Firecracker Step 1 Performance

Posted by elliott on Aug 1, 2014 1:58:00 PM

In July 2014, we collected quite a few USMLE Step 1 score reports and student lifestyle surveys from medical students all across the country. Here are some of our findings:

1) Firecrackers score significantly higher on the USMLE Step 1 than non-Firecrackers.


Using submitted score reports and self-reported scores from our survey, we compared the scores of active Firecracker users against non-Firecracker users. Active Firecrackers were defined as users who used Firecracker for 6 months or longer. We defined active Firecrackers this way because Firecracker is best used as a companion tool to your coursework for an extended duration.

The distribution of Step 1 scores is both higher and less spread out for active Firecracker users. Firecracker users averaged a 242.9 with a median score of 246 while Non-Firecrackers averaged a 229.44 with a median score of 231. A two-tailed Welch's t-test for a difference in average score gave a result that is considered to be extremely statistically significant (p<0.0001).

2) Length of activity on Firecracker has a very strong positive correlation with Step 1 score.


A very strong linear relationship exists between the length of Firecracker usage and USMLE Step 1 scores. For every additional week of Firecracker use, estimated USMLE Step 1 scores increased by 0.3 points.

3) These effects persist even after adjusting for MCAT scores



To adjust for possible selection or response biases, we compared the Step 1 scores of Firecracker users and Non-Firecracker users who had the same MCAT. Firecrackers outperformed non-Firecracker users with the same MCAT score almost across the board. 


- Elliott
Data Scientist, Firecracker


Topics: Medical Education

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