2014
Recently revised edition of the standard text, until Fish was recently republished. An excellent introduction to psychopathology and a real ‘must’ for getting to grips with the subject. Well explained and readable it is a key exam reference text. Definitions are clear and useful and most trainees have a well thumbed copy at their disposal, with good reason.
Fish’s Clinical Psychopathology: Signs and Symptoms in Psychiatry 3rd edition 2007
Casey PR, Kelley B.
For several years this text was out of print, and old copies were searched for high and low by trainees wanting to read a lucid account of descriptive signs of clinical psychopathology. However, an affordable, revised reprint has recently become available of this gem of a handbook. Precisely written with eloquent descriptions and pertinent examples, it is worthwhile introduction to the subject. As it is concise and broken up into subheadings, it is eminently readable. However, some reviews compare this new edition very unfavourably with the classic.
Allgemeine Psychopathologie 1913 English Edition: General Psychopathology (1965;
tr. Hoenig & Hamilton) Manchester University Press
The classic text on phenomenology and psychopathology. Jaspers’ descriptions of symptoms and his division of symptoms into those we can understand and those we can merely describe is the bedrock of our clinical practice. One to look up in the library in an idle moment.
BNF – latest edition
The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines 12th edition 2015
Taylor D, Paton C, Kapur S.
Probably the most useful book in a trainee’s working armament. This book is your prescribing bible and if you follow it to the letter in practice you will not go wrong. It explains the latest expert advice on prescribing and even lists treatments according to their evidence base. Each section is usefully referenced and it is regularly updated. It is also useful in exam revision as it gives the latest guidelines in all conditions relating to psychiatry, as well as side effects and problems of pharmacotherapy.
Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications 2013
Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: The Prescriber’s Guide 5th Edition 2014
Stahl’s unique approach is in conveying pharmacological information in cartoon format to show the receptors of each drug class. It demonstrates the power of learning a difficult subject in a way that stimulates visual memory. The latest generations of trainees have found this approach useful and refer back to the clarity of the information given. The Prescriber’s Guide is a useful reference book and allows one to look up individual drugs for useful key facts such as mode of action and side effects, using a similar cartoon format to show actions of drugs on receptors.
Seminars in Clinical Psychopharmacology College Seminar Series 2nd Edition 2004
This is a more challenging book to digest but contains a lot of useful information. However it is more useful as a reference text. As a book written for the college series, it was previously used as a key reference for exam questions.
Fundamentals of Clinical Psychopharmacology 4th Edition 2015
Anderson IM, Mcallister-Williams H.
A mercifully thin text which helps to explain drugs by their mode of action, and also relates to basic neuroscientific principles. It is a useful introduction to the subject and helps ground the trainee in the basics of the subject. It is not detailed enough for more in-depth study. Delegates on the BAP Introduction to Psychopharmacology study day get a copy free.
Psychotropic Drug Directory: the professionals’ pocket handbook and aide memoir 2013-14 Bazire S.
Steve Bazire is an enthusiastic pharmacist based at Norfolk. He writes several drug directories, conveying his extensive knowledge of psychotropics. It is like the yellow pages of psychotropics and is very useful in looking up the basis for drug treatments and their evidence base.
Oxford Textbook of Old Age Psychiatry 2nd Edition 2013
Dening T, Thomas A (editors)
A thorough and practical book with sections on basic science, clinical practice, psychiatric services and specific disorders, as well as a useful section on ethics at the end. This includes sections on testamentary capacity, competence, driving and legal frameworks. It would be an excellent springboard to a placement in Old Age, where chapters could be valuable starting points for supervisions.
Seminars in Old Age Psychiatry 1998
Butler R, and Pitt B.
A clearly structured book with chapters focussing on all of the major disorders encountered in old age, as well as useful sections at the end on research and patient management problems. Now slightly out of date, but contains solid exam fodder material.
Faulk’s Basic Forensic Psychiatry 3rd edition 1999
Stone JH, Roberts M, O’Grady J and Taylor AV with O’Shea K.
An excellent introduction to forensic psychiatry. It is particularly useful for understanding the criminological and legal aspects which are not covered adequately in general textbooks. It also contains a helpful chapter on writing reports.
Organic Psychiatry: A textbook of neuropsychiatry 4th Edition 2012
An extremely well written ‘bible’ reference of neuropsychiatry and one of the last of the single-author textbooks. This is a truly unique contribution to the subject and is unrivalled in its breadth of coverage and attention to detail. Expensive, but is accessible to read and a good standard reference text for the bookshelf. Who could turn down a book that has a section on the psychological sequelae of being struck by lightning?
Mosby’s Crash Course: Nervous System and Special Senses 4th Edition 2014.
Ross J Horton-Szar D
Cognitive assessment for clinicians OUP 2007
A very useful text explaining cognition in a concise and logical way. Not the easiest read but contains very good sections on memory and what the different areas of the brain do. It is fairly short and an accessible read.
Schedules for clinical assessment in neuropsychiatry: Version 2,
WHO division for neuropsychiatry
Child Psychiatry Oxford Blackwell Science 2nd Edition 2005
Goodman R and Scott S.
Practical and well organised for exam preparation. The recommended text to get an idea of the main themes of Child Psychiatry. Useful multiple choice questions for each chapter.
Rutter’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 6th Edition 2015
Rutter M and Taylor E
A good, readable introduction to the subject. Popular with trainees, it is regularly updated. Child psychiatry is a very different area to get one’s head around, for trainees used to Adult Psychiatry, and this is a good way in.
Seminars in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Gaskell 2005
The college series’ child and adolescent book. Clearly set out and places everything within a developmental context.
The Child, The Family and the Outside World 1964
Again, a text to curl up with rather than cram the night before an exam. Originally broadcast on the radio, these essays are a delightful introduction to Winnicott’s independent psychoanalytic view of the early years.
Seminars in the Psychiatry of Learning Disabilities 2nd edition 2003
Fraser W and Kerr M.
An excellent introduction to a complex area. Interesting introductory chapters, from epidemiology to genetics. Other chapters span different age ranges from children to the elderly. There are also chapters on treatments including pharmacological and psychological, as well as a useful chapter on consent and decision making.
Introduction to Psychotherapy: An outline of Psychodynamic Principles and Practice 4th Edition 2010
Brown D , Pedder J, and Bateman A.
A readable and useful introduction to the novice trainee. It also conveys enthusiasm for psychotherapy and what can be achieved by the different disciples within chapters which are sensibly structured to cover all the main areas trainees are likely to come across. It is an introductory text, and should be read as a springboard into this fascinating world.
Introduction to Psychoanalysis 1995
Bateman A and Holmes J.
It does what it says on the tin. A good general introduction written by the current chief examiner, and therefore may be a judicious read for the current examinations!
Seminars in the Psychotherapies 2007 Gaskell College Seminar Series
Naismith J, and Grant S.
A slim, up-to-date and well researched introductory volume. Covers the basics of psychotherapies and good for a novice to dip into. Written with MRCPsych trainees in mind.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychiatric Problems OUP 1989
Hawton K et al.
One of the few books that clearly tells you how and why to do various elements of CBT for a variety of psychiatric diagnoses.
Understanding Clinical Papers 3rd Edition 2013
Bowers D, House A, Owens D, Bewick B.
Excellent readable introduction to critical appraisal of research papers.
The Doctor's Guide to Critical Appraisal 4th Edition 2013
Gosall N and Gosall G.
Almost the only book you need to teach you the basics of critical appraisal. It really is excellent and you should read this early in your training.
How to Read a Paper: the basics of Evidence Based Medicine 5th Edition 2014
The only other book you need to teach you critical appraisal: an excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of getting to grips with reading and understanding papers, with the basics written from a medic’s, rather than statistician’s background. The best part is the real-world examples that are used to make statistics actually make sense. This offers trainees a useful introduction to reading papers and also helps understanding for the critical appraisal part of the exam.
Critical Appraisal for Psychiatry 2000
Lawrie SM, Mcintosh AM, Rao S.
The most useful book for critical appraisal and statistics. The chapters are succinct and even have multiple choice format questions at the end of each one, which is useful for the new exam. Very detailed and a challenge to read cover to cover.
Critical Reviews in Psychiatry 3rd edition Gaskell 2005
Wilkinson G, Brown T.
This College collection of old style exam papers was written with the old style part 2 exam in mind.
Simple Statistics 1983
A course book for the social sciences. Cambridge University Press.
All you need to know, and a little more, except confidence intervals. Very readable.
Medical Statistics from Scratch. 3rd Edition 2014.
As above, but also includes confidence intervals.
Statistics with Confidence. 2nd Edition 2000. Blackwell BMJ Books.
Altman D, Machin D, Bryant T and Gardner S.
Confidence intervals only.
Medical Statistics: a textbook for health sciences. 4th Edition 2007. Wiley.
