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rg2o3

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Hey everyone,

I will be starting classes in July and was just wondering what everyone thinks about using Anki beginning first year? If so, how do you suggest it is best utilized? I have read quite a bit about anki being used for step 1, etc. However, I haven't found much about how it is best used (if it should really be used) during first year. I have it downloaded and really haven't been able to spend much time figuring it out. I really appreciate the help.
 
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rddn_jk

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I think it depends on how you plan on using it for boards. If you’re just gonna download one of the pre-made decks I dunno how much use you’ll get out of it for first year. If you plan on making your own cards for boards, 1st year is a good time to get the hang of the program. I would suggest researching various “ideal” types of flash cards and how to use Anki to incorporate them. This way you can get some practice prior to boards studying. As far as when to use them 1st year, it’s up to you. I used it to learn muscle attachments, nerve levels, etc in anatomy and some things like micro for first year (before I had sketchy). Learning the ins/outs of the program before second year is the most important thing in my opinion.
 
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CoomassieBlue57

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Learn how to write quality cards quickly. The biggest problem I ran into is making cards took too much time away from studying. I tried working in a group where each person was assigned separate lectures, but no one matched the quality of cards I was making, so I just stopped making cards for class.

The biggest thing is you do you. There are people in my class that do Anki, or physically make paper flashcards, or just read the powerpoints, or only read the lectures, or watch lecture 4-5 times, or watch sketchy, etc. I stopped using Anki because it took too much time away from me learning the pathophysiology of why things are the way they are, rather memorizing a flashcard. I liked Anki, but it wasn't for me.
 
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IntheClouds4ever

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I didn’t start using Anki until second year. I find it useful for memorization and spaced repetition. I didn’t think it was the most useful for class, but I do make a card for every question I miss on qbanks. It’s helped in regards to strengthening my weaknesses, but using the huge pre-made decks that covered everything wasn’t for me. I had to understand the concepts first rather than start with rote memorization. Just do what works for you.
 
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sab3156

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Hey everyone,

I will be starting classes in July and was just wondering what everyone thinks about using Anki beginning first year? If so, how do you suggest it is best utilized? I have read quite a bit about anki being used for step 1, etc. However, I haven't found much about how it is best used (if it should really be used) during first year. I have it downloaded and really haven't been able to spend much time figuring it out. I really appreciate the help.


The minutiae covered in classes will be beyond the scope of the premade decks like Bros and Zanki. These decks also contain some errors and aren't as comprehensive as Firecracker. I tried Zanki and it waa good, but not completely sufficient for the questions I was seeing in the qbanks. It is probably sufficient for most of Step 1, and covers most of First Aid, but First Aid isn't comprehensive (if the qbanks I am using are any indication of the depth of Step 1). These premade decks are especially weak in anatomy and embryology and will not be sufficient for your course work.
 

rg2o3

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I think it depends on how you plan on using it for boards. If you’re just gonna download one of the pre-made decks I dunno how much use you’ll get out of it for first year. If you plan on making your own cards for boards, 1st year is a good time to get the hang of the program. I would suggest researching various “ideal” types of flash cards and how to use Anki to incorporate them. This way you can get some practice prior to boards studying. As far as when to use them 1st year, it’s up to you. I used it to learn muscle attachments, nerve levels, etc in anatomy and some things like micro for first year (before I had sketchy). Learning the ins/outs of the program before second year is the most important thing in my opinion.

Thank you for the response. I can see how self made cards for things such as insertions or innervations during anatomy could be helpful and think that I will definitely be doing that.

Learn how to write quality cards quickly. The biggest problem I ran into is making cards took too much time away from studying. I tried working in a group where each person was assigned separate lectures, but no one matched the quality of cards I was making, so I just stopped making cards for class.

I can see how this a problem. I have downloaded the program just to take a look and it does not seem user friendly. I am sure if I were to watch some videos and really dive in then it would get easier. I'm not sure if it will be worth it or not.

The biggest thing is you do you. There are people in my class that do Anki, or physically make paper flashcards, or just read the powerpoints, or only read the lectures, or watch lecture 4-5 times, or watch sketchy, etc. I stopped using Anki because it took too much time away from me learning the pathophysiology of why things are the way they are, rather memorizing a flashcard. I liked Anki, but it wasn't for me.[/QUOTE]

Agreed. I'll definitely have to do whats easiest for me. Throughout undergrad I just read the powerpoints and that was enough to get me high scores. However, I did realize that once the exams were over, I "data dumped" and I want to find a way of studying in which I retain as much as possible so that board prep won't be literally relearning everything.


