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Which qbanks to use during M1 year?

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bananasewq

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I find that I study and learn most effectively when answering questions. I am wondering which question banks or books are most useful during M1 year. What about review books like BRS, Rapid review, high yield, etc? Thanks for the help!
 
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GatorsKW14

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I've used BRS gross anatomy, BRS physiology & Pathoma for review, Gray's Anatomy Review and Robbins & Cotran Review of Pathology for questions. I've gotten a good amount of use from all of them.
 
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StrongIslandDoc

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Welcome to this thrill ride we call medical school.

I am taking my Step 1 exam in 9 days, and my single largest regret is not shelling out the $$$$ for a 2 year subscription to Firecracker.

BRS Gross will be fantastic to use for Anatomy.
Get on the Firecracker train if you want something that you can consistently depend on during M1 and M2. I know I will definitely be doing that for Step 2 CK.
 

mcloaf

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This.

You could use anki or firecracker, but I think pretty universally people would recommend against using qbanks during M1 as they rely on multiple levels of knowledge you likely won't have until going through M2 curriculum.
 
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thatwouldbeanarchy

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Question about Firecracker. Do people share accounts? Is that possible? I hear people saying that it's really useful but it's expensive as hell.
 

mcloaf

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Question about Firecracker. Do people share accounts? Is that possible? I hear people saying that it's really useful but it's expensive as hell.
Sharing an account would make it useless since you lose the benefit of spaced repetition tailored to your knowledge base.
 

Poro

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Question about Firecracker. Do people share accounts? Is that possible? I hear people saying that it's really useful but it's expensive as hell.

Haven't used it but I plan to. Use the first month free and decide from there. 500$ for two years is a little less than 0.70$ a day. If it helps you why not?


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751866

Haven't used it but I plan to. Use the first month free and decide from there. 500$ for two years is a little less than 0.70$ a day. If it helps you why not?


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You could give the $500 to charity and use your school library (and, the free resource, ANKI!!) instead?
 
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Foot Fetish

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You should make multiple passes through UWorld during MS1.
 
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sloop

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My school supplied practice questions for the exams during first year. For some reason, I think they took them away for the year below us (and I don't think there was a good explanation, but that's neither here nor there).

If your school provides any questions I suggest using those.
 

Crayola227

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I find that I study and learn most effectively when answering questions. I am wondering which question banks or books are most useful during M1 year. What about review books like BRS, Rapid review, high yield, etc? Thanks for the help!

Qbank first year??

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
 
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Poro

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Qbank first year??

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Since I haven't started I don't know anything. I've just seen responses all over he board.. Start firecracker and keep up with it.
Start prepping early
Don't "save" questions
Etc...

Also hear the opposite too. So I guess as an individual student we should try each method and do what gives us the best result? Iono...


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psychhopefull2016

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My anecdotal evidence is that I hated firecracker and wish I still had my money (let's face it tho, I would have spent that on food long ago by now). It was good for a couple weeks but as I added more and more sections it became overwhelming to get that done with class. I missed 3 days because I wound up in the hospital for a minor thing and had 2000 questions built up! I just studied for my classes and saved Uworld and USMLERx until dedicated study time so I had plenty of questions left for then. I still beat my goal for board scores
 

cabergoline2

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    pretest series is awesome in biochem/physio....loved the molecular biol section of pretest biochem...gray review for anatomy...pretest neuroscience is super tough ..for neuro buff only...katz and trevor have a lot of pharmac questions...but not in line with board questions....pretest pharm questions are fun...but not board relevant...path pretest is crappy...most brs chapter ending questions are pretty basic...but an excellent starting nontheless..
     
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    thatwouldbeanarchy

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    If it helps you why not?
    Because I'm about to be broke?!?! I'm trying to balance resources that will be useful to me with the fact that I will have very little money and what I will have is borrowed with interest.
     
