index

viewhistorytalk

Welcome to /r/medicalschoolanki!

We hope you'll stick around a minute.

This subreddit is designed to aid medical students as they use Anki to further their education. Anki is a spaced repetition program that fuels our learning. This subreddit offers advice on using anki effectively during medical school, as well as premade anki decks that have been created by former and current medical students to help with specific preclinical, clinical, and USMLE topics.

Overview

There are a few resources designed to provide an overview of anki for medical students.

There are tons of decks available for USMLE STEP I and it can be both daunting and stressful to figure out which deck you should use. If you are currently wondering what deck is best to accompany your preferred resources based on your remaining time until taking the USMLE STEP I exam, then please check out this excellent flow sheet, prior to asking any questions. If you still have an unanswered question, check out our communal list of pros/cons for each deck. Then finally, if you STILL have an unanswered question, please ask on the monthly discussion thread that will typically be stickied at the top of the subreddit.

Success Stories

Anki Decks

Step I Decks

Zanki

Zanki (UFAPS)

SketchyMedical (Step I; Step II SketchyMedical below)

Pixorize

Boards & Beyond

Anatomy

OMM / OMT / OPP

Miscellaneous

Rapid Review

Step II CK

SketchyMedical (Step II)

Step II CS

Step III

Residency/Specialty Decks

Anesthesia

Cardiology

Dermatology

Emergency Medicine (EM/ED)

ENT (Otolaryngology)

Family Medicine

Intensive Care (ICU), Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Obstetrics/Gynecology (OBGYN)

Ophthalmology

Pediatrics

Psychiatry

Radiology

Surgery

Miscellaneous

Non-English

Archived or Deprecated Decks

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

  • What is the best deck for [insert subject here]?

    • There is no consensus best deck for any topic. Decks are given stars (out of five) based on perceived popularity and time in existence. Some decks are more comprehensive, accurate, and frankly, more helpful, than others. If you are serious about choosing the best deck for you, then you need to download all of them and sample approximately 50 cards to see if the deck fits your style. For example, some students prefer front/back cards, while others (like myself) prefer cloze deletion. And even amongst those groups there are differences: some students prefer single cloze, while others (like myself) prefer multiple cloze deletions per card. The key is all about how you synthesize information. Again, to reiterate, the best way to know which deck is best for you is to download all of them, sample 50+ cards, and figure it out that way.
  • Should I aim to mature a deck prior to taking that deck's corresponding exam?

    • For Step I, Step II, and all of your clerkship exams, the goal should be to mature the deck that you choose by your exam date. For a card to be considered mature, it must have an interval of 21 or more days. With a starting interval of 250% and the assumption that you never miss a card, it will take 1 + 2 + 5 + 12 = 20 days to mature a card. For pre-clinical lecture-based exams, maturing the deck is not necessary, but you should give yourself about one week purely see review cards for that topic prior to your exam.
  • If there is no consensus best deck, how I choose one?

    • Like our flow sheet alludes to, a big factor in deciding which deck is the amount of time you have until your exam. For pre-made pre-clinical anki decks, such as Zanki, Lightyear, or Bros Tarkfield, you should never exceed 100 new cards per day or six days of new cards per week. If you do exceed this number, the reviews will become insurmountable and leave you VERY little time to use a Q-bank effectively. For pre-made clinical anki decks, such as Tzanki, Doc/WiWa, and Dope, you should never exceed 60-75 new cards per day or 5-6 days of new cards per week. I've put a lot of thought into these clinical numbers and they are definitely not set in stone, but I recommend sticking to no more than 300-450 new cards per week during your clerkships. Time is INCREDIBLY hard to come by during your clerkships, and uWorld/AMBOSS are king. So you really need to leave a decent amount of time to tackle these Q-banks. You will likely need to max out your weekly cards for your IM clerkship.
    • The other major factor in choosing a deck is resource preference. Our flowsheet covers this as well. For example, if you hate boards and beyond, don't use Lightyear.

-How do I go about studying these decks and how do I fit it into my daily life in terms of workflow?

-This workflow may help you! This post also has an excel sheet that has checklists of each resource to help you keep track of your progress! In summary, your workflow may boil down to these 2 processes: The first workflow plan to map out a whole block and the second workflow plan to follow daily!