The minutiae covered in classes will be beyond the scope of the premade decks like Bros and Zanki. These decks also contain some errors and aren't as comprehensive as Firecracker. I tried Zanki and it waa good, but not completely sufficient for the questions I was seeing in the qbanks. It is probably sufficient for most of Step 1, and covers most of First Aid, but First Aid isn't comprehensive (if the qbanks I am using are any indication of the depth of Step 1). These premade decks are especially weak in anatomy and embryology and will not be sufficient for your course work.

So, would you suggest using the FC cards?
 

rg2o3

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Start the Zanki deck from day 1.
I have definitely heard this advice on here. However, how do you suggest that's best done? I have looked through Zanki and it is an insane amount of cards. How would you match up that material for specific exams and such? Thanks.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

I have definitely heard this advice on here. However, how do you suggest that's best done? I have looked through Zanki and it is an insane amount of cards. How would you match up that material for specific exams and such? Thanks.

It depends, is your curriculum systems based?

To address the point of the poster above that said Zanki wasn't enough for Qbanks I have yet to see a Qbank question that wasn't directly tied to a Zanki card, or possibly multiple cards.
 
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rg2o3

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It depends, is your curriculum systems based?

To address the point of the poster above that said Zanki wasn't enough for Qbanks I have yet to see a Qbank question that wasn't directly tied to a Zanki card, or possibly multiple cards.
Seems as first year is a lot of "core" stuff such as biochem, micro/immuno/, path, pharm, etc. Second year is systems.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

Seems as first year is a lot of "core" stuff such as biochem, micro/immuno/, path, pharm, etc. Second year is systems.

This is what I would do in your shoes:
1: create a new deck
2: as you go through a unit (ie Biochem, immuno, etc) pull the corresponding subdeck from Zanki and put it in the new deck you created.
3: finish all of those new cards a week before the final exam for that section.
4: repeat 2 and 3 with the new unit, and just keep doing the reviews from the previous units as you go along.
5: profit

These cards will likely not match up with your classes 100% so you will need to still use class materials for your exams. Does your school do NBME exams? Or professor written?
 
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rg2o3

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This is what I would do in your shoes:
1: create a new deck
2: as you go through a unit (ie Biochem, immuno, etc) pull the corresponding subdeck from Zanki and put it in the new deck you created.
3: finish all of those new cards a week before the final exam for that section.
4: repeat 2 and 3 with the new unit, and just keep doing the reviews from the previous units as you go along.
5: profit

These cards will likely not match up with your classes 100% so you will need to still use class materials for your exams. Does your school do NBME exams? Or professor written?
Most classes are professor written. Take the NBME anatomy shelf, then at the end of second year some of the NBME exams are taken.
 

popopopop

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I have definitely heard this advice on here. However, how do you suggest that's best done? I have looked through Zanki and it is an insane amount of cards. How would you match up that material for specific exams and such? Thanks.

Yeah, like Anatomygrey12 said, it's not going to line up 100% with class materials, but remember the big picture. You're doing this for board studying and will be accountable for this sooner than you think!

I just want to point out that anki is great for reviewing materials, not for learning new materials. I think that's what hinders people who start on anki and make 100+ cards for a lecture and never have time to review them. If you learn the material first for your lectures, you shouldn't need a 100 cards a lecture.
 
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sab3156

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So, would you suggest using the FC cards?

The FC cards are pretty bad, but the content is very comprehensive. There are a few things in First Aid that aren't in Firecracker that you can add in with notes or something, but the First Aid stuff is basically bare bones minimum and Firecracker is huge compared to it. Firecracker covers way more, and it explains things better. And there are very few errors (I have found a couple of weird things, not sure if they're errors).

Qbank questions that I've done sometimes go beyond what isn't covered directly in Zanki, but can be found in Firecracker. I'm not saying Zanki isn't good, but just pretty basic compared to FC. I'm just a person that prefers to cover all ground. I think if you are great at studying and can handle all of the material in FC, then go for it. If not, Zanki is less material and is probably easier to deal with. A few of my friends at top MD schools scored incredibly well and said that Firecracker is very comprehensive in its content and said that their classmates who did very well also used Firecracker, but another friend of mine simply read First Aid and did UWorld and destroyed it, too...

To be clear though, I don't use the FC cards. I make my own deck based on FC, Pathoma, First Aid (though FC covers a lot of the latter two sources). It works very well for me, and I'm destroying the Qbanks.
 
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rg2o3

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The FC cards are pretty bad, but the content is very comprehensive. There are a few things in First Aid that aren't in Firecracker that you can add in with notes or something, but the First Aid stuff is basically bare bones minimum and Firecracker is huge compared to it. Firecracker covers way more, and it explains things better. And there are very few errors (I have found a couple of weird things, not sure if they're errors).