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    DocWinter

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    Qbank: use usmle-rx with systems. Do not start qbank during 1st semester/anatomy.

    If you got into med school using flashcards, try out firecracker/anki. If you didn't, then don't.

    There is no"best" way. What works for you will be clear in a month of starting
     

    Poro

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    Because I'm about to be broke?!?! I'm trying to balance resources that will be useful to me with the fact that I will have very little money and what I will have is borrowed with interest.

    Understood, my comment was insensitive. There are lots of other cheaper resources to tap from and worst case if firecracker is what you need you can try to save a little money each month for it. :)


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    Dr Nicholas Riviera

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    I have no clue, given that I'm an incoming M1. But having been a SDN reader for years I can say that the consistent advice has been to wait until M2 before attempting anything. Anki is a given for notecard/flashcard types, Firecracker has its fans and its detractors, UWorld gets frequent high marks, Kaplan has issues but typically is recommended. Non-Qbank resources such as Goljan, SketchyMicro, and Pathoma also receive a fair amount of praise. I'd suggest surfing the threads on here regarding Step 1 prep and see what the pros and veterans have suggested. mcloaf and a few others have posted recommendations in the past for what's worked for them, up to and including study schedules.

    But honestly, from what I've read most Qbanks will only benefit you once you've started M2 material. If you want to make flashcards for your M1 material, Anki seems to be the way to go.
     
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    mcloaf

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    Just to clarify for you incoming M1's, firecracker and anki are not qbanks. They are flashcard programs. When people say qbank they are referring to UWorld, UsmleRx, or Kaplan (or occasionally some other random qbank like becker). Qbank questions are much more involved and require integrated knowledge (i.e. identify an infectious process based on a clinical scenario, be aware of what the appropriate treatment is, and then be able to answer what side effect you'd expect from that treatment) as they are meant to be practice for actual step 1 exam questions. Firecracker and anki are flashcards to help you memorize discreet facts.

    ps i think firecracker does also have a qbank with it but nobody uses it and people assume you're talking about the flashcards when you reference it.
     
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    751866

    Do not start qbank during 1st semester/anatomy.
    BRS gross anatomy and UMich questions were a great resource for me. Amazon can get you an unmarked, used BRS for cheap--especially the prior edition.

    If you got into med school using flashcards, try out firecracker/anki. If you didn't, then don't.
    I never touched a flashcard prior to medical school. I used Anki for anatomy action/origin/insertion/innervation/blood supply and other pure facts. Worked like a charm. Making the cards and doing them the first few days was 90% of my conscious anatomy study.

    There is no"best" way.
    Contradicting yourself by telling someone not to use flashcards if they previously didn't, eh?
     
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    mcloaf

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    As opposed to, say, careless facts? Or was it discrete? :D

    giphy.gif
     
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    DocWinter

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    @delimitedtab There is no best way, there is what works for you, and there's other things. Common advice is to use the methods that got you into medical school as you begin medical school, not change your style. Glad you found what works best for you but no need to be a tool here
     
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    751866

    There is no best way, there is what works for you, and there's other things.
    Compelling, and rich. I couldn't have said it any better.

    Common advice is to use the methods that got you into medical school as you begin medical school, not change your style.
    Agreed...As we like to say, "No sense in breakin' that which don't need fixin'..."o_O

    Glad you found what works best for you but no need to be a tool here
    You are quite definitive in your advice.
     

    Psai

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    BRS gross anatomy and UMich questions were a great resource for me. Amazon can get you an unmarked, used BRS for cheap--especially the prior edition.

    I never touched a flashcard prior to medical school. I used Anki for anatomy action/origin/insertion/innervation/blood supply and other pure facts. Worked like a charm. Making the cards and doing them the first few days was 90% of my conscious anatomy study.

    Contradicting yourself by telling someone not to use flashcards if they previously didn't, eh?

    Brs anatomy is boring. Plus the main thing to learn in anatomy is recognition which you can best do by looking at the body for hours.
     
