McGraw Hill Is Reimagining the USMLE Question Bank

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Jennifer Pollock, the managing editor of the McGraw-Hill USMLE Easy products, explains why adaptive technology sets USMLE Easy apart from other question banks.


    Jennifer, who is an expert in test-prep resources, tells us why the USMLE Easy is essential for medical students to succeed on their USMLE Step exams. First launched in 2009, the USMLE Easy hasn’t stopped innovating. From targeted remediation to adaptive learning, USMLE Easy marries massive amounts of content with state of the art technology to provide an optimal test-prep resource.

    The USMLE Easy questions have the ability to deliver the targeted remediation [by subject] to the students.

    How was USMLE Easy born?

    “The idea behind it was to take the PreTest series, which focuses on different basic sciences or clinical skills topics with 500 registry-style questions, and curate all of that content to create an online digital q-bank that is USMLE Easy,” says Jennifer.

    “In addition to our content on the PreTest series, we coupled it with targeted remediation from some of our core text books that live on Access Medicine, another one of our products. This allows students to have access not just to the registry style questions (there are over 11,000 at this point!) but also the targeted remediation to the students, based on his or her own performance. The USMLE Easy questions have the ability to deliver the targeted remediation [by subject] to the students.”

    How does it work?

    “Based on students answers on the Q & A, they’re linked directly from the USMLE Easy platform to the pre-selected reading that are prescribed. Some the titles that we reference are from our Lange Library. In 2013, we made a jump where we migrated the Easy Platform over to an adaptive QBank model. In addition to the valuable content and remediation we coupled it with adaptive learning technology so it created a more personalized study plans for the learner based on his or her individual needs.”

    How do you see students benefiting from USMLE Easy the most?

    “Students can maximize their study time by really concentrating on the areas that they might be weaker than the areas that they’re stronger in. Medical students need to absorb a vast amount of information prior to taking the USMLE Steps, which requires these learners to approach their study as a very interesting project. Even though they’ve taken tests their entire lives they have to be more structured about the time and method they use to study for Steps. So a product like an adaptive QBank like USMLE Easy aids them in recognizing their own skill profile.”