Book Review: Quick Compendium of Medical Laboratory Sciences

By Kelly Swails - April 01, 2021


The Quick Compendium of Medical Laboratory Sciences is ASCP Press’s latest entry in its ASCP MLS examination preparation guides, with plenty of information to help you prepare for your certifying exam.

First off, this is a big, beautifully crafted book. The cover material can only be described as sumptuous, and there’s an attached bookmark as well. While the content between the covers is utilitarian in nature, the attention to detail in the physical product itself is commendable.

You’ll find everything that’s covered on the MLS and MLT exam in this compendium, including a handy guide at the beginning that details how much of the exam is devoted to each topic and which areas MLT students can bypass. That’s important information to have, considering the enormous amount of material this publication covers. The Quick Compendium is exhaustively thorough in its coverage of medical laboratory science. The chemistry and blood banking sections in particular are quite detailed, and I wondered more than once if these sections could also be used to study for the corresponding specialists exams.

In addition, the imagery throughout the text is truly superb and includes excellent pictures from all areas of the laboratory, including blood bank reactions, red and white blood cell morphology, and body fluids. A particular standout is the fungal images in the microbiology section; fungi can be hard to capture but these images are crisp and clear, making the fungal morphology much easier to discern and learn. 

If I had any complaints about this book, it’s that it’s a bit unwieldy to carry and hold. It’s not an easy book to lug to the library or a friend’s study group. While most students may not find that to be a concern, it would be a nice feature for future editions to include a companion digital copy of the text.

Another concern is that this book covers the “what”, not “why” or “how”—while it’s a great way to memorize key points you’ll need for the exam, if you want to truly understand certain concepts, you’ll need to study actual textbooks and class notes. This is the nature of a “quick compendium,” after all. Luckily, each section has a “selected reading” list at the end that can help guide that study.

Overall, the Quick Compendium of Medical Laboratory Sciences a worthwhile addition to ASCP Press’s lineup of examination preparation materials and well worth the time and money.

Quick Compendium of Medical Laboratory Sciences, ASCP Press, 2021, ISBN 978-089189-6616

To purchase this book, click here.

Kelly Swails

Laboratory professional, web editor of Laboratory Medicine magazine and editor of Lablogatory