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    751866

    Brs anatomy is boring. Plus the main thing to learn in anatomy is recognition which you can best do by looking at the body for hours.
    I agree, but it helped me prepare for questions beyond the anatomy lab tags (which were pure ID). We were frequently given a clinical presentation and asked the likely structure responsible for the deficit. Staring at a cadaver wouldn't have gotten me to the same understanding.
     

    FindMeOnTheLinks

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    I agree, but it helped me prepare for questions beyond the anatomy lab tags (which were pure ID). We were frequently given a clinical presentation and asked the likely structure responsible for the deficit. Staring at a cadaver wouldn't have gotten me to the same understanding.

    Not sure about you but I was able to figure out what happens when you damage the long thoracic nerve, just by staring at the cadaver for 6 hrs one Thursday night. Guess you're just a lab novice.


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    operaman

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    I will say this: personally I loved firecracker and started it day one of medical school. It was actually called gunnertraining back then before they realized that wasn't the sort of name that facilitates word of mouth advertising. They switched to firecracker during my ms2 year I believe and They've probably expanded the product substantially since. At the time it included the whole flash card thing plus a qbank that was ok at the time but nothing as good as UWorld.

    For me, I used it and kept up with it all through ms1 and found it very helpful in nailing down high yield things big for my class exams and for the boards. Ms2 I fell behind a lot on keeping up with the reviews because there were sooooooo many of them. I think they've done some fixing to make this easier to deal with. Mostly I ended up using smaller spot reviews by subject - doing all the pulm cards for example in one morning, then reviewing all the things I marked myself down on. When dedicated step time arrived, I would use it for larger passes through material and made sure I got through everything a couple of times. That and watched pathoma until I could probably deliver his videos from memory, some picmonic (sketchy wasn't out yet), UWorld, and some of my own anki cards and that was it. Studied about two weeks for step and never even purchased a first aid. 260+

    So firecracker was great for me. Not sure what I'd think about 500 bucks for two years. I'd probably just give in and pay it knowing how well it works for me, but keep in mind that many other people who did just as well as I did on the boards didn't use it at all. But for a product that helps both with class material and long term retention for boards, I think it's the best thing going.

    Ditto to the above about the BRS series questions - those were all excellent for class exam prep. Ditto pretest physio. UMich gross anatomy site has lots of written quiz questions and even some anatomy lab practicals that were helpful. Utah has a nice pathology question site that's also free.
     

    Leggo_my_benzo

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    If you can honestly dedicate a full hour or more nearly every day for 2 years for board material (regardless of resource) and somehow still keep up class work, research/EC's and still have a life outside of school, yes get firecracker. I don't think FC is what matters, it's spending such a ridiculous amount of time for so long.

    I bought it and couldn't keep up with doing well with classes and manage to stay sane. If you really will stay loyal to doing it, it's worth every penny because of the massive step scores that come out of it. Many people won't be able to balance using it faithfully for >90% of days of 2 years. Remember that days off double your card load and that sinking feeling of seeing 1000+ cards due after 3 days of only studying before exams was enough for me to stop using it in first year.

    Also, why not just use the Brosencephalon deck? You'll see if you can do daily cards for free before dropping a couple hundred bucks.
     
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    751866

    Not sure about you but I was able to figure out what happens when you damage the long thoracic nerve, just by staring at the cadaver for 6 hrs one Thursday night. Guess you're just a lab novice.


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    Please, enlighten us. You sound like a rock star. And let me guess, you also were able to tell what the iliohypogastric nerve did by staring?
     

    FindMeOnTheLinks

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    Please, enlighten us. You sound like a rock star. And let me guess, you also were able to tell what the iliohypogastric nerve did by staring?

