For the last few years, the Firecracker team has collected verified USMLE and COMLEX score reports, as well as qualitative data from the students who sent us their scores. At the bottom of this post, we compiled our top ten tips for effectively using Firecracker from the students who performed most exceptionally on their major exams.
Thousands of medical students in the Caribbean have signed up for Firecracker recently, and we love to see our members engaging on this platform en route to stupendous success on the Step! A third-year medical student at Ross University in the Caribbean who scored a 258 on Step 1 this year wrote the following to help guide you to use Firecracker effectively in your pursuit of a fantastic score on the USMLE:
“I'm happy to lend some insight on how I used Firecracker during medical school. Thank you for all you and the staff have done in creating such a great software and user experience!
Firecracker entered my medical school training during second semester. At the start of second semester I attended a Firecracker webinar and was impressed by their users' performance outcomes and by their customer service. Firecracker's intense commitment to their users matched the intensity I planned to commit to medical school. Ultimately, my hope in subscribing was to master the basic medical sciences, crush Step 1, and subsequently open doors for my training as a future physician.
At the start of my subscription I committed to staying caught up with the prescribed daily study questions. Our medical school operates on an Organ System based curriculum and I used Firecracker alongside daily lectures. After listening to daily lectures I would find and flag a topic in Firecracker. If there weren’t corollary topics I would flag the topics that seemed most relevant. If there were ten topics correlating to lecture I would flag all ten. Incorporating Firecracker into my studies only bolstered my performance in medical school.
At times Firecracker topics contained more information than we received in lecture. This fact seemed more true in second semester than third and fourth semester. Initially, the additional studying seemed like a burden. The early burden transformed into a welcomed ease when I later found myself answering UWorld problems that my colleagues "never learned" during medical school.
As medical school progressed, my daily study question recommendations reached 300-400 questions = 3-5 hours/day. Doing this number of questions daily was taxing, period. It required I allocate an hour of questions to the morning, midday, and night. Committing to hard work and extra time paid off during dedicated Step 1 studying, where I could refine my MCQ ability rather than spend time relearning information.
Firecracker gave me a strong enough overall foundation of knowledge begin dedicated study time strengthening weak areas like Anatomy and Embryology as well as finish flagging firecracker topics (I took Step 1 with over 95% of topics flagged). Ultimately, I found the more I concentrated on Firecracker and UWorld the better I performed on NBME exams.
My dedicated study time for Step 1 began each morning covering 200 Firecracker topic specific questions, ie. Endocrinology. Then I completed 46 MCQs from Kaplan or Rx before lunch. In the afternoon I completed 50 random UWorld MCQs and finished the evenings with 50 – 100 random firecracker questions. My initial question sets in UWorld were above average, which I believe was largely due to the foundation Firecracker helped lay throughout medical school.
Firecracker helped me remember the minutiae that make the difference between a good and great Step 1 score. The commitment to Firecracker required during medical school gave me freedom to enjoy studying for Step 1 and fine tune my knowledge base. Keeping up with Firecracker was challenging and on occasion even excruciating during medical school. The satisfaction of seeing two years pay off in my test score made it worth all the effort. If you’re considering using Firecracker, accept the work required, commit to the program, and trust your ultimate performance will be worth the effort you put in. Firecracker’s research indicates the more questions you do over time the better your performance. Why not apply this evidence to your own studies?”
Top Ten Tips to Slay Step 1 from students who have done so successfully:
3. Start early!
We hope you find these posts useful in your quest towards great success! If you have any questions for us, please don't hesitate to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we're here to help. Happy crackin!