We don’t want to show bias in these reviews, but this book is a “must buy” for the exam. It is locally written & produced, with many ACEM Examiners as editors/contributors. The topics are indexed according to the level of knowledge required as per the ACEM syllabus, so there’s no excuse for not knowing the Expert & High Level knowledge topics thoroughly! The information is presented in a concise, list-oriented format, which makes it excellent for quick searches, and revision. It is also great for creating lists in your notes, as the format means you need to do very little adjusting to reproduce learnable lists. This means it is not as good as some of the other books for conceptual understanding, but once you’ve grasped a concept this is a great book to go to for a summary or for specific facts & figures.
A downside is a lack of illustrations, pictures or diagrams, so the reams of black & white pages can get a bit dull. In general the information is presented in an easy to read format, but occasionally isn’t listed in logical sequence or ways that make it easy to digest/remember.
In summary: You will probably have already met, worked with or been first-part examined by one or more of the authors. Everything in this book is presented from an Australian ED perspective, so it is the “go to” book for best local practice, and to find what the Australian way of doing things in Emergency Medicine is. It is a very thick book, but the concise format makes it easy to read, and you should be able to get through it in a year, but you will need to “read-around” some other books to fill in your conceptual understanding. Oh, and buy the hardcover version, you’re going to use this book a lot, so you may as well get the sturdy version.
NEWSFLASH: The 5th edition is available now, with extensive updates on important topics like access block, clinical/workplace/professional skills and a whole lot more. If you’re aiming for the 2012 exams, buy it now!
A side note on the 5th edition. Has been extensively revised/updated, but also expanded, and quoting from the publishers website, it now has 25% more content and 500 new topics! That’s a lot of extra reading, so get cracking!