Firecracker's Updated Algorithm

Posted by elliott on Aug 17, 2015 5:13:00 PM

You might be asking “what are the key differences between how Firecracker legacy recommends questions for me and how Firecracker M.D./D.O. recommends questions for me”

Here’s what’s new:
The Firecracker M.D. and Firecracker D.O. uses a new recommendation algorithm that keeps you on top of what you’ve learned by recommending the questions that you’re at the highest risk of forgetting. You can mark content as “Urgent”, “Current”, or “Past”. Our algorithm will adjust to quickly push “Urgent” concepts to mastery while keeping “Past” concepts on the backburner.

Your daily number of questions to do is determined by the number of concepts that you’re at high risk of forgetting. Any concepts that you're at high risk of forgetting are always prioritized - this way we make sure you get the highest return on your study time.

Here’s how it’s better:
The new algorithm has been trained on a much larger data set - the quiz data of 100,000 med students who have reviewed over 148 milion questions in our app. In other words, we’ve gotten very good at understanding how medical students learn and when they’re likely to forget something.

The new algorithm is flexible. The calendar system is gone - the truth of the matter is there's no exact day that you need to study a question on. You won’t be punished like you used to for missing days from Firecracker - if you take a few days off from Firecracker you won’t have as many questions to do as you would in Firecracker Legacy.

You won’t see the same cards over and over again anymore. Our data showed that our users had “leech cards” because our old algorithm didn’t track the total number of times you saw each card. Our new algorithm uses the total number of times you've seen each question as an input.

You'll see questions in priority order wherever you start a quiz from. Whenever you study something specific on your own, you will see questions that you're at the highest risk of forgetting first. Our old algorithm did not put an order to questions when users wanted to study on their own.

If you want to read more background info about our algorithm click here. If you want to dive right into the details of how we determine which concepts you're at risk of forgetting and need to review click here.

Data Scientist, Firecracker

Welcome to Firecracker

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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