NEW - Major Upgrade to our Clinical Clerkship and Step 2 Content

Posted by Ben Williams on Jun 9, 2014 11:38:03 AM

Hi Firecrackers!

We are very excited to announce to everyone some significant improvements we are making to our content for clinical years!

Our clinical content was first put together two years ago. Unfortunately, when it was written, there was not enough planning, organization, or oversight to the process of content creation. And as a result, we ended up with a Step 2 product that was far below Firecracker's standard of excellence. But we have assembled a team of editors to fix this problem and bring you a study aid that will help you smash your clinical year shelf exams as well as Step 2.

So what specific changes are we making? We want to make sure our content is:

  • pertinent for Step 2
  • pertinent for any clerkship you are in
  • easy to use and navigate
  • not too burdened with unnecessary material and review questions

Clerkship shelf exams tend to contain Step 2 information plus more detailed material. So anything in Step 2 is fair game for a shelf exam. For that reason, our first goal is to cover all material that is considered fair game for Step 2. After we do so, we will go back and add any of the more detailed information that is likely to show up on a shelf exam or that attendings like to test you on when they think you are least expecting it.

One obstacle we often face is the tremendous amount of overlap in clinical medicine. A physician in the emergency room, hospital wards, operating room, on labor and delivery, and in an outpatient clinic might encounter a patient with a pulmonary embolism. All need to be capable of making that diagnosis and beginning appropriate management. And that means a question about dealing with a pulmonary embolism could show up on a test during your surgery, internal medicine, OB/GYN, or family medicine rotation. But we don't want to repeat information throughout our content, because it adds duplicate questions that only increase the work you have to do without increasing any value you get from the product. So what is the solution?

First, one section we are going to have under our Clinical Clerkships/Step 2 content is a "General Step 2" section. Here, we will have content that is pertinent to multiple clerkships.

Second, at the beginning of every other section, we will have an introductory topic. This topic will contain general tips and suggestions for excelling in that given rotation. It will also give you a study plan, including what topics to flag and study and where you can find those topics.

We are confident that these changes will give you a product that you can use from day one of your clinical years and derive incredible value from. Check out our blog later this week for a list of Step 2 topics that already meet Firecracker's standard of excellence. We will regularly update you with more topics we consider to be high quality as they become available.

Happy studying!

Trevor Rosenlof, Editor-in-Chief


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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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