How to learn during residency

Endless options...what to read?

There are so many options learning radiology. I used a combination of traditional textbooks, ebooks, websites, and journal articles. Ultimately, some thoughtful self-reflection is needed to determine the best strategy that works for you.

General comments:

  • Check with your institution to see what library subscriptions they have, and what books you can access for free. For example, mine has a subscription to Clinical Key, which allows me to access all of Elsevier's textbook library for free (including PDF downloads of individual chapters, which are nice for reading on a large tablet screen).

  • Should I start a large question-bank (like RADPrimer) right away? I think this is a mistake. There is plenty of time to do questions during your third year for board preparation. Years 1-2 is the time to read textbooks, journal articles, review teaching cases, and perhaps some quality, in-depth questions with a stronger emphasis on education.

  • Learning how to quickly find, evaluate, and apply information from internet resources such as Radiopaedia, online journals, and websites is a important and complex skill itself. While it might be tempting to "skip over" the hard work of in-depth study and understanding in favor of leaning on these expansive resources, there are no short-cuts!

Strategy I recommend:

    • Read 1 core textbook for each rotation during your first two years of residency; this way, you will always have a core, comprehensive resource that you know well.

    • As you come across interesting cases during the day on service, do a focused literature search and read articles to learn more about that diagnosis. Do this as often as you can. If you are really busy on service, then write down a topic that you will look up that night so you don't forget. This sort of knowledge will never leave you.

    • Collect interesting cases during your training in a HIPAA-compliant way. My PACS (McKesson) allows me to do this with Study Share. Although seemingly small, the simple act of saving a case helps to permanently embed that case in your memory. Sharing them with your colleagues during down time on a service or interesting case conferences will only further reinforce them. I am astonished at how many saved cases I can almost "see" in my memory.

    • Share your growing knowledge with the world: Contribute high-quality cases to Radiopaedia to advance radiology education throughout the world.

And the #1 most important thing to do is...

    • Follow-up your cases!!!

    • If your interpretation sends a patient to the OR, read the operative note!

    • If you recommend a biopsy, read the pathology report!

    • If you are unsure about what the diagnosis is and give a broad differential, follow the patient's hospital course!

    • Doing these things will give you a profoundly sophisticated, three-dimensional understanding of what it means to be a radiologist and take care of patients.

For medical students or for R1's before your first rotation:

I love the beautifully annotated images in these quick reads. The Kindle versions are very reasonably priced.


GI/GU Fluoroscopy


CT (and all modalities)


Abdominal cases:

"A Core Review" series is simply awesome, and a great way to learn using questions and prepare for the Core exam along the way

This was the best question book I used for boards prep.

Great way to boost your MRI volume and confidence.



Radiology Assistant

Learning Radiology

Learning Neuroradiology