- Jul 22, 2020
- MCAT Blog, MCAT Prep
Written By: Madeline Zamzow, Blueprint MCAT Tutor
If you are starting new, u/ColorfulPonds was kind enough to upload a version with images in the comments below. IMPORTANT: Type your own notes into the 'Lecture Notes' and 'Missed Questions' fields so that you can protect them in the future. We will use all the other fields. If you have the Miledown or any deck based on it, use the following instructions to update and preserve your scheduling. We've compiled a huge list of FAQ for Anki, Anki add-ons, pre-meds, the MCAT, and medical school. Easily find your answers to everything you need to excel with Anki. Update using a deck posted by someone on reddit that has all the images. Determine which images are missing and import the deck those images came from. How to increase your MCAT score and improve memory retention!! Advice, tips, and strategies from a current medical student to help you become the best studen. Here’s my Anki deck that I used for the MCAT. I got 132 on all of the content sections (132/130/132/132 on 3/31/2017), and I wouldn't have been able to do it without Anki and this subreddit. There are 4351 cards in the deck with content for all three content sections. I use tags, rather than splitting the cards into multiple decks.
Due to its complexity, it is important to prep for the MCAT in the most efficient way possible. Self-testing and spaced repetition are two study strategies that are frequently considered to be highly effective. These two strategies are the basis of the flashcard application Anki and help explain why it shines as an MCAT preparation tool.
More than a simple online flashcard tool, Anki is a powerful tool for the memorization of a variety of things, from a new language to physics formulas. As discussed above, the self-testing and spaced repetition components of Anki are what make it a popular MCAT prep tool, especially for reviewing science content on the MCAT. Self-testing is a feature inherent in flashcards, such as when you ask yourself to recall content based on a question, phrase, or definition. Spaced repetition is based on the spacing effect, which suggests that we learn most efficiently when our learning is spaced over time. Anki accomplishes both of these by having flashcards only appear for “review” when you are just about to forget their content. These functions give Anki the powerful ability to make highly effective studying possible and set it apart from other flashcard applications.
While the spaced repetition feature is at the core of the Anki flashcard platform, Anki also has other features that make creating and studying flashcards a breeze. These include synchronization across multiple devices, high levels of customization, the ability to embed media such as audio clips, images, and videos into your flashcards, and a large number of add-ons that can further facilitate studying. Even better, Anki is completely free to use on desktop and Android!
What is the evidence for Anki’s effectiveness?
Many generations of educators and psychologists have worked to determine what are the best study strategies based on scientific evidence. A recent review on the subject, has suggested that spaced practice of content and practice testing have the highest utility of commonly used study strategies (Dunlosky et al., 2013). Anki’s spaced repetition algorithm addresses both of these components by testing you on specific pieces of information across a range of time. Anecdotally, there are many success stories on premed forms and from Blueprint MCAT tutoring students who have used Anki to retain important information for their MCAT test prep and beyond.
If you’re not sure how to use Anki, start with the computer version of the application; don’t worry, you’ll be able to easily sync the flashcards from your computer to a mobile device for on-the-go practice! You’ll need to download Anki onto your laptop or computer. Anki is free to download on computers and Android devices, but the Anki App is $25 for iPhones and iPads.
Here’s how you make an Anki deck. When you first begin with Anki, you will start with one Deck titled “Default.” You can either rename this deck by clicking the gear and selecting “Rename,” or create a new deck by selecting “Create Deck” from the bottom menu bar. You can also create subdecks in a similar manner, but with the added step of clicking and dragging the subdeck on top of the deck you want it to belong under.
Once you have your decks set up, the next step is the creation of the flashcards that will make up that deck. To create a new flashcard select add from the top menu. This will cause a new smaller window to pop up. There are five main areas of interest in this new window. You will notice there are additional fields available, however, they are not essential to starting to use Anki.
- – “Type” – There are a variety of card types that come with the initial Anki download, and even more that can be added with downloadable add-ons. The “basic” card type is most similar to a conventional flashcard and is probably the most commonly used.
- – “Deck” – This field is fairly straightforward but important to pay attention to; when changing this field, you will be changing which deck the flashcard belongs to, so make sure they’re going in the right place!
- – “Front” – Here you can type whatever you’d like to appear as the prompt for your flashcard. This is similar to what you would write on the “front” of a conventional flashcard.
- – “Back” – This is where you type the “answer” to whatever the “front” of your card was prompting. Again, this is similar to what you would write on the “back” of a conventional flashcard.
- – “Tags” – Tags are optional and are single words that allow you to go back and sort your flashcards by topic or chapter. Spaces are used to separate tags, so if you want to use a phrase instead of a single word you will need to remove the space. Some examples of tags might be “genetics” or “PhysicsChapter5.”
After completion of each field press the “Add” button at the bottom of the smaller window to finalize your flashcard and move on to creating a new flashcard. After you have created your first set of flashcards you are ready to start your review! When you open the app, you will see cards appear as “New,” “Learning,” and “To Review.” “New” cards are cards you have created but have yet to review even once, “Learning” cards are those you are in the process of reviewing, and “To Review” cards are those cards that the Anki spaced repetition software recommends you review today.
As you are reviewing cards you can press the spacebar or select the “Show Answer” button to reveal the answer. After revealing the answer you’ll be asked to rank how easy or difficult it was to recall the answer associated with that card. The “easier” you rank the card the longer before the algorithm will show you that card for review again and vice versa. The amount of time before the card will reappear for review can be seen above the ranking.
We’ve covered the basics of creating and reviewing Anki flashcards. However, there is a lot more to explore, especially given the many card-types and add-ons available. Additionally, there are a few tips that are important to be successful in using Anki for flashcard creation and review.
Best Anki Deck For Mcat
- – Anki flashcards should be specific: Spaced repetition, and therefore Anki, works best when information is separated into small and specific chunks. While it may take longer in the card creation stage, you will save time overall and learn more efficiently if you create 10 highly specific cards rather than one more general card.
- – Ensure that you understand the material fully prior to making a card: Remembering a random fact, figure, or equation doesn’t matter much if you can’t put it in the context of your learning. Make sure you could apply the information to a -problem-solving situation prior to making a card.
- – Studying every day is essential to success: Anki’s focus on spaced repetition means that you must endeavor to minimize missed days of studying. Missing a day of studying means not only is the spaced repetition algorithm not being used to its fullest extent, but it also means that flashcards will begin to stack up!
How can Anki be used to prepare for the MCAT?
The sheer amount of content tested on the MCAT can sometimes feel overwhelming. Anki is often one of the tools recommended to help overcome this feeling. When using Anki to study for the MCAT, your first choice is whether to use an existing MCAT review flashcard deck or make your own. The benefit of using an existing deck is that the time saved from not creating the flashcards yourself can be used to focus more on review. However, the downside of this option is that the deck will not be customized to you and your study habits. In making this decision you should consider your level of experience with Anki and the MCAT, your study style, and the amount of time you have available to study prior to the exam.
It is important that you set a daily goal for how many Anki flashcards you will complete or how long you will spend reviewing flashcards. Consistent daily practice will allow you to reap maximum benefits from your studying. The good news is the Anki phone app allows you to take your MCAT content review on the go! Sneak in some prep during your daily commute by switching between practice questions in the Blueprint MCAT Qbank and reviewing your MCAT Anki deck.
How can Anki be integrated with other MCAT preparation materials?
Anki is an amazing tool for the memorization and recall of important facts and equations; however, it is important to integrate Anki with other MCAT test prep materials to maximize your success. If you create your own Anki MCAT decks, you will need content review material to use in the creation of your flashcards. If you choose to go with a premade deck, it will still be essential to have access to this review material to expand on concepts from the flashcards. Blueprint MCAT students use the material found in the MCAT course and the MCAT books.
Additionally, while Anki is an excellent tool for memorization and recall, the MCAT exam requires more than just remembering facts and equations. You will need to be able to apply recalled information to analyze passages and answer specific questions. In order to apply the information you have learned using Anki, it is important to complete practice questions and exams. After the completion of those practice problems and exams, any gaps in your content knowledge can be addressed by the creation of new Anki flashcards. These new flashcards will allow you to avoid making the same error again on your actual exam by continually reviewing the information until it is stored in your long-term memory.
Anki is a powerful tool that can be highly customized to allow for memorization and recall of a variety of information. Studying for the MCAT requires the comprehension of an amount of information that sometimes seems insurmountable. Anki is one way to make that material more accessible and retainable. No matter what resources you choose to use in your studies for the MCAT and beyond, it is important to emphasize the long-term retention of material, and Anki flashcards are a great way to do so.
Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4–58. doi: 10.1177/1529100612453266
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If I could go back in time and tell myself only one WORD before college started, I’d scream ‘ANKI’ in my ear drum. Or, if you prefer the MCAT Neuroanatomy way, the sound wave would enter through my pinna, proceed through my external auditory canal to the tympanic membrane, follow through the malleus, incus, and stapes until it hit the oval window. From there, the wave would work through the perilymph of my cochlea and start getting converted to electrical signals across the basilar membrane and the hair cells before traveling up the vestibulocochlear nerve. Then, it’d proceed through the brainstem to finally be interpreted in the auditory cortex of the temporal lobe. Today’s post is about how I was FINALLY able to learn that process and not be intimidated by it.
