Clinical books that a pediatric resident needs to read

When I started preparation for DNB practical exams, the first question was, where should I begin? Which clinical books I should refer?

It is not that, I didn't touch the clinical books in the beginning, but it was strictly on a need-to-know basis without any focus on exam stuff. Therefore many logistic things like 'which books I should refer' were waiting for me to add to the pressure. Doing things early and in an organized way is the first mandate to clear tough exams like DNB.

Eventually I learned from my experiences and advice from the teacher and seniors, but this is hardly recommneded. The problem of not knowing which books for what, results in spending more time.

It is never a wastage of time to read the same topics from different books, in fact, it's more constructive, but when the exam is 3 or 4 months away, this can be detrimenetal. If you are well ahead of time, probably this post is not for you. Read from as much asources as possible.

To avoid theordeal of frustration which I have gone through, let me share what all books I have read for my practical exam in Pediatrics. If things have changed, I would love to know from you guys. Let us all know what books you have read.

I declare no financial benefits from any of these books, their authors and or the publishers, neither I am endorsing any.

Even though this discussion is for Clinical books only, It is difficult to exclude Nelson's textbook of pediatrics. No doubts it is a bible of Pediatrics. Nelson tremendously helps in Viva discussion with examiners. The charts given in book help in explaining the causes for a certain diagnosis in Viva questions. Say for example, what are the causes of the genetic syndrome with organomegaly or causes of stroke in children.

But on the flip side, some of us like me cling over to Nelson too much, forgetting that practical aspects can not be entrirely covered by theorotical knowledge. Make sure you avoid this, I couldn't. The following list might also be helpful for the guys who have recently joined a pediatric residency in India, including both MDs and DNBs.

Coming over to the main topic, cinical pediatric books. The market is full of such books and one is not superior to oher in entirety. What is important for us is to choose wisely one or two books for each format.

Let us review 8 fantastic books that I read for Pediatrics practical exam.

Pediatric clinical examination, by A Santosh Kumar

pediatric clinical examination santosh kumar

Pediatric clinical examination by Santosh Kumar is one in my must-have list. I have my own reason, it's the thinnest one!

Even though it might appear thick, trust me, it is the one which can be revised multiple time. The reason is, it uses very simple language and it is very comprehensive. It covers almost all aspects of clinical examination without making tangent to other topics. It clearly stays on topic which also makes it less thorough !

Nothing can be as easy to understand as in Santosh Kumars for clinical examinations. The part of ‘how to examine’ and what is the logic behind it, is great and yet simple. I still remember how it explains ‘symmetric tonic reflex’.

The cardiovascular system is given with amazing simplicity. “Why this happens” is explained almost everywhere. The general examination is again very good. Although Hutchisons is a clear winner, this book is a very good alternative.

The respiratory system is not that detailed.

Another good thing is, it also gives you a feel of OSCE. It is the first book that orientated me to OSCE exams. Not only that the OSCEs given in this book are actually high yield and commonly asked.

Having said that, this book somewhat loses its capability to make you thorough in the topics beyond physical examination. For developing the ability to derive differential and an approaching a particular diagnosis, you are going to need other books.

Final words, small but power-packed. Good for understanding clinical signs, dysmorphism etc. Not so good for history taking, differentials and diagnosing.

Clinical Pediatrics - History taking and Case discussion, Aruchami Laxmanswami

Aruchami laxmanswami pediatric clinical books

Very heavy dose! The book's weight speaks for itself. Covers almost everything about the possible viva questions for the case, though the general examination is given nicely I will still prefer Santosh Kumar or Hutchison.

The physical quality and feel of the book are of international standards. The respiratory system is given in micro detail as compared to Santosh Kumar. But one system that stands out of others is the Gastrointestinal system. No other book has such an in-depth explaination of symptomatology.

Another pro is the charts and tables. Numerous charts, almost on every page. A bit more theoretical than conceptual, but that makes it a must-read for answering viva questions.

My take - Heavy dose, start early with Aruchami if you want to revise from this one.

Clinical Pediatrics by NC Joshi

N C Joshi clinical pediatrics

Earlier, I mentioned how I didn't refer much to the clinical books in the beginning of my training, this one is an exception though. I read and liked it from the beginning specially for interpretation of blood gases and understanding concepts in anaemia's.

Highly conceptualized book. Each page is a concept forming episode. You can start randomly from any page. The approach to anemias, approach to endocrine disorders are so amazing that you are less likely to forget them in exams.

This book teaches how to make a diagnosis with a particular ailment in real practice as well! There are lot of pictures that should help in OSCE too.

There is a separate chapter for X-rays which gives you a fair basic idea. So rather than a Facebook post on how to interpret chest X-rays, this one is good to go.

My take - Conceptualize clinical fundas of pediatrics with this one. This book will also help in writing theory answers especially the “How will you approach” type of questions.

