What if I can't consistently complete my review tasks?

Posted by Keith Frankel on Dec 11, 2015 3:08:32 PM
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Earlier, I wrote a post about how long you should spend on your daily review questions. (If you didn’t see that, the answer is 3-5 questions each minute.) I’ve since received amazing feedback from students saying that following this recommendation has made completing their daily review tasks much easier. However, some students still worry that they may find it difficult to consistently complete their daily review tasks over time. In these cases – when you’re unable to commit to Firecracker consistently – what should you do? 

The simple response is this: Answer about 1000 questions per month.

Why this number? Well, this is the number of questions that the average Firecracker student answers each month. (And remember: Our data does show that 'average'Firecrackers still do outperform their non-Firecracker peers.) Seem like a lot? Let’s take a look. At three questions per minute, this is about 5.5 hours of studying per month, or only an hour and twenty minutes per week. That is less than two episodes of Game of Thrones. Looked at another way: 1000 questions per month is equal to roughly 250 questions each week. For most students this is only 1 to 2 daily review tasks. 

Now, is completing just this amount ideal? Well no. Firecracker’s algorithm has been calibrated using the history of nearly 125,000 medical school students having answered nearly 200,000,000 questions within the platform. All of these data points contribute to making your daily recommendations accurate. As such, doing the high priority questions (i.e. those that you’re at the greatest risk of forgetting) you’re assigned each day is by far the most efficient and effective way of mastering all of the content needed for your boards. 

However, many students are not actively pursuing board scores at the higher end of the spectrum. And even for those who are, there are going to be times when you’re simply too swamped with med school (and life in general) to consistently complete your daily reviews. Fortunately, missing a few days doesn’t immediately sentence you to failure. Nor should it make you feel like you’ve fallen too far behind for it to be useful to pick back up.


One of the problems we often face as perfectionists is that debilitating feeling that comes with knowing we’ve done less than what is ideal. Often, this causes us to abandon the path entirely once we’ve fallen behind, even if only just a bit. But you should never feel that way with your Firecracker daily reviews. Just pick back up where you left off, and given enough time, Firecracker can get you back on track.

To summarize: The most important thing you can do to ensure success is to stay consistent with your studying over time. If that means completing your daily review questions each day, great! If that means just completing the average of 1000 questions over the course of each month, that’s good too. But if you happen to find yourself having fallen behind, don’t freak out. Just commit a simple hour of each week to answering review question. In no time at all, you’ll be back and well on your way toward a successful board score.

Hope that helps, but let me know if you have any questions!

Topics: Spaced Learning, How to Use Firecracker, Tips and Advice

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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 chat@firecracker.me.

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