Qbank questions that I've done sometimes go beyond what isn't covered directly in Zanki, but can be found in Firecracker. I'm not saying Zanki isn't good, but just pretty basic compared to FC. I'm just a person that prefers to cover all ground. I think if you are great at studying and can handle all of the material in FC, then go for it. If not, Zanki is less material and is probably easier to deal with. A few of my friends at top MD schools scored incredibly well and said that Firecracker is very comprehensive in its content and said that their classmates who did very well also used Firecracker, but another friend of mine simply read First Aid and did UWorld and destroyed it, too...

To be clear though, I don't use the FC cards. I make my own deck based on FC, Pathoma, First Aid (though FC covers a lot of the latter two sources). It works very well for me, and I'm destroying the Qbanks.
When did you find time to compile all the info into your own decks?
 

sab3156

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When did you find time to compile all the info into your own decks?

I have become very good at making cards quickly. I used to suck first semester so I wasn't able to do much. But making cloze deletion cards quickly is a good skill to learn.

I was also driven to do this since there is data out there showing that making your own cards is linked to higher board scores.
 
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rg2o3

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I have become very good at making cards quickly. I used to suck first semester so I wasn't able to do much. But making cloze deletion cards quickly is a good skill to learn.

I was also driven to do this since there is data out there showing that making your own cards is linked to higher board scores.
Did you start compiling/making card from external resources such as FA right from the beginning?
 

sab3156

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Did you start compiling/making cards from external resources such as FA right from the beginning?

Pretty much, but the last few weeks of semester 1 is where I really went full gangster mode on making cards.
 

rg2o3

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Pretty much, but the last few weeks of semester 1 is where I really went full gangster mode on making cards.
Thanks for all of the info. I'll definitely play around with things and try to make a plan. I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up with making new cards. May do Zanki along with my courses and add in cards that I think are needed? No Idea.
 
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uhmocksuhsillen

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Hey everyone,

I will be starting classes in July and was just wondering what everyone thinks about using Anki beginning first year? If so, how do you suggest it is best utilized? I have read quite a bit about anki being used for step 1, etc. However, I haven't found much about how it is best used (if it should really be used) during first year. I have it downloaded and really haven't been able to spend much time figuring it out. I really appreciate the help.

Loved it. Used it day 1 of first year til now (end of third year). Helped for classes, helped for boards, helped for random pimping sessions on the wards. Get anki or die trying.. ya heard?
 
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rg2o3

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Loved it. Used it day 1 of first year til now (end of third year). Helped for classes, helped for boards, helped for random pimping sessions on the wards. Get anki or die trying.. ya heard?
Did you use self made decks or pre made?
 

uhmocksuhsillen

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Did you use self made decks or pre made?

I used 90% self made. I used Bro's deck for step 1 studying which I attribute to getting a good score. For step 2 I'm going all self made since there isnt something like Bros for this exam.

This thread made me curious to look over my anki stats....from day 1 of med school until this morning, I've done 230k anki card reviews, over the course of 875 hours. Yikes.
 
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rg2o3

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I used 90% self made. I used Bro's deck for step 1 studying which I attribute to getting a good score. For step 2 I'm going all self made since there isnt something like Bros for this exam.

This thread made me curious to look over my anki stats....from day 1 of med school until this morning, I've done 230k anki card reviews, over the course of 875 hours. Yikes.

Did you just make cards as you went? For each class you were currently in?

Haha. $200,000 tuition boiled down to self learning via Anki.
 
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BundtCake

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When I try to make my own Anki cards I feel like I make way too many. Anyone else have this problem?
 

Alienman52

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Hey everyone,

I will be starting classes in July and was just wondering what everyone thinks about using Anki beginning first year? If so, how do you suggest it is best utilized? I have read quite a bit about anki being used for step 1, etc. However, I haven't found much about how it is best used (if it should really be used) during first year. I have it downloaded and really haven't been able to spend much time figuring it out. I really appreciate the help.

Maintained High to mid A’s on last three exams after switching to Anki. Highly recommend since it is efficient, and fast.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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rg2o3

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Maintained High to mid A’s on last three exams after switching to Anki. Highly recommend since it is efficient, and fast.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
Did you make your own cards or use a pre-made deck?
 

shadowlightfox

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Anki is love. Anki is life. You will want Anki as your wife.
 
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Alienman52

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Did you make your own cards or use a pre-made deck?
Made my own cards. 50% of Anki is making your own cards, and actively studying while making them.
 
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shadowlightfox

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Do you use self made or pre-made decks?

Both. The strategy will most likely differ from school to school, but I made my own deck for some courses and used premade zanki deck for stuff like pharm, phat, etc, which turned out to be more than sufficient.

For physio and anatomy, unless your professors go ham on them, I don't think you need to make your own decks for those courses. Same with microbiology. In fact, the zanki decks on physio is so comprehensive, I feel like at that point the professor would have to go out of their way to teach you something that's not in those cards.
 
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Hippocrates II

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I found FC to be grossly bloated with information. It was the equivalent of making a flashcard by taking a picture of a page out of a textbook. Flashcards should be quick points of recall, but FC was asking me to recite numerous discrete facts per card. I think you would need to put in far too much study time to find success with the platform.
 
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shadowlightfox

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I found FC to be grossly bloated with information. It was the equivalent of making a flashcard by taking a picture of a page out of a textbook. Flashcards should be quick points of recall, but FC was asking me to recite numerous discrete facts per card. I think you would need to put in far too much study time to find success with the platform.

The main reason why you use flash cards is to recall small tidbits of factoids, not regurgitate an entire page worth of information. It helps you remember small discrete facts, but it should in no way substitute for old-fashioned sit-down and understanding the concepts and big picture method.
 
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Ho0v-man

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Any good decks for biochem? Zanki is pretty legit otherwise as far as I can tell. Biochem is just getting rough though.
 
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shadowlightfox

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Any good decks for biochem? Zanki is pretty legit otherwise as far as I can tell. Biochem is just getting rough though.

Not as good as zanki, but Brosencephelon from my experience is pretty legit at what it does. There's also a new Soze deck that's based off of BmB, but not sure how good that is.
 

fldoctorgirl

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    @AnatomyGrey12 I have some question, if you wouldn't mind.. I currently use Quizlet for my undergrad studying and do really well with it. I want to continue studying for med school exams in a similar method...do you think I should keep using Quizlet, or switch to Anki? I know Anki does spaced repetition, but I usually just drill my quizlets repeatedly until I am getting close to 100% on them, so I'm not sure if I would benefit much more by using Anki instead.

    Also, more importantly, let's say I wanted to make my own cards for school material-- so, one for each exam-- but I want to use a pre-made deck for Step studying. Do you recommend using a deck like Zanki for that? If so, how does one go about that?
     
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    AnatomyGrey12

    @AnatomyGrey12 I have some question, if you wouldn't mind.. I currently use Quizlet for my undergrad studying and do really well with it. I want to continue studying for med school exams in a similar method...do you think I should keep using Quizlet, or switch to Anki? I know Anki does spaced repetition, but I usually just drill my quizlets repeatedly until I am getting close to 100% on them, so I'm not sure if I would benefit much more by using Anki instead.

    Also, more importantly, let's say I wanted to make my own cards for school material-- so, one for each exam-- but I want to use a pre-made deck for Step studying. Do you recommend using a deck like Zanki for that? If so, how does one go about that?

    Anki is infinitely better than Quizlet. The speed repetition is for long term, and the algorithm makes it so you don’t have to guess when to do your cards. There is simply too much material that if you were to try and do your flash cards every day like you generally do with Quizlet then you will almost assuredly fall behind and be in big trouble.

    I would not make your own cards and would put all effort into Zanki. I have never encountered a question in a Q bank that wasn’t in Zanki, and neither has my friend who is prepping for step and is almost done with Uworld, and has done about 2 other banks. I am also getting As on class exams using mainly Zanki with a little brush up through the PPs the weekend before the test.

    If you go through and want to throw a new card in with the Zanki cards it’s easy. You just make a new card and assign it to the deck you want it in.
     
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    SLC

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    The more I read about Anki and the like, the more I’m glad to be done with med school and USMLE/COMLEX forever.
     
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    sab3156

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    For physio and anatomy, unless your professors go ham on them, I don't think you need to make your own decks for those courses.

    The only anatomy in Zanki is basically what is in First Aid. There is no way this is sufficient for anatomy in medical school, no matter how weak your anatomy course is. Even Step 1 covers more anatomy (judging from qbanks) than what is in First Aid/Zanki.
     
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    shadowlightfox

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    The only anatomy in Zanki is basically what is in First Aid. There is no way this is sufficient for anatomy in medical school, no matter how weak your anatomy course is. Even Step 1 covers more anatomy (judging from qbanks) than what is in First Aid/Zanki.

    I concur. I'd suggest making your own decks for anatomy classes, then next year when you're studying for boards, rely on zanki instead.
     