Scotts Pedia-Tricks by Julius Scott

Scotts pediatrics

This is a savior for those who have not presented too many cases before. Remember there is nothing like presenting cases and getting your mistakes corrected live in front of seniors and teachers in the department. But somehow if you missed that opportunity, this one is your virtual or rather passive case presentation guide.

Not that detailed for Viva as Aruchami but this one is very point-to-point as if the real viva which makes revising Scotts easier than Aruchymi.

With the backup of Aruchyami Laxmanswami, you can gather enough knowledge on how and how exactly to answer those tricky viva questions.

Cerebral palsy is given very nicely and systematically which is offcourse the most important case in the exam.

It requires a mention here that there is a 90% percent chance that one of your CNS cases will be cerebral palsy.

One last thing, it has a good section covering vaccines, instruments, and drugs which are kept for OSCE and viva questions.

There is a dedicated page on advice and psychological preparation for pediatric clinical exams. Dont miss that. Here are some important tips for the exam. here is More on kits for clinical examination in pediatrics.

Scotts Pedia-Tricks is all about how to present a particular case plus it also gives you a fair amount of theory needed for answering viva questions on a case to case basis.

OSCE in Pediatrics by RG Holla

Hola OSCE pediatric clinical books

There are so many alternatives to learn OSCE now, including online sources like this blog. But OSCE in Pediatrics by RG Holla was the first OSCE only book in the Indian market, that I am aware of.

This book is entirely for OSCE. OSCE questions are divided system-wise so you get oriented to every system. It's a more systemic approach to learn OSCE, I feel.

Even though OSCE questions are random, be systematic to prepare, use such books first, and then move on to online or offline materials gathered.

The book orients you to the exam as both observed and unobserved spots are given separately. Very high yielding OSCEs altogether

Common is always common, So don’t miss out on this one. I don't know whether there are any better Indian textbooks for Pediatrics OSCE, If you know any mention them using contact form.

Don't expect the exact OSCE question in the exam as in the book, but once you know the pattern on which these questions are based, it not very difficult to crack them, even when you don't have an exact answer.

I feel the OSCE from this book and Santosh Kumar must be ready before you proceed to other OSCE collections (Find a section of OSCE material here on the website.)

My take - It orients you to OSCE, Start from the book before moving on to online and offline material

Approach to practical pediatrics by Manish Narang

approach to practial pediatrics

It has a lot of OSCE stations given, especially drugs and instruments. Cases are given fine but not very detailed as compared to Scotts and Aruchami. X-rays are also included so it can add to your collection of OSCE on imaging.

To be honest, I read only a couple of initial pages of this book. Nothing much to say !

Practical aspects of pediatrics by Mayoor Chheda

Chedda pediatric clinical books

The practical aspect, by  Mayoor Chheda, is a good book. I liked one particular thing, that is the descriptive way of presenting the final diagnosis of the case. This is probably what examiners expect from us.

The respiratory System is given very well. CVS is comprehensive. One topic which specifically tempts me is the approach to microcephaly, it is fantabulous, see for urself.

My take - The clinical cases are given nicely, I find it somewhat similar to Scotts Pediatrics. You get oriented to various case presentations.

100+ Clinical cases in pediatrics by R Arvind

100 clinical cases in pediatrics

Clinical cases are given straight forward. It's simply given as if you are presenting the case, So while reading it you maintain the same tempo as if presenting the case in reality. Good exercise if you have time but nothing like presenting a case by yourself, making mistakes, and correcting them.

My take - Good orientation on how should you actually talk while presenting a particular case.


Start with Santosh Kumar to begin, and revise all your MBBS knowledge of signs and symptoms, the significance of the clinical signs, etc. One thing I forgot, is to mention about Hutchinsons. Use it whenever in doubt about clinical examination or elicitation of signs.

For case, presentations use Scotts Pedia-Tricks and Chheda.

Prepare viva questions and answers from Aruchyami Laxmanswami, NC Joshi, Nelson.

For OSCE use Hola, Santosh Kumar, and Manish Narang.

So that is all I know about the books which I read during my preparation and I still have them :)

There are many other excellent books like M.L. Kulkarni ( 4 parts). But since I haven't read them, I don't know how these books are. You may have used other books or might have different views on these books which I would love to know, leave comments and corrections using comments below. I am sure your opinions will be of great help, even more so, for the beginners who have just started their training.

Leave your comments and corrections below. watch this space for more tips on DNB exams. Keep reading.

Must Read

  1. Pediatric Clinical examination Kit - Before going to the exam hall
  2. OSCE in Pediatrics - All posts
  3. Exam Corner - Collection of useful post for exam going
  4. History taking cases and Viva
  5. Tips for exam - From the examiner
  6. Practical exam tips - Your body- language


about authors

Ajay Agade | DNB(Pediatrics), FNB(Pediatric Intensive Care), Fellowship in Pediatric pulmonology and LTV

Ajay is a Paediatric Intensivist, currently working in Pediatric Pulmonology & LTV at Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS, London

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