Last week we held our first ever study jam. Study Jams are monthly in-person and on-campus gatherings hosted by Firecracker tutors to help students discuss medical education, study methods, and study. A Study Jam can be almost anything, from working on case studies and questions together, to discussing the logistics of preparing for the USMLE when you’re already a full time, working doctor. The intent is to help students meet, share knowledge and best practices, and support each other as they’re completing their medical degree or licensure.
Our first Study Jam was hosted by Dr. Praveen Chiluka from Rangaraya Medical College. Praveen hosted 13 medical graduates in Hyderabad, India to discuss methods for preparing for the USMLE, and to study. Here’s a synopsis of what Praveen told us about the Hyderabad study jam:
I introduced the concept of the Study Jam, that we were gathering to share best practices and information about how to prepare for the USMLE as well as to offer support to each other and study together.
First, we discussed Qbanks - what we’re using and how it’s working. Most of the students subscribe to UWorld, read Kaplan series notes and First Aid. They said that an integration of images including X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans would be helpful. Some of the students had tried firecracker and they said they liked the way the topics are arranged and the topic search-function, something missing in UWorld.
We also discussed the actual application process for the USMLE, how to sign up and to provide credentials for the exam. I downloaded this brochure from the internet to help students learn what they needed to do to apply.
We talked about our personal experiences preparing for the USMLE - and this was one of the best parts of the Study Jam. We were able to share problems we’d run into, mistakes we had made studying and offer advice to each other about avoiding the problems. A student preparing for the Step 2 joined us - Dr. Manasa. She had already taken the Step 1 and told our group about her experience in her dedicated preparation for the Step 1. She also told us about her experience in the exam hall during the test.
In the second part of the Study Jam, we began working on actual test preparation. We had several different sessions, beginning with group-work on USMLE style questions. We also had a rapid-fire round where I asked students questions and they had to shout the answers as quickly as possible.
Overall, everyone liked the format, and found the information helpful. We’re going to do this again.
Our next Study Jam is this Friday, November 20 at Temple University School of Medicine. If you’re interested in hosting a Study Jam for your city, or you school, sign up here and I’ll be in touch to help you set up the space, the materials, and the food. Sign up here.
Additional information: If you're an IMG (international medical graduate) planning to take the USMLE, instructions on signing up are here.
You can sign up to host a Study Jam here.
David Guertin works on Customer Care at Firecracker and is the coordinator of Study Jams.