    Scrubs101

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    @AnatomyGrey12 I have some question, if you wouldn't mind.. I currently use Quizlet for my undergrad studying and do really well with it. I want to continue studying for med school exams in a similar method...do you think I should keep using Quizlet, or switch to Anki? I know Anki does spaced repetition, but I usually just drill my quizlets repeatedly until I am getting close to 100% on them, so I'm not sure if I would benefit much more by using Anki instead.

    Also, more importantly, let's say I wanted to make my own cards for school material-- so, one for each exam-- but I want to use a pre-made deck for Step studying. Do you recommend using a deck like Zanki for that? If so, how does one go about that?

    If i could butt in and say, it kinda depends on your schools exam schedule.

    I 10/10 recommend doing some sort of spaced repetition flash card for boards and long term retention (zanki is solid and quick, FC is more comprehensive but takes forever to get through your cards IMO). But a lot of people at my school utilize quizlet, and i think it serves usefull if youre both 1. One of the people that needs to make their own cards and 2. Have exams every week.

    Spaced repitition is most time efficient when you have a ton of info over a longer period to learn, but when you have a class that likes to do exams every week its just a sprint to cram the material and quizlet serves well for that.

    But if you have longer blocks or comprehensive finals, youre gonna wanna do anki for sure.
     
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    NecrotizingFasciitis

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    Made my own cards. 50% of Anki is making your own cards, and actively studying while making them.

    Concur. There is a ton of my learning done WHILE I'm making my own cards. The only downside that I'm worried about going into second year is long-term retention. I make cards for literally everything - I won't need to know the minutia sometimes covered in class so... I don't plan on re-using my thousands of Quizlet cards.

    If anyone has a solid recommendation for reviewing high yield basic first year material in the summer I am all ears!
     
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    shadowlightfox

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    Concur. There is a ton of my learning done WHILE I'm making my own cards. The only downside that I'm worried about going into second year is long-term retention. I make cards for literally everything - I won't need to know the minutia sometimes covered in class so... I don't plan on re-using my thousands of Quizlet cards.

    If anyone has a solid recommendation for reviewing high yield basic first year material in the summer I am all ears!

    Lol you and I in the same boat. First year, I made cards for everything, to the point where I even started asking myself 3rd and 4th order questions. In fact, I felt more nervous doing my own cards than for the exams because the questions in the latter turned out to be way easier by comparison and my ego massively crushed from the former.
     
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    NecrotizingFasciitis

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    Lol you and I in the same boat. First year, I made cards for everything, to the point where I even started asking myself 3rd and 4th order questions. In fact, I felt more nervous doing my own cards than for the exams because the questions in the latter turned out to be way easier by comparison and my ego massively crushed from the former.

    Yes! I mean I don't know if my own questions are necessarily THAT hard :laugh: but I find that you can pretty easily predict almost all of the potential 1st/2nd order questions professors will ask.

    You can finish exams super early too 'cause you know what you know really well, and anything outside of that is dependent on how lucky your guessing is.

    Definitely makes the exam taking experience a lot less stressful overall though, I completely agree.
     

    sab3156

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    I concur. I'd suggest making your own decks for anatomy classes, then next year when you're studying for boards, rely on zanki instead.

    Yeah but I don't think the anatomy in Zanki/FA is even close to what can be touched upon by Step 1. I understand it is low yield to focus too much on anatomy and embryo, but you don't want to get anything wrong that could have been learned easily with better sources.
     

    shadowlightfox

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    Yeah but I don't think the anatomy in Zanki/FA is even close to what can be touched upon by Step 1. I understand it is low yield to focus too much on anatomy and embryo, but you don't want to get anything wrong that could have been learned easily with better sources.

    That's not exactly an issue. I feel like if you remember all the anatomy from zanki, plus whatever extra from UWorld, I can't imagine you not being set after that.
     

    sab3156

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    That's not exactly an issue. I feel like if you remember all the anatomy from zanki, plus whatever extra from UWorld, I can't imagine you not being set after that.

    Well, this is just to illustrate the point that Zanki is nowhere near comprehensive.
     

    iforget2

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    This is what I would do in your shoes:
    1: create a new deck
    2: as you go through a unit (ie Biochem, immuno, etc) pull the corresponding subdeck from Zanki and put it in the new deck you created.
    3: finish all of those new cards a week before the final exam for that section.
    4: repeat 2 and 3 with the new unit, and just keep doing the reviews from the previous units as you go along.
    5: profit

    These cards will likely not match up with your classes 100% so you will need to still use class materials for your exams. Does your school do NBME exams? Or professor written?

    So by the end of your second year after learning all the material the new deck you made would basically be the same as the Zanki deck?
     
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