According to the internet, “anki” 暗記 means “learning by heart; memory work.” *Ankisuru 暗記する means learn by heart commit to memory. Anki is a flashcard program that provides spaced repetition based on how well you feel you have learned the material. I have seen the tool pop up on several premed and medical school student blogs and decided it convert over from my beloved Quizlet and Study Blue websites that I use to make my online flashcards.
This is what the Anki home screen looks like. I have created decks for all of the MCAT topics under the username MCAT Study. Each day, I have a certain number of flaschards “due” for me to study based on how I rated the flashcards I studied yesterday. Every morning, after I tackle my MCAT Questions of the Day in my email inbox, I sit down to work through all of the cards that I have “due”. I’ve found that Anki works the best when you review the cards every day, and I’ve incorporated the flashcard review into my daily studying.
To create new cards, click the ADD button in between DECKS and BROWSE. From there, you can add to a new Deck or an existing Deck. You can even add images, audio, and video clips to the cards. I’ve found many tutorials on YouTube instructing users on how to create card loops and multiple cards from a single image. For now, I’m usually typing up practice discrete questions and regular formulas and facts I have to memorize.
When you start studying, the cards you have created pop up question first. This card was one of today’s Behavioral Sciences cards (Chapter 2 of Kaplan Behavioral Sciences). After you answer the card out loud, in your head, or on paper – I jot down the answers on flashcards to use up the HUNDREDS of blank flashcards I have left over from college – I hit the space bar for the answer/back of the card to pop up.
After the answer is displayed, Anki’s rating system is displayed at the bottom, allowing me to decide how well I think I know the matter that is being tested. Then, the card will be shown to me in the time interval I have specified. This is incredibly perfect for studying for exams, LIKE THE MCAT, when you are studying months in advance and need to remember all of the information for a very long time. I wish I was able to use this as a college student to make flashcards on lecture material for exams! Can’t you see how awesome this tool would be to study for a cumulative final!
Anki Reddit Mcat Scores
You can even change the settings for cards as well based on how many you need to review!)I’m currently studying Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry, and finished my “due” cards for today. However, even though I finished the number of cards Anki gave to me, I hit the CUSTOM STUDY button to add more cards for today’s study only. You have the options to customize everything about the repetition of your deck.
This morning was the first time I saw this card, so notice how little the increments of time are – 1 minute, 10 minutes, and 4 days. I usually hit the 10 minute button so Anki knows that I want to review this card more than others in my deck.
At the end of the studying session, Anki tells you how many cards you studied and how long you spent studying them (it manages your time for you! How awesome is that!!?!) There’s nothing more satisfying than going down the line and seeing that you have no cards “due” for that day.
Even though it seems like a massive pain to create your own Anki decks, I highly recommend you spend the time and actually do it! I cannot stress this enough! As you can see, the spaced repetition of the material is based on your own preferences. I make cards based on my own weak material, and I know that trying to learn a big deck of cards would be useless if it didn’t include my personal weaknesses.
For example, when I created this card, I specifically included the two questions on there to focus my memorization on what was really important about Broca’s Area in the brain. I’m always confusing the functions of Broca’s Area with Wernicke’s Area, and the MCAT loves to take advantage of this! However, now that I’ve specifically created a card for this topic, and can use Anki’s spaced repetition to make sure I don’t forget the functions, I see it way more often that if I used a pre-made deck. Now, as soon as I’m prompted with this card, my mind goes to the mneumonic I’ve created for the location of Broca’s area (BF = BoyFriend = Broca’s Area in Frontal Lobe), and connect that to the function of Broca’s Area, which is speech production!
It’s also incredibly tedious to go through all of the “due” flashcards each day, but I know it will be worth it when I achieve my dream score on the MCAT! I’m already seeing the effects of Anki when I tackle my MCAT Questions of the Day and daily sample passages! Furthermore, I don’t have to spend a dedicated day to review when I’m looking through all of the relevant material each day!
I think the only downside to Anki is that the mobile app they’ve created in companion to the downloaded software is $25 on the app store! That’s really expensive in comparison to free apps like Quizlet, but if I needed to study on the go for classes and the MCAT, I would be sure to make the investment. I plan on making that purchase when I enter med school or a post-bac program!
Now it’s time to get back to work!
Anki Reddit Mcat Practice Test