Interested in buying Firecracker - What is the cheapest price?

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by Jumpstartmy5HT, 09.29.14.

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  1. Jumpstartmy5HT

    Jumpstartmy5HT 2+ Year Member

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    I used Firecracker for the past couple of weeks, and I really like it. I am a M1 at a school that uses an integrated curriculum, and I think Firecracker would be a great tool in helping me reinforce current class material and then help with material retention for the boards.

    I noticed that Firecracker has "sales" periodically, but I noticed that the price hasn't changed much during these sales. What is the cheapest price you've seen? It's going at $449 for 2 years right now. Should I just bite the bullet and buy it? Is it going to get cheaper?

    Edit: I just bought it. So now my question is more - how do I use it to maximize its benefits? I used it a bit before my exam to see how well I knew the material, and it was good for that.
     
    Last edited: 09.29.14
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  3. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    Monthly, so you don't have a huge sunk cost when you realize you want to drop it
     
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  4. BurghStudent

    BurghStudent lurker 7+ Year Member

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    Flag topics every day and keep up with the questions. Flag stuff you've gone over in class. The most important thing about making FC work is keeping a regular schedule, i.e. always do your questions.
     
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  5. cbrons

    cbrons love machine Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I have high hopes for Firecracker for the M1s this year and next year, they are really making a push to improve their content. My advice to M1s who use it - keep doing it and don't stop doing the questions, even over summer break. You will save yourself a ton of anxiety if you let the FC algorithm help you keep stuff in your mind from the classes w a lot of incidental factoids to remember.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN Mobile
     
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  6. BurghStudent

    BurghStudent lurker 7+ Year Member

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    I wish I started earlier :(
     
  7. @JackShephard

    @JackShephard

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    Worst thing I ever did was using this program for a year.

    I realize that anyone thinking of or already using it is initiated and therefore not open to criticism. But I would highly recommend not using this program. So many better, faster ways to improve your board scores.

    (i.e. pathoma, lots of questions / even 2nd passes, multiple passes of FA)

    That's all for me in this thread. I'm not going to argue my points because it's a huge waste of our time. I just want to give fair warning to those like me that may end up wasting over a year of studying time.
     
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  8. BurghStudent

    BurghStudent lurker 7+ Year Member

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    Interesting. I wouldn't argue because we all learn differently, have different preferences.

    I'm glad you mention pathoma. I've been listening to his lectures regularly. I am also doing Kaplan's Qbank.
     
  9. DH410

    DH410 2+ Year Member

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    Disclaimer: I have not used this program much

    In my experience, flash cards give the illusion of long term retention. You know things in massive detail, but don't necessarily have those things around to draw on later. I think for me, it's because I make an association between the two data points rather than the actual concept. I can still remember things later if I look through the cards, but it's hard for me to come up with independently.

    A lot of friends had similar experiences: they remembered things great while they were doing the cards, but when they eventually stopped the things left long-term memory. They had to relearn that micro/biochem
     
  10. NontradCA

    NontradCA American Hero 2+ Year Member

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    Did you do well on boards?
     
  11. darklabel

    darklabel MS3 2+ Year Member

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    I would really be interested in why it was a waste. I bought it for first year so if it was terrible, what would you recommend?
     
  12. DrEnderW

    DrEnderW 2+ Year Member

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    I don't think that's the intention of the program. I've at least never had it presented to me that way by any longterm user that did well on Step 1.

    There's no reason you can't do pathoma, read FA, and do passes through qbanks with FC. There are hundreds if not thousands of students that do this. Doing FC is essentially passess through FA. If you'd rather read FA for 1-2 hours a day outside of the current class you're on it would probably accomplish the same thing.

    By all means, don't use the program if it's not for you... but it's not a substitute for looking at FA, watching pathoma, or doing UWorld. It shouldn't be described as one or the other. It's a supplement not a replacement.

