Premade decks are for medical students like paint is for painters – they relieve any anxiety. The cards present in these decks are solid sources of information, covering most of the topics necessary to consolidate your knowledge, help you greatly succeed in the US Step exams, and make you a good clinician overall.
How to use a premade deck?
To make the best use of a premade deck, you must follow an active learning process beforehand, in order to acquire the knowledge. You also need to use Anki effectively, to get the most out of its spaced repetition features. Be sure to use other materials such as lectures or books. If you are considering the option of simply learning your cards by heart, you should know this will lead you to superficial knowledge, that will not really be helpful for you
If you understand these concepts, you should now continue to read the rest of this article.
To get the best of both worlds, I advise you to use these tools as a base and incorporate details by completing some cards or adding new ones. Don’t forget that each card must ask for a “simple” and concise information, by using a clear question.
As we know, not all universities deliver the same program and this way you will have a completely personalized deck that will meet your needs. By doing this, you can even benefit from using Anki when preparing for your semester exams.
If I can give you another piece of advice, would be that the best way to apprehend this tremendous number of cards freshly downloaded is to proceed as following:
When you are opening the Anki software, deselect all the cards and then select just the ones that are related to the subject you want to study. To do this, nothing could be simpler because the cards are generally arranged under different tags.
Let me develop on how you will benefit from this method: if for a given date you have an exam that answers the topic upper respiratory system in pediatrics, you will have to select the questions related to this topic in order to avoid being overwhelmed by other subjects. This way you, will be able to target your revisions.
I would like to add that Anki offers different add ons which allow you to have access to new features. If you read my article about the best anki add ons you will have more information about Advanced search, an add on which allows you to easily search for cards having different tags.
In order to add details to your newly uploaded cards, just add the information in the details box and proceed as following:
Click on “Edit” button.
Modify your cards to add new definitions, images or even technical memos. They will never be too much!
Click the “Close” button and your modifications will be saved.
How to stay organized with premade decks?
As mentioned before, your new decks contain a large number of cards that you must classify into different decks and sub-decks. This method will allow you to review the cards in the sub-deck as well as all the cards in the main deck. If you decide to add new cards, feel free to create a new deck on the Anki website so you can also create sub-decks associated to it, and put the sub-deck title related to the title of the chapter.
Now that you have all this valuable information, you can access the best, free to download, Anki premade decks for medical students:
Brosencephalon was initially created in 2014 by Dr. Sidhu, medical student at that time. Now, an internal medicine resident in Detroit, Michigan, he continues to share his work with the medical student community.
Brosencephalon contains two decks: “The pre-clinical flashcard collection” and “Clinical flashcard collections internal medicine“.
Brosencephalon is deck of reference, which explains why it is the base of several decks. It is a massive deck containing 13320 cards based on Pathoma and First Aid, in which each card has been carefully tagged, to ease, if you’ll desire, the classification into sub-decks.
As we know, Science is never static. Some information needs to be updated while others are outdated. This is why the Redditors of /r/medicalschool have made some changes and added new cards to make this deck as relatable as possible by creating pages called “Brosencephalon Anki errata” which present four parts that you can reach using the following links:
Zanki is a deck with a long-standing reputation. Based on the original Brosencephalon., Zanki was first released in 2017. With more than 20,000 cards, it is based on reference resources like First Aid, Atlas of Human Anatomy, Robbin’s Pathology, Goljan’s Lectures, Uworld, and others detailed on the following link.
Zanki is divided into few different decks: Zanki Step 1, Zanki Step 2, and Zanki Pharmacology, all of which are packed with relevant information. It is presented in the form of straightforward questions that highlight one piece of information at a time.
The Zanki decks have several advantages:
– They are comprehensive and very detailed decks with nearly 20,000 cards. Some may think that it is a lot, but in medicine, it comes down to detail;
– It features images, screenshots, Sketchy images, and citations taken directly from First Aid, Atlas of Human Anatomy, Robbin’s Pathology, Goljan’s Lectures, and Uworld.
– Zanki is easy to edit due to its tagged cards.
– It is well organized into decks and sub-decks, which makes it easy to use.
But there are also some disadvantages:
– The fact that I suggest you to add cards to your newly downloaded decks, will result in your deck becoming even bigger. The best way to create your new cards is to focus on one piece of information at a time, which can easily lead to countless cards, leading to stress and anxiety about going over them.
– Zanki deck has so many cards and it simply means that it will take you a long time to complete them all. Remember, the most effective way to use Anki and spaced repetition is to revise your cards religiously every day.
– There is a possibility to encounter some errors.
When it comes to premade decks, Dope deck is one of the best creations. Also based on Brosencephalon and other sources, detailed at the following link.
Dope deck offers several decks free to download:
- The Dope 1, which covers the medical sciences, counts nearly 25000 cards;
- Dope 2, which covers clinical medicine and has nearly 17000 cards;
- The dope anatomy, that I want to emphasize on, as it gathers essential information to learn Anatomy, a subject that has the reputation of being one of the most difficult and that gathers a lot of details. The use of flashcards is highly recommended. The Dope Anatomy is a very clear deck, which deals with general anatomy using nearly 1129 cards. Released in 2018, it is based on: Note’s Neuroanatomy, Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases as well as the NeuroAnatomy deck, which is unfortunately no longer available. Most of the cards in this deck are in the form of occlusion images which I think is the best way to fix the structures. Note that the Dope Anatomy focuses on details such as: insertion, vascularization and innervation of muscles, among other structures.
Just like Dope Anatomy, Anatoking is all about anatomy, the subject which not only gives you a precise knowledge of the structures that make up the human body, but it also gives you a fundamental base that will allow you to have a better understanding of subjects you will encounter in the future. Anatomy might seem difficult and tedious at first sight, but it will depend on how you will approach it. If you want to succeed, visual memory is key, and Anki your ally.
Recently put online in October 2020 with 4773 cards, Anatoking has the following advantages:
- The date of release suggests that this deck has only a few mistakes making it a reliable source that will require little verification.
- It is based on different reference resources such as: Colored Atlas of Anatomy, Pocket Atlas of Anatomy, and VH dissector;
- It is particularly focused on covering all the major structures as well as the muscles with origin insertion innervation and irrigation;
- It is using very good quality images;
- Has very well tagged cards.
These decks were made by students who invested their time and hearts. I want to thank them sincerely for saving us from going through the difficulties they faced. They offered us well-made and trustworthy premade Anki decks and the most precious gift as medical student: time. Thank you for everything!
You should know that these cards are not only intended for the students who would like to pass the American steps exams but also to some extent to all the international students, as medicine remains a universal science.