The following is a guest-authored blog post from John, a second-year medical student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, one of Firecracker's more than twenty official partner institutions:
Each fall around this, the team here at Firecracker commits a considerable amount of time to analyzing all of our students’ effort, progress, and performance in the platform over the previous year. Our goal: vigorously test, thoroughly validate, and openly publish our efficacy results to prove that Firecracker truly does work toward courses, boards, and wards. Today, we’re happy to announce that our 2017 Firecracker Efficacy Report is now live and available for your scrutinizing pleasure! A few quick highlights from this year’s report:
This year, we’re taking two approaches to offering Firecracker to students. First - the individual discounts. Second - the group discount. They can be used together. Here’s how it works.
Firecracker D.O. is built for osteopathic medical students who want to kill two birds with one stone and crush every major challenge in sight; COMLEX and USMLE, COMATs, classes, and clinical Clerkships. We've recently rebuilt our osteopathy materials to address the most up to date COMLEX standards with comprehensive OMM content for the Shelf, and tons of newly published questions. More D.O. students than ever before are now taking USMLE as well, and balancing both board exams is easier than ever in Firecracker. Matthew, a third-year at PCOM, describes here how he was able to leverage the Firecracker D.O. platform in preparation for some stupendous success:
Although Firecracker is a very comprehensive resource offering thousands of all-original board-style practice clinical vignettes, tens of thousands of direct recall questions and in-depth topics with citations for everything you need to know, most students actually report saving time when they use Firecracker for their studies. We've optimized our mobile app for speed, and recently implemented some new features on the web, including the ever-popular Shot Clock, to help you crush questions quickly. Here, we'll break down best practices for studying efficiently with Firecracker, which is available at an excellent sale price this month:
Firecracker has quickly become one of the most popular resources for medical students to use alongside coursework and to prepare for their major exams, and we've built out comprehensive content for Premedical years and MCAT into the same proven software. Not only do premedical students get full access to Firecracker via the mobile app and website to supplement their studies, the MCAT program is entirely free! When premedical students find out about this, they often respond by telling us we're "the best-kept secret in the test prep world." Oliver, whose voice is here in italics, is a premed at Baylor who wanted to crush his MCAT, and found Firecracker useful in achieving a near perfect score:
Lee is a medical student at Florida State University in the class of 2019 who was interested in optimizing study efficiency from the beginning of medical school. To stay on top of coursework through his preclinical years, Lee found Firecracker's content, questions, and related context links to be helpful in pushing him towards relevant materials for learning. Balancing coursework and developing a consistent routine of reviewing content from day one of medical school all the way through dedicated board prep, Lee leveraged Firecracker's spaced repetition-rooted recommendations and USMLE-style practice case questions en route to a stellar Step 1 score:
Dedicated Test Prep mode (DTP) is now live in our iOS app for iPad and iPhone users. For anyone who hasn’t heard yet, DTP Mode is designed specifically for use during the final 30 to 90 days before your big board exam. It transitions your studying to better align with how the most successful students spend their final few weeks. In DTP Mode you’ll shift your focus to working through Firecracker’s Q-bank on a subject by subject basis, with follow up remediation tasks to fill in any weak areas. Plus, at the end of each week we’ll assign you a single practice block for your upcoming board exam, which you can take to get comfortable with the exam format and see how prepared you are relative to your peers.
Over the past couple of years, Firecracker members from all walks of life have asked us to build out native app functionality for just about every device. Since our membership keeps us moving, we've taken a page out of The Who's songbook and decided that we're Going Mobile. You can now download the Firecracker Daily Review mobile app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as for Apple Watch, totally free! Firecracker Daily Review parallels our website's interface and feature set, allows you to make progress on your studies while offline, and synchronizes with our website. In addition to the offline functionality, our mobile app also features popular new functionalities including Night Mode, High Yield Mode and Read-to-Me. We have received some really rave reviews thus far, and I've chosen a few of my favorites from the App Store and Google Play to showcase here:
Winter break is upon us, and students are asking us how to maximize productivity while balancing leisure time with friends and family. This time of year tends to be one of the most popular times for medical students to diligently dive into Firecracker. Whether you can hardly believe you made it through your first semester of medical school, or you're seeing that board exam date looming on the horizon, there's no better New Year's resolution than a regular review routine: