LuluLovesMe

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I just recently started school and I decided to try our Firecracker. I'm checking off stuff as I go, but certain cards cover stuff that I never learned in class. Am I just supposed to learn those as well or is there a way for me to put the card aside for later?
 

sunnysnow7

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Jun 1, 2008
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There is no way to use firecracker effectively, it's a pile of crap
Why do you say that? There seem to be quite a few proponents on SDN. Granted, many people do very well on Step without FC (or any other spaced repetition program, for that matter), but it does seem to pay dividends among those who use it religiously.
 

Rekt

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May 29, 2015
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Why do you say that? There seem to be quite a few proponents on SDN. Granted, many people do very well on Step without FC (or any other spaced repetition program, for that matter), but it does seem to pay dividends among those who use it religiously.
When I tried it out, the amount of stuff it covered we didn't was too high, a lot of the cards were too long, which defeats the purpose of flash cards, covered some minutiae, takes a **** load of time, like a lot of time, etc. It's only worth it if you literally keep up with it from day 1 throughout MS1/2.
 

Taddy Mason

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When I tried it out, the amount of stuff it covered we didn't was too high, a lot of the cards were too long, which defeats the purpose of flash cards, covered some minutiae, takes a **** load of time, like a lot of time, etc. It's only worth it if you literally keep up with it from day 1 throughout MS1/2.
This. To the best of my knowledge only one of my classmates actually stuck with FC through most of 2nd year and he bitched daily about what a pain in the ass it was to stay on top of that, studying for class, and keeping-up with Qbanks.
 

Ophthoseidon

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May 5, 2014
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I just recently started school and I decided to try our Firecracker. I'm checking off stuff as I go, but certain cards cover stuff that I never learned in class. Am I just supposed to learn those as well or is there a way for me to put the card aside for later?
Yes, learn everything. They key to doing well is learning everything. If you're not sure of something, you can always google why it happens and take notees in firecracker if you need help remembering something. There are probably like 14.5k cards total and it will cover most of the stuff you need to know. Yes it takes time, yes there might be other ways that are just as good, but if you keep on track it's impossible not to do well as long as you're working hard and being realistic. Some people say it' s inefficient, but most of the time I had NBME exams so even if I didn't spend hours pouring over lectures, a run through of Rx/Sketchy/Pathoma and daily firecracker would give me good scores. I spent much less time studying than most of my classmates (at least it seems that way based on how much people were working, or saying they were working). I also couldn't stand First Aid and never got into it, so this gave me probably >85% of the information in there as well. Some people don't like it though. If you want to know more, hit up the firecracker thread. There is tons of information in there.
 

mcloaf

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Jan 21, 2012
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Post in the FC thread in the step 1 forum. All you're going to get here is salt from people who couldn't hack it.
 

420 blaze it

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Don't know how people find the time to do FC ontop of staying on top of lectures but my hats off to them
 

*brobro*

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Jan 4, 2014
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I loved anki for step 1 and firecracker for MS3 and step 2. I wouldn't recommend using FC in MS1 or to do well with course work.

I would recommend starting either FC or Anki (any firstaid deck will do, the one I used was the old slyfaux one based off FA 2012) at the beginning of MS2. This is meant to be solely for board studying and supplemental to coursework. The key is to pick a pace that you can sustain -- it's a tortoises race. You have to finish your reviews every day. Start slow until you know what is sustainable for you. Never ever increase your workload to a rate that is unsustainable or you will crash and burn (...and probably blame it on FC/Anki). 259 on step 1 with only 4 weeks of dedicated study.

Also, for MS3 I pretty much only used firecracker and uworld (exceptions were adding pretest for FM because no uworld, pestana questions for surgery, and my schools required qbank for OB/GYN). I honored all MS3 shelf exams and got a 267 on step 2 with one week of dedicated study period following my IM shelf. I unflagged everything after each clerkship. I was never buried by studying and was usually better prepared and less bogged down than others. You have to be diligent and CANNOT procrastinate -- the work has to get done every day.

It's certainly not the only way to do well but it worked for me and others who stuck with it.
 
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hsk013

7+ Year Member
Sep 2, 2012
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If my school has free FC subscription then should I use it? Or should I just stick to UFAP? I am a first-year student (traditional curriculum) so probably won't be using UP until my second year. And for FA, should I just go through each section (like biochem, anatomy, etc) as classes go on during my first year as well?
 

AlbinoHawk DO

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Oct 19, 2013
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I think firecracker is both fantastic and terrible at the same time. When I was M1, we only had the old algorithm where you had to basically study everything piled on and couldn't see the questions you got a 1 in until the next day or only if you went back after finishing the deck to check them. By the end I was ready to give up because I was doing 350+ questions a day.

Then they came up with a "app" where you saw 250 questions a day if you set your USMLE goal at 280. The new app also had an algorithm based on yield, so information that was more important was introduced quicker to avoid forgetting and info that was low yield at the very last moment of forgetting. You can also snooze questions to see them in a few minutes within the deck.

Now they just introduced a "high yield" deck where you can flag only the high yield topics and only do those. My recommendation for M1-M2 is to label all the High Yield stuff as "current" and the Low Yield as "past." Do the number of questions you think is manageable to you. 250 questions shouldn't take more than 1.5 hours assuming about 2 questions a minute and snoozed questions. Then tagging the new stuff another 15-20 minutes and just be sincere of what you know without snoozing.

Some cards are good. Some cards are not. Overall, it will keep the older material fresh.