Picmonic and First Aid = Top STEP 1 Scores

How to use First Aid for USMLE Step 1 with Picmonic

Picmonic and First Aid 2021

Getting ready to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1? Preparing for the three USMLE exams is a lengthy process, but one of the most trusted resources to aid in that prep is the First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 book. 

Learn how to use this book to its fullest potential and how to pair it with Picmonic to maximize your chance of success on your first USMLE exam.

What is First Aid for Step 1?

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First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is one of many holy grail study resources for medical students studying for the exam and preparing for licensure. Updated and published on a yearly basis, the First Aid book has 32 editions as of 2023. 

Since the book is written by medical students and graduates who have recently passed the exam, the First Aid USMLE book is comprehensive and helps readers prepare diligently for the exam.

That being said, in no way is the First Aid Step 1 a “light read”. It contains extensive high-yield material including a framework for USMLE Step 1 prep, clinical images and illustrations, test-taking and exam prep advice, summary tables, comprehension charts, mnemonics, a rapid review section, and more.

What Topics are Covered in First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2023?

To keep up with the latest developments and expectations of the medical field and any changes to the exam itself, the First Aid USMLE book is updated annually and thoroughly revised and approved by top medical faculty.

In the latest 2023 edition, the approximately 800-page book continues to cover various topics, including but not limited to:

  1. Exam Preparation: This section offers learning, testing, test-taking, and clinical vignette strategies. It will help you determine your study goals and timeline as well as provide you with the basics you need to know for Step 1.
  2. General Principles: Covering biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and public health sciences, this section thoroughly dives into the general principles.
  3. Organ Systems: Organ systems include cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, psychiatry, renal, reproductive, respiratory, and more systems.
  4. Review Resources: Last but not least, the review resources contain recommended question banks, apps, and textbooks for the covered topics listed above.

Tips for Using First Aid for Step 1

While the First Aid study guide is a valuable resource, using it effectively is crucial for success on the exam. Follow these tips for making the most of your USMLE First Aid book:

Buy the latest edition: It may be tempting to skip out on buying the latest edition just to save a few bucks, and that may be okay if you’re using this book to study or refer to during your first year of medical school. However, if you’re taking the USMLE Step 1 within six months, you should purchase the latest edition with the latest and most relevant information for the exam.

Start studying early: As mentioned in the last tip, you can begin using the First Aid book early in your medical school career. It’s a dense book, so it will be taxing to read it all at once. Use it to reinforce the material you learn in class and to maximize long-term memory retention. 

Annotate, highlight, etc.: Writing in the margins isn’t everyone’s thing, but if you like to highlight or annotate, you should personalize your First Aid Step 1 book by adding your notes, scribbles, color-coordinated marks, or post-its. This will help you focus on the material that you find most challenging or important and come back to it later. If you prefer to keep your book clean, use a notebook or digital notes instead!

Practice active learning: This book is not one you should passively read or read all in one sitting. Break up the book into chunks and read over time or focus on topics you haven’t mastered to engage with the material in a meaningful way. A few ways to start are mind maps, putting the content in your own words, or using mnemonics

Combine with a good study tool: While First Aid is excellent for high-yield content, it’s beneficial to complement your studies with other resources like question banks, medical apps, or a visual learning tool like Picmonic.

Why Students Use Picmonic with First Aid

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Many students find it advantageous to use Picmonic alongside the First Aid Step 1 book. Picmonic’s extensive library of picture mnemonics and multiple-choice quizzes reinforce key concepts to ensure you learn and retain information for the USMLE. 

The following are the top reasons why students choose to use Picmonic with First Aid:

Helpful review: Picmonic’s mnemonic videos make it easier to memorize complex topics using helpful visuals and associations, making it a great addition to First Aid’s text-based content. If you’re struggling with a topic and need to visualize or hear it, look up the corresponding Picmonic video in the First Aid to USMLE Step 1 library.

Reinforcement: Picmonic helps reinforce the information you learn from First Aid, solidifying your understanding of critical concepts. Since there are an exhaustive amount of topics in the First Aid book, you should skip out on the flashcards (or you’ll have tons) and use Picmonic instead. The mnemonics you see will help you learn, understand, and master concepts rather than just memorizing them.

Active Recall: The quizzes in Picmonic allow for active recall, a potent study technique for long-term retention. Use Picmonic to quiz yourself after you’ve studied a topic in First Aid. You can use your quiz results to measure progress and maximize retention over time with Picmonic’s unlimited quizzing feature.

Need to hear some testimonials from real med students to believe it? Check out why med students use Picmonic with First Aid.

Nevertheless, Picmonic is there to help you feel confident for the USMLE Step 1. Get started to use it with your First Aid book today.


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