8 Reasons Why Med Students choose Picmonic over Sketchy Medical

Over the past 8 years since Picmonic entered the market as the very first visual picture-mnemonic learning tool for medical students, students have told us in our quarterly feedback surveys what helps them the most about the study resources they use. Some students view Picmonic as more effective and affordable (“I prefer Picmonic. I don’t use sketchy…it is too long and more expensive.”) and some students use both resources, together. We’ll share what students have told us over the years.

Reason #1: More Content

Picmonic has 1,000 more topics than SketchyMedical, such as Biochemistry, Physiology, Genetics, Embryology, Behavioral and Psychiatry. If students are using Sketchy Medical, they’ll find that eventually they’ll hit a topic that Sketchy doesn’t cover.

“I found Picmonic to be helpful for topics that weren’t covered by Sketchy.”
“Sketchy has its strengths, but Picmonic provides a more comprehensive review of the material.”
“Use Picmonic to fill in the gaps with what sketchy left out.”

Bottom line: The Picmonic medical library contains over 1,400 video-quiz lessons covering over 15,000 facts, and offers the most comprehensive coverage of First Aid of any visual learning tool. Compare SketchyMedical and Picmonic.

Reason #2: More Efficient

Picmonic is more efficient for review before an exam or to create effective scaffolding for learning a topic the first time. With concise, hi-yield topic coverage, students save precious study time.

“Picmonic has short and sweet videos and a daily quiz feature (with spaced repetition). Sketchy does not.”
“if time is of essence, I’d suggest picmonic- shorter videos, spaced repetition, frequent updates, personalize your short animations etc. it just does more than just washing videos which equates to better retention.”
“I have used both resources. I prefer Picmonic when I am rushed for time. I like that their videos are short and straight to the point.”
“Some of sketchy’s videos are 15-30 min long! I don’t have time in my study schedule for that most of the time. So I used sketchy for micro and some drug classes, but use picmonic for pretty much everything else.”

Bottom line: Don’t have time to rewatch 20 minute videos for exam prep? Struggling to remember important facts about a topic? Picmonic’s concise videos will give you an effective way to review the information and provide low stakes recall quizzes and spaced rep quizzes to help you remember long term.

Reason #3: More Effective

Picmonic’s visual learning app is research-proven to increase retention 331%, and boost test scores 50%. Students will often use Picmonic if they are struggling to learn the topic with Sketchy.

“replace any sketchy that doesn’t stick with picmonic”
“Sketchy is missing many things you need to know. I turn to Picmonic for learning Biochemistry, vitamins, embryology, musculoskeletal system. The quiz feature is an added bonus that helps me retain what I’ve learned.”
“I find that sketchy is very good at Micro, and more general/broad topics. But when you want a specific drug, or a simple reminder for a disease then Picmonic is the way to go.”
“I wished I had used Picmonic for Micro because Sketchy Medical is missing many things you need to know.”
“Picmonic Pharm is easier, HY, has more content & it has already developed Clinical subjects’ Picmonic database”
“Personally, I used both for Pharm. At the end of it, I retained way more from Picmonic. They both have good comparisons, but given my attention span, seeing images that actually sound like our symptoms, vs seeing abstract made things confusing for me. So I stick with Picmonics.”

Bottom line: If there is a topic you are struggling to remember, Picmonic’s concise effective videos will give you an efficient way to prep for exams and provide low stakes recall quizzes and spaced rep quizzes to help you remember long term.

Reason #4: More Straightforward

Picmonics are simpler and less overwhelming than Sketches. If students know a topic, they’ll often skip the topic in SketchyMedical, and go straight to Picmonic for review.

“Sketchy has too many details on each slide. Also, sketchy doesn’t have funny stories like Picmonic, so it doesn’t use as much of your memory to anchor the ideas.”
“Sketchy uses a similar mechanic, but sometimes can be a little too overwhelming with the number of facts they cram in…”
“Picmonic blows the other guys out of the water. I like that there is a quiz for every Picmonic and how it stays simple. Every topic has a story and an educational view, plus, the characters are more original and out there. I can check out each individual character and read more about it on the side bar if I want to.Sketchy characters were pretty plain and boring.”
“I felt like the Sketchy videos always had a bunch of extra $#!@ that was unneeded & just distracted you from the actual facts. You also can’t edit anything to the video which was a huge deal to me. Anyway, I’m not trying to bash Sketchy, but I feel like Sketchy is for average students who are looking for a passing grade only, while Picmonic is for the students who want to excel because they were the ones who knew that extra small detail that changed their score from a 239 to a 245 or a 249 to 255….because one extra correct question on the actual USMLE can mean a few extra points….”

Bottom line: On average a Picmonic will cover 8-10 high yield facts that are hard to remember and frequently tested, but doesn’t overload a single Picmonic to abide by theories of working memory.

Reason #5: More Quizzes

“You initially make us learn the characters of the story along with a few things about the microbe. Then in story mode, we almost memorize everything related to the organism. Then during quiz, we repeat them. If anything gets wrong in quiz, the app makes sure to remind us that through daily quiz. Wow. Wow. Just wow. Keep the good work up.”
“Picmonic also has many more practice questions right after you watch a video to test what you learned and it has a daily quizzer so you can test what you have learned in the past few days while sketchy does not have this feature. But I use both!”

Bottom line: Picmonic’s med study app has a more robust library covering over 16,000 multiple choice quiz questions, to practice low-stakes recall and improve retention of hi-yield facts.

Reason #6: Longer Retention

SketchyMedical does not offer Spaced Repetition based quizzes, so after students have learned a topic with Picmonic and reviewed it with Picmonic, they can use Picmonic’s Daily Quiz with spaced repetition to remember what they have studied longer.

“Picmonic daily quiz really helped solidify the quizzes and was easy to remember. Definite advantage over Sketchy.”
“I like Picmonic more because it has a daily quiz option with it and the videos are shorter and more succinct.”
“Sketchy and Picmonic can complement each other well! They are similar but Picmonic videos are generally much shorter and I like the spaced repetition quizzes that are included.”

Bottom line: Picmonic’s intelligent spaced repetition Daily Quiz will help track everything you learn, and prompt you to review the right information at the right time so that you retain what you’ve learned long term.

Reason #7: More Customization

Sometimes taking notes or adding facts can help increase learning retention. With Picmonic, students can customize their content and add their own information and characters, notes, images, videos and more to satisfy their personal learning needs.

“I prefer picmonic because you can add information and also make your own picmonics. Sketchy doesn’t have the personalization features.”

Bottom line: Edit, modify or add facts/characters to a sketch using Picmonic’s robust customization features, if additional details you’d like to memorize are missing from the sketch. You can even see the relevant additional facts & characters your peers are adding to each topic, and adopt for yourself only the ones you struggle to remember.

Reason #8: More Features

Picmonic for Medicine is always adding new features based on requests from students like you, so we can provide the best visual study resource for med students.

Here are a few features that SketchyMedical does not have:

  • If there’s a topic you can’t find, create your own Picmonics using the simple drag and drop authoring tools, then use them alongside the 1600+ topics that are already in the Picmonic for Medicine library.
“I prefer Picmonic because I can make my own Picmonics.”
”Picmonic’s creator was the key to my success in medical school. While other classmates created traditional flashcards and struggled to remember them, I was creating visual mnemonic flashcards with Picmonic and remembering facts in a much easier and effective way. The process of creating Picmonics is so interactive and fun, that you barely have to review them again because they are edged into your long-term memory right away. By combining Picmonic’s vast library of content and the Picmonics I created, I was able to retain all the hard to remember facts I was struggling with and reach my goal of becoming a medical doctor.”
  • Related Facts View real-life imagery. Textbook quality images and content integrated alongside characters, to better prepare you for what you’ll see on a test.
  • Mobile apps Study & exam prep on the go. Review Playlists even when you don’t have internet access, or listen to continuous audio in gym mode.
  • Community submissions- since picmonic takes community submissions and allows students to make their own Picmonics (that can be viewed by all!), the information is sure to stay on the cutting edge.
  • Picmonic has playlists that follow First Aid and Pathoma 1:1- allowing seamless integration of multiple med education study resources.

Students share hundreds of study tips with fellow students every year, many which have been shared on med school study & resource blog. Whether you want tips for the entire med school journey from 1st-4th year (blog article), how to study in med school (video), or free med study resources to help you prep for or pass USMLE STEP or COMLEX, Picmonic’s med school study app has you covered.

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