Introducing Firecracker High Yield

Posted by Dhara Kinariwala on Aug 12, 2016 4:57:23 PM

Although we believe that students are best served by mastering all of the content in Firecracker, we know that, for some students, that’s just not feasible. That’s why we’re happy to announce Firecracker High Yield, a new addition to both Firecracker MD and DO that allows you to focus on a smaller subsection of the most important content, curated by our editorial team and assigned to you in smaller daily chunks. Today High Yield is available for the Step 1 and COMLEX. We’ll be releasing High Yield for Step 2 over the next couple of weeks.

Recommended for those who want to slowly ramp up their Firecracker studying, may have fallen behind along the way, or are simply too busy to keep up, Firecracker High Yield is a great alternative to the traditional Firecracker experience. During onboarding (or in settings if you’re already a member), you can now choose to either work your way through all of Firecracker's content, or only focus on the highest yield topics. Your choice will determine which and how much content we assign you each day. If at any point you want to switch, you can; we’ll carry over your progress, and Firecracker will adjust its recommendations accordingly.

What exactly is "High Yield"?

By now, you’ve probably heard a professor or classmate say “This is super high-yield!” But what exactly does “high-yield” mean? For your classroom and USMLE exams, high-yield means that a concept or topic is very likely to be tested.  Several factors play into making a concept high-yield:

  • It is a clinical concept frequently seen in the real world Example: Diabetes mellitus management
  • It is an inherently easy concept to test Example: Calculations of Attributable Risk and Odds Ratio
  • It is a basic science concept with important clinical applications Example: Inheritance of X-linked recessive disorders
  • It highlights the link between basic science and applied medicine Example: Presentations and imaging of epidural vs. subdural hematomas

Conversely, “low-yield” concepts are those that don’t appear frequently on exams. This may be because they are challenging to format into a multiple-choice question, they are not standardized (infant milk formulations), or they are seen less frequently in clinical settings (some of that esoteric biochemistry you’ve already forgotten).

Keep in mind that it is still very important to study low-yield material!  Most exams aren’t made up of 100% “high-yield” content – that would make for a really easy exam.  Board exams, especially, will contain several “low-yield” concepts to help distinguish the students who focused on the basics from those whose medical knowledge is deeper and more thorough.  I once glossed over a set of “low-yield” pulmonology topics for a board exam, but, to my dismay, this ended up costing me several exam questions! So, certainly study the low-yield material, but aim to learn the high-yield stuff first and foremost.

So here’s where our new Firecracker High Yield can help you. We’ve amassed the high-yield content in one place so that you don’t have to try to collect it yourself. Focus on these topics first, and have them down cold before the big day, so that you can feel confident in your knowledge base. As always, let us know if you have suggestions, comments or questions that we can help with!

On Tuesday August 16th at 2 p.m. EDT we will hold an online demonstration and Q&A for Firecracker High Yield - hope you can join us! We're also having a sale for folks who are ready to jump in and give this a try, this weekend - Firecracker for $180 for one year, $300 for two years.

Topics: USMLE Step 1, How to Use Firecracker, High Yield

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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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