Student-to-Student: Best Study Resources for USMLE Step 2 CK

Med Study Tips: AMBOSS + Picmonic = Efficient Studying

Picmonic has taken what the science shows – image mnemonics work – but we’ve boosted its effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Warfarin War-fairy

Picmonic’s scientifically proven system will decrease the amount of time you spend learning and retaining complex information and increase your knowledge – and scores. In fact, research proves that Picmonic results in a 331% increase in long-term memory retention compared to text-based material (like textbooks and lecture notes).

A comprehensive and up-to-date qbank is also an absolute must have when it comes to prepping for boards. So we’ve partnered with the team over at AMBOSS to make sure you’re set up for success.

When you add AMBOSS to Picmonic, you’ve got an unbeatable arsenal to help you achieve the score you want.

Haven’t heard of AMBOSS before? Here’s why we love them:

  • Access thousands of NBME-style Qbank questions for the USMLE™Steps 1, 2 and 3 & NBME® Shelf exams
  • Practice exam simulations with a unique set of Step 2 CS case-based scenarios
  • Download the free Qbank and clinical Knowledge Library apps and reference them from anywhere, even offline
  • Study smarter with the help of a personal analysis that tracks your progress and pinpoints your knowledge gaps
  • Check below for an exclusive trial offer to explore AMBOSS!

Even if your studying has moved from the library to the wards, you can still use new digital tools to, learn, review, and practice.

How do I use Amboss and Picmonic together?

Use Picmonic to supplement everything you learn in school from day one. When boards studying starts, incorporate AMBOSS into your routine and crank out those questions. If you get a question wrong, read the rationale, then go back and rewatch the Picmonic to solidify the information in your memory!


Check out this AMBOSS question and see if you can correctly identify the causal pathogen:

A 23-year-old man comes to the physician because of a painless swelling on the left side of his jaw for 2 months. It has been progressively increasing in size and is draining thick, foul-smelling fluid. He had a molar extracted around 3 months ago. Examination shows a 4-cm, tender, erythematous mass in the left submandibular region with purulent drainage. There is submandibular lymphadenopathy. A culture of the purulent material shows catalase-negative, gram-positive filamentous rods that do not stain with carbol fuchsin. Which of the following is the most likely causal pathogen?

  • A) Mucor irregularis
  • B) Acinetobacter baumannii
  • C) Actinomyces israelii
  • D) Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • E) Nocardia asteroides

Attending Tip: This organism forms yellow “sulfur” granules.

Actinomyces Israelii

Actinomyces israelii is a gram-positive, non-acid fast, rod-shaped anaerobe and part of normal oral flora. It causes cervical actinomycosis, which typically presents as a progressively enlarging mandibular nodule after oral surgery, as in this patient. The nodules can develop into purulent draining fistulae, which contain Actinomyces in characteristic yellow “sulfur” granules. The term “sulfur granules” reflects their yellow color, not their composition. Penicillin is the drug of choice for patients with actinomycosis. Surgical resection is indicated for patients who do not respond to antibiotic treatment.

Whether you found this question really simple, or whether you struggled through, this Picmonic explains the topic in a fun and memorable way that will help you remember for the long term:

Actinomyces Israelii

Want more free practice?


Have questions? Reach out to hello@amboss for help!

Ron Robertson

Ron Robertson, Co-founder & CEO, Picmonic Inc.

Ron Robertson founded Picmonic as a 3rd-year medical student at the University of Arizona. He’s at the helm of Picmonic’s mission to lead and inspire a new era of learning through innovative and effective educational solutions. Ron holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of San Diego with a focus on memory science, is the product visionary behind Picmonic, and is involved in every aspect of the company.

(Visited 1,682 times, 1 visits today)