The Best and Worst Flashcard Resources for USMLE Studies
Hopefully, you know by now (if you have been following this review series) that there are more flashcard resources out there than Quizlet! Just like all our other resource review posts, we’ve sent some of our most experienced tutors to test out different flashcard sites and let you know how effective they actually are. For our final review in our best and worst flashcard resources series, today we are reviewing Flash Facts! Here’s what we think!
Cost: $49 for 3 months, $79 for 6 months, $99 for 12 months,
$149 for 24 months (with seven day free trial)
- It is made by the same company that produces First Aid, so ties directly into the book! This includes shots of the book’s charts and diagrams
- The subdivisions of decks exactly matches UWorld question subdivisions, which makes it very easy to match this resource with your studying
- Can make your own decks customized by topic area (so more general or more specific)
- Appears not to randomize order when you click through a deck, so you pass through all the “embryology” questions before getting to “pathology,” for instance. This also means that some questions are grouped thematically in a way that gives hints to what the answer might be
- A few technical faults with the website; clicks sometimes don’t register, images occasionally don’t appear.
- The large blocks of information that appear with each card can be overwhelming, making this feel like more of a general review session rather than a faster-paced flashcard session
Where do I find it?
We often talk about the two undebatable pillars of Step 1 studying: First Aid and USMLE World’s Qbank. The former organizes the considerable amount of material you’ll find on the test into discrete, manageable blocks. It gives a skeleton on which to build all the rest of your studying. The latter is a powerful question-based resource that allows you to organize your questions by topic and subject area.
Flash Facts is an excellent resource not just because it’s a well-built repository of flashcard information, but because it positions itself directly between the two study pillars. It is made by the same company that produces First Aid, and includes diagrams and information taken directly from the book in order to directly reinforce your learning. What’s more, the information is organized through the same structure as UWorld question banks: You can see below that with this app you can go through exactly the same footsteps as your questions, which makes matching flashcard-ing with the rest of your studying a piece of cake.
The cards themselves contain a lot of information – sometimes too much. See the card below (front on left, back on right). The upsides are that it includes helpful diagrams of the pathology being tested along with associated syndromes and mnemonics. This is great! The flip-side of this coin, though, is that it will be easy to get bogged down in all of this information: the point of flashcard sessions is to broadly reinforce your learning relatively rapidly, and if you spend the time to go through every piece of information on this card your pacing will be more similar to question bank time than flashcard time.
The other downside of Flash Facts is a practical one: There are still some technical glitches with the site. Pictures sometimes don’t display, and clicking through cards occasionally glitches out. We can hope that these will be fixed soon (the service is still relatively new, after all), but they do stand as of this writing.
Overall, despite these small inconveniences, Flash Facts is an excellent resource if only because it positions itself perfectly between your two mainstays of Step 1 studying. Using this service makes it effortless to match your flashcard learning with the rest of your studying – as long as you can exert the self-control not to get bogged down in each card’s extensive explanations.
For additional questions on Flash Facts for your Step 1 and Step 2 studies, feel free to contact one of our experienced USMLE tutors.