futuremdforme

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May 12, 2013
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I make some cards everyday. I'm MS1, but I'm making them a lot for anatomy. I find that they're pretty fast (10-20 seconds per card). Then if you know them, you only see them every month or so. When I realize that I made a silly or useless card, I just delete it as I go along.
 
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Jan 14, 2013
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I'm trying to integrate Anki into my M-2 studying, but am facing a couple of problems:

-When trying to make cards for a lecture, I end up feeling like I need to make a card for every fact from the lecture, which leads to 50+ cards per lecture, and takes forever to make.
What are your strategies for limiting the number of cards/lecture and being time efficient in making the cards?

-I end up having so many cards that I don't even end up reviewing the ones I make. How do you integrate your review of Anki cards into your overall studying?
In other words, once you review a lecture and make Anki cards for it, do you only rely on your review with those Anki cards to prepare for that lecture before an exam? Or do you review both the lecture and the Anki cards again before an exam?

-For a certain lecture topic, do you use only use the class lecture to make Anki cards, or do you also use First Aid or BRS or ... when making Anki cards?

Feel free to share any other hacks on how to best use Anki for med school.
There are several tutorials on how to make cards fast so that you have time to review them, like this video on YouTube:


My advice, though, is to ditch Anki if you feel like it isn't working for you. I spent too much time trying to make Anki work for me last year. Although a great tool, it's just not in the cards for some people (pun intended all the way). If that's the case with you, try something else. I liked trying to summarize each lecture on a set of ~10 handwritten flash cards and then reviewing those on the weekend. I felt like I learned more this way. YMMV.
 

Donald Juan

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May 22, 2011
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anki needs to be used for the right topics. Some things like a lot of pathology are highly conceptual and anki is just not as effective for as it's better to study the big picture and keep it in mind. Other things are discrete facts that you just need to keep straight (i.e. side effect of beta blockers, translocation of follicular lymphoma, etc.). You can't waste your time trying to make cards out of everything, you make it for the stuff that you are going to have to drill into your head one way or another.
 
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Dec 16, 2014
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I'm just an m1, but I and other people who use anki at my school just accept that making decks takes a lot of time. So far it's worked pretty well. A lot of people use other methods though.

I tend to spend ~2 hours in the morning reviewing cards, afternoons watching lextures at 2x and making cards, and nights reviewing and FC. Heavy lecture days can amount to 12-14 hour days and most people aren't willing to do this. So far (2 tests) it has kept me above a standard deviation of the class average though.
Good luck!
 

marstonne

5+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2013
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I'm just an m1, but I and other people who use anki at my school just accept that making decks takes a lot of time. So far it's worked pretty well. A lot of people use other methods though.

I tend to spend ~2 hours in the morning reviewing cards, afternoons watching lextures at 2x and making cards, and nights reviewing and FC. Heavy lecture days can amount to 12-14 hour days and most people aren't willing to do this. So far (2 tests) it has kept me above a standard deviation of the class average though.
Good luck!
This is the truth regarding Anki. I have used it throughout M1 and M2 so far with great results. But it is a daily grind that a lot of people don't want to put up with. It is absolutely not necessary to do well in classes, there are many ways to do that, Anki and flash cards in general just work for me. Anki can be a soul crushing grind and requires a LOT of work. It is not something I recommend you "sprinkle in" if you aren't going to hit it every day. That said, it has helped me perform the way I wanted to in classes and I feel good about my knowledge base overall.
 

FindMeOnTheLinks

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Jan 25, 2014
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I think Anki should only be used for certain material. Like for very conceptual material like biochem or immuno or physio it is probably a waste of time. But for things like anatomy or histo where you just need to memorize random associations, it is useful to pound those facts into your head. I guess it would be useful for remembering associations between seemingly unrelated drugs and their MOA's or diseases and their pathologies when the disease name isnt super specific.

For my current block we have aspects of anatomy, genetics, biochem, physiology, histology cell bio, etc all cobbled together. I don't just make cards for everything, I only make cards where it seems applicable like the innervations of muscles, all of the different specializations of epithelium, etc. etc... And for the physio, biochem, and genetics stuff, I go through the slides repeatedly to nail down the concepts.

And another thing I will do is quickly review a lecture before I go over the anki details of it. I think this primer is helpful for providing context for the cards. Seeing the slide puts it in your short term memory, then when you see the anki card a few minutes later you are applying your short term memory which seems to help me store the knowledge into my long term memory better. Then, later when you go through the deck without the primer you are maintaining that long term memory.

So use it sparingly for stuff that can't be organized into concepts. Because if you truly understand a concept, the rest of the details should flow from it. And obviously there will be some exceptions in certain situations (ie the outcome of a certain process is the opposite of what you would think) and for these it might be useful to use anki. That way you aren't wasting your time anki-ing the crap out of every single detail when your time could be better spent elsewhere.