Top 5 Medical School Resources that Helped Me Study Better4 min read
There are five resources that have changed the game for me in medical school. They provide explanations, memorization techniques, and structure to my studying.
I use these resources daily to supplement the lecture material. The order is purposeful, all resources are good, but #1 is better than #2, and so on.
1. Anki with Anking
If you have read any of my other content you know I love Anki. AnKing is the guiding light for all the following resources I have listed.
The AnKing is an Anki flashcard pre-made deck that combines Lolnotacop, Zanki, Pepper Pharm and Pepper Micro, and Ultra Zanki. Every flashcard is tagged to each third-party resource. If you are unsure of where to get started with this deck, go here.
I really shouldn’t need to talk about this anymore, but it’s the best one, hands down. If you only use one thing, use this. In order to get the most out of the AnKing you need the following four resources.
Dr. Sattar is a Professor of Pathology at the University of Chicago. He created an amazing resource for everything you need for step in regard to pathology.
He explains pathology clearly and succinctly.
Pathoma emphasizes understanding over memorization. Also, I find, Pathoma teaches physiology better than pretty much any other resource. For example at one point Dr. Sattar is describing disorders of primary homeostasis while doing this he explains the normal physiology of primary homeostasis.
Not my lecturers, not Boards and Beyond, not my friends, could come close to explaining the physiology as well as he did.
Amboss provides improvements to Anki, top-tier practice questions, and a library of content.
The Anki support was a reason enough for me to purchase Amboss.
Whenever I am unclear on a word I just scroll over it and can find out what it means. Also, if I want to dive even deeper, I can click on the word and a whole page comes up describing that material.
The practice questions are second to only UWORLD.
Use Sketchy Micro. Sketchy Micro is an invaluable resource that makes the memorization of all the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites easy.
Sketchy creates a memory palace that associates medical topics with memorable visual elements.
There are competitions where people are asked to memorize the order of a random deck of cards. The competitors can do it, and some can do it in 30 seconds. The memory athletes use many techniques including the memory palace.
I also find Sketchy Pharm useful, even if only for learning about the pharmaceuticals as a first pass.
I have never used Sketchy Path and will not use it. Pathoma is better, and Sketchy Path is not worth the time.
5. Boards and Beyond (B&B)
This is your one-stop-shop for 90% of what you will need to know in your first two years of medical school. Physiology, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, all of it. However, like one-stop-shops, the quality of the product is not as good as other specialized stores.
B&B is like buying a piece of bread at Walmart, sure it will be fine, but will it be as good as the bread from a bakery? Probably not.
I still use B&B, and I use it frequently, there are often physiology topics that are not covered in the other resources. This is where B&B comes in. I find it good, but not great. If I can’t find the information anywhere else I will turn to B&B.
- Download the AnKing
- Use Pathoma for Pathology
- Use Amboss for content review, Anki, and Practice Questions
- Use Sketchy Micro for microbiology, and Sketchy Pharm for pharm.
- Use Boards and Beyond for everything else
Did you notice I don’t have first aid in here?! The reason being that the AnKing has all that information built in. I own the book but don’t even look at it anymore.
Puja · February 9, 2021 at 3:32 pm
Love your blog and YouTube channel! Just curious, what are your thoughts on UWorld?
Zach · February 9, 2021 at 11:27 pm
Thanks! Love love love UWorld, should be #1 resource for Step.
Zach · June 2, 2021 at 2:17 pm
UWORLD is the best best best resource. Use it as your #1 resource.