    Iliohypogastric nerve is low yield af, bro. I remember this one time, my lab partners and I spent all night trying to figure out what was what in the lumbar plexus so we didn't study anything else. But we still all pulled 100's on the practical the next day because we're just that good (definitely not because our practicals tagged all easy things like the femoral nerve or ureter). This one guy was so mad about the lumbar plexus, we almost got in a fist fight. This other guy threatened to throw a spleen at him. Ah, good times.

    Anyway, the secret to lab is to read Moore's Essential Clinical Anatomy. My friend read that book religiously, and he like never got any anatomy questions wrong. Like, totally awesome, bro.


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    gujuDoc

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    I agree with the person that said using the Firecracker program for 2 years is a good idea rather than buying the qbanks.
     
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    751866

    Iliohypogastric nerve is low yield af, bro. I remember this one time, my lab partners and I spent all night trying to figure out what was what in the lumbar plexus so we didn't study anything else. But we still all pulled 100's on the practical the next day because we're just that good (definitely not because our practicals tagged all easy things like the femoral nerve or ureter). This one guy was so mad about the lumbar plexus, we almost got in a fist fight. This other guy threatened to throw a spleen at him. Ah, good times.

    Anyway, the secret to lab is to read Moore's Essential Clinical Anatomy. My friend read that book religiously, and he like never got any anatomy questions wrong. Like, totally awesome, bro.


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    "Low yield"... typical defense when someone can't admit they don't know something. Sounds like your Moore's buddy wasted a load of time on that book. I hope you didn't make the same mistakes he did...
     

    avgn

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    What's the point of Firecracker if it's an overpriced, premade Anki deck using a subpar interface/algorithm...is it just the convenience of not having to make your own cards? But some FC cards blow, like "what are the 21 causes of elevated blood pressure," which is NOT how spaced repetition should work. The explanations are just info dumps, not very conducive for flashcards :confused:
     

    Mad Jack

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    Welcome to this thrill ride we call medical school.

    I am taking my Step 1 exam in 9 days, and my single largest regret is not shelling out the $$$$ for a 2 year subscription to Firecracker.

    BRS Gross will be fantastic to use for Anatomy.
    Get on the Firecracker train if you want something that you can consistently depend on during M1 and M2. I know I will definitely be doing that for Step 2 CK.
    Coulda done Bros deck for free.
     

    StrongIslandDoc

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    Firecracker is more of the same.


    Bros = First Aid

    FC = First Aid expanded w/ discussion. I have been using FC during my dedicated as a third-line to understand something if I couldn't get it 1st from FA or 2nd from Pathoma. Has been very helpful for pharm and embryo for me, as well as some infection stuff.
     

    Mad Jack

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    Bros = First Aid

    FC = First Aid expanded w/ discussion. I have been using FC during my dedicated as a third-line to understand something if I couldn't get it 1st from FA or 2nd from Pathoma. Has been very helpful for pharm and embryo for me, as well as some infection stuff.
    I found that sort of stuff was best acquired by annotating FA with everything from UW and Kaplan, then turning it into my own deck. FC just has too much material for me to find personally useful when compared to making my own cards.
     

    Mad Jack

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    I'm saying it as someone who bought two years of FC and found it less useful than Bro's, for the record. FC just wasn't as efficient, and costs a decent sum. I ended up using a free resource 10x more than the one I paid a lot of money for.
     
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    mcloaf

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    I'm saying it as someone who bought two years of FC and found it less useful than Bro's, for the record. FC just wasn't as efficient, and costs a decent sum. I ended up using a free resource 10x more than the one I paid a lot of money for.
    I can respect that.

    I think a lot of the reason FC engenders such strong reactions is that it is in truth expensive af and a lot of people end up paying for it and toughing it out for several months before they ultimately decide it doesn't work for them. Some sort of prorated money back type thing would be clutch but they don't have much of a business incentive to offer one. I never tried bros deck because I didn't trust it as much as FC and I preferred FC's format to anki, but I think either one is probably a really strong study tool assuming the user is dedicated about it. The anki elitism (as is clearly visible scrolling up in this thread, not necessarily referring to you) is the only thing that grinds my gears.
     
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    avgn

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    :rofl:
    That wasn't a serious example, right? :laugh:
    Supposedly that's one of the cards available. Though I believe the correct number is 28 (secondhand source though)
     

    avgn

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    I can respect that.

    I think a lot of the reason FC engenders such strong reactions is that it is in truth expensive af and a lot of people end up paying for it and toughing it out for several months before they ultimately decide it doesn't work for them. Some sort of prorated money back type thing would be clutch but they don't have much of a business incentive to offer one. I never tried bros deck because I didn't trust it as much as FC and I preferred FC's format to anki, but I think either one is probably a really strong study tool assuming the user is dedicated about it. The anki elitism (as is clearly visible scrolling up in this thread, not necessarily referring to you) is the only thing that grinds my gears.
    Get on our level :shifty:

    In all seriousness though, I think the fact is that just that Anki works for more people. Perhaps this is because not enough people try FC due to the price. If both were equally effective/efficient on average for different learning types, we'd expect just as many FC elitists. But we don't, Anki elitists run SDN and you wonder why... IMO both work but Anki is more efficient and has a better spaced repetition algorithm. That and the fact that making your own cards adds immensely to the learning.
     

    ShaolinMaster

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    Haven't used it but I plan to. Use the first month free and decide from there. 500$ for two years is a little less than 0.70$ a day. If it helps you why not?


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    500 seems a high. Your school may have a discount set up with FC already and if not you could contact them for a discount.
     

    mcloaf

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    Get on our level :shifty:

    In all seriousness though, I think the fact is that just that Anki works for more people. Perhaps this is because not enough people try FC due to the price. If both were equally effective/efficient on average for different learning types, we'd expect just as many FC elitists. But we don't, Anki elitists run SDN and you wonder why... IMO both work but Anki is more efficient and has a better spaced repetition algorithm. That and the fact that making your own cards adds immensely to the learning.

    I don't think it's surprising that something which is expensive has former users who are more vocal about its shortcomings. I tried anki and didn't like it but I wasn't all torn up about it because it was free, so who cares. I only mention it when it comes up in threads like this. Every time FC is brought up a bunch of people will chime in who feel they got ripped off because they paid for it and ended up not using it for any number of reasons.

    I wouldn't disagree that anki's platform allows for much more flexibility, which is likely increasingly appreciated as one becomes more facile with the software. Personally I opened anki a few times and didn't find it user friendly and I didn't care enough to bother spending much time to figure it out. I also had no intention of investing the necessary time to make my own flashcards (again not arguing that doing so isn't a powerful learning tool, but hours in the day are limited and there were other things on which I wanted to spend my energy). Ultimately I wanted something ready to use out of the box, a need which FC filled just fine. The idea of using a random anki deck from the internet was also not super appealing to me (again this is personal preference, I found FCs content generally reliable and comprehensive and when I did find errors and report them they were usually fixed fairly quickly).

    I don't believe FC's algorithm is public so I'm not sure how one can objectively evaluate it in comparison to anki's (though admittedly I've never bothered to do any digging). They've also overhauled their interface since I was a daily user to I'm not sure of the status of how things work now. I'm under the impression the changes were made to make it more approachable to casual users.

    My aim isn't to be an FC evangelist, to be honest many people I know would've hated it or not found it useful. Plenty of friends tried it and gave up. I spent hours a day, every day, for two years using it, which to many people sounds bat **** crazy. It was also the single most valuable resource I used in getting a step score that's going to allow me to be selective in applying for a surgical subspecialty, something worth well more than what I paid for my 2 year subscription.
     

    Psai

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    Haven't used it but I plan to. Use the first month free and decide from there. 500$ for two years is a little less than 0.70$ a day. If it helps you why not?


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    wtf 500 dollars LOL
    Might as well just get a 2 year uworld subscription with that money
     
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