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:
As promised, our team of editors has continued work to produce more clerkship modules for Firecracker members. We now offer seven clerkship modules: Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Ob/Gyn, Surgery, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Family Medicine. You can sign up for one at a time - or get all of them with Firecracker MD and Firecracker DO.
Firecracker has embarked on a new project: creating new modules for all the major Clerkships. Last month we released the Family Medicine Clerkship, and today we’re excited to launch Pediatrics and Psychiatry Clerkships. In addition to getting these as part of any Step 2 CK Firecracker membership, you can also buy them separately for only $40 for a month of access. You can access these new modules from Study Something Specific by choosing them directly from the dropdown at the top of the page.
Developing smart and consistent study habits separates successful med students from the rest of the pack. Sarah is a third-year at Rutgers-NJMS who began using Firecracker about a year ago. Through reviewing first-year materials alongside her second-year coursework, she stamped a very comprehensive knowledgebase into her long-term memory. Sarah's studies resulted in stupendous success on Step 1, and her study strategies are now second-nature for her clinical clerkships. She's written this summary of how she did it for you:
For years, Firecracker has proven extremely effective as a resource for preclinical classes and USMLE Step 1 preparation. Thousands of third-year medical students are now also using Firecracker alongside their clinical rotations, and to prepare for major exams including USMLE Step 2 CK, Shelfs, COMLEX Level 2, and COMATs. Suat, a fourth-year medical student who picked up Firecracker as a primary resource during clerkships, graciously shares some wise words of experience here:
Firecracker members have consistently crushed their boards since day one, and in recent years we have made huge strides in developing world-class content for clinical rotations, USMLE Step 2, and Shelf exams. You can use the same Firecracker account to conveniently transition into your clinical year studies after completing Step 1, and here's how:
1. Go to your Account and Settings page via the navigation panel on the left side of Firecracker's webpage. Scroll down to the "Path to Success" section, and select the new Test you are preparing for from the dropdown menu. Adjust your Goal score and Exam date as needed, and make sure you click the "Save Study Plan Changes" button:
2. Firecracker will automatically adjust your Today's To-Do's recommendations according to whichever Test you are preparing for. When browsing content on the Study Something Specific page, you'll find that Step 2 materials are now the default there as well. You can still easily access our pre-clinical content for review.
3. On the Take an Exam page, you'll find timed practice exams in our board-style exam interface to help you prepare for your Shelf Exams and USMLE Step 2:
4. Firecracker's authors and editors wrote up this guide on how to make the most of our platform during your clinical rotations, and I recorded this in-depth video demonstration for clinical year success strategies.
5. In the last 30-90 days before your Step 2 test date, activate Dedicated Test Prep Mode in Firecracker. We released this upgrade only two months ago, and about 500 medical students are currently using our Dedicated Test Prep Mode for USMLE Step 2.
I hope you found this guide helpful for transitioning to your clinical years with Firecracker, and as always, please don't be shy to ask us any questions you have. All the best,
David J. Guertin
On June 6th David Guertin led a demonstration of how to use Firecracker's Step 2 module to prepare for rotations:
This is an updated version of the guide we published last year, updated to reflect the new Firecracker MD/DO and Q-bank integration on Firecracker. Thanks to Firecracker editor Dhara Kinariwala for making this update!
Third year has finally arrived. You get to do what you’ve always wanted to do: see patients. Step 1 is long gone, and you’ve hopefully had some time to rest and relax before starting clinical rotations.
So how can you study effectively during your clinical years?
Preparing for your Family Medicine Rotation
Your family medicine clerkship is a rotation unlike any other in terms of the day to day experience (and, unfortunately, the final exam- more on than later). Unlike other rotations, in family medicine rotations you are paired up with a family practitioner and spend all day, every day of the rotation working right alongside her/him. Odds are you will spend more time with that attending then all other attendings of your core clerkships combined. In most schools, you are matched with physicians in surrounding rural areas and might even end up living there during the week. This is a unique opportunity to experience rural medicine.
No matter what field you want to go into, you have to complete a surgery rotation. And it can be the most painful experience of your life, or you can learn from it. So no matter your future career, it’s worth making the best of it. It will be more tolerable, even enjoyable, and you’ll learn more.