    Side note: I read all of your posts in Jack Shephards voice gaining you instant credibility
     
    Last edited: 10.01.14
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  13. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    Spaced repetition is great. FC sucks at implementing it appropriately. FA, UW, pathoma, do well in classes. All you need
     
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  14. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    Supplementing all that with a program that can take hours a day. No thanks
     
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  15. darklabel

    darklabel MS3 2+ Year Member

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    I assume you mean most of this (besides doing well in class) is for second year right?
     
  16. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    It depends on your Curriculum. If traditional, you can still read some FA during first year. Maybe tack on usmlerx if you have the time. Good way to reinforce FA
     
  17. ChEMD

    ChEMD 2+ Year Member

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    Bottom line, FC can be a great resource if you use it appropriately, but it's not for everyone. Some people don't like having to devote a significant chunk of time every day to review old stuff that isn't going to appear on their next exam. Others just memorize the card without actually thinking about the answer, so while they are great at the cards, they only retain a superficial understanding of the material. If you're looking for a flawless review source with perfect content and questions, FC is definitely not it. But if you take it for what it is and use it effectively as a way to keep you thinking about the concepts you've learned in class, I think it's a great resource.

    One other thing to note is that some people, for whatever reason, seem to think of First Aid as being the bible. They see it as if it's not in first aid, it's not testable, so you don't have to know it. Those people are wrong. Those are also some of the people that are going to have a problem with FC, because sometimes it includes extra information not in first aid.

    Try it out for a month, if you like it, get it and stick with it...every day.
     
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  18. @JackShephard

    @JackShephard

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    Lol. Exactly. I'm not arguing on this thread. It's ridiculous. But to say you can use board prep material that exceeds 90% of medical students (Uw x2, pathoma, other qbanks, FA) then SUPPLEMENT that with 2-3 hrs a day of other stuff. lol. We all learn differently? Also, lol. No one is talking about how you learn, it's about what to learn. It's clear what people need to learn to do well. I did very good on boards, but not 250+. I have friends who got ~270, no FC. Use the right sources and kill your courses (honor everything). The people with 270 honored everything. There will be 10-30 Q's on Step 1 that FC won't help with. Only doing well in M1/M2.

    I realized this would turn into an argument, I just wanted to warn a few M1's because if not - they could waste a huge amount of time. The FC faithful are already committed and they won't be reasoned with. I get it. I'm not writing this for you guys. I also know you have an objection for every point I made. Fine.

    Good luck everyone.
     
  19. ChEMD

    ChEMD 2+ Year Member

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    I just don't get why you can't just say "it's not for me and here's why". Instead, you ridicule everyone that actually finds it very useful.
     
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  20. mcloaf

    mcloaf 2+ Year Member

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    I'd guess it makes one feel better about sinking all that time and then quitting anyway.
     
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  21. wjs010

    wjs010 2+ Year Member

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    I am just going to use anki. There are decks that are identical to FC that you can use in anki,but it's free
     
  22. Jumpstartmy5HT

    Jumpstartmy5HT 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks everyone for your responses! I will definitely try to use FC everyday so it isn't a waste. I am still learning about other resources and am slowly incorporating additional tools into my arsenal.
     
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  23. The Kraken

    The Kraken 2+ Year Member

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    I'm so mad that the new Android app is a pile of crap. I want to flag as I go, not do stupid whole step 1. Email FC, "people were confused about flagging topics." Well thanks for making it worthless to do following curriculum as you go.
     
  24. repititionition

    repititionition Sure! 2+ Year Member

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    If the new iOS app doesn't let you select by topics, I'll be reversing a recent charge to my credit card (a one year subscription)
     
  25. mcloaf

    mcloaf 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah android app is ****ed. I just do it through the browser on my phone.
     
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  26. type12

    type12 2+ Year Member

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    This, 1000x over. I think this is what JackShephard was getting at. It's difficult to discuss an absurdly overpriced piece of #### because post-purchase rationalization is the last bastion of hope from experiencing buyer's remorse, or feeling like an all-day sucker.