Campbell, M., Machin, D and Walters, S
Practical statistics for Medical Research 2011.
Altman DG , Chatfield C, and Zidek J.
Clear, thorough, some chapters may be very helpful. For those who want to develop their understanding further, or as a reference book for the future.
RCPsych article on exam preparation
How to Pass the MRCPsych CASC 2010. Iles A, Woodall R, and Leslie F.
Specifically adapted for CASC format. Topics include History-taking, MSE and risk management. It also includes a bank of mock examinations.
Pass the CASC for MRCPsych (3rd Edition) 2014. Moodliar S.
Core skills for the CASC. Woolard J and Jenkinson J.
Get through MRCPsych CASC. Zhang MWB.
OSCEs in Psychiatry. Michael A.
Essential Revision Notes in Psychiatry for the MRCPsych 2004. Fear C.
Revision Notes in Psychiatry 3rd Edition 2013. Puri B, and Hall A
Both texts cover most parts of the syllabus, from psychology, to social sciences to the subspecialties. Fear also covers chapters that add a little background and clinical relevance such as philosophy and history of psychiatry and clinical information management as well as managing services. Both are useful books for the exam and summarize almost everything with bullet points.
MRCpsych Paper B: 600 MCQS and EMIs 2015. Patel and Ramkisson
MCQs for the New MRCPsych Paper A with Answers Explained 2016. Browne and Morgan Pillay
MCQ’s in Psychiatry for medical students. Royal College of Psychiatrists. Lally, J and Tully, J.
Exam Notes in Psychiatry: Basic Sciences 2nd Edition 2005. Mahli G, and Mahli S.
This may be useful for Paper II revision as it covers basic sciences. It makes use of mnemonics and lists that helpfully summarise otherwise dry information
Best of five MCQs for the MRCPsych Papers 1, 2, and 3 2010. Palaniyappan L, Krishnadas R
Up-to-date questions following current Royal College curriculum
Get through MRCPsych Parts 1 and 2 1001 EMIQs 2004. Michael A.
A good mix of extended matching questions. Useful in getting to grips with the format of extended matching questions for the exams. Attempts to order questions by syllabic content thought the content may not marry exactly with the new exams.
The College is developing a range of Trainees Online Modules which are relevant to MRCPsych exams. General information about the planned modules is given on the College website and live modules can be found at: http://tron.rcpsych.ac.uk/.
The Birmingham Course (Birmingham)
The Oxford Psych Course (Oxford)
Trainee support websites
PsychClub: On-line professional forum for trainees
Psychiatry Support Service Provides support and advice for trainees in difficulty. Also telephone contact via 020 7245 0412
Useful professional websites
The Royal College of Psychiatrists
This website incorporates a number of different subject areas for career psychiatrists. Most of the site is open access with a smaller members-only area. Those areas which are more relevant to trainees include:
Publications; This has information on recommended books (including the College Seminar Series), access to College journals, and freely-available College Reports.
Training; Includes information on Portfolio online, Psychiatric training committee, trainee registration, curriculum, national recruitment, specialty training, MMC and PMETB information, course notice board, CPD-online programme (which can be accessed via Athens) and newsletters.
Examinations; Information on written papers and CASC, exam calendars, exam regulations and pass lists are included.
Events; Information on forthcoming training events and conferences detailed.
NICE guidelines; Full psychiatric topic guidelines are included here.
TrON; The College is developing a range of Trainees Online Modules which are relevant to MRCPsych exams. General information about the planned modules is given on the College website as well as live modules.
Most parts of this site are open access, secure areas can be accessed using login details sent via email by the CPTC course.
American Psychiatric Association
This large site includes a number of areas. The most useful aspect for trainees are the practical guidelines.
Published guidance included on good medical practice, ethics and training in the UK.
National Treatment Agency (as part of HPE)
Website containing useful resources and developments for trainees interested in a career in addiction.
UK Teratology Information Service: Extremely useful website when considering prescribing during pregnancy and childbirth.
National Poisons Information Service: This site hosts TOXBASE, which provides up to date information on poisoning through overdose. Free registration required.
Credible Meds: Very useful resource for checking drugs with QtC prolongation effects.
Recommended web resources
Association for the study of medical education
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute for Health Research
School of Health & Related Research (ScHARR)
British Journal of Psychiatry (BJPsych)
Evidence-Based Mental Health
British Medical Journal
JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry)
American Journal of Psychiatry
Also journals related to particular disorders and specialities