How to Maximize your Summer between 1st and 2nd Year with Firecracker!

Posted by Ben Williams on May 13, 2014 10:43:33 AM

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For 1st years wrapping up your inaugural year of medical school, the upcoming summer is a unique opportunity. It's the last substantial break you'll have to rest and recover, as subsequent summers are spent on rotations and eventually in residency. And though you might not want to think about it yet, Step 1 of the USMLE is only a year away. Without proper preparation, 2nd year can become overwhelming if you're relearning 1st year material while also learning new material and preparing for Step 1.


That's why our team of editors has taken the time to recommend high-yield topics on Firecracker to flag and review over summer! Catching up on 1st year material is totally manageable - flag 2 to 3 topics per week from the list below and follow your Firecracker study plan. By the start of 2nd year, you'll be comfortable flagging new material with the assurance that you're also maintaining your knowledge of high-yield 1st year material. Get a huge leg-up on 2nd year with this summer plan and don't break a sweat come Step 1 prep-time!

Basic Sciences

Organ Systems

Our editors offer personal suggestions for how to effectively use your summer:

"Don't you hate it when you have a super fun summer, and then when you start school again in the Fall it takes you a solid 2-3 weeks of agony and pain to learn how to study again? That's the last thing you want to do in medical school, where the pace is faster than it's ever been. I kept up on my daily reviews and flagged new material to the extent that 2nd year was even easier for me than 1st. And that proved a life-saver when I started my dedicated Step 1 study period." - Trevor Rosenlof, Editor-in-Chief, Tulane University Medical School

"Microbiology, immunology, physiology--these are incredibly high yield first year subjects, each with a ton of easily forgettable details. You don't want to re-learn entire disciplines weeks before the test! Summer between M1-M2 is the ideal time to review, bank, and solidify, so that you can focus on the wave of knowledge that comes during M2." - Neil Majithia, senior author for Psychiatry and Rheumatology, UVA

"I started using Firecracker at the end of my first year, and I used the summer to flag as much first-year material as I could while still having a fun and relaxing summer! I tried to focus on the subjects that require a lot of memorization, like biochemistry. For me, physiology was more about understanding, so it was easy to "remind myself" how something worked, but once I forgot the name of an enzyme it was gone! Even though I only took a few weeks off at the end of the year before I started going through Firecracker, I was amazed at how much material I had already forgotten, especially from early in the year." - Megan Lord, managing editor for Internal Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School


Get crackin this summer!

- The Firecracker Team


Topics: Medical Education

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Firecracker is an adaptive learning platform that uses amazing content coupled with spaced repetition to help medical students crush their exams. We offer programs for both individual students, and entire medical schools. If you'd like to learn more contact us at

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