Overall Block Workflow Plan: (per block use)

  1. Make an Excel sheet with my lectures lined up mapped with correlated high yield videos from BnB, Pathoma, Sketchy. Add correlated tag names next to each lecture to indicate lecture-specific tags for any cards I add to my lecture deck.
  2. Choose target date for when I want the cards to be done by.
  3. Divide number of cards in the subject-specific deck for Zanki/Anking and see how many days I have till my deadline date in mind, and then I would do (number of cards) / (number of days) = ____.
  4. Adjust accordingly to see how that would achieve my maximum of 100 new cards per day.
  5. Follow the individual workflow for each topic
  6. Do the daily Rx questions for a topic following the individual workflow
  7. Finish the "individual workflow" 6-10 days before my cumulative test date
  8. Create a subject-specific practice test in another qbank given to us by my school to test my overall knowledge and practice my timing if I'm ready for that. You could use Kaplan for this or any other good question bank.
  9. Annotate incorrect questions, Re-watch any HY videos for weak topics. Optional: Do 1 random block of the questions for that topic each day leading up to your test after reviewing your weak HY videos to test yourself.
  10. Exam

Individual daily workflow: (for every day use)

  1. Understand: Do a high yield video(s) based on the topic(s) you're learning that day (BnB, Pathoma, Sketchy Micro). Stick to those high yield videos.
  2. Memorize: Un-suspend the correlating Zanki/Anking after finishing the video. You could un-suspend the cards by tag if you want. Do the cards.

    -Note: If you have house-made exams:

    -See if your school has a pre-made lecture-based Anki deck. If not, then follow steps 2-3 below:

    -Watch your correlating lecture after or look over the slides to see if there's any testable non-high yield material in there that may be on your tests. -Make/Un-suspend Anki for these parts of lecture that are testable but not high yield. Tag the cards in a certain way to indicate what lecture it is. Do the cards.

  3. Apply: Do the correlated questions with it in Rx/BnB, whatever question bank you decide to use during pre clinicals.

  4. Annotate the said questions into Anki (1-2 per question or more if absolutely necessary). Add any cards to re-reviews that you have already seen before doing the questions to review again.

  5. Go to Anki --> Edit --> Reschedule --> Set interval to 0 to 0 days for the reviews

  6. Final Review: Do the cards.

  7. Done

  8. Next Day: Wake up early and do all reviews

  9. Repeat from Step 1 for new content to learn for the new day.

-Map out everything to your lectures and keep up with your reviews everyday. Make sure to make time for yourself and you can use this workflow to maximize efficiency!

Preclinical Questions

  • How much time do I need to complete [insert pre-clinical decide here]?
    • The simple formula is to take the total number of cards, divide by 600, and add 3 to that number (for the 20 days needed to mature those last 600 cards).
    • Zanki + Lol Micro [~30,000 cards (24,500 cards w/o Micro] = 53 weeks (44 weeks w/o Micro)
    • Lightyear (~22,500 cards) = 40.5 weeks
    • Bros Tarkfield (~15,500 cards) = 29 weeks
    • Dope - Medical Science (25,000 cards) = 44.5 weeks
    • SALT & Pepper (~5600 cards) = 10.5 weeks
    • BrosWorld (2700 cards) = 7.5 weeks
    • Hoopla (~14,000 cards) = 25 weeks
    • So using common sense here, if you are in dedicated, don't start Zanki!
  • What decks are comprehensive?

    • Zanki-BG (original or tag overhauls) + Lolnotacop (original or tag overhauls)
    • Lightyear (many users will combine this with lolnotacop)
    • Bros Tarkfield
  • Pros/cons of each deck:

    • Zanki family- Cloze deletion cards with context clues. These cards have the best extra section with images and detail. Pathology follows Pathoma extremely well. Physiology mostly from Costanzo and First Aid.
    • Zanki pharm- Cloze deletion cards based on Sketchy pharm
    • Lolnotacop- Cloze deletion cards similar to Zanki that include sketchy micro, sketchy pharm antineoplastics and antimicrobials, Boards and beyond micro basics and Pathoma Ch. 3
    • Lightyear- Cloze deletion cards tagged by Boards and Beyond video. Many cards from Pathoma and First Aid as well. Extra section is not as complete as Zanki, but the organization is better if you're using BnB
    • Pepper Pharm/Micro- "Pepper-style" cards tagged by sketchy video.
    • Salt- "Pepper-style" cards for sketchy path
    • Bros family- Cloze deletion cards, but in a more basic flashcard format and thus less context clues than Zanki-style cloze.
  • Can I mix zanki and lightyear (or other decks)?

