Reviewing Lectures Quicker with Anki


Full Member
Apr 21, 2021
  1. Pre-Medical
    I'm currently in a Medical Masters program but I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed. I did well in my first set of exams but I'm becoming increasingly anxious about the second set of exam. It's been suggested that I just focours on lecture slikde and I've been trying to make Anki cards for the lectures. One problem has present itself: it seems to take an inordinately long time for me to make cards because I don't know what to focus on when creating. Does anyone have advice for becoming more efficient studying this way? I really need to do well in this program because I literally have nothing else and it's driving me up the wall.
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    Full Member
    2+ Year Member
    Sep 9, 2018
      Half of medical school is understanding who is writing the questions and what their tendencies are. That can be an incredible frustrating statement to a a first year student or anyone just starting an SMP. As a second year I create far less cards than I did as a first year. I think you also know more, so you have less gaps when you are approaching new information.
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      Aug 1, 2020
      1. Medical Student
        If It's an SMP you should go all out and create a lot of cards... this one year will determine your future.. keep them short and concise. How often are your exams? When I was in SMP, we had an exam every 4 weeks. Students who did well in the program had about 1.5k self made cards per exam. For Physiology, the key will be practice questions and not so much flashcards, although cards will still be important for details you're forgetting.
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        New Member
        Oct 1, 2021
        1. Pre-Medical
          I have been using Anki for several years (mostly after I had already graduated from college) and have done relatively well in my courses. I am currently doing a DIY postbac at UC Davis taking only upper-division science courses and will be transitioning to a formal postbac in spring 2022. This opinion will be from a student who averaged a B- as an undergrad to now a student who averages an A- from extension courses.

          Whether exams are based on lecture slides, textbooks, or both, I use Anki the same way. I focus mainly on topics that I could not explain to someone else with confidence. For example, when I first learned about neuronal action potentials, I broke down each part of the action potential into Anki cards. I made 1 flashcard for each of the phases so that I could better understand the reasoning behind each phase (i.e depolarization, repolarization, refractory periods, etc).

          The questions I made were specific and the questions were concise/simple. For example, 1 of my flashcards for neuronal action potential was "what channels are involved in the depolarization phase?" Answer: "voltage-gated sodium channels." I took it 1 step further and explained why the answer was correct. It's one thing to remember that voltage-gated sodium channels are involved in depolarization, but it's another to explain that the opening of these channels enables sodium influx, which contributes to the rise in membrane potential.

          If you are able to find decks that others have made for the same course, by all means, use them. However, I personally believe that spending time making your own cards will be more beneficial for you. You will understand the acronyms or pneumonics you made. The cards you made will focus on topics that you don't know. Making your own flashcards help reinforce the topics since you're "rewriting" the information again. These are just my opinions, so please take it with a grain of salt.

          Anki flashcards are great, but you should also consider looking for practice questions/problem sets to bolster your understanding of the material. Anki alone will only get you so far.

          I hope this helps. There are tons of information about studying with Anki on YouTube.
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