Sketchymedical is a great resource for learning bugs and drugs! I’ve been using it for bacteriology/virology/pharmacological therapeutics/etc, and it has massively helped. It basically paints a picture with a story to help you learn and remember important points. I highly recommend it for anyone that is about to take or is currently taking courses about bugs & drugs or is studying for STEP I.

Other people in my class are talking about Pigmonics as a learning aid as well, but I haven’t really heard anything good about it from anyone who has looked into it. I’m sure there are other things out there that can help (like “Micro made ridiculously simple”)

Thanks for the info.

I used picmonics. It’s not a bad resource, some of the little stories they use are actually very handy. I wouldn’t use it as a main study source, but it’s a good place to look up things that you’re having trouble with to see if it helps.


A lot of my classmates used both to study for boards. I used neither and did fine. It’s really good for people who need that story to help with recall. I found just doing uworld questions was very efficient and made those neuronal connections needed for recall.

Is U-world worth starting early, or is there enough time in STEP study time to adequately cover it all? We get 1 month to study for boards. Was contemplating getting a short subscription this summer to review questions on the stuff we cover in 1st year. It’s pretty pricey though…

I would start early. If you want to use the UWorld questions to their full potential you have to know why the answer is correct and why the other choices are wrong. That takes time.

I think overall the Step 1 is a little easier than the UWorld test bank questions. However, there were more statistics than I expected, pharm minutae and often the biochem would throw out questions not about direct steps, limiting steps etc, but in that pathway somewhere just before or after either main concept. Sneaky bahstids.

Myself and most of my classmates started about 6 months before doing U world questions, about 10-15 a day if possible. The goal was being able to get through it twice. Uworld is more difficult than the USMLE and the way questions are formatted is quite different then COMLEX. I heard that COMLEX made a change last year to be more like USMLE. If you go to a DO school get a COMLEX specific Qbank to get comfortable with COMLEX formatting and to practice OMM questions, but still do Uworld. Uworld (or any Qbank) is gold when you’re on rotations because you have something productive to do with those weird pockets of time students get. I would also get a bunch of practice tests to take periodically while studying to see where you’re at. The practice USMLE’s on the USMLE site were actually very predictive of where my score ended up being. I had friends that did firecracker for board studying, I used firecracker too but more for my second year classes. Honestly, enjoy that summer between M1 and M2, or if you MUST do something try to get on a research project. You don’t get a lot of free time after that, and you don’t want to get burned out.