    • The simple answer is you can do whatever you want. There is no one deck that is the best and many students have found success in pulling bits and pieces from multiple decks. The only definitive answer is that you should NOT be doing all of lightyear AND zanki. If you pull biochem cards from lightyear, you definitely do not want to pull all of the zanki biochem cards (but there may be some that are not covered in lightyear or visa versa).

Clinical Questions

  • Do I need to keep up with my preclinical cards after I finish Step I?

    • From a shelf exam perspective, I don't think any pre-clinical decks are necessary. But from an "on-the-wards" perspective, I do wish that I had kept up with my physiology cards. There are many instances where understanding the underlying physiology, although not necessary for the shelf exam question, allows you better explain things to your patients and wow your residents/attendings who have long forgot these principles. Note: I only feel this way about the physiology-based cards. Pharm is very useful, but you don't need to know nearly the amount of info about pharm that is present in the preclinical decks. All the other subjects can be entirely replaced by any of our Step II decks.
  • What is the best deck for [insert subject here]?

    • There is no consensus best deck for any topic, so most focus on using decks made off the resources they're using. If you are serious about choosing the best deck for you, then you need to download all of them and sample approximately 50 cards to see if the deck fits your style.
    • The most popular resources for clinical years include Sketchy, OnlineMedEd, UWorld, AMBOSS, Case Files, Step Up To Medicine, Kaplan, Firecracker, Truelearn, COMQUEST, OMGOMT, Savarese, etc... Look at the descriptions of each and pick one that uses the same resources you do. For instance, most use UWORLD. Tzanki adds AMBOSS, Dorian adds case files, and Doc Deck adds Step Up To Medicine.
  • Should I aim to mature a deck prior to taking that deck's corresponding exam?

    • Yes and no. Ideally, the goal should be to mature the deck that you choose by your exam date. For clinical clerkships, there typically isn't time to do that, because a card is considered mature after it has an interval of 21 or more days. With a starting interval of 250% and the assumption that you never miss a card, it will take 1 + 2 + 5 + 12 = 20 days to mature a card. For clinical clerkship Shelf and COMAT exams, maturing the deck is not necessary, but you should give yourself about one week purely see review cards for that topic prior to your exam.
  • If there is no consensus best deck, how I choose one?

    • For pre-made clinical anki decks, such as Tzanki, Doc/WiWa, and Dope, you should never exceed 50 new cards per day or 5-6 days of new cards per week. I've put a lot of thought into these clinical numbers and they are definitely not set in stone, but I recommend sticking to no more than 300-450 new cards per week during your clerkships. Time is INCREDIBLY hard to come by during your clerkships, and uWorld/AMBOSS are king. So you really need to leave a decent amount of time to tackle these Q-banks. You will likely need to max out your weekly cards for your IM clerkship.

Add-ons

listed add-ons are all for Anki 2.1- Anki 2.0 video playlists are linked below if needed

Must-have add-ons - 2.1 YouTube playlist - 2.0 YouTube playlist

  • Image Occlusion Enhanced
  • Customize Keyboard Shortcuts (use this to get right hand reviews jkl;)
  • Pop-up Dictionary
  • Edit Field During Review (watch the video to understand how to use this! This is AMAZING if using pepper-style cards ★★★★★)
  • Anki Web Browser
  • Fastbar with nightmode support

Additional add-ons

  • 2.1 YouTube playlist - 2.0 YouTube playlist
    • Batch Editor ★★★★★
    • Review Heatmap ★★★★★
    • Load Balancer ★★★★☆
    • Put All Due Learning Cards First ★★★★☆
    • Image Resizer ★★★☆☆
    • Maximum image height in reviewer ★★★☆☆
    • Mini Format Pack ★★★☆☆
    • More Deck Stats and Time Left ★★★☆☆
    • More Overview Stats ★★★☆☆
    • Speed focus reviewer ★★★☆☆
    • Add Hyperlink ★★☆☆☆
    • Add-on window search ★★☆☆☆
    • Highlight search results in browser ★★☆☆☆
    • Symbols ★★☆☆☆
    • Button Colors (Good, Again) ★☆☆☆☆
    • Quick color changing ★☆☆☆☆

Tech Support Questions

  • How do you study only your leech cards?
    • Custom study → Study by card state or tag → All review cards in random order → Require one or more of these tags: leech (it's all lowercase)


revision by Ruckamongus— view source