    Anecdotal evidence is terrible, I know, but since it's the only thing I have, I thought I'd share: I use Anki, and this girl in my class keeps bragging about FC. I've consistently scored higher on all my tests, and some acquaintances I've made prefer my decks to the FC ones because they are more relevant.
     
  27. BurghStudent

    BurghStudent lurker 7+ Year Member

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    Instead, open firecracker on your phone's browser, make a bookmark and put it on your home screen. It opens a separate web app on my S5 and works as good as the full website, no app required.
     
  28. Hemorrage

    Hemorrage Ambrose 5+ Year Member

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    I signed up for another trial yesterday to see if i was missing out on anything the first time around and realized how stupid most of the FC cards were. Is it just me or is this just an overhyped flashcard app? I understand the principle of spaced repetition- something anki does for free, but what shocked me the most was the simple lack of quality in the cards questions. I'm fairly certain you can make the exact same stuff on your own as you study for classes in anki
     
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  29. type12

    type12 2+ Year Member

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    Nope, though I think the psychology of paying for a sack of #### and then trying to justify it to others for self-preservation makes me appreciate psychiatry.
     
  30. Chipster.

    Chipster. Are you not entertained? 2+ Year Member

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    Misplaced and irrational anger is what makes me appreciate psychiatry.

    But seriously, what's the issue here? Does it make you feel good that you scored higher than one girl who uses firecracker 2 months into med school? It's not supposed to help you for basic science tests, it's for long term retention so you still remember what nerve is damaged with a mid shaft humerus fracture a year later. I crushed my first round of tests, do I attribute my performance to FC? Absolutely not. But that's not why I'm using it, or anyone else for that matter.

    And for the record, if you're spending 200k on a medical education, an extra $250 a year for a program is worth it for people who want to put in the right effort.

    tldr; get over yourself.
     
    Last edited: 10.03.14
  31. type12

    type12 2+ Year Member

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    You should probably follow your own advice and notice your own psychoses. I'm sorry you bought an inferior product when you could have used a more effective, free product like Anki. You need to get over it and don't be so b###hurt about it. It may be too late for you, but it's not too late for others, and so I'll continue to warn others not to fall for FC's poor value proposition.

    So, what are you using it for if you aren't using it for performance? Anki is also for long-term retention; your FC purchase is not so special, lol. I'm not sure what your point is here.
     
    Last edited: 10.03.14
  32. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    I used FC to ~75% banked. I loved it to start with, recommended it to friends. Then the questions became more burdensome timewise, I came to better understand how spaced repetition works and how questions should be designed, etc. FC has poorly designed q's, is overly burdensome, lacks a quality high yield option, and these issues went back to when it was gunnertraining. They focus their efforts on strategies to gain new subscribers (step 2 content, qbank style questions) rather than improving the content they have. I scored > 250 on step, honored the vast majority of my classes, etc, and still didn't know everything in FA down cold, and FA is as high yield as it gets. There isn't enough time to waste it with poor resources. FA, pathoma, UW.
     
  33. Oblique

    Oblique 2+ Year Member

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    don't waste your money on FC. Use ANKI instead and make your own flashcards from FA, PATHOMA, UWORLD for step 1 and make flashcards PRN for your classwork.
     
  34. ChEMD

    ChEMD 2+ Year Member

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    I'm a pretty big fan of anki, but you guys realize that although anki is a free program, it takes countless hours to make high quality flash cards. If you value your time at say, I dunno, $20/hr, then after 10 hours of making anki flash cards you've already paid for a year of firecracker. The biggest benefit of FC is the fact that you don't have to make your own cards, which saves hundreds of hours. And yeah you can say that you're studying as you make the cards, but it's no where near as time effective studying once the cards have already been made. I dunno, I'm not trying to tell anyone that firecracker is perfect, because it's definitely not, but I just don't get all the hate and why the nay-sayers have to ridicule people that like it and find it to be effective for them.
     
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  35. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    Iirc, there are at least 2 public anki decks for step 1
     
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  36. Oblique

    Oblique 2+ Year Member

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    FC flashcards are not high quality either. Many of their flashcards ask you very vague questions; ocassionally you will be like wtf?
     
  37. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    Very vague, passed in a way that you're instantly remember the answer but not the information (e.g a MCQ, a q with a picture), very long lists. Just poor basis in effective SRS
     
  38. BurghStudent

    BurghStudent lurker 7+ Year Member

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    When I consider the money I signed my name off on to pay for med school, buying firecracker is nothing. Money comes and goes. B*tches live and die every day.

    No buyer's remorse here. On the other hand, I'm not the person that will read FA and simple retain what I read. I need to see it a million times. If there was already a decent Anki deck out there, because I didn't want to make my own, I probably would have not bought FC.
     
  39. cbrons

    cbrons love machine Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I was hired as a FC author recently, this after being highly critical of their Step I content and making a lot of similar complaints about low yield info and poorly worded direct recall questions. I count it as credit to them for giving a job to one of their big SDN critics btw, but I come with a master's degree in physiology and a good deal of experience with exam question writing. I suspect the people they are hiring now are along the same lines.

    I've gone through and completely re-written a few of the topics and direct recall questions in the pathology section, and I am currently in the process of editing several more topics. All I can really say is when I submit my topics for editorial review, they've been very rigorously scrutinized. There seems to be a lot more trimming down of the redundancies of info across the site as well as a push to rewrite the vague or annoyingly open-ended recall questions.

    For what it is worth, the questions in my pathology topics have undergone hours of revisions just in the wording alone, and all of them are pretty straightforward - no long lists, no questions that can be answered in 200 different ways, etc. I think FC is going to get better and you should start seeing some of the annoying questions and formatting issues slowly go away as new and more experiemced editors step into the fold.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN Mobile
     
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  40. zegrated

    zegrated 5+ Year Member

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    Good to know, as I just bought it and I have seen a few of the aforementioned "wtf questions". But so far I've been more than happy with it.
     
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  41. Bancrofti

    Bancrofti 5+ Year Member

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    I had a friend that was the same. He was doing better than me on pretty much every exam, even though I still always was higher than the average. He would always say I was wasting my time with FC and should stick to the basics. I continued to plug away with FC and ended up doing a little over 10 points better. He still did very well, relatively speaking, but the whole doing better on tests thing isn't really relevant. If you were to use first aid as your main source for studying for an exam you'd probably fail your exams. Similarly, FC can be a great addition to classes, but if you're giving it priority or aren't catering it to your schedule, it can actually be a burden and drag down your grades a little. I don't really care about the whole argument going on in this thread I just thought that was funny because I was in the same situation.
     
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  42. wjs010

    wjs010 2+ Year Member

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    I have a deck from some sdn user ( I think).. Forgot the name. People say it's amazing. And it's free and on anki. Trust me. If I HAD to make my own cards, I wouldn't. I tried firecracker and liked it... But I feel like it's similar to anki. I'm only an M1 though and done even know if that deck is good, but I'll search for the name and post it here.
     
  43. Cytarabine

    Cytarabine 2+ Year Member

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    Believe there's one by brosencephalon on reddit and another by Dr willbe
     
  44. cbrons

    cbrons love machine Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

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    DrWillbe is only path, not other subjects. And also its a couple bucks to buy off his site.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN Mobile
     
  45. Jumpstartmy5HT

    Jumpstartmy5HT 2+ Year Member

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    I don't like using other people's ankis. I know FC isn't error proof either, but I just don't trust other people's resources. A few of my classmates use anki and share decks. They also share misconceptions about topics. Soooo....

    I also wouldn't make my own because ... Lazy
     
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