How this Firecracker scored a 264 on USMLE Step 1

Posted by David Guertin on Feb 15, 2015 7:17:13 AM

Firecracker comprehensively covers all of the testable facts and concepts for the MCAT, USMLE, and COMLEX, as well as the NBME Shelf exams. Most of the students who used this software to destroy Step 1 of the USMLE have continued on with Firecracker for Step 2 preparation and clinical clerkships. Dave, a third-year medical student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, details how he integrates Firecracker into his studies below:Dave 264

“I started using Firecracker in March of my second year of medical school when a third year panel of students had recommended it to us for Step 1 preparation. If I could go back to the first year of medical school I would have started using it from day 1. In my opinion, there is not a better comprehensive resource out there. The ability to recall answers, and not just be able to select them on a multiple choice exam, is VERY helpful during my clerkships - i.e. getting pimped.

I originally started using Firecracker for material I knew I would just have to outright memorize for Step 1 - biochemistry and microbiology, but the more I used Firecracker the more I saw how it could be used in a more broad sense. So, my original goals of Firecracker were to hammer home those difficult but score separating subjects, but my goals with Firecracker quickly grew well beyond that.

Unfortunately I didn't use Firecracker for my basic science classes where it would have been very helpful. I used it for a few organ system classes at the end of my second year while I was preparing for Step 1 - that is when I realized how much it would've been helpful for the first 2 years of medical school.

The new Step 2 related material has been becoming much more useful with the updated topics. I have used Firecracker as my primary resource with UWorld for all my shelf exams thus far, and will continue to use it throughout my third year. Thus far it has been flawless - Medicine shelf 98, Neurology shelf 99, Surgery shelf 99. I also use the "write your own question" function to gear for more specific topics of interest. Firecracker has been how I have separated myself from the rest of the class in my clerkships. During my clerkships I now average about 200-300 questions per day.

From March of my second year to June, when I took Step 1, Firecracker became my primary resource on Step 1 along with UWorld and Pathoma. I used the latter two resources as a guide to flagging topics in Firecracker. During that May (my dedicated Step 1 study time), I was averaging about 700-800 Firecracker questions per day. It worked.

Bottom line, if you are not using Firecracker, then you are not in the business of crushing your exams/USMLE/clerkships. My advice for new users - start by flagging only a small number of topics at a time and work on keeping up with the questions everyday. Some people tend to flag too many topics at once and quickly become overwhelmed. I truly believe Firecracker is the best resource for medical school. I liked it so much that I applied for a job as a topic editor!



If you want to crush your standardized tests, ooze confidence when you’re getting pimped, and ultimately match into the competitive specialty of your choice, then Firecracker is the right program for you. Our membership and the data agree that you’ll get the most out of this mobile and online education resource if you start as soon as possible. If you’re still unsure about getting crackin, remember that signing up is entirely risk-free. Start a free trial for full access to all of Firecracker’s questions, content, and features today!

Topics: Medical Education

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