Who knew there were more flashcard resources out there than Quizlet! Right? Well, if you have begun studying for the USMLE, chances are that you already know the importance of flashcards– and that there are many great flashcard resources out there. But are all resources created equal?
We’ve sent some of our most experienced tutors to test out different flashcard sites to let you know how effective they actually are. Today we are reviewing Memorang, a website that boasts, “Providing fun and effective flashcards, quizzes, and games to help you study for the USMLE.” But are the games actually fun? What exactly is an “effective flashcard”? Here’s our full review.
Cost: $14.99/month, $99.99/year
– High repeat frequency and granular decks are good for hitting small topics you just haven’t gotten down
– Lots of fun games
– Multiple ways to see the material ( ie multiple choice, matching, traditional)
-Can make your own cards
– High repeat frequency and granular decks waste time when you want a broad review of a general topic
– The games are also very time-intensive; fun, but not practical for real studying
– No spaced repetition. We repeat: NO SPACED REPETITION.
– Busy user interface
– Ability to make own cards is limited (for example, can’t add images), and can’t edit cards provided by Memorang
Our Tutor’s Opinion
Let no one say that Memorang is not thorough– or that they don’t have fun with their work. The Memorang USMLE Step 1 deck contains enough information that if you knew every card cold, you would be sure to score exceptionally well on USMLE Step 1. Think Firecracker meets Quizlet. The problem with its value as a study tool lies in its granularity: Memorang has very specific categories. Don’t get me wrong, specific categories are great, but the system also has a high repeat frequency; which, can make going through large topics extremely time-consuming. Take a look at the image below, for example, with the subtopics under Cardiology. Entering the Antiarrhythmic Pharmacology section you will see 86 cards with values including:
As you can see, these are information-rich cards with fairly nonspecific prompts and they could potentially be a good review. However, the cards repeat quickly: going through the deck you might find yourself seeing cards you had marked as correct multiple times within the same study session. Now, research on optimal flashcard-ing does show that continuing to quiz on topics even after you feel good about the information is beneficial. However, this research assumes a long time-frame of learning and one that relies on your flashcards as a primary learning modality. If you are using cards simply to recap information you’ve already seen, or only during a dedicated prep mode, it may be better not to spend hours and hours on them. For Memorang, it may be better to drop the card once you mark it correct.
Perhaps the biggest downside of Memorang is the lack of spaced repetition. As a student, if you’re having to stress about when you should be reviewing what out of the plethora of material you studied a month ago, you are wasting valuable study time and energy.
An important tip when using Memorang: Note the circled ellipsis in the upper right corner of the screen. This is a way to select multiple study topics. You could, for instance, test Cardiac Anatomy + Cardiac Embryology together instead of going through each individually. See the below example.
Memorang Games Include:
- Several different test modalities: straight flashcard, “Rapid Response” (game-based, but repeats particular facts with high frequency however the downside is a very low time efficiency)
- Eliminator Fun games, again not time-efficient
- Matching Cards- advantage: more information on page at same time, disadvantage: no feedback on correct answers
- Overall: great for shoring up specific gaps in knowledge, high frequency means that you’ll get solid reinforcement of some specific topics. Not great for broad review of subjects.
*Stay tuned! This post is part of a series reviewing flashcard resources. Have a resource you want reviewed? Let us know!