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Five Tools Proven to Help You Dominate Med School

April 15, 2018



Need to learn how to rack competitive scores on Step 1? Make no mistake, Step scores are going up every year [1]. At the same time the hours in a day haven’t changed much, so med students have been making moves: studying longer hours and higher yield material.


However, accepting a spot in your medical school shouldn’t mean two years of being handcuffed to a desk. Knowing all the best tools in your arsenal will let you make the most of your studytime -- and perform like a redhot gunner -- while still keeping a life away from your books.


Here are the five tools every med student needs to dominate exams.


1. Flashcards











Here’s the part of studying you’re gonna love to hate. Anki and Osmosis are built upon the idea of “spaced repetition”, a strategy of learning that makes it stick.[2] Start building decks in your first year and keep up with them, doing at least 100 reviews per day. You’re guaranteed never to forget the amount of ATP generated in the Krebs cycle or the bones of the wrist with this strategy. If you missed the boat in first year, but need some decks to get started, Broscencephalon and Zanki are some widely used by Med students. Osmosis offers the benefit of ready made flash cards that follow along with your school curriculum.



2. LK (shameless plug alert 😛)


LK is a mobile application that helps students learn on the go using audio lectures and podcasts. Research conducted on second year medical students showed that this app helps good students do even better. The act of listening to your med school content, even if you're passively listening, leaves a mental imprint of concepts that you'll easily recall come test day.


If you’re someone who likes to commute, go to the gym, walk your dog, cook dinner or literally anything that takes you away from your desk, this app is going to be clutch for you.


Use the online dashboard to upload your class lectures or some high yield podcasts (I like Common Rounds and Goljan), then use the app whenever you’re on the go. Not only do you save time, you’d be surprised how much more you remember by just having it on during your daily routine.



3. UWorld



Hot take incoming: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that it is not possible to pass Step 1 without using UWorld. It’s that good. The questions are so difficult and explanations so thorough that two passes through the QBank will prepare you more than any other single resource can.


With that being said, you’ve got to know how to use it to get the most out of it. You can’t just dive into this QBank guns’a’blazin, you’ll miss nearly every question and not really understand why. Start UWorld once you’ve built a solid foundation with LK, FA and Pathoma.



4. First Aid


First Aid is a solid and reliable source for all the basics you’ll need on Step 1. It covers almost everything, literally a med school manual. You’ll want to crack this bad boy open around the start of second year, and start taking notes inside during your dedicated study period.



 5. Pathoma


“A man and his PowerPoint Slides can educate a billion medical students.” -Unknown


Pathoma, AKA “The Fundamentals of Pathology”, is a video series and accompanying book that gives a system-wise condensed, concise overview of pathological disorders. Dr. Sattar makes complex pathophys very simple and digestible. Start using his videos to follow along in your pathology class, making your review in dedicated more fruitful and efficient.



  1. http://www.nrmp.org/main-residency-match-data/

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3782739/







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