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MD & DO M1 Resources


Full Member
7+ Year Member
May 22, 2013
  1. Medical Student
    Hey All,

    Just a quick question on M1 resources. I realize that with M2 and boards, there are numerous resources (UFAP, Sketchy, Anki, Firecracker, and the list goes on). However, for M1, what should be my primary resources to assure that I can learn the material and retain as much as possible for the future? I've been reading SDN for some time now and it seems like most M2s tell M1s not to worry about too many board resources and focus on classes. With that in mind, my plan is to basically focus on lecture and outline PPTs as I always have. In addition, I planned on using Bros deck or zAnki and First Aid (likely minimally during M1) where I find it helpful. I could always add Firecracker if I find Bros/zAnki to not be helpful for me specifically. Does this sound reasonable? Am I thinking too far ahead and should focus on pretty much just lecture until M2?

    Students from my school have told me you will kind of figure it out as you go, and find what works for you. Just trying to get a sense of what many others do for M1 other than just lecture.


    Save a life

    Full Member
    5+ Year Member
    Jan 29, 2013
    1. Medical Student
      Yeah, that sounds reasonable. The main reason M2’s keep recommending to focus on lecture and not board prep material is:

      A) you haven’t learned enough of the basics to benefit from the integration most board prep material uses.

      B) most M1 classes are testing you directly from the lectures so those will be the highest yield resource; First Aid and pathoma will be too superficial to get you a good score.

      It also depends on your school, some schools have this 1.5 years preclinical curriculum wherein you start systems after 6 months. If that is your case, consider using board prep material with lectures after about 6 months when you start systems. You can use board prep material early but I wouldn’t make it your primary resource until you get close to dedicated.
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      Jul 11, 2018
      1. Medical Student
        The biggest thing I found helpful in MS1 were practice questions. Don't go out and buy a question bank, but the Pre-Test series and some BRS questions were great for biochem and physiology. For neuroscience and anatomy, there were some great FREE online resources (I want to say Univ of Michigan and Univ of Virginia?). I learn best from practice questions, so this I found useful because it helped me critically apply the information instead of pure memorization (leave that for the minutiae of FA in MS2). Find a way to quiz yourself and make you think through the subjects critically.

        **FWIW, I go to a school with a really "traditional" curriculum, so MS1 did not lend itself to a lot of Step prep materials.
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        Full Member
        5+ Year Member
        Mar 31, 2015
        1. Resident [Any Field]
          I'd recommend using Zanki deck as you cover material, as it helps you review stuff over time (and introduces a few things you haven't seen yet). The decks are broken down into normal physiology and patho. Also, you can save time not having to make as many cards from lecture materials.
          If using anki, I wouldn't pay for firecracker, as it's just more cards on top of the cards you're already doing. Also FC is pretty pricey, and Zanki is free (and frequently updated by kind souls).
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          Full Member
          2+ Year Member
          Aug 14, 2016
          1. Medical Student
            I start M1 in a few weeks, and plan on using B&B as the only resource for the first semester. The videos cover anatomy, basic pharm and biochem/cell biology, so should be helpful during the foundational blocks. We begin infectious diseases/pathology second semester (take step 1 March of year 2), at which point I'll purchase pathoma, sketchy and Usmle-Rx 360. Plan on memorizing the Pepper anki decks for pathoma and sketchy micro and pharm, and reviewing the Rx flashcards as I see fit (memorizing zanki seems like too much work). I'll definitely review class material, but don't plan on attending non-mandatory lectures. Will save NBME exams and UWorld for dedicated. Goal is 250 on step 1 but would be happy with 240+. If you're gunning for 260+, you may want to memorize zanki and do both kaplan and Rx Q banks before dedicated, along with scoring at the top of your class during M1-2, which seems to be a better predictor of high scores than any resources used.
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