5 W’s of the MST-Memorang Internal Medicine Flashcards

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Let’s face it: You have little to no free time during clerkships. While we’re always trying to find the best resources available for our students, it’s doubly important to be extra selective and strategic during rotations.

    Part of how we choose resources is through our “resource review committee”—comprised of med students, residents, fellows and attendings—that reviews all new resources on the market.

    About 18 months ago, we tasked our committee with finding the best flashcards and spaced repetition platform to use with our students. Up until that time we had been having students make their own cards and use Anki. However, while some may argue that there is value in making one’s own cards, let’s be honest: if you could use a high yield pre-made set that you could also add your own cards to PRN, then hands down, that would be the best choice. Enter our collaboration with Memorang.

    What happened?

    When our committee reviews resources, they do so independently at first before meeting to discuss them. This time, when looking at flashcard resources, all of the members independently chose Memorang as their top choice both in platforms and content that they would want to use with their students. Upon that recommendation, we asked additional tutors and students to review Memorang further, and they came to the same conclusion of: “We wish we had this when we were studying!” Once we had positive feedback from the Step 1 and Step 2 CK content, we began to use it with our students with very positive results.

    Around this same time we kept hearing many comments from MS3 students on Internal Medicine who were being scutted out left and right, working 12 hour days and still needed to honor the Shelf exam with limited time to study. What’s more, we had already identified a growing need among our students for a single resource that would comprehensively cover the material required for excelling on the IM Shelf. Why?

    The IM Shelf is challenging in its scope, as it covers inpatient and outpatient diagnosis and management of diseases affecting all of the organ systems. Moreover, unlike Step 1 preparation, there is no universal consensus on the ideal materials to use for the IM Shelf. As such, students often find themselves moving from resource to resource in an attempt to learn the elusive “high-yield” content, thus wasting valuable study time. We needed a solution!

    Solution: Make our own Internal Medicine high-yield resource.

    In the Spring of 2015 over some burgers we discussed our ideas with the two founders of Memorang (two MIT engineering grads—one of whom is a med student at UCLA) and decided to team up. We would combine our team’s IM content mastery with Memorang’s technology. (We like Memorang’s platform for many reasons, and in getting to know the founders personally, we saw that we had a common vision for improving medical education and in putting the needs of students first.)

    Who created these sets?

    A select group of all-star MST tutors! Our content creators are top scorers on USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and the IM Shelf (all honored) who also happen to have superb written communication skills. Their work was further refined by the entire team of MST clinical tutors whose comments and suggestions on the flashcards improved their quality even further. Even better, we will continue to update the flashcards based on users’ feedback to ensure that they adequately reflect the evolving scope of the IM Shelf exam. At MST we have extensive feedback from students who have taken the Shelf exam and we know what is high yield and what isn’t. We don’t want to waste a student’s time learning items which might not show up; we want every minute of studying to count!

    Why did MST choose the Memorang platform?

    If you haven’t used it before, Memorang is a free web-based app and mobile quizzing tool that allows you to find, make, and import flashcards or purchase pre-made decks. You can quiz yourself on content via multiple choice, matching, flashcards and games in a more contextualized approach. In short, it’s robust and super effective.

    • Memorang’s materials are organized into an outline of terms and associated facts
    • Each fact has a mastery score, so you can see in real time what you truly know versus what you are still learning
    • You can quiz yourself on the content via different “Learning Modes”—multiple choice, matching, games, etc.
    • Questions can also be sorted by the algorithm you choose—spaced repetition (i.e. wrong answers are tested more often), the original order, a randomized shuffle, or even reversing the order of questions and answers

    Another thing we like about Memorang’s platform is how you can structure the content:

    • Instead of being limited to the standard flashcard Q&A, Memorang’s study sets organize terms/concepts and associated facts (e.g. a disease’s clinical presentation, pathophysiology and treatment)
    • What’s more, you can compare and contrast the concepts in the various quizzing formats (e.g. by showing diseases with similar or identical treatments, and generating intelligent multiple choice distractors)

    Where is this IM deck?

    Here on the Memorang platform!

    What is included? (Hmm already included WHATguess it’s like the 5 D’s of Dodgeball)

    We have created 72 sets spanning high-yield Shelf exam material in Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, and much more—not to mention bonus sets on Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Ethics! In creating our flashcards, we selected the highest-yield topics from UWorld, MKSAP, NBME practice Shelf exams, Step Up to Medicine, and First Aid for the USME Step 2 CK (imagine trying to get through all of that on your rotation!). We’ve also utilized the expert input of our experienced tutors and recent IM Shelf exam takers.

    That’s all for now. Stay tuned for our next blog post on the best ways to use this IM deck on your rotation or while studying for Step 2 CK!