Substantiated Summer Study Strategies for Success

Posted by David Guertin on Apr 25, 2016 3:47:50 PM

"How should I use Firecracker over the summer?" 

It's a question we've started receiving quite a bit. Over time, we’ve compiled dozens of in-depth study plans, tens of thousands of verified score reports, and a few hundred million questions completed to provide accurate recommendations for best practices. Still, some of the most illustrative insights into effective study strategies are best directly provided by our valued users. Below are some personal experiences that some of the most successful Firecracker members have shared regarding how to use Firecracker over the summer:

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Topics: USMLE, Medical Education, How to Use Firecracker, COMLEX, Testimonial, Q-bank

Coming Soon: Dedicated Test Prep Mode in Firecracker

Posted by Keith Frankel on Mar 23, 2016 12:03:47 PM

Firecracker is free, make sure you're a member to get access to these new features: Sign up for a free 30 day trial of Firecracker.

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.

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Topics: USMLE, USMLE Step 1, Dedicated Prep

Study Jams Expands!

Posted by David Guertin on Mar 16, 2016 12:43:59 PM

It's a busy time here at Firecracker. Our product team is hard at work building new features for use during dedicated test prep, and our content team is focused on creating as many CVs and board-style practice exams as possible. But we're not just hiding in the office. We're also getting involved in as many community engagement activities as possible. In particular, we're making Study Jams a reality on the international stage. With the help of some of our most engaged medical students, these events combine free food and drinks with some of Firecracker's best integrative content in a peer-led environment.

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Topics: Students, USMLE, Practice Exams, Study Jams, Testimonial

Daily Patient Cases

Posted by Keith Frankel on Mar 9, 2016 10:26:38 AM

Daily Patient Cases are part of your study plan - create a free account and try it out for yourself:

Today we’ve launched the first of two new task types that we’ll be adding to Today’s To-Dos this week: Daily Patient Cases. Now when you come into Firecracker each day, you will see a single new clinical vignette (CV) for you to solve, selected specifically for you based on your content marks, your past recall scores on the primary associated topic, your performance on related CVs, and the relative difficulty of each CV.

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Topics: USMLE, New Features, How to Use Firecracker

Study Jams: A New Year's Update

Posted by davidguertin on Jan 15, 2016 12:28:57 PM

Leading up to 2016, the Firecracker team had been brainstorming how best to engage our community in a more direct and personal level. After much consideration and discussions with our passionate community of students, we've created what we think are a great way of doing this on campus and in person: Firecracker Study Jams.

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Topics: Students, USMLE, Medical Education, Study Jams

Testing your mastery in Firecracker - today & in the future.

Posted by Keith Frankel on Nov 24, 2015 9:25:11 AM

Today we’re excited to announce the release of the first of many significant updates to Firecracker MD and Firecracker DO centered around testing your mastery. Now, you can take one of several carefully created standardized exams to help prepare you for your classes, wards, and boards.

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Topics: USMLE, New Features, Clerkships, Practice Exams, Exams

Clinical Vignettes: Powering Firecracker Exams

Posted by Trevor Rosenlof on Nov 23, 2015 9:27:44 PM

If you're not yet a Firecracker member you can sign up for free - instant access to over 2000 clinical vignettes to help you practice and prepare for USMLE Step 1. 

The team here at Firecracker is super excited to announce the introduction practice exams as part of our core product!  And as part of this introduction, I’d like to explain a bit about our clinical vignettes (CVs), including the history of our CVs, how many we have, where they came from, who writes and edits them, what makes a good CV, how to integrate them into your studies, and much more.  There is an insane amount that can be said about CVs, way more than can be written in a single post.  So this is the first of many to come.

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Topics: USMLE, Practice Exams, Exams

Firecracker’s First Study Jam

Posted by David Guertin on Nov 17, 2015 8:42:02 PM

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.

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Topics: USMLE, Medical Education, Study Jams

How this Firecracker Scored a 283 on USMLE Step 2 CK

Posted by David Guertin on Nov 12, 2015 4:26:53 PM

This is a guest-post from Dave, a Robert Wood Johnson Medical School fourth-year who has done nearly 150000 questions in his Firecracker membership. He not only used Firecracker en route to crushing Step 1 of the USMLE; Dave makes the most of this software throughout medical school to slay Step 2 and all of his Shelf Exams too! Our data indicates that making a habit of doing Firecracker questions regularly is the most proven behavior that leads to success on the boards, and this student-author is an exemplary case in point. Here is Dave’s take on his experiences with Firecracker as his personal tutor:

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Topics: USMLE, USMLE Step 2 CK, Testimonial

Residency Matching: What You Need to Know (and Score)

Posted by Yonas Dinkneh on Aug 7, 2015 1:04:00 PM

Matching to the residency program of one’s choice is a high priority for medical students because it paves the road toward one's preferred career path. Understanding how the matching process works and what scores are necessary to match into specific specialties is important for any medical students preparing for a residency. 

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Topics: USMLE, USMLE Step 1, Matching

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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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