As a med student, if you ask about study resources for visual learners, you might hear about Sketchy Medical and Picmonic. However, not all visual learning resources are created equal. The following provides a comparison of the two visual mnemonic learning resources based on what med students have said over the years. From their reports, we have compiled a list of 10 things that Sketchy Medical users may not know about Picmonic:
1. Picmonic’s approach is more straightforward, simpler (2-3 min videos) focusing on hi-yield facts (hardest to remember and most frequently tested in medicine) and therefore less overwhelming, more efficient and better for review.
- Picmonic focuses on hi-yield info and therefore videos are shorter.
- Each video is ~ 2-3 minutes long (which is super-efficient). Sketchy video tends to run 30-40 min or more.
- With links to media resources, you can access real life imagery (what you will see on an exam) easily.
Don’t take our word for it, read what other med students have to say.
2. Picmonic covers more of what you’ll see on USMLE STEP 1 & 2. Picmonic has 1600+ videos covering Microbiology, Biochemistry, Behavioral Psychology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmacology, Pathology and more — 1,000+ more videos to extend coverage of high-yield subjects, topics and facts.
Sketchy video covers less than 50% of what Picmonic covers for Medicine (see full list of Picmonic coverage)
- Only 400+ videos included across Sketchy Micro, Sketchy Pharm, Sketchy Path and Sketchy Biochem (metabolism only) for Step 1
- Only 210+ videos included in Sketchy for Step 2: Internal Medicine, Surgery, OB and Pediatrics.
3. Picmonic is the only visual learning resource for STEP and COMLEX that enables customization. Picmonic enables students to customize to create the perfect study resource for them. Personalization isn’t something offered by other resources such as Sketchy Medical (no “Sketchy notes” available). Picmonic’s powerful creator tools let you transform Picmonics by adding facts, characters, images and videos. Customization also helps with retention, and can become an integral part of a robust study routine.. Sometimes students import a Sketchy image into Picmonic to add more facts to those images, too.
4. Picmonic has built-in spaced repetition that leverages over 16,000 rapid review questions. Or if you are using Anki, Picmonic’s Anki Add-On makes it easy to access a high-yield fact list, video and quiz as you study or review with the Anki app. Sketchy may have recall questions built in, but does not provide Spaced Repetition — intelligent spaced repetition algorithms to helps keep you on track for the long haul, so you do well on class exams AND later on your board exams (both Step 1 and Step 2)
5. Picmonic content is mapped to FirstAid (so you can follow along page-by-page, and easily access Picmonics as you study). So if you are using this book (it is a must-have for med students), you can easily do a deeper dive review on the topics as you work through First Aid.
6. Picmonic has native mobile apps and offline abilities. If you are on the go with a mobile device, or do not have internet access, you can still study with Picmonic. Every Picmonic is available to you on your iOS or Android device. Learn more and download for IOS and Android.
- Quickly review and quiz yourself, and leverage the power of a spaced repetition app in your daily routine (Daily Quiz).
- Use Playlists to quickly study hundreds of picture mnemonics in “Offline mode” or enjoy continuous play of audio in “gym mode”.
7. Picmonic covers over 1600+ hi yield med school topics which is more than enough for 98% of our users, but If there is a topic you are struggling with and you need a way to study it, you can always create your own visual mnemonic flashcard. We have powerful authoring tools to create your own picture mnemonic flashcards, and they are free to use with a Picmonic account. To learn how to do this, check out our Mastering Medicine webinar on “How to Create A Better Flashcard to Succeed in Med School.
8. Picmonic is affordable. Picmonic for Medicine covers Step 1 & 2 and only costs $290 for 2 years. If you purchase Sketchy Step 1 & 2, you will spend $350 more over 2 years for 50% less material. Picmonic is so affordable that those who can afford Sketchy often buy Picmonic, too, to cover all of the areas that Sketchy does not. So Picmonic can be a companion resource as well as an alternative. But there are plenty of students who do just fine with Picmonic alone at a fraction of the cost, and achieve dream board scores.
9. Picmonic is more memorable. This will save you time in the long run. Picmonic’s visual mnemonic flashcards are designed to leverage the best techniques known to memory science in order to bring you the most effective visual learning resource tool available. It’s even research-proven to increase retention 331%.
- Phonetic mnemonic character names that stand out, are more memorable and meaningful (here are examples from a med student).
- Wacky, outlandish irreverent art style represents characters you’ll never forget.
- There is more consistent use of the same characters to represent concepts across topics, which helps with memorization.
- Use of the same character to represent related facts enables comparing and contrasting of similar facts across topics (helps nail tricky exam questions)
10. Picmonic started in 2012, a full year before Sketchy. Throughout this time we have helped nearly 1 million healthcare students succeed. You can read more testimonials from med students here, to find out how they chose the best exam prep tools for Step 1 & 2.
Which study tool is best for you? Picmonic is recommended by med students as a robust alternative to Sketchy Medical. But you don’t have to take their word for it, you can try it for yourself, free!