Study smarter, not harder, with Firecracker's proven STAT (Spaced Training and Adaptive Technology) platform. Leverage cutting-edge learning and memory science to learn faster, remember more, and crush the MCAT and the USMLEs. Read more about the Science Behind Firecracker.
Research supporting the power of the MCAT to strongly predict success at Medical School is the main reason you can’t ignore this exam. Admissions committees certainly don’t and neither do we. Use the same technology thousands of medical students use to study for their boards to crush the MCAT.
The course was very comprehensive, well organized, and on a high level. It helped direct my studying. Highly recommended. A. Shahabuddin, Harvard College
Higher scores on the USMLE—especially Step 1—strongly correlate with higher scores and passage of medical specialty board examinations, higher clinical performance ratings, and preferred residency attainment. Your performance on the USMLE Step 1 has never been more important and we don’t take the responsibility of preparing you for them lightly.
I absolutely loved this site...I really wish I knew about it before starting 2nd year. It would’ve been amazing to use it while studying for the course...Firecracker is just perfect. A.H., 2nd year Medical Student
Medical professionals are expected to master and retain massive quantities of vital medical information. This information is complex, essential, and often life-saving. However, rigorous studies show that this knowledge is rapidly forgotten, resulting in substandard patient care, professional dissatisfaction, and diminished performance on mandatory examinations.
Every time I learn something new, I forget something else. Student, University of Michigan Medical School
In a July 2009 study published in Resuscitation, researchers found that, out of 70 Johns Hopkins pediatrics residents:
Their research also found that more years of training did not improve residents’ performance.
A June 1996 study published in the Journal of Trauma showed that the average score for the 60 practicing trauma physicians who took the standard Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course was 86%. However, six months later, these same physicians took the test again, and 50% of them failed.
Nearly 15 years after this study, there have been no novel approaches to learning and retaining medical knowledge... until now.
If the aim of medical education is to produce physicians who are capable of delivering high-quality medical care throughout their careers, the responsibility of educators does not end after knowledge acquisition. In fact, acquisition only marks the beginning of the knowledge management process.
Thankfully, research in educational psychology and neuroscience has proven that one method—Spaced Learning—can not only help us acquire knowledge more rapidly and completely, but also make it easier to retain our mastery over time.
Five randomized, controlled trials at Harvard Medical School demonstrate that Spaced Training improves retention of medical knowledge:
To show that Spaced Learning was useful even within a short time frame, another randomized controlled trial at Harvard Medical School compared Spaced Learning to traditional web-based modules during a 10-week program. The trial found that, not only was Spaced Learning just as good at teaching the material, but the majority of students preferred Spaced Learning over the traditional web-based course.
The molecular mechanisms underlying Spaced Learning’s ability to induce long-term memory is an area of active inquiry at leading research institutions such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the results have been published in prestigious journals such as Cell and Neuron.
Firecracker's Spaced Training & Adaptive Technology platform (STAT) incorporates 18 other proven principles of learning and memory. Read about them here.
FIRST: Learn new material by studying high-yield and interactive Topics
Master the material with Firecracker’s high-yield Topics.
Our content is written by Harvard-trained physicians who aced the MCAT and USMLE. We spend upwards of 30 hours per week to make sure that we incorporate the latest research (including images) and remain consistent with current exam trends.
Annotate your Topics with relevant context and mnemonics.
Personalize the Topics by adding your favorite notes, mnemonics, and references! We also incorporate your feedback and suggestions when we update the Topics.
SECOND: Take a quiz right after a learning session to see what you know...and what you don’t!
Open-ended questions challenge you to produce the answer.
Open-ended study questions not only reinforce what you studied, but also uncover weaker areas that could hurt you come test or exam day. They are more difficult because you must produce and not merely recognize the answer.
Multiple-choice questions require you to integrate knowledge from multiple learning points.
Firecracker’s question bank includes many two- or three-jump questions that require you to integrate disparate knowledge. They’re on par with and often exceed the difficulty of actual exam questions.
THIRD: Review questions scheduled in your Personal Review Schedule (PRS) and analyze your performance.
Your PRS is an adaptive review schedule that tells you when you need to review something (before you forget it) and what you need to study more to ensure complete mastery. Concepts you are having difficulty will be scheduled at a higher frequency (shorter intervals/spacing) to ensure complete mastery and conversion into long-term memory. Concepts that you have mastered will appear less frequently (longer intervals/spacing) to maintain your knowledge over time. The precise timing of the review is based not only on your own strengths and weaknesses, but also data from thousands of your peers.
If there isn’t anything to review yet, study more Topics! Even if you have something to review, you still need to go through all the material to make sure you crush the exam! Benjamin Franklin once said, “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”
The Firecracker Dashboard shows your Personal Review Schedule and provides one-click access to your study material.
We will let you know when you need to review something; not too early so you waste your time, nor too late so you waste even more time having to relearn it!
Performance metrics show your progress and allow you to target weaker subjects.
Knowing where to focus your studies is key to optimizing your score, and Firecracker gives you an advantage that no simple question bank can provide. We also analyze how your performance changes over time.
Finally: Repeat the process above to make sure you cover all the material. By studying more flashcards, you will also be building your Personal Review Schedule (PRS). Rest assured that, so long as you follow your PRS, you won’t forget anything ever again.