For years, Firecracker was designed primarily for long-term board prep, allowing you to score a standard deviation higher than your peers given consistent usage over time. Then in August, we released a new version of Firecracker featuring an updated marking system (Urgent, Current, and Past). This evolved Firecracker from just a long-term board prep tool into a course companion, as well, making it possible to simultaneously prepare for and prioritize your current course or clerkship material while still keeping past material fresh in your mind.
This fall we surveyed medical students - many Firecracker users - about their experiences as medical students. Some of those students had already taken the Step 1 exam, and we looked at data from students who scored a 230 or better to see what tools they used. In this case, we excluded Firecracker usage from the graph, focusing on what other tools successful students used in their final prepartion. Ultimately this data represents a total of 203 students. The blue line is the number of students who reported using a given tool and the orange line shows what % of those students found the tool "very useful". Here are the results:
It's that time of year...time for many M2 students to prepare to take the Step 1 exam this spring. Over the next few weeks we'll be publishing a series of guides by Firecracker editors about their experiences studying for the Step 1. This guide is by Jeff Cooney, an MD candidate at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio who scored > 240 on his Step 1. Remember, you can try Firecracker for free for 30 days: https://med.firecracker.me/signup
First off, congratulations to making it to the end of your MS2 year - that alone is a huge accomplishment. I believe that anyone smart enough to make it through 2 years of medical school has the potential to do very well on STEP 1. It’s important to remember that STEP 1 isn't an IQ test - the problem solving that you're required to do is fairly straightforward. The challenge lies almost entirely in learning (i.e. memorizing) the massive volume of testable information. In my opinion, there is a nearly linear relationship between the amount of time/effort you put into preparing for the test and your score. This is when the years/months of Firecracker questions that you’ve been doing will pay dividends.
This week we released concept-specific citations on Firecracker. Our team of editors carefully worked their ways through First Aid 2015 and First Aid 2016 and cited almost every single page in each book to a concept on Firecracker. This means that at the most granular level you can relate Firecracker content and questions directly to relevant passages in FA - streamlining your review, especially in your Step 1 dedicated prep period. We have 14,390 citations for FA 2015 and 13,275 for FA 2016.
Firecracker is free - sign up to try our practice USMLE Step 1 exam and see where you're strong, where you're weak, and how you compare to other students: https://med.firecracker.me/signup
In the past year Firecracker has released 8 practice Shelf and Board exams - including a practice USMLE Step 1 exam. This week, to help students using these exams, we’ve released benchmarking: now in your results you can see how your performance compares to that of all other med students at both an aggregate and individual question level - so we can serve you a good snapshot of how your performance compares to that of other medical students actively preparing for USMLE Step 1: