You asked and we answered. Introducing our latest review series, USMLE Prep Platforms! With the rising popularity of USMLE video learning platforms particularly for Step 1, we’ve asked our Elite tutors to go through and review all the latest and greatest video prep platforms. In this series, we will be objectively reviewing Osmosis, Pathoma, Lecturio, Amboss, Boards and Beyond, Online MedEd, Kaplan, and USMLE Rx, so you can get honest comparisons by USMLE educational professionals.
As always in our review series, our reviews do not reflect any partnerships, promotions, or paid positivity. We pride ourselves in bringing our students accurate information and our honest opinions surrounding USMLE resources.
This week on USMLE Prep Platform Reviews: Lecturio
Lecturio is an online video learning portal whose mission statement is, “To make high-quality online education available to as many people as possible, and spread specialized knowledge around the world.” While they are most known for their video lecture component, Lecturio also provides question bank, quizzing, and smart studying resources to their users. Lecturio boasts use by over 600 medical schools and 100,000,000 minutes of video watched by its users. Their website also notes that the company was founded in 2008 in Leipzig, Germany, and now has a diverse international team operating globally.
Before we get into our complete analysis of Lecturio, here are some of our initial notes:
Lecturio at a glance: Our overall score: 4/5 stars
- Very User-friendly
- Extensive Qbank that mirrors NBME in style and difficulty with timed option and walk-through tutorials of key topics
- Book matcher cross references FA, Pathoma, texts, and lecturio videos
- Aesthetically pleasing platform with beautifully rendered graphics, fonts, and videos
- Very comprehensive – could serve as a “stand alone” curriculum with assignments/lessons that professors can track by creating specific assignments
- Flashcards that enable spaced repetition
- Number of videos/content is overwhelming making it difficult to use as a supplement (e.g. biochem offers 243 videos = 20.5hrs or 3 hours of video on amino acid metabolism?
- Given amount of material, there is plenty of low yield content to distract from high yield learning
- Step 2 content much less developed
- Calendar tool cannot be exported and no customization tool
Now you have the short version, we want to start by saying overall we think Lecturio is an excellent resource. It is capable of providing a comprehensive overview of a variety of topics covered on the USMLE relating to a selected curriculum, which can range from premed to preclinical to clinical. Each curriculum is composed of videos, questions, and textbook-like articles which make for a really complete learning experience. Additionally, Lecturio also has an option to take “courses” within each curriculum, such as a pediatrics (317 videos) and family medicine (92 videos) within the USMLE Step 2 curriculum, or an anatomy (432 videos) and biochem (243 videos) course within the USMLE Step 1 curriculum. The curriculums organize their lectures by systems and subjects making it easy to watch different lectures in no particular order and to track your progress while doing so. Some of the lectures are also accompanied by an interactive quiz that helps to test knowledge acquisition. Despite such positive features, we do feel it important to note that the curriculums are very exhaustive with over 5,500 3-9 minute videos. Although we think its comprehensive nature is a major strength of Lecturio, this can also be a drawback because it can contribute to student anxiety (especially while preparing for the USMLE) and a general feeling of being overwhelmed.
So, let’s get into the specifics. The following outline specific features Lecturio has to offer:
- Ability to download all the slides from the videos
- Ability to turn on subtitles during the videos or to read the text in paragraph format below the video (and the text will be highlighted as the lecturer is speaking)
- The video lectures end with “recall questions” that automatically pop up—these questions are different from the case based questions in the question bank and are geared at helping students see if they were able to retain the material (this can be especially helpful for students who need a refresher on some USMLE content)
- ~5 min videos walking the student through a question and explanation. The differential diagnosis is discussed and the major clues about the prompt are emphasized
- This can be very helpful for students who have difficulty answering prep questions correctly or falling for “traps”/reading the prompts incorrectly
- Currently, there are 31 videos available for USMLE Step 1 and 15 videos available for USMLE Step 2
Study Schedules and Guides
- Lecutrio shares a 99-day study schedule for USMLE Step 1 and a medical school survival guide. The study schedule incorporates all the lectures/videos that the student needs to watch (3,148 videos amount to 260 hours!!!). The medical school survival guide is shorter with only 29 videos and includes information about each year of medical school.
- Lecturio provides detailed textbook articles with rich details and images. These are a good review after the videos have been watched, as the videos are geared more towards providing an overview.
- Typing in a topic can help you find videos, questions, or articles that are associated with it
- This is AWESOME! The bookmatcher link allows students to select a book (and edition) that he or she is using to study (ie. First Aid, Robbins, Rapid Review). The student then provides the page number that they are on in the book, and the search function in Lecturio will navigate to the same topic. For example, if the student is learning about pulmonary embolism in FA, he or she would in put the book (FA 2018) and the page number (#), and Lecturio will navigate to any videos, questions, and articles specifically about pulmonary embolism.
- Students can also take a picture of the page they are reading in the textbook with a smartphone and the Lecturio mobile app will redirect them to any videos about that topic
- The Qbank set up here is very similar to UWorld (different question modes, subjects, systems), which is appealing because many students are already be familiar with the interface (or you will be once you dig in to USMLE prep).
- Every question also has “related videos” and “first aid references” embedded within each explanation which provide excellent review.
- All the answer options are explained and there is a learning objective making for a great in depth USMLE review.
- Over 2,000 preclinical questions and over 1,000 clinical questions are included in the Lecturio Qbank. Additionally, more questions are added and created regularly.
- Over 17,000 recall questions (associated with videos) are included in the Qbank
- Overall we think the questions are of EXCELLENT quality and are very thorough in terms of explanations.
- Medical schools can assign assignments for the students to complete, which will appear in the assignments tab
- Ability to oversee the overall activity across all groups (ex: MCAT student, year 1 students, basic science students, etc)
- There are 21 institutions are using Lecturio so far. Some schools use it as part of the curriculum, others use it for remediation of specific courses or for special groups of students who need additional helpEnd of lecture has recall questions that automatically pop up—these questions are different from the case based question-bank questions. They are geared to helping students see if they were able to retain the material
Our Final Thoughts
- Lecturio is extraordinarily thorough – there are hundreds of hours of lecture content with accompanying flashcards and lecture questions to boot. For this reason, a student would likely benefit most from using Lecturio if they started using it from the beginning of their medical school education and made steady progress through the videos throughout their coursework; the student who approaches Lecturio during their dedicated USMLE study period may, by contrast, be overwhelmed by the amount of material available and not know where to begin. That said, videos do have transcripts and review questions that can help hone content encoding and retrieval. Moreover, often the most relevant video for a given piece of content is linked with the QBank question that covers that content, which may allow students to triage their video watching to topics they find more difficult and need a more thorough review.
- The inclusion of a “Book Matcher” to cross-reference the videos with FA, Pathoma, etc. is also a nice feature. Regarding the question bank itself, the questions are of appropriate difficulty, length, and style to mimic USMLE Step 1 questions, and the answer explanations are thorough with beautiful images to supplement them. The questions can also be presented in both ”tutor” and “timed” modes, which allows for both slower-paced more thorough learning and simulating test taking environments. The question breakdown/walkthroughs are a really nice feature and may help students starting out with their overall approach to USMLE questions.
- At the time of this writing, the USMLE Step 1 content is far better established than the USMLE Step 2 content. The flashcards and quick review questions that accompany the videos are overly detailed in their focus and/or at times as questions that are not overly helpful for learning, though they may help students engage in some rote memorization with the built in spaced repetition feature.
- While Lecturio is extensively researched and polished, it is likely too detailed to be a core resource during dedicated prep, though its question bank is a standout that could be useful after exhausting UWorld.