Anki flashcards with the entire Uworld question's vignette: Is this a good strategy for me?

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Jul 25, 2018
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Hi everyone!
I need some advice regarding making anki flashcards with UWorld information. I've tried reading explanations and making only a few flashcards, but that didn't work well for me because I felt I needed more context. Tried to make a small summary of the vignette of the front and putting the right and the wrong answer I chose on the back with some explanation but felt I was missing a lot of important information this way. And doing this takes me HOURS. And sometimes I'm studying for 5 hours reviewing and making flashcards for only 5 questions (yes, really). This is mostly due to my absurdly enormous perfectionism. I have OCD, mostly controlled with medication, but I still can't get past the perfectionism when studying. Reading and watching videos is inefficient because I retain very little. The most efficient strategy for me has been practice questions + anki flashcards about those questions. But since it's taking me so long to make them, I thought about doing flashcards with the entire vignette: basically put the entire vignette on the front of the card, with the whole explanation on the back. It would take me far less time to make the cards, I would have context for everything I would be studying, I would be training to recognize patterns, I would always be using active recall and spaced repetition, and I could study triple or more the number of questions I'm currently studying per day because there's nothing to be perfectionist about this way. I would just put the entire question+explanation in a card and would have to recall the important information to justify why the right answer was right and the wrong answers were wrong. What do you think about this strategy? Has anyone tried studying like this?

Thank you for your time.

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For me personally, that wouldn’t work at all.

I would recognize the scenario and know the answer immediately, and that’s the last thing I want because the scenarios are really specific. I don’t want to recognize that scenario narrowly but then not be able to apply it to other patients with slightly different symptoms because that’s not what I practiced. Even worse, I don’t want to recognize the shape of the paragraph/number of lines and already know the answer before I even read the card, taking any thought out of it altogether. Because once I’ve seen a card a few times, the shape of the words on the card, or maybe the margins that I cropped around the text screenshots if they’re not perfectly symmetrical, would be enough to get me the answer without ever reading the card at all.

When I make my cards, I read through the vignette multiple times to pick out the specific context clues I needed for the disease, so my cards might look something like x symptom + y symptom + z symptom... consider (disease). Or a patient of this demographic with this symptom... consider (disease) if they’re the type of cards where I need to recognize a pattern.

You don’t want to hamstring yourself by being too narrow